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Chinese Christian leader K.H. Ting dies at 97 comment (0)

December 6, 2012


NANJING, China — K.H. Ting, an Anglican bishop prior to China’s Cultural Revolution who led a “postdenominational” re-emergence of Chinese Christianity in the 1970s and 1980s, died Nov. 22 after several years of poor health.

Hailed by some as a patriot and visionary and criticized by others for being too cozy with China’s Communist leaders, Ting, 97, worked through 60 often difficult years of change in China.

Ting was ordained as China’s last Anglican bishop in 1942, a position he never renounced. His church was effectively dissolved and merged with other Protestant denominations into an umbrella organization called the China Christian Council. Ting served as the liaison between church and state in China and as president of the China Christian Council, the official Protestant denomination. He became president of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in 1953.

He lost his positions during the Cultural Revolution — a crackdown launched in 1966 to strengthen Mao’s position in the Communist Party and ensure continuation of the revolution that formed the People’s Republic of China in 1949 — but returned to prominence in the wake of liberalizations following Mao’s death in 1976.

In 1985, Ting and others set up the Amity Foundation, a Christian faith-based organization that promotes education, social services, health and rural development across China. Its work includes Nanjing Amity Printing Company, Ltd., a joint venture with the United Bible Societies launched in 1988 that recently celebrated the printing of its 100 millionth Bible.

Ting also is credited with opening up the Chinese church to the outside world, including Amity’s Teachers Program, which recruits people from around the world sponsored by church agencies to teach English, Japanese or German in Chinese universities.

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