If children shout gweilo or guizi at you, they're calling you a 'foreign devil.' Smile and show them that foreigners aren't all that bad." So The Travelers' Guide to Asian Customs & Manners advises American visitors to China. Cultural stereotypes do not exist solely on the far side of the Pacific Rim. For generations some Americans have demonized China and the Chinese as secretive, untrustworthy, and manipulative. In supporting Permanent Normal Trade Relations, the U.S. House, the Clinton Adminis tration, and China's Communist leadership are creating a fresh opportunity for both Americans and Chinese. But it is also a foreign-policy experiment that may not produce either fairer trade or a more humane China. Yet the tide has turned against the annual review of trade relations with China. After 20 years, the threat of severing trade has lost its power. China no longer believes the United States will ever cut off all trade. Meanwhile, China is still a threat to its Asian neighbors, which include Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. China continues to deprive its citizens of guaranteed basic human rights.
For American Christians, much more is at stake with China than marketplace freedom for Chinese to drink Coke, eat McNuggets, listen to a Pearl Jam CD, or log onto the Internet with an iMac. Within China's borders, one of the largest and most vibrant branches of Asian Christianity is in jeopardy. From urban centers like Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, and Hong Kong to the central heartland and remote western regions, China's Christians are planting new congregations, evangelizing villages and neighborhoods, and caring for widows, orphans, and the disabled. The vitality of China's churches turns upside down the Marxist ...1