China, Taiwan
Republic of China
April 8-9
Asia


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 36,000 sq.km. A mountainous island 160km east of mainland China together with the Penghu archipelago and the islands of Matsu and Quemoy close to the mainland.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 22,401,000 +0.77% 622 per sq. km.
2010 24,033,000 +0.68% 668 per sq. km.
2025 25,730,000 +0.34% 715 per sq. km.

Two million refugees from mainland China arrived 1945-1950.

Capital Taipei 7,350,000. Other major city:

Kaohsiung 2,150,000. Urbanites 75%.

PEOPLES

Han Chinese 97.3%. Speaking 3 major languages.

Taiwanese (Hoklo, Minnan) 66.7%. Settled in Taiwan for 300 years.

Hakka 10%. Settled in Taiwan for 200 years.

Mandarin 20.6%. Refugees from mainland China 1945-50. Almost entirely urban.

Malayo-Polynesian mountain peoples 1.7%.Ten groups totalling 384,000, largest: Amis(2) 154,000; Paiwan 67,000; Tayal 54,000; Bunun 43,000; Sediq (Taroko) 33,000; Pyuma 10,000; Rukai 9,000; Yami 3,400.

Other 1%. Thai 100,000; Filipino 80,000; Westerners 25,000; Malay 11,000; Japanese 10,000.

Literacy 94%. Official language and language of education: Mandarin. Hoklo and Hakka are widely spoken. All languages 22. Languages with Scriptures 5Bi 6NT 3w.i.p.

ECONOMY

Rapid industrialization and economic growth to become one of the world's most dynamic export-oriented economies of the world. Public debt none. Income/person $13,900 (44% of USA).

POLITICS

Under Japanese rule 1895-1945, then reverting to China. After the fall of mainland China to the Communists in 1949, Taiwan became the refuge of the Nationalist Chinese government, which claimed to represent all China. This led to international diplomatic isolation and internal political polarization between the mainlanders and many of the indigenous Taiwanese on the issue of continuing as part of greater China or as an independent nation. Taiwan was, in effect, a mainlander-dominated one-party republic until the 1987 elections. It is now a multi-party democracy. The possibility of Taiwan becoming a separate state has heightened Mainland Chinese military and diplomatic pressures on the Islanders. Taiwan remains an unresolved diplomatic 'hot potato'.

RELIGION

Secular state with freedom of religion. The great majority of the population follow the unique Chinese blend of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Buddhism has grown markedly in influence and numbers.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Chinese 43.21 9,679,472 -0.6%
Buddhist 25.00 5,600,250 +2.7%
non-Religious/other 25.30 5,667,500 +1.2%
Christian 6.06 1,357,501 +1.2%
Muslim 0.35 78,403 +0.2%
Traditional ethnic 0.04 9,000 -3.6%
Baha'i 0.04 8,960 +6.7%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 81 1.96 438 +1.4%
Independent 33 1.67 375 +2.5%
Anglican 1 0.01 1 -1.5%
Catholic 1 1.36 304 +0.3%
Marginal 2 0.16 36 +2.9%
Unaffiliated   0.90 203 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 470 167,024 304,000
Presbyterian Ch in T P 1,220 105,000 240,000
Independent Chs I 200 40,000 100,000
Little Flock I 600 50,000 90,000
True Jesus Church I 434 49,879 71,000
Local Church, The I 33 8,000 41,000
Chinese Bapt Convention P 128 19,463 40,000
Latter-day Saints (Morm) M 76 17,532 27,000
Ling Leung Tang I 35 1,400 25,000
Taiwan Holiness P 94 11,000 22,000
China Free Methodist P 56 5,000 17,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 46 7,587 9,600
Zion Christian I 25 5,000 9,000
Conservative Baptist Assoc P 33 2,600 5,600
Christian Worship Center I 28 4,000 5,500
Methodist Church in ROC P 23 2,530 5,060
Fell of Chinese Covenant P 31 3,500 5,000
Fell of Mennonite Chs P 20 1,920 4,700
Chr & Miss Alliance P 25 1,965 3,735
Chinese Lutheran Brethren P 20 1,600 2,450
Other denoms [98]   972 67,000 128,000
Total Christians [118]   4,568 572,000 1,154,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 2.7 604 +2.1%
Charismatic 1.1 253 +2.5%
  Pentecostal 0.2 41 +2.8%

