35 years after Tiananmen: Communism, Christianity, and China

By June 27, 2024

China (MNN) — Earlier this month marked the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre when the Chinese government ordered troops and police to crack down on pro-democracy protestors.

On June 4, 1989, at least 180,000 troops and armored vehicles fired into the crowds of mostly students packed in Tiananmen Square and drove over them, killing several thousand people.

This tragic moment and the political fallout impacted the spread of the Gospel through China in ways that still echo today.

Kurt Rovenstine, President of Bibles for China says, “It did allow there to be some opportunity…. From 1990 to 2000, there was an opening up of opportunity for Christian ministries to come in and do some work.

Tiananmen Square protests before the massacre, June 2, 1989. (Photo courtesy of Jiří Tondl (Blow up) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68125236)

“Now, it was still China and there were still some restrictions and some things that couldn’t be done. But there seemed to be this sense of growth towards freedoms that China hadn’t encountered for quite some time. I think you could look at Tiananmen as a real watershed for that.”

Despite these opportunities, operating under a Communist regime presents ongoing challenges. Rovenstine explains, “It’s walking that line. It’s expressing our desire to answer to a higher authority.” Bibles for China supports the registered Church in navigating these complexities, enabling them to represent Christ faithfully.

Looking forward, Rovenstine emphasizes the enduring resilience of Chinese Christians: “You don’t answer ultimately to the Communist government. You answer ultimately to God!”

As Christians in China continue to persevere and spread the Gospel amidst government restrictions, prayers for wisdom and courage are crucial.

Please pray for the people of China to know lasting hope in Jesus Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to grant believers insight and creativity in effectively spreading the Gospel while honoring both earthly authorities and God’s ultimate authority.





Header photo of Tiananmen Square in 2016. (Photo courtesy of RomanM82 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=105058975)

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