Chinese workers discovering evangelical Christianity in Africa

With some 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa and hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers currently staying in African countries, an unexpected consequence is that some of them return home after having converted to Christianity, reports journalist Christopher Rhodes in UnHerd (Feb. 13). Rhodes remarks that having to live in such a different culture can be a difficult experience for these Chinese expatriates, and that religion can become a source of comfort. Since vibrant forms of Christianity are heavily present across sub-Saharan Africa, a number of evangelical churches have started reaching out to Chinese workers—“including incorporating Mandarin into services,” notes Rhodes. Some ethnic Chinese missionaries from Taiwan and other countries have also started sensing opportunities for conducting missionary work that wouldn’t be possible in mainland China.

Once they return home, these workers bring their newly-found faith with them. According to Rhodes, in the coastal province of Fujian, one can “now hear South African accented English and see houses adorned with crosses.” There have been a few articles in recent months which report that Chinese firms are winning contracts for building churches in Africa or for printing Bibles for use in African countries (for example, see: