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Moving Targets: Chinese Christian Proselytising Among Transnational Migrants from the People's Republic of China

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This paper addresses the question of proselytism as an active practice of shaping other people's identities. Specifically, it looks at the identity discourse promoted by ethnic Chinese evangelicals and compares it to that of Jehovah's Witnesses. Both Christian churches proselytise among contemporary transnational migrants from the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Europe, each making use of a sophisticated organisation adapted to the transnational practices of these migrants. Yet while evangelicals promote a transnational ethnic identity quite compatible with the secular discourse of the global Chinese migrant, Jehovah's Witnesses promote an anti-secular, non-ethnic cosmopolitanism. As a result, global Chinese evangelical ties more easily become part of global migratory and business networks. The paper is based on fieldwork among Chinese evangelical organisations and Jehovah's Witnesses in Italy, Hungary,Russia, and the United Kingdom, supplemented with interviews in the United States (the headquarters of many Chinese evangelical organisations) and a survey of printed and online resources used in proselytising.


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