For my independent research seminar this year, I’m looking at a small Christian village in China and the political influence around it. I began this research project last summer. Because Christianity is not the dominant religion in China, it is not very common for an undeveloped village to have Christianity as their dominant religion. The name of this village is Shimenkan. I took my first trip there in the summer of 2016. I was shocked when I arrived; I thought I had traveled 40 years back in history. The houses people lived in did not have running water! A small number of the houses had electricity. This summer when I got to the main street of the village, all the buildings on the street were under construction. After I did some research, I found out that the Chinese government had invested 80 billion yuan (Chinese currency $1= 6.46 yuan) in this tiny village for reconstruction purposes. One year later the main street looks much nicer, wider and more modern. In just two years, the government has had a significant impact on the village both culturally and financially.
In the coming months, I will be writing more about the history of the village and the reason for the government’s actions. Below you can get a sense of the process of transformation. The top picture is from 2016 and the bottom image is from summer 2017.