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Cultural Mixture: Yenching Students and Missionary Christianity

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

Yenching University, one of the most influential institutions in Chinese education in the first half of the twentieth century, also was emblematic of Sino-American cultural interchanges. Its development in the late 1910s and the 1920s coincided with a strong upsurge in national sentiment and anti-Christian movements in China. When the Communist victory and the Korean War brought patriotic anti-American feelings to a peak, the university was deeply shaken and was forced to close its doors. Forty years after its closure, Yenching’s name still arouses memories and fierce unresolved controversies. Both strong critics and defenders of the school need to include the Yenching experience in any discussion of cultural activities between the United States and China in the twentieth century. Yenching is more than a historical interlude, for the Yenching experience sheds light on issues that may influence the future of educational and cultural interactions in Sino-American relations.


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