Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Communist China Loves Lin (While Persecuting Lin's Fellow Christians)

...While Communist officials were quick to note the birthplace of Jeremy Lin's ancestors, they were silent about Lin's Christianity. In fact, Lin's great-grandfather converted to Christianity under the auspices of American missionaries in the early 20th century, making Lin a fourth-generation Christian.

None of the Chinese coverage of Lin's exploits mentioned his faith. As a result, relatively few Chinese citizens know about Lin's faith. After all, for the Communist Chinese to acknowledge Lin's Christianity would be, to put it mildly, awkward.

The press here in the United States, however, is less reticent. In its reporting of Lin's impact in China, the Times described China's Christian minority as "often-persecuted"-as well as the various efforts the Communist government has used to contain the spread of Chrsitianity. While there is a lot more that can be said about the subject, the Times deserves credit for at least pointing out the irony in Beijing's embrace of Lin.

What is even more ironic is that the Lin story broke around the same time that China's next leader, Vice President Xi Jingping, was touring the United States. Among the people who protested Xi's visit was the writer Yu Jie, who recently moved the United States after being tortured and held under house arrest by Chinese authorities.

Yu, like many prominent dissidents, is a Christian. Similarly, most of the Chinese lawyers brave enough to take on the government are Christians. To talk about human rights in China without mentioning the role played by Chinese Christians makes as much sense as talking about Jeremy Lin without mentioning his faith.

Despite the efforts of the government, it appears that Chinese Christians are learning about Lin's faith and drawing inspiration from it. That's great.
What I hope happens here in the United States is that even more Americans learn about the faith of Chinese Christians and the price they pay for that faith. With all due respect to Lin and the Knicks, those are the underdogs I'm rooting for.

(Chuck Colson, BreakPoint commentary, February 28)