Chengdu: Relaxed, Comfortable, Leisurely

Editor’s note: This July, we are praying for Chengdu. Chengdu is a city of more than 20 million, and is widely recognized as one of the most important cities in Western China. Chengdu is seen as a “land of plenty,” and its people are known for enjoying life. It has a strong literary and educational culture, and is accepting of new people and new ideas.

To help us pray for Chengdu this month, several house church pastors tell us about their city, its people, and the needs they see around them. In this first part of our interview, the pastors introduce us to their comfortable and enjoyable city.

This interview has been lightly condensed and edited for clarity and length.


A City of Leisure

China Partnership: How is your city unique among China’s cities?

Wu Qiang: Chengdu is a city of leisure. People here value relaxing, socializing, entertainment, and enjoying life. Comfort is a big idol. Yet Chengdu is also a city of God’s grace. The city has abundant resources, and is known as a land of abundance. People enjoy God’s common grace: fruits and vegetables and all kinds of food.

Chengdu also has many children of God. We are just one church. To expand God’s kingdom, we need more connections with other evangelical churches in Chengdu in justice, evangelism, and mercy ministry. This is something we have been lacking since 2013. We also lack joint prayer.

Bai Dongyun: Geographically, Chengdu is the central city in China’s southwest region. Its influence radiates throughout all of Western China – north and south and west of Chengdu. It influences places like Ruili [by the border with Myanmar], Mongolia [in the far north], Xinjiang [a Muslim area in northwest China], and Gansu Province.

A big trend is for people from places north of Chengdu to buy houses here. In the past two years, Chengdu has become one of the first batch of central cities, with a population of more than 20 million. The cost of living is not high, and housing prices are not high either. A very important advantage is Chengdu’s inclusiveness: it has an accepting, friendly culture. A characteristic of Chengdu used to be that, when you squeezed into a bus and handed your card front, the person in front would swipe it and hand it back without losing it. Many people from other places are amazed by Chengdu’s inclusiveness.

Chengdu is the central city in China’s southwest region. Its influence radiates throughout all of Western China.

Chengdu is historical; it has not changed its name for more than two thousand years. There have not been major wars or famines here; it is a comfortable city. For example, 10 or 20 years ago, the income was not high, yet car ownership in Chengdu was the third highest in the country. People want to be comfortable!

They especially yearn for one thing: sunshine. Chengdu people pursue sunshine like Hong Kong people pursue air conditioning. Chengdu people are fond of traveling, especially to places with lots to eat and drink. One of the biggest depravities here is that the sexual culture is very developed, with a lot of homosexuality and divorce.


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Chengdu has always attached great importance to education. There are many universities here, quite a few which were influenced by Christianity, such as West China School of Medicine. Faith has a history of more than a hundred years in Chengdu.

The 2008 Earthquake

2008, when the Wenchuan earthquake occurred in Sichuan, was a landmark time, shocking people all over the world. Churches from all over the country poured into Chengdu. Our church was small, but we did a lot of connecting work, sharing resources with the outside world and participating in disaster relief. Around the time of the earthquake, we began to grow and to go out.

2008, when the Wenchuan earthquake occurred in Sichuan, was a landmark time…When the gospel is preached in this city, many people are thirsty and willing to believe.

The identity of the church also began to emerge. Before, if you said you were a Christian, it was dangerous. But at that time, Christians began to surface. Because of the earthquake, churches began to cooperate and pray together. I experienced these things, so I know them well. In just a few years, our church grew tenfold.

When the gospel is preached in this city, many people are thirsty and willing to believe. This includes myself! I also became a believer around 2008.

Greedy for Comfort

Cai Lifan: Chengdu has a down-to-earth-atmosphere, a different feel from cities like Xi’an or Beijing. Tianjin may have a sense of humor, but Chengdu has a sense of relaxation. As has just been said, Chengdu people are greedy for comfort. Maybe this is because of the abundance of resources and the geographical location; after all, people don’t have to work too hard to have food to eat next year.

Chengdu is fashionable, and has the courage to accept new things. Its openness to new things even surpasses that of Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Chengdu has a sense of history, and a strong emphasis on education.

Lu Qing: Chengdu is a “green park city,” one of the best in the country. Its bookstores are ranked among the top in the country – I think this is related to the cultural love for knowledge and books. Another thing is the tea culture. You can spend just a few kuai or a lot of money, and can sit all day chatting and drinking tea. The drinking culture is also strong.

Finally, when you fly into Chengdu, the first thing you hear is the sound of mahjong.

Lu Qing: As someone from another province, I feel that Chengdu is very accepting. People do not view me as an outsider. I feel close to people here, both inside and outside the church. This is beautiful.

Chengdu has accepted a lot of immigrants over the years… Chengdu is a city you don’t want to leave once you arrive.

Bai Dongyuan: To understand Chengdu, you must understand Daci Temple and Wenshu Monastery. They are spiritual idol centers for old Chengdu. They are must-visit places for elderly people.

Wu Qiang: First, Chengdu has accepted a lot of immigrants over the years, not only from Sichuan, but also from many other provinces. Chengdu is a city you don’t want to leave once you arrive.

Second, although Chengdu people are inclusive, they also attach great importance to those of their own blood. Families usually have an inward-looking mentality, and put up boundaries with non-family in terms of closeness and distance. This may be gentler than other regions, but there is still a strong sense of exclusion.

Third, Chengdu people are facing difficulties: many are unemployed and have no jobs. There are a lot of older people in the city. When you walk around my community, you see many elderly, pushing wheelchairs, sitting in wheelchairs, and walking with canes. There are also many singles and many single parents.

Cai Lifan: In Chengdu, women have a remarkably high social standing. High divorce rates stem from the fact that women’s incomes often rival those of men. This economic independence empowers them with greater autonomy. Chengdu is a place where men are often perceived as more passive, while women take the lead.

Statistically, Chengdu boasts the highest concentration of LGBTQ individuals nationwide. It’s possible that Chengdu ranks among the top cities globally in this regard.


Wu Qiang, Bai Dongyun, Cai Lifan, and Lu Qing are pseudonyms for house church pastors in Chengdu.

Pray for the gospel to be proclaimed throughout the city of Chengdu.

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Further Reading

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Chengdu: Relaxed, Comfortable, Leisurely
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

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About Changchun

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

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About Shanghai

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