Missionaries from Taiwan
P,I,A 295 in 21 agencies to 27 countries: Taiwan 241, Hong Kong 9, Japan 9.

Missionaries to Taiwan
P,I,A 963 in 146 agencies from 26 countries: USA 463, Korea 120, Germany 33, Canada 33.


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Answers to Prayer

1 The political survival and economic growth of Taiwan despite diplomatic isolation in the face of Mainland China's threats and propaganda.

2 Christian growth, though slow, resumed in the 1990s after 30 years of stagnation and even decline in some denominations.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The elections in 2000 resulted in a Taiwanese majority government that openly spoke of possible independence. The great hostility of Mainland China to any change in the present ambiguous international status of the government could lead to war. Pray for wisdom and restraint for all Taiwanese, Chinese and international leaders involved.

2 'Black gold' is the term used for money gained through corruption fostered by many in the old regime. Pray that the new government may gain a reputation for honesty and openness.

3 Taiwan remains the only major Han Chinese population in the world where the spiritual breakthrough has yet to come. During the 1990s the influence of Buddhism grew markedly with a large increase in adherents (800,000 in 1983 to 4.9m in 1995). Many of their outreach techniques have been adapted from Christians. Ancestor worship is one of the major barriers to faith in Christ. Added to this is the materialism stimulated by the rapid rise of living standards. Pray that every obstacle to the reception of the gospel may be broken down.

4 The September 1999 earthquake left 2,400 dead, 43,000 homes destroyed and many people distressed and fearful. Pray that this and the uncertainty about the future may create a greater openness for the gospel and significant church growth. Chinese Christian Relief Association did much to coordinate and spearhead aid teams for the subsequent three years of rehabilitation. Pray for lasting spiritual results both among Christians and those they seek to help.

5 The Presbyterians pioneered ministry since 1865, but only saw significant breakthroughs among the Taiwanese in the 1930s and among the mountain people after 1940. Many other missions moved to Taiwan after the fall of the mainland to Communism, and among the 2 million mainland refugees there was a time of harvest. Between 1960 and 1990 there was stagnation. Catholics and some Protestant denominations even declined as a percentage of the national population. Only in the 1990s has some growth resumed. The major challenges to be faced by the Church are:

a) Spiritual power to stand against gambling, entrenched ancestor worship, rising materialism and aggressive opposition from non-Christian religions. Many Christians are still in bondage to, or in fear of, these things.

b) Low commitment. Too few of those converted and baptized ever become active participants in congregational life, and there is a high drop-out rate. Few Christians become soul-winners.

c) Lack of pastors and full-time workers. In most churches the congregation sits back expecting the pastor to do all the work.

d) The great disparity in ethnic distribution of Christians. The mountain peoples are largely Christian, but only 23% actively so. Nominalism is a problem. Those of mainlander descent are nearly 5% Christian, but the Taiwanese majority only 1% and the Hakka 0.3%. The Church needs to tackle the social and cultural barriers that hinder the progress of the gospel. The Church is perceived to be intellectual (37% of members are graduates) and not relevant to the majority.

6 The Year 2000 Gospel Movement (Y2GM) was formed in 1987. The vision was to: ensure church planting was initiated in every social group; renew existing churches; see 10,000 churches planted, 2 million new Christians, and 200 cross-cultural missionaries sent out, by 2000. Much was achieved, but though growth and outreach expanded, these goals were only partially realized. For the new millennium, the trans-denominational body is changing its name to the Chinese Church Evangelistic Association. Pray for unity, commitment and enthusiasm to see these goals accomplished.

