Memoir looks at Chinese family’s faith during Cultural Revolution

China is on track to have more Christians than any country in the world. This dramatic growth is detailed in “Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family,” a 150-year saga written by award-winning journalist Jennifer Lin on her family. The book traces five generations of the Lin family and chronicles the rise of Christianity in China.

Author Jennifer Lin. (Image courtesy of Jennifer Lin.)

The book has won high praise: TV anchor Connie Chung found the historical narrative “thoroughly gripping.” Lin’s grandfather Reverend Lin Pu-chi is the book’s central figure, an Ivy League-educated Anglican priest whose faith is tested by the Cultural Revolution. As the family settled in Shanghai, Lin’s ancestor include a poor fisherman; a doctor who treats opium addicts; the charismatic religious leader Watchman Nee; and two sisters whose hopes and dreams were lost.

Lin’s family experienced unspeakable suffering, undergoing interrogation and burying relatives imprisoned for their beliefs. She documents historical events extensively, honed by her 30-year journalism career for the Philadelphia Inquirer with stints in Beijing and Hong Kong. Lin is a wonderful storyteller, bringing history to life with an intimate look at her family’s faith.

Lin’s father Paul came to America to study and settled in Philadelphia, raising Jennifer Lin and her five siblings. As Lin grew up, she had limited contact with her family in China, as letters and phone calls were monitored. Her memoir painstakingly recounts how generations of the Lin family stayed faithful through adversity.

Lin will have two book events in the Boston area on Sept. 14, with the first at Boston University and the second at the Westwood Public Library.

For more information, visit

Book jacket for “Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family.” (Image courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield.)

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About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England 舢舨報紙總編輯。舢舨是全紐英倫唯一的中英雙語雙週報。
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