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All articles in category Eastern Asia

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – Letter from Korea
May 1999
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – Letter from Korea

Fourteen months ago the economic situation in Korea began to deteriorate rapidly and unexpectedly. Though there are now small signs of recovery, the economy has still a long way to go to get back to where it was.   This crisis has burst the unreal, ‘bubble’ base of our national economy. It has made Koreans grapple afresh with realities. It has brought a needed, but painful, opportunity for lasting economic reform, as the whole country struggles to restructure. Recently, the Korean currency recovered a third of its lost value, climbing back to 1,200 won to the US dollar, as opposed to 1,800 at the height...

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Letter from Hong Kong
May 1999
China

Letter from Hong Kong

Prior to its return to China probably the most frequently asked question about Hong Kong was, ‘What will it be like after [1 July] 1997?’ Now, almost two years after the hand-over, ‘Business as usual’ is probably the simplest answer. It is also appropriate, because business is what Hong Kong is largely about and most high-level decisions seem to be made to protect those interests.   Few changes ‘One country, two systems’ was Deng Xiao Ping’s formula for Hong Kong’s reunification with the motherland. The Beijing authorities promised to leave the province unchanged for fifty years after its return to China, and it would seem...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-A letter from Korea
January 1999
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT-A letter from Korea

This comes from a Korean pastor, partly in response to September ET’s coverage of Korea. We are pleased to place it before our readers. Are there any other overseas Christians who want to respond to Missionary Spotlight? It is a great joy to ‘meet’ readers of ET for the first time, through this letter. As I am pastor of a congregation in Korea (Samyang Presbyterian Church, Seoul), I always give thanks to our Lord for your countrymen. Robert J. Thomas was the first Protestant missionary to Korea, and became, in 1866, Korea’s first Protestant martyr. In many ways Korean Christians are debtors to Welsh and...

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December 1998
China

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

House churches in China   Leaders of major house-church movements in China have issued a ‘united appeal’ calling on the Chinese Government to recognise the legitimacy of Christian groups outside the government-approved ‘Three Self Patriotic Movement’.   The seven-point statement, issued from an unidentified location in Henan province and dated 22 August 1998, was reportedly drafted by twelve house church leaders from various provinces. Their repeated use of the term ‘Chinese House Church’ suggests that these leaders view themselves not as members of scattered, unrelated groups but rather as part of a larger body. In the first such statement directed at the Chinese Government, these...

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September 1998
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

South Korea (Republic of Korea) The church in South Korea today The church in South Korea today presents a very mixed picture. Her past history of faithful pioneering by American Presbyterian missionaries; her former, intense sufferings for the faith; and her present, large early-morning prayer meetings: are all well known. The church’s piety, with nights of prayer, fasting and missionary zeal are well attested. Yet, nonetheless, closer enquiry reveals a disturbing picture, with conflicting factors at work in contemporary Korean Christianity. Her past glories and present difficulties are mirrored, over a longer time-scale, in the history of the church in Great Britain, and it is...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) History of the church in North and South Korea The first known Protestant martyr in Korea was the Welsh missionary, Robert Thomas, who was killed in 1866 while preaching and distributing Scriptures in the north of the country. Protestantism first took root in 1882, when Suh Sang-yun, a Korean convert of Scottish missionaries in Chinese Manchuria, brought Korean Scripture portions into forbidden Korea. He secretly gathered together the country’s first group of worshipping Protestants. Over the next few years American Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries arrived.   One important factor in the establishment and growth of the new Protestant...

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September 1998
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

South Korea Area: 38,200 square miles. North Korea forms the northern boundary.   Environment: Mainly mountainous, with a steep eastern coastline. The western coast has many islands and natural harbours. Most people live in the southern and western coastal areas. The climate is continental. Population: 45 million (99% Korean); 11 million in Seoul (capital), 4.3 million in Pusan (main port) and 2.3 million in Taegu. Millions have immigrated from North Korea, but many have emigrated from South Korea to Japan and the USA. Life expectancy : Men 68 years, women 74 years. Literacy : 92%. Economy : Urbanization 84%. Originally an agricultural economy, rapid industrialization...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea Area : 46,500 square miles. China forms the northern boundary, and South Korea the southern.   Environment : Rugged mountains with narrow valleys, and a western coastal plain. The mountains are covered with coniferous and deciduous forests. The climate tends to be harsh, with long and severe winters. The coastal plain, with its five alluvial rivers, is suitable for cultivation. Population : 25.5 million (99% Korean); 2.4 million in Pyongyang (capital). Life expectancy : Men 71 years, women 74 years. Literacy : 91%. Economy : State-controlled industries and collective farming. There are major reserves of minerals, including coal (the main energy source), iron...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea The church in North Korea today The present state of the church in North Korea is not easily gauged. There were about 400,000 professing Christians in the North in 1945, with many living in the capital, Pyongyang. By the end of the Korean War there were 100,000. Many emigrated to the South as a result of the fierce communist persecution.   The Korean Christian Federation (KCF) is the only Protestant church organization currently functioning in the North, with up to 12,000 members. However, it is widely believed that there are quite a number of family-based house churches meeting secretly, and attended largely by...

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HONG KONG   – one year on
August 1998
China

HONG KONG – one year on

  It is now just over one year since the return of Hong Kong to China. After the glamorous celebrations of the hand-over on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong has met many challenges. The greatest has been the shock wave from the economic crisis in south-east Asia. Hong Kong is still trying desperately to prevent a downward spiral in its own local economy. Unemployment figures released in May showed that unemployment reached a high of 3.9% – a record for the last ten years. Many shops and restaurants have gone out of business. Property prices have dropped by at least 10-20%. For the 15,000 university...

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April 1998
China

Missionary Spotlight-China – Churches still under pressure

We sat under the coconut palms, on an island off the coast of south China, as the young Chinese pastor shared with me the pressures upon his church. His church had been formed in 1992 and grew rapidly to over 200 people. The believers built a large church building with a palm-thatched roof. But in October 1997 the local authorities declared the church illegal and tore down the building. Since then the Christians have been meeting in three smaller cell-groups, in various homes. I visited one of these homes: a simple red cross adorned the rough walls: ‘Emmanuel’ was written in Chinese over a blackboard...

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July 1997
China

Missionary Spotlight – China

Features Third largest land-mass in the world: 3.5 million sq. miles. Highest population in the world: 1.2 billion. 67 million belong to ethnic minorities in border areas like Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Bounded by Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, North Korea, Russia. Very high plateaux and mountains, as well as desert. Frequent natural disasters, including earthquakes and flooding. Cities: Beijing (capital) – 10.8 million; Shanghai – 13.3 million. 40 cities with over 1 million people. Hong Kong will revert back to China in July 1997. Macao is due to be returned to China by Portugal in 1999. China also (unsuccessfully) lays claim to...

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