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‘Christians in China survive persecution, but here’s what their oppressors don’t know’

For background on Orthodox Christianity in China, see here.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in China, see here.

“Christians in China survive persecution, but here’s what their oppressors don’t know,” by David Curry, Fox News, November 19, 2023:

A recent Pew Research Report measuring religion in China suggests that Christianity in the country has stagnated and is perhaps even in decline. But to borrow from Mark Twain, such suggestions seem greatly exaggerated. In fact, many of us who are advocating for persecuted Christians globally believe the Christian community in China might even be growing.  

If you believe Pew Research’s latest report, about 23.3 million adults in China self-identified as Christian in 2010. That number fell to 19.9 million by 2018. That’s a decline of nearly 3.5 million Christians in less than a decade.  

It’s a stunningly high figure that may even seem plausible to those of us who have followed the multi-faceted anti-Christian campaign waged by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during this period. China believes it is winning the war against Christianity and this Pew Research report gives the CCP hope. 

According to our own internal research at Global Christian Relief, Pew’s number could be off by as much as 100 million, but no one truly knows the size. What China is actually doing is pushing the church underground, forcing believers to self-censor in an environment that has only worsened under President Xi Jinping.     

It’s important to recognize that Pew’s report analyzes data from a range of sources, including data collected and compiled by the Chinese government itself. For this reason, we might be cautious about whether this data is fully trustworthy.  

After all, the CCP has attempted to squelch Christianity and religious belief in the name of Marxism for years, and the government has a spotty record when it comes to honestly disclosing uncomfortable facts about religious life within its borders.  

All this information matters because the survey data is based on self-censorship. The data is based on what respondents are willing to admit, but Chinese Christians know they can be persecuted for their responses.  

So, Christians in China have plenty of incentives not to disclose their true identities. Which is perhaps why Pew openly admits the possibility that there may be “limitations in survey and government data,” and claims “some analyses make adjustments” to account for these issues….

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