The Christian faith in China, sometimes illegally, sometimes condoned by the government, is growing fast, faster than other religions. Journalist Ian Johnson, author of the upcoming book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, explains in the Spectator why.
Many Chinese converts do not want their faith to be controlled by the government — and so they join covert congregations like the one at Zion, which was founded in 2009. ‘For every one of the official churches, there’s at least another unregistered church,’ explains Ian Johnson, author of a new book on China’s religious revival, Lost Souls of China. ‘Many of those who attend “house” churches started by going to official churches and then branched out.’ The number of Christians is now estimated at around 60 to 70 million — much higher than official reports suggest.
In Beijing, Christianity is permitted to thrive, as long as it does so quietly, but elsewhere in China there has been a crackdown. Last summer, in Zhejiang province — a region with a rich history of missionary activity — crosses were removed from the exteriors of more than 1,000 churches….
Christianity is growing fast within cities among the young and well-educated Chinese. ‘People don’t see a contradiction between modernity and Christianity,’ Ian Johnson says. ‘Particularly for many who are already westernised, or have studied abroad, Christianity may be more acceptable than Buddhism or Taoism.’
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