Christianity in China: Rethinking Religion
Christianity is hard to control in China, and getting harder all the time.
Christianity is spreading rapidly in China and infiltrating the party’s own ranks. The line is blurring between house churches and official ones, and Christians are starting to emerge from hiding to play a more active part in society.
Officially, Christianity within China is not forbidden, but any church that wishes to exist under the protection of the state must register with its local Party officials, and has to ensure that it receives absolutely no help, support, or influence from churches outside the country – as this would be seen as foreign interference into the domestic concerns of China. However, despite this two things continue to happen: Chinese Christians attend house churches which are run by individuals and are not registered with the state; and the Chinese government still persecutes those churches that are registered with the state.
Despite the persecution that Christians face in China, the Christian faith has only increased over the years, and even become the faith of choice of some high ranking Party officials. This means that the Chinese government is finding it more and more difficult to ban completely, especially as other Communist countries such as Vietnam and Cuba are now permitting their peoples to follow both Marx and a religion. This is therefore forcing many people to rethink religion and the way that it can be brought into China without upsetting people or offending people.
Of course, it is not only Christianity that is starting to see a huge increase in numbers in China – Buddhism, and folk religions too, are seeing more and more people join its ranks. The real problems is that Party officials do not believe that it is possible to be totally loyal to the State whilst having a religious belief. That means that individuals are often forced to choose between them, and this led to many Christians being sent to labour camps in the last century. It is hoped that now, Party officials will be more understanding and accepting of a person’s faith.