7 There are over 650 mountain churches throughout the tribal areas and some in cities. Most are Presbyterian, though an increasing number are of other denominations or sectarian groups such as True Jesus and Mormons. The breakdown of tribal and family life has been hastened by alcoholism, the drift to the cities, the pervasive influence of TV, increased levels of education of young people, and inability of parents to control and raise their children in a changing society. God gave revival to the Tayal in 1973 and Amis in 1983. Pray for revival that will combat nominalism, spiritual decline and inadequate Bible teaching in these churches. Bible translation work is not yet complete – in two languages there is a definite need, and in two others a possible need, but work is in progress only in the Yami language on Orchid Island.

8 The lack of pastors is serious, but slowly improving. Many rural congregations in Taiwan are without pastors, the critical issue being low levels of giving in churches. There are over 33 seminaries and Bible schools, some with international acclaim, such as the China Evangelical Seminary as well as a number of TEE programmes. Pray for staff and students, and for relevant, spiritual training to be provided. There is need for good Bible teachers and effective evangelists who know their cultures and how to relate Scriptures to the root issues that hinder advance and growth.

9 The witness among students is important. The one million students in 141 universities and colleges are marginally more responsive. Many churches have well-used student centres. Campus Evangelical Fellowship (IFES) has an outreach to students with 40 full-time staff workers ministering also in secondary schools. CCCI also has a large campus ministry. It is now permitted to form Christian groups in some middle and high schools. Pray that this golden opportunity may be taken up and for vital, growing groups with the integration of young believers into churches.

10 Mission vision languished as Taiwan's diplomatic isolation increased. There has been increased interest in the 1990s. Student missions conferences have created much interest (CEF-IFES). The Y2GM, together with WBT and OMF have facilitated short-term mission tours. Cross-cultural training programmes have slowly increased and the number of candidates is rising, though many churches are more willing to give finances rather than their members for missions. Pray that this renewed vision might flourish.

11 Expatriate missionary numbers have declined, but there remain many areas of input needed – evangelism, church planting, Bible teaching, teaching English, etc. Some of the largest agencies are: OMF (63 workers), YWAM (56), TEAM (41), CCCC (39), CBI (38), OMS (33), Navigators (27), SEND (25), CMA (24), Finnish Lutheran Mission (24), LCMS (20), AoG (19).>

12 Less evangelized areas and peoples:

a) The Taiwanese working class are linguistically (Hoklo/Hokkien) and culturally separated from the majority of evangelical churches which use Mandarin. They comprise 60% of the population and there are few churches or workers specifically reaching out to them.

b) The Hakka communities in the north-east and south-east. There is now a national group concerned for outreach: 'The World Hakka Evangelical Association'. Several missions have opened a ministry among them (SEND, WEC, YWAM, Presbyterians and others). There are now about 70 Hakka-speaking churches.

c) The Muslim community is largely Hui – originally from the Mainland and also some 11,000 Malays. There is little specific outreach to them.

d) The Penghu Islanders numbering 97,000. In 1964 there were 17 churches, but now two-thirds are closed. Ten thousand Vietnam Chinese have been settled on the islands.

13 Support ministries for prayer:

a) Christian literature. Much is now being published of both local and foreign origin. Pray for efforts by CEF(IFES) and others to sell Christian literature through the secular book market. EHC is in its fifth nation-wide distribution of evangelistic literature.

b) Christian radio was pioneered by the Pocket Testament League in 1951. Now much is done by the Lutherans, Baptists, TEAM, etc. There are also international broadcasters – both FEBC and TWR with many hours in Mandarin, and TWR 3.5 hrs/wk in Hakka.

c) Christian film and video. Most of the population have video recorders. Increasing numbers of agencies are producing good video material. The JESUS film has been widely used on television and film. Pray for life-changing impact.

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