Abstract

This article examines evangelical missionary work intimately tied with humanitarian aid for North Korean refugees in the Sino-North Korean border area as an emblem of South Korean churches’ North Korean mission. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, with limited access to certain field sites due to local security concerns, I shed light on refugees’ religious conversion as a complex cultural project and process in which ideas of and practices for religious freedom and salvation become immensely contested in the very logic of “saving,” in both humanitarian and biblical terms. My primary concerns in this Chinese context are twofold: the problems of evangelical missionary works associated with universal human rights discourses and the church as an intra-ethnic contact space where refugees’ religious and social lives are pre-figured. Based on fieldwork in the Yanbian area, this ethnography discusses empirical questions about religious conversion, intra-ethnic interactions, and salvation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2167-2040
Print ISSN
2093-7288
Pages
pp. 147-173
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-28
Open Access
No
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