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7 - The Catholic Church in China in the First Half of the Twentieth Century: The Establishment of Zhendan University and Furen University

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2020

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Summary

Abstract

This chapter evaluates Chinese-foreign relations in the development of Christianity in China in the first half of the twentieth century. It addresses the Catholic Church and highlights both the cooperative nature of Chinese-foreign relations, which casual viewers were prone to overlook, and the co-existing disputes, which affected both the Chinese people and the foreign missionaries. Traditionally, the history of Christianity in China has largely been described as one of conflict owing to the social, cultural, and ethnic differences between Chinese and foreign missionaries. This chapter studies the interactions between Chinese intellectuals and foreign missionaries in the establishment of Zhendan University in Shanghai (1903-1952) and Furen University in Beijing (1925-1952). It argues that the history of Chinese Christianity was one of cross-cultural relations and mutual exchange. It explores the cross-cultural relations between the Chinese Christian intellectuals Ma Xiangbo, Ying Lianzhi, and Chen Yuan, and foreign Catholic missionaries.

In the early twentieth century, China was the most popular country for missionaries, Catholics and Protestants alike, to preach the Good News and to convert the local people to Christianity. Traditionally, the history of Christianity in China has largely been described as one of conflict, owing to the social, cultural, and ethnic differences between foreign missionaries and the Chinese population. This chapter critically evaluates Chinese-foreign relations in the development of Christianity in modern China. It addresses the Catholic Church and elucidates both the cooperative nature of Chinese-foreign relations, which casual viewers were prone to overlook, and contemporaneous disputes, which affected both the Chinese people and the foreign missionaries.

This chapter examines an important contribution of the Catholic Church to China. It focuses on the concerted efforts of the Church in establishing and developing two institutions of higher elite education, which were Zhendan University (Aurora University, 1903-1952) in Shanghai and Furen University (1925-1952) in Beijing. It examines their missions and visions in providing higher education for the young generation. The two universities undertook the task of cultivating the elite for contributing to China’s modernization and upholding Catholic beliefs and values for the future.

In addition, this chapter studies the interactions between Chinese intellectuals and foreign missionaries in the establishment and progression of the two universities.

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Chapter
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Eurasian Encounters
Museums, Missions, Modernities
, pp. 155 - 176
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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