There are more professing Christians in China than professing Communists, statistics have suggested.
In an article in The Economist, a shift towards democracy and capitalism has followed a quieter revolution, that of the rise of Christianity in the previously closed Communist country.
The article claimed that churches were springing up across the country, despite attempts to crack down on house churches and new builds.
Although it is difficult to get accurate statistics, in part because house churches have not been included in the calculations, it is believed there were approximately 3 million Catholics and 1 million Protestants when the party came to power in 1949. Now, Chinese officials say, there are 23-40 million Christians, of all kinds, although this figure is probably an underestimation.
The article cited figures from the 2010 Pew Research Centre research, which found there were 58m Protestants and 9m Catholics. It also said, ‘Many experts, foreign and Chinese, now accept that there are probably more Christians than there are members of the 87 million-strong Communist Party. Most are evangelical Protestants’.
Despite this, there is still persecution. American church group China Aid claimed that more than 7400 Christians have suffered persecution in the country during 2014.