Christianity In China Expected To Be The Largest In The World By 2030?

Christians of St.Michael Church learn shepherding
Christians of St.Michael Church learn shepherding (photo: Photo Provided to CCD)
By M. GraceJanuary 2nd, 2017

Some reports claimed that China could have the largest number of Christians  in the world by 2030.

To recall, independent surveys says that around 5 percent of China's population in 2010 were perceived to be Christians.

Some experts also suggested that the numbers of Christians in China is noe more than the number of Communist Party of China members.

"The gathering spot varies. We used to go to a fellow student's home or a coffee shop or restaurant. Because it's not very convenient to sing hymns in public, we would pick a comparatively private place," Lily said, an undergraduate student at a top university in Beijing, who visits formal churches but is a regular at informal gatherings where they read the Bible and sing hymns.

"My friends and I don't go to normal churches, most of the church-style buildings in China are Three-Self Churches (run by the CPC-approved Three-Self Patriotic Movement). We generally go to family churches. Those churches are not legally recognised, so they're illegal in a way," she added.

Carsten Vala, a political science professor at Loyola University, Maryland and studies Christianity in China said that there is the phenomenon of large churches in big cities of China, however, they were unregistered.

"The most interesting development to me is that of large, unregistered churches in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, where hundreds of high-status, white collar Chinese participate in churches not officially registered but which nevertheless exist due to permissiveness of local officials," Vala said.

Sociology professor Yang Fenggang, founding director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Indiana, explained the phenomenon in terms of economics and globalization.

"Every convert has a uniquely personal story to tell about their change of faith. However, so many Chinese have been converting to Christianity in the last few decades, which amounts to a social phenomenon that I would call 'mass conversion' in modern times," he told one source media."Sociological speaking, the social, political, and cultural changes in the process of modernisation are the contextual factors for this mass conversion."

However, despite these reports, the estimated 160 million Christians in China by 2025 and 247 million Christians by 2030 is reported to be just a speculation and not based on real facts.

"In one province (Zhejiang), there has been a much greater crackdown (with one church being razed and hundreds of crosses being removed) in the last three-four years. However it is not clear it has spread beyond this coastal province. Sometimes churches are demolished because they were built on valuable land by missionaries and that land is now in central urban districts that government officials want to use to build lucrative real estate projects," Vala added.

"Although they say we have religious freedom in China, I think the actual situation is not really so. Our belief is intervened and restricted. We don't actually have religious freedom like in western countries," Ling, an undergraduate student, who attends regular gatherings reading Bible and singing hymns, said.

The forecast numbers may not be true but according to report, Christians in China is undoubtedly increasing as the 150 million Bibles that Amity Printing Company in Nanjing City in Eastern China has been sold and that more than 76 million of these were sold to China.

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