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The People’s Republic of China (PRC/China) is home to 20% of humanity and some of the earth’s longest human history. Throughout the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century, China’s relationship with the West was severely hampered by western imperialism and gunboat diplomacy. This tragic history continues to influence China’s view of itself and its relationship with western countries.
China contains a continent's worth of geographical and cultural diversity thanks to its long history and high population. Within that diversity, China has experienced rapid economic growth and massive social changes during the past 30 years. Though this has been accompanied by relative social stability, there is a growing income gap between urban and rural China and between east coast and western regions. Some also identify an increased tension between the country's increasingly open and market-oriented economy and its closed political system.
MCC seeks to work to address the unresolved historical conflict between China and the West through Global Service Learning exchanges and its participation in Mennonite Partners in China (MPC), a cooperation between MCC and three North American Mennonite mission agencies. MPC both hosts Chinese scholars in North America and brings native English speakers to teach in Chinese universities to promote mutual transformation, respect, and desire for peace as people from both East and West learn to live in community together. Many of the students of MCC-supported English teachers are from rural areas. Their study of English is an opportunity for them to advance.
MCC, in a small way, is also attempting to address the gap in wealth which exists in China by focusing on long-term disaster relief projects after the 2008 earthquake and support through MCC's Global Family program for rural students and a school for the hearing-impaired.
As the NE Asia region is home to much unresolved historical conflict, MCC also partners with a number of East Asian peace organizations to run a camp that provides a place for youth from China, Korea, and Japan to build humanizing relationships and confront the unresolved conflict which exists between these three nations.