Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM)
- Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM)
The Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement (Zhongguo jidujiao sanzi aiguo yundong) is the full name of this organization, led by a National Committee in Shanghai. It counts its start from the signing and publication of the so-called Christian Manifesto (Sanzi gexin xuanyan) on 23 September 1950 paratory committee of the ‘Chinese Christian in the People’s Daily (Renmin ribao). A pre-Resist-America-Aid-Korea Three-Self Reform Movement’ was set up in 1951, and the TSPM was officially formed at the first National Christian Meeting in 1954. The chairman of the TSPM during its first thirty years was Wu Yaozong (Y.T.Wu), who also founded the Christian magazine Tianfeng.
‘Three-self’ stands for ‘self-governing’ (zizhi), ‘self-supporting’ (ziyang) and ‘self-propagating’ (zichuan), and is an idea found among Chinese Christians before 1949. After 1949, however, the autonomy enshrined in the ‘three-self principle was compromised by the strict control of the state and the Party through the Religious Affairs Bureau (State Administration for Religious Affairs) and the United Front Work Department of the CCP. Most Chinese Christians, including those in the house churches, support the ‘three-self’ principle, but the house churches have sharply criticized the TSPM as a government- and Party-controlled church.
The TSPM led campaigns against house-church leaders in the 1950s and 1960s and has condemned non-TSPM groups. The conflict has continued in the 1990s.
The TSPM is organized into local committees all over the PRC and it was the only Protestant organization before the China Christian Council (CCC) was formed in 1980. Now the CCC and local Christian councils have taken over much of the responsibility for church affairs, while the TSPM has become more an ideological counterpart to the authorities. The TSPM National Committee still exerts considerable power and its fundamental but double-edged role in shaping Protestant Christianity (see Christianity
(Pr otestantism)) in the PRC is undeniable.
Wickeri, P. (1988). Seeking the Common Ground: Protestant Christianity, the Three-Self Movement, and China’s United Front. Maryknoll. New York: Orbis Books.
Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture.
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