A Tale of Four Cities: Transnational Christian Activism in the Heartland

  • Ray Wang
Part of the Human Rights Interventions book series (HURIIN)


By controlling alternative factors such as geographic features, economic development, social capital, distance to national capital, and diplomatic relations of foreign advocates’ home countries, I selected one foreign-based mission in four cities, which are all in highly developed urban areas and within two nearby provinces. The controlled comparison shows that previous factors have little direct effect on unexpected progress. While not discrediting other possibilities, this comparison demonstrates that backdoor listing and majority alliance do play essential roles. Knowing what activists should and should not do is critical to practitioners. Foreign advocacy groups and their sponsors need to understand the delicate competition between legally registered groups and “underground” groups created by China’s united front work policies. When foreigners help only underground social organizations—that is, the house church congregations in this context—such one-sided empowerment triggers greater repression. Therefore, progress in religious tolerance becomes more likely in places where participants take such delicate competition and policy dilemmas into consideration and use them to their advantage.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ray Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Institute of East Asian StudiesNational Chengchi UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan

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