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Communism or the Kingdom: 'Saving' China, 1924-1949

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This paper identifies commonalities between Marxian economic principles and the socio-economic goals of Social Gospel missionaries in China in the quarter century between 1924 and 1949. It argues that the unbreachable divisions between missionaries, including those who advocated for a "Christian communism," and the communist party were rooted, on the Christian side, in a rejection of violence and coercive methods of policy implementation rather than in opposition to socialism. On the communist side opposition was not to specific tenets of Christianity but to foreign-funding and leadership and to the perception of American Christians as agents of an imperialist country.

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