20 February 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia
  •    - China
  •    - Hong Kong
  •    - Japan
  •    - Macau
  •    - North Korea
  •    - South Korea
  •    - Taiwan

  • » 08/07/2014, 00.00


    Growth of Protestants in China: the frustrations of Wang Zuoan

    Wang Zhicheng

    At a seminar on " The Sinicization of Christianity in Shanghai," the Director of the Office of Religious Affairs claims he wants to support the Protestant communities and their development. In reality, the number of Protestants belonging to communities not under government control is on the rise. A campaign to demolish crosses and churches and arrest faithful.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - As news about churches being demolished in Zhejiang (and elsewhere) and Christians arrested and tortured makes global headlines, the Beijing government vows to continue to promote the development of a Chinese Christian theology according to the national policy on religion.  This was stated by Wang Zuoan, head of the State Religious Affairs (ASAR).

    Speaking two days ago at a seminar in Shanghai, he stressed that "over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country's religious policy. In the future, we will continue to boost the development of Christianity in China".

    Of course, clarified Wang, quoted by the China Daily, "the construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture" compatible with "the path of socialism."

    The study seminar, titled "The Sinicization of Christianity in Shanghai", he also pitted different figures: the Protestants in China are between "23 and 40 million," or between "1.7 and 2.9% "; Every year 500 thousand people are baptized; There are about 139 thousand registered religious places of worship, of which at least 56 thousand churches.

    The seminar part of an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the body that unites all denominations of Protestant churches under the auspices of the Communist Party.

    But Wang Zuoan's careful proclamations and the glitter of the celebrations mask a certain frustration.

    First, because in recent decades the Protestant communities have grown much more than Wang claims and most importantly they have grown in communities outside state control. According to Protestant sources there are about 80 million Christians in China but only about 20 million congregate within registered religious places, so much so that since 2007 there has been a campaign to dissolve the underground Protestant communities or to absorb them into the official community. The rejection of these Christians to join the Three-Self movement lies in the fact that it is too subservient to the Communist Party and does not guarantee a true freedom of the Gospel.

    A second element of frustration is due to the fact that now many official Protestant Christian openly criticize the Party's religious policies. This became even more acute after the campaign of demolition and destruction of crosses and churches in Zhejiang, which has seen the active resistance of many of the faithful.

    Finally, many Protestant pastors have asked the government to confess to the crimes of Tiananmen as a condition to their adapting "to the conditions of the nation"; Protestant believers join the movement of New citizens to request an end to corruption among party members and true freedom of expression and democracy.

    According to some experts, if the current trend of conversions to Christianity continues in 2030 there should be about 250 million Christians in China, about 20% of the population. Perhaps this prediction is causing some frustration.



    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    07/04/2014 CHINA
    Wenzhou, Christians challenge government to prevent the demolition of their church
    For days, about 3 thousand faithful of the official Protestant Ou Bei community have held a sit-in in front of the newly rebuilt place of worship Sanjiang , which the authorities want to demolish for "security reasons". Government’s decision hides attempt to target congregation of thousands which meets every Sunday and their church which is considered "too high".

    30/10/2008 CHINA - TIBET
    China-Tibet dialogue, Dalai Lama skeptical
    Meetings resume in Beijing with representatives of the Tibetan leader in exile. But he has declared that he has no faith in the Chinese government. The British foreign minister urges China to begin fruitful dialogue, and recalls the detainees of the revolt, and the lack of free access to Tibet for diplomats and journalists. A meeting to discuss Tibetan strategy in November.

    25/08/2009 VIETNAM
    Bulldozers raze the Church of Tam Toa quashing Catholic demands
    The government has decreed that the ruins of the ancient church will become a public park, having in mind to build a tourist village, and refuse to give it back to the Catholics for sacred use. Criticism from the bishop, who recalls the arrests, beatings, theft against the faithful by the police. On the day of the Assumption, 200 thousand people celebrated Mass at Xa Doi. Another 500 thousand, prevented by police from reaching the meeting place, celebrated Mass along the highway.

    08/01/2009 VIETNAM
    New directive from Hanoi on Church property: nothing will be given back
    A norm, with obscure provisions, affirms that the use of ecclesiastical property granted by the state to "organizations" must respect the purpose of this property, and not offend the sentiments of the faithful. Who will be harshly punished if they protest.

    20/08/2009 CHINA
    Devoid of democracy, Beijing urges attention to petitions
    In China, those who fail to obtain justice address a "petition" to the government, a legacy of the imperial system. Often local authorities ignore requests and petitioners go to Beijing to consult the central government. Experts: Justice is not achieved with new regulations but with respect for human rights and democracy.

    Editor's choices

    The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou

    Padre Pietro

    A priest of the official Church, recalls the 88 year old bishop that the Vatican wants to replace with an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime. Mons. Zhuang Jianjian became an underground bishop at the behest of the Vatican in 2006. Card. Zen and Msgr. Zhuang, image of the faithful Church, "which provokes an immense sadness and a sense of impotence". The hopes of card. Parolin to console "the past and present sufferings of Chinese Catholics".

    Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong

    Card. Joseph Zen

    The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong confirms the information published in recent days by AsiaNews and reveals details of his conversation with Pope Francis on these topics: "Do not create another Mindszenty case", the primate of Hungary whom the Vatican forced to leave the country, appointing a successor in Budapest, at the will of the communist government of the time. 


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®