Chinese Christianity: Why Posters Can Change Our Understanding of the Chinese Christian Past

31 October 2023, 16:00 - 31 October 2023, 17:30 Divinity Faculty

Dr Daryl Ireland


When the Chinese Communists swept to power in 1949, they also swept away their rivals. That included erasing the most public dimension of Christianity in China: Christian posters. Catholic and Protestant posters had been printed by the millions and hung up on city walls and temple gates; they were pasted up in tea rooms and unfolded for street evangelism. Between 1919 and 1949 these posters were everywhere, until they were abruptly destroyed and forgotten.

For the past seven years, the Center for Global Christianity and Mission has been tracking down the posters that were carried out of China by missionaries and refugees. The CGCM has now created a digital archive of more than 700 Chinese Christian posters. Daryl Ireland will present some of these remarkable prints, and explain why they are changing the way we think about Chinese Christianity in the first half of the 20th century.


Daryl Ireland's expertise lies in the history of Christianity in Asia and its interaction with International Development and Faith. His recent book "John Song: Modern Chinese Christianity and the Making of a New Man (2020)" explores the evolution of Chinese revivalist spirituality into the dominant form of Chinese Christianity. Ireland's work covers revitalization movements, women in revivalism, and religious conversion. He leads the Chinese Christian Posters project, digitizing and sharing 700 Christian posters from China's Republican Era, and co-directs the China Historical Christian Database, documenting Christianity in China from 1550 to 1950.