Amity Foundation

China Christian Council

Partnership History

  • While the Jesuits had been present in China from the 13th century Protestant missions to China began in earnest following the Opium Wars of the 19th century
  • Prior to 1952 the Church of Scotland had two mission bases – one of the Yangzi River at Yichang, and another in the city of Shenyang (a united mission with the Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the Danish Lutheran Church)
  • Despite civil war, and anti-foreign (and anti-Christian) uprisings such as the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1901), there were Christian missionaries present in most regions of China
  • In 1940, there were 94 Church of Scotland missionaries sharing the gospel and their love for the people of China
  • Following the Communist victory of 1949, the churches, seen as agents of western imperialism, were brought under government control
  • Chinese churches were encouraged to break their ties with churches abroad and to become self-governing, self-supporting, and self-evangelising (the 'three-self' patriotic principle) and most missionaries left or were expelled
  • During the early 1950s around 40 per cent of all Chinese Protestants signed up to the manifesto of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), which became the umbrella body for all Protestant Christian churches
  • During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) all public religious activity came to an end, churches were closed and many Christians were either imprisoned or sent into internal exile to labour in the countryside
  • Following Mao Zedong's death in 1976 churches were slowly allowed to open and public worship tentatively resumed, seminaries reopened and the printing of bibles recommenced
  • The government retained oversight and control of all church activity through its Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB), which has a presence at every level of government administration
  • In 1980 the China Christian Council was formed with the aim to unite all Chinese Christians and to run the church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in obedience to Scripture and Chinese church order and the national constitution, laws, regulations and policies
  • In 1985 the Amity Foundation was founded as a social service with Christian motivation: in thirty years it has grown into a powerful witness to the compassion and commitment of the followers of Jesus
  • Today, Amity has over 200 staff involved in range of development, education, health, environment and social activities. It contributes to China's social development, raises awareness of Christian involvement in meeting the needs of society, and serves as a channel for people-to-people contact and ecumenical work

Twinnings and Projects

  • Nanjing Union Theological Seminary
  • Scholarship
  • Congregational twinning between Scotland and China
  • Amity Foundation HIV and AIDS project
  • Amity Foundation Community-based Environment Protection and Development in Guizhou Province
  • Church of Scotland is a member of Scottish Churches China Group and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland China Forum

To see some photographs of our work in China please visit our Flickr account.