Children Songs

Parker Nanzer

These posters were circulated between 1927 and 1951, they were a quick and straightforward way for Chinese Christians to spread their message. That is until Christianity was highly frowned upon by the state. “Anti-Christan policies intensified in 1950 …When the United States and other Western nations imposed an embargo on China and froze Chinese assets in the US, Mao reacted by expelling most missionaries from China in 1951.”1 But they had 24 years of circulation and distribution to share their messages.  

These specific posters were printed by the Christan Literature Society Shanghai, as part of their Neighborhood Sunday School Lessons.4 Crafted just for kids to teach them valuable lessons. Many of these posters are not as bright as the other ones commonly distributed during this time, but they do convey multiple messages as is typical of Chinese Christan Posters. In all the posters the children are never shown alone but together with others forming a community. 

A Walking Song

The A walking Song poster depicts students walking into a building single file. This song is the most overtly Christan of the songs. By pairing the song with an image of students walking diligently it links the idea that belief in God is not always easy, it will take work but together they will be able to walk side by side with God. The children are beginning their day walking into school and declaring to follow Jesus as they begin their day.  

A School Song

The A School Song poster teaches the students how to properly say goodbye and how to bless others. The poster also helps kids to remember to be respectful to those who are older than them, as well as to their fellow classmates. The students in the song sing a blessing to their teacher, a figure who under Confucianism would have been revered, is not shown to be revered on the same level as their fellow classmates, showing that God loves and blesses everyone the same. It reminds them that even when they leave a place, that God is with them. 


A Game Song

The A Game Song in addition to promoting Christan worship, promotes good behavior among kids and reminds them to treat everyone with kindness. The Picture shows the kids playing and laughing. Enjoying life outside of school with the comfort that God loves them.  


A Happy, Good Family

The A happy, good family poster, promotes the family worship of the lord, the family unit, and filial piety. Part of the song goes “Thank you, Heavenly Father for giving me parents, parents give me food and shelter” This sentiment would fit right into Chinese society and be right at home with the concept of filial piety a cornerstone of Confusion thought. The picture shows the family sitting around the table as they all look at the bible together learning and growing in their faith.  

Children of the World Song

The Children of the World Song goes beyond Gods basic teaching that everyone is created in his imaged and is loved equally by him. It shows the children that not only are they able of worshiping God at a young age, but that God loves them and will accept them no matter what. This Poster was printed by the Christian Literature Society to help promote the message of inclusivity to children. This is one such lesson children may have learned at home from their parents, as shown in the previous poster.  


These posters strike me as simple and effective. Many have bright colors and fun graphics to draw the viewers attention. These posters above all target children, using short songs to help deliver their messages. Teaching children about God is always a little tricky, from the concepts, to how much to teach them and how fast. These posters all make it very simple. They teach about Gods love and kindness. They also serve the function of showing kids how to behave like good Christan children and show children in a variety of spaces. The posters show the kids going to school, leaving school, playing with friends, and eating with their families, a full day of activity and throughout it the posters teach the kids that God is with them throughout all of it. The songs are not overly Christan but do introduce God as a loving figure, and a family-friendly entity. With Christens being a minority population at the time, song use was a way to bring a community together. “Music can be an important part of how people make themselves feel like a national group or even how they define their nation.”2 Songs are a way to get emotions and concepts across to people in a way that will stick with them. The Chinese Christens used songs to help kids understand Gods love and as a way to slowly introduce the topics of love and Jesus to them.  

This Christan propaganda was a quick and easy way to spread the message of God’s love in a way that might not draw to much attention to the one sharing the message, or to the one observing it. Sense during this time there were already competing ideologies between the Communists and Nationalists, supporting Christianity was not the most popular option. Propaganda is not always negative, and these posters are a great example of how it can be used for good as well. By propaganda I mean the “Spreading information, music, or ideas that promote a particular agendafor it propagates ideas.”3 Propaganda is not always simply printed, as in the posters, or presented via digital media. These posters combine two types, printed, and musical propaganda to help spread new ideas and create a new cultural group of Chinese Christan 

These posters provided inspiration, and instruction to many Chinese Christians. They ranged from being drawn in bright colors to black and white, and from traditional art forms to modern cartoon styles. These posters are just a sampling of a large number of them that serve to remind us of China’s Christan history, and the communities that made them.  

Chinese Christen Posters. Last modified, 2018. 

  Fosler-Lussier, Danielle. “Music and Media in the Service of the State.” In Music on the Move, 120–48. University of Michigan Press. 2020.,.   


MunGello, D. E. “Reinterpreting the History of Christianity in China.” The Historical Journal 55, no. 2 (2012): 533–52. 


Posted by Parker Nanzer