Book review: God Is Red

by Liao Yiwu

★★★★★

Wow! Powerful stuff, here.

Liao is not a Christian, he’s a Chinese rebel. That is, he’s a critic of the Chinese regime, for which he has been imprisoned and his works have been banned. Says Liao, “I will continue to write and document the sufferings of people living at the bottom rung of society, even though the Communist Party is not pleased with my writing. I have the responsibility to help the world understand the true spirit of China, which will outlast the current totalitarian government.”

So, in this book, he takes on the topic of how Christianity flourished under the Communist banner. Martyrdom, underground house churches, religious persecutions … these are the sorts of topics you’ll find in this series of 18 essays. Many deal with the period of Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution.

This is not really a political book, nor is it evangelical. It is a reporters-eye view of Christianity where it doesn’t fit in. In learning about his topic, Liao attends a Eucharist celebration, interviews church leaders, visits the sites of persecution, and lets real people tell their stories. Warning: These stories are as disturbing as they are inspiring. Christianity under Red China looks like the first couple centuries under the Roman Empire all over again.

Was it worth it for those who endured? I’ll let you decide after you read the final interview with its entirely different flavor, of a new young 2010 convert to Christianity. A dry surprise awaits you.

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