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By M. Hirono

By way of evaluating the position and effect of early Christian missionaries with these of Christian NGOs today, this book critically assesses the belief of a Christian 'civilizing project' in the context of China. It offers an area, non-Han point of view in keeping with a wealthy array of ancient, ethnographical, and empirical assets.

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Extra resources for Civilizing Missions: International Religious Agencies in China

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The new consciousness frame does not refer to something between the conflict and adaptation frames. It refers to a more mature and deeper relationship between the two parties, which eventually leads to unexpected consequences at the beginning of the interaction. This can, in turn, lead to a heightened level of self-realization of the members of the ethnic community. 8 Scott attempts to explore not only the “public transcript” of resistance to powerholders, which is “subordinate discourse in the presence of the dominant” (4), but also the “hidden transcript,” which is defined as a subordinate “discourse that takes place offstage, beyond direct observation by powerholders”; in other words, “something of the imaginative capacity of subordinate groups to reverse or negate dominant ideologies” (91).

In the Communist period (1949–), the civilizational identity has been modern and scientific. The Communist Party has been regarded as the center of the civilizational identity, and its goal in relation to ethnic minorities has been “to bring them to a universal standard of progress of modernity” (Harrell 1995: 23). The “civilizing mission” is also clearly related to the pluralist conception of civilization in the sense that both the self-proclaimed identities of those who undertake the “civilizing mission” as well as those on the receiving end are in part constructed through the process of interaction.

This may occur for any variety of reasons. 11 An important example of resistance is the Boxer Uprising of 1900, in which intensely anti-Western sentiments led to widespread attacks on foreign missionaries and their converts (Purcell 1963). In another example, the members of an ethnic community, confronted by Christian civilizing projects, declined to become Christians, and in some cases declined even to permit the missionaries to stay in their community. Some set fire to church buildings, and even killed some of the missionaries themselves.

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