Christian church in Lintan

Reimagining the Silk Road

Christian church in Lintan

Gansu, 2009

Several hours by bus south of Linxia is the Muslim town of Lintan, another frontier outpost on the historic Silk Road. Lintan is located in Tibetan countryside, and Tibetan Buddhism, specifically that of the Xidaotang (西道堂), has influenced the practice of Islam based in Lintan. Tibetan Buddhism, along with the Chinese faiths of Daoism and  Buddhism and the thought system of Confucianism, have not been the only competitors for Islam in the region. Christian missionaries have also traveled to southwestern Gansu since the early twentieth century. Lintan was a way station for missionaries who sought to spread the gospel to Tibet. When the missionaries were repelled by the Tibetans, they ended up building a community in Lintan among Hui and Han that survives to this day. This particular church dates to 1996.