Are Belarusian Churches Ready to Face Chinese Challenge?
During the last several days Chinese diaspora in Belarus is in the spotlight: at first, several hundreds of Chinese workers from Dobrush rioted made a strike because of unpaid salary.
Then it became known that 20 thousand Chinese woekers will come to the construction of “Vyaliki Kamen'” Belarusian-Chinese project. Of course it is not 650 000 as it was told before, but it still a lot. It is also probable that workers from PRC will participate in other Belarusian-Chinese projects.
Besides, Chinese citizens do not need visa for a staying in Belarus for less than 4 days.
All these factors will lead to a dramatic growth of Chinese diaspora in the country which in 2009 consisted of only 1642 people. It is a serious challenge not only for the government and the society but for Belarusian Christian churches as well.
Christianity is far from dominating Chinese religious landscape. Less than 4% of Chinese people are Christians (ca. 50 mln). Of them 39 mln are Protestants, 14 mln of Catholics and 150 000 of Orthodoxes. Thus, it is hardly possible that citizens of PRC coming to Belarus will be Christians. It is more probable they will be professing one of traditional chinese religions (Buddhism, Taoism, ancestors cult etc.) or will be atheists.
Are Belarusian Christian ready to spread Christianity among this group of people? Besides, you do not need to go anywhere – it is possible to be a missionary for people who hadn’t even heard about Christ right here, in Belarus. Moreover, the Chinese workers reside quite dense.
While Catholic and Orthodox Churches of Belarus do not welcome prozelitism among the believers of each other, ther is not such problem in this situation because China is not a traditional territory for any of them. Protestant churches also have a full freedom of act.
But it seems that religious officials had not began training of priests, pastors and missionaries for Chinese workers. It does not seem that Chinese Christian priest will follow their compatriots, either. The plans of building a chapter at the territory of “Vyaliki Kamen'” or for Chinese workers in Dobrush are not known, either.
In earlier days natives of Belarus, such as Jesuit f. Andrey Rudomin-Dusyatski (who served in the XVII century in Macau and continental China) and the founder of Orthodox mission in Japan, the native Smolensk Nicholas of Japan, actively participated in Christianization of Asian nations. But are modern Belarusina Churches to repeat their deeds in the homeland?
Are Belarusian Christians ready for a Chinese challenge?
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