AP recently ran an article on China's never ending quest to suppress Christianity. It observed:
It is fascinating to compare China and Taiwan in this aspect. Although estimates of the actual number of Christians in China are notoriously difficult to pin down (wiki), there are probably around 60-80 million Christians in China, with rapid growth occurring there. Meanwhile in Taiwan, absolutely flooded with Christian missionaries, with Christian cable TV, and with excellent religious freedom, growth is far slower; indeed, it seems to be moribund. All of Taiwan's Presidents have been at least nominal Christians, with Lee Teng-hui being a fervent believer who used to give sermons in churches around the island whenever he had the chance (CORRECTION: Wrong! Chen was not a Christian). The mayor of Taipei even hosts prayer breakfasts, while the Vatican is probably the island's weightiest diplomatic ally. Yet, when you sit down and count, strikingly, Taiwan appears to have fewer Christians than China, a point backed by the figures at Wiki. After fifty years of evangelization by Mormons, there are probably still more Muslims than Mormons in Taiwan, and Muslims are not exactly notable for their public prosyletizing.
Christians worshipping in China's independent churches are believed to number upwards of 60 million, compared with about 20 million who worship in the state church, according to numbers provided by scholars and church activists.
House churches have been around for decades, but their growth has accelerated in recent deades, producing larger and larger congregations that are far more conspicuous than the small groups of friends and neighbors that used to worship in private homes, giving the movement its name.
The reverse is also true. In the late 1990s, as I recall, China released a White Paper on religion that noted that well over 90% of the population practices some form of religion. After 50 years of official atheism China, atheism is higher in the religiously tolerant Chinese societies around China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, than in China itself!
It is easy to overestimate the growth of "Christianity" in China -- many of those "Christian" groups are syncretic cults -- but I think the lessons are obvious.
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