Contemporary Issues for Chinese Women

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Editor’s note: This was written by a Chinese diaspora missionary who served for nearly two decades with her family in China. Through her years in ministry, she served alongside Chinese in several different cities, discipling and living with them in both triumph and challenges. She writes of some of the major challenges and realities her Chinese friends face as they seek to follow Christ. It is our hope that, as we understand the realities of the situation in which Chinese women live, we can better pray for and support the Chinese church.

For security reasons, all names of Chinese throughout this piece have been changed.

Breaking Out of Old Traditions

Dora and her husband, Dan are not your typical Chinese couple. We met when they began a ministry to families in the largest city in China.

As China opened up in the 80s and received more Western influence, its people began to experience a sexual revolution. Men and women had sex outside of marriage and it became common for married men to have “girlfriends.” At the same time, factories multiplied and workers fled to the cities, in search of work to lift them out of the poverty of the countryside, as their children were left to be raised by their grandparents.

Dora and Dan saw the rampant sexual immorality and a generation of children who were essentially orphans, and left their jobs and began a ministry of evangelism and discipleship to families. When God blessed them with two children, they raised them on their own, even after many offers from their family to help. Their reason was simple. They wanted their children to be raised in an environment with God as the center and love, discipline, and grace influencing family interactions, and not in a Confucian environment which heavily relied on shame as a way to guilt children into good behavior. Plus, they wanted to be the ones to raise their kids, not another family member.

 This didn’t come without a cost. Usually, the grandparents’ help in child rearing comes free of charge. This would allow both parents to work and improve their economic status. Another cost of their decision, in a society which values harmony and filial piety, was strained relationships with their parents. It is expected that grown men and women will still respect (i.e. obey) their elders, even if it means going against their personal wishes and convictions.

Even with their sacrifices, Dora and Dan would not have it any other way. They believe that their ultimate accountability is to God, and they have forged a path that is completely counter-cultural.

I visited Dora’s Bible study a few times over Zoom with women she was discipling. Many of them struggled with the same issues surrounding parenting. It is expected that women will continue to work after they have children. When they don’t return to work, they often feel lonely and isolated. This group was helpful in providing community for these women during a time when they needed the emotional and relational support unavailable in other places.

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One woman in the group was especially torn over the decision of whether to return to work. I could tell that the financial burdens were heavy, but she wanted to be there for her child. There are no easy answers.

Education Dilemmas

If Christian parents are beginning to worry about the effect of their non-Christian caregivers on their young children, the dilemma of educating their children in a system that is both atheist and Marxist has been one that has troubled believers for years.

Decades ago, there was no alternative. They sent their children to local schools and taught them about God at home.
Now, there is a growing movement of Chinese homeschoolers who have begun to network and figure out how to educate their children with others who are fed up with the public school system. There are also churches which have built schools where kids do not need to be indoctrinated with Communist propaganda.

The problem they must face is what to do once their children have completed high school, since these private schools and homeschools are not recognized by the government. Some have found ways to send their children abroad for post-secondary education. There are still many unknowns, but they feel that whatever challenges they might face are better than the state-run schools.

My friend, Naomi, is the principal of their church school. She has been approached dozens of times by the police asking her to shut their doors. Once, they were even raided and detained at the police station. A few weeks later they re-opened in a different location, much like how house churches respond to persecution.

“God gave me this vision. He will provide for us and give us wisdom for how to respond to the authorities,” Naomi remarked after they had moved. I know that the stress on her is great. However, she is determined to push against the status quo, in search for a better way for her children and others like them.

Remaining faithful and thriving

On the outside China seems like any other modern country. The shiny high-speed bullet trains have opened up travel between large cities. Each major metropolitan center has well-developed subway and bus systems. Every person has a smartphone, even senior citizens, and they use them to text their friends and family, for on-line shopping, and for paying any merchant—even the vendor pushing their cart, selling roasted sweet potatoes. But underneath the veneer of modernity and high-tech gadgets, the government still wields incredible control over individuals’ lives.

In this big brother type of surveillance state it is risky to be a Christian. It is well known that in recent years, persecution against any group that is deemed a threat to the government has been systematically targeted and been subject to a major crackdown—Buddhists, Uyghurs, and Christians. This fact is felt acutely by the locals.

The difference between us in the West and them is this persecution is normal and they have always found ways to remain faithful and thrive.

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Further Reading

Chengdu: Discipleship in Difficult Times
Read More
Moses in the Wilderness 2: A Reflection of Christ
Read More
Chengdu: Opportunities and Challenges
Read More


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.


  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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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 Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


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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

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


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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

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.


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About Chengdu

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About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.


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