April 1, 2019

One year after Chinese pastor was first detained, Christianity still growing

yang-chinabook Fenggang Yang, a sociologist of religion at Purdue University, estimates more Protestant Christians will live in China in 2030 than any other country in the world. Download image

WHAT: Nearly one year has passed since Wang Yi, the outspoken pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, was first detained by government authorities. This marked the beginning of a campaign to Sinicize Christianity, or make it more Chinese, by removing crosses from church rooftops, hanging portraits of Xi Jinping on church walls, re-translating the Bible to align with Communist Party political goals and closing three unregistered “house” churches with hundreds of members. Pastor Wang was arrested again Dec. 9 and has been under secret detention.

EXPERT: Fenggang Yang, a sociologist of religion at Purdue University, is author of the book “Atlas of Religion in China: Social and Geographical Contexts,” and founder of the Online Spiritual Atlas of China, an open-source project documenting the location of temples, mosques, churches and other spiritual venues of the country’s five sanctioned religions. Using government data sources, Yang found Protestantism to be the predominant religion in many provinces in China, estimating that more Protestant Christians will live in China in 2030 than any other country in the world.

QUOTE: “When Communists took power in 1949, there were 1 million Protestants living in China, compared with 58 million in 2010 and probably around 100 million in 2019. Despite the government’s efforts to suppress, I don’t think it will stop the growth of Christianity in China. All the evidence I have collected shows it’s undeniable; it’s already happening.”

MORE INFORMATION: Yang is founding director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue. More coverage of Yang and Protestantism in China can be found here:

* Religion in China is highly diverse by region, research shows

* Sociologist studies religion, faith in China

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541, paul102@purdue.edu

Source: Fenggang Yang, fyang@purdue.edu

 

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