New publication: “Consuming missionary legacies in contemporary China” by Jifeng Liu and Chris White

The article “Consuming missionary legacies in contemporary China: Eric Liddell and evolving interpretations of Chinese Christian history”, co-authored with Chris White, is now published with China Information.


Unveiling ceremony of the granite stele in honor of  Eric Liddell in 1991. Photos from www., used with permission.

As a significant theme running through China’s modern history, Christianity’s inglorious role has helped redefine the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) self-proclaimed role as the liberator of the long-suffering nation from imperialist forces. The association between missionaries and Western imperialism has predominated the Chinese communist historiography. Nevertheless, recent years have witnessed a burgeoning movement to reinvent China’s Christian past and reconstruct historical memories of stigmatized missionaries. This article suggests that local governments in China are increasingly recognizing value in the history of Chinese–missionary encounters. This is evident in how local authorities have organized and promoted commemorative activities for Scottish missionary and Olympic champion Eric Liddell (1902–45). In presenting the case of Liddell, this article reveals how the Chinese government takes the initiative in consuming historical memories of Western missionaries, and finds instrumental value in the legacy of such figures despite their religious connections.

It is available at: