Non Catholic Christians in China

Although the Christianizing of China was primarily undertaken by Roman Catholics, brief mention must be made of the rather marginal Russian Orthodox and Protestant efforts during the period 1660-1815. The Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Beijing was founded in 1727 to provide pastoral care for the Russian prisoners from Albazin and their descendants. The Russian Orthodox Church placed more emphasis on political-diplomatic, commercial, and later scientific activities, than on evangelization. Moreover, Russian clerics, unlike Catholic priests, did not stay for the rest of their lives in China, but returned to Russia after a decade. Theirs remained a small church with only a few Russian members.

Protestant missionary activities are hardly noteworthy during this period. The first Protestant attempt to propagate the gospel in the Middle Kingdom ended in the 1660s when the Dutch East India Company was expelled from Taiwan by the Ming loyalist Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga). It was not until 1807 that more lasting Protestant missionary work was initiated with the arrival in Guangzhou of Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society.

At the beginning ofthe nineteenth century, after nearly a century of sporadic persecutions, Christianity had been reduced to a marginal religion in China. Nevertheless, after 1800 the Chinese state renewed its efforts to eradicate what it still perceived to be a dangerous creed. The persecutions of 1805 and 1811 targeted not only some foreign priests but also the Christian community at Beijing (including Manchus), a community that had thus far enjoyed a degree of freedom on account of their being served by the westerners who worked

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