Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baptist Missions in China, 1938

April 7, 1938: President Herman C.E. Liu Assassinated

The Empire of Japan began World War II with the attack at China's Marco Polo Bridge in the early 1930s. They occupied Shanghai and east to Wuhan and north to Beijing. Japan fought the both Chinese Communist (Mao Zedong) and Nationalist armies (Chiang Kai-shek) until the war's end in September, 1945.

There are many little-known heroes of those war years in China. On today's date (April 7) in 1938, Shanghai University President Herman C.E. Liu was assassinated as he waited for a bus. The Japanese killed him. He was not someone the Japanese war lords could manage. He loved China, his Lord and the university. He would not be a puppet for them as the Last Emperor of China was in Manchuria.

Over a hundred years ago the American Baptist Mission Society and the Southern Baptist Convention Mission Board did a fine thing: they cooperated in the founding of a great Baptist university in the city of Shanghai. It was the University of Shanghai in sight of the Huangpu River, and not far from the famous Bund (waterfront-boardwalk of the International concession).

The school turned out pastors, teachers, scientist and businessmen for half a century. After the Communist won the civil war in 1949, the school was continued but not as a Christian institution. The school has had many names the last 50 years. Jody and I helped place many Christian teachers to teach English there beginning in the mid 1980s. June Rose Garrott, Lynn Yarborough, Ron and Ina Winstead, Loyal and Ilse Gould and others were good and fine witnesses to the school that gave many of their own for God and country.

Southern Baptist missionaries Glenn Morris and Buford Nichols and their wives were in Shanghai when the Communist army entered the city. They were ragged, poor country boys who had never seen a two-story building, much less skyscrapers and beautiful French apartment blocks in Shanghai, the Pearl of the Orient.

There was no battle. They just walked in. Pearl Johnson, a missionary from South Carolina, was in Qingdao (Ch'ing Tao) at the time and said one reason the Communist armies won was their manner. They did not rob and rape the people, but came through the land with a song and made a good impression on the villagers.

Years later President Liu's son taught in Hong Kong Baptist University where we met him. He also taught at Belmont University in Tennessee. The Chinese government made Herman C.E. Liu a hero of the revolution. With more openings in China we may learn of others who gave their all for China and the Lord God.


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