In 1294, Franciscan friars from Europe initiated mission work in China. Although most practice traditional Chinese religions such as Taoism, and longer-standing foreign imports such as Buddhism, Protestant Christianity is probably the fastest-growing faith, with at least 38m adherents today (about 3% of the population), up from 22m a decade ago, according to the government’s count. The whole of Orthodox Christianity is named Zhèng jiào (正教). 04/29/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – China is historically known for its animosity towards Christianity. ", Javier C. Hernández And Crystal Tseaug, ". Y. C. James Yen, a graduate of Yale University, led a program of village reform. The Holy Childhood Association (L'Oeuvre de la Sainte Enfance) was a Catholic charity founded in 1843 to rescue Chinese children from infanticide. It concluded with repeated calls for their extermination by vigilantes and the government. [69] Christianity has grown rapidly, reaching 67 million people. The Bible translation took 12 years and the compilation of the dictionary, 16 years. 'Christ religion's new religion'); "Catholicism" (Chinese: 天主教; pinyin: Tiānzhǔ jiào; lit. Inside China’s Jesus cult. [66], Indigenous Christian evangelism started in China in the late 1800s. According to the Yu Tao survey of 2008, the Catholic population, though much smaller than that of the Protestants, is nevertheless younger, wealthier and better educated. A tablet indicated that Judaism was once known as "Yih-tsze-lo-nee-keaou" (Israelitish religion) and synagogues known as "Yih-tsze lo née leen" (Israelitish temple), but it faded out of use. Seven days a week, faculty lead morning prayers at 5 a.m. and evening prayers at 9p.m. The wealthiest in every community—typically, the merchants—were expected to give food, medicine, clothing, and even cash to those in need. Terms for Christianity in Chinese include: "Protestantism" (Chinese: 基督教新教; pinyin: Jīdū jiào xīn jiào; lit. [78] Yanbian Korean churches and house churches in China have been a matter of controversy for the Chinese government because of their links to South Korean churches. [116], The Associated Press reported in 2018 that "Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982." In recent years, however, the Communist Party has looked with distrust on organizations with international ties; it tends to associate Christianity with it deems to be subversive Western values, and has closed churches and schools. Western governments could protect them in the treaty ports, but outside those limited areas they were at the mercy of local government officials and threats were common. Also, many underground clergy and laymen are active in the official Patriotic Church as well. One of the reasons they gave for being there was to help the poor Chinese. When William Milne arrived at Guangzhou in 1813 and worked with Morrison on translation of the Bible, he also came to know Liang, whom he baptized in 1816. [68] Several thousand Christians were known to have been imprisoned between 1983 and 1993. American evangelist Billy Graham visited China in 1988 with his wife Ruth; it was a homecoming for her since she had been born in China to missionary parents L. Nelson Bell and his wife Virginia.[112]. This 43.5 million figure excludes the Christian children of Three Self church Christians because the Chinese government forbids baptism until 18 years of age. Karel Pieters noted that some Christian gravestones are dated from the Song and Liao dynasties, implying that some Christians remained in China.[17]. In 2017 and 2018 Harris Doshay, a doctoral student at Princeton University, attended and analysed the sermons delivered by ministers of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the state-controlled Protestant church. [98] In these provinces the Christian population is in the millions, yet small in percentage. The Catholic Reformation facilitated an “unprecedented number of Christian missionaries coming to China in the late Ming and early Qing periods, and, more importantly, the creation within China, circa 1600-1900, of a surprising number of Christian communities; many of which proved quite resilient when the young Chinese Church was outlawed and persecuted in the eighteenth century.” [40], Some early leaders of the Chinese Republic, such as Sun Yat-sen were converts to Christianity and were influenced by its teachings. Christians who would not repent their conversion were to be sent to Muslim cities in Xinjiang, to be given as slaves to Muslim leaders and beys. [53], In Pingyuan, the site of another insurrection and major religious disputes, the county magistrate noted that Chinese converts to Christianity were taking advantage of their bishop's power to file false lawsuits which, upon investigation, were found groundless. As China also has 10m-12m Catholics, there are more Christians in China today than in France (38m) or Germany (43m). 2010 Chinese Spiritual Life Survey conducted by Dr. Yang Fenggang, Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society. China has begun using a dystopian-type 'social credit' system to rank its citizens. Leading writers include Lin Yutang, who renounced his Christianity for several decades. Paul A. Cohen, "Christian missions and their impact to 1900" in John King Fairbank, ed. China’s constitution nominally guarantees freedom of religious belief. China. Hong's revolt against the Qing government established the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace with the capital at Nanjing. However, Xavier was not able to find a way to enter the Chinese mainland and died in 1552 on Shangchuan Island off the coast of Guangdong. The true number is probably much higher: perhaps as many as 22m more Chinese Protestants worship in unregistered “underground” churches, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame. Western medical missionaries established the first modern clinics and hospitals, provided the first training for nurses, and opened the first medical schools in China. [5] The number of Chinese Christians has increased significantly since the easing of restrictions on religious activity during economic reforms in the late 1970s; Christians were four million before 1949 (three million Catholics and one million Protestants). But this comes with consequences. [85] When it opens it will operate by appointment only for Chinese members, excluding tourists. The Big Swords relentlessly crushed the bandits, but the bandits converted to the Catholic Church, because it made them legally immune to prosecution under the protection of the foreigners. In China, Yakuf grew up Muslim, but converted to Christianity nearly 20 years ago after meeting a Christian Uyghur who became his good friend. As of 2010 approximately 5% of the population of Macau self-identifies as Christian, predominantly Catholic. The country has a population of over 1.4 billion people, but has a relatively small number of evangelical Christians. [63], Of the 500 hospitals in China in 1931, 235 were run by Protestant missions and 10 by Catholic missions. In 1979 the government officially restored the Three-Self Church after thirteen years of non-existence,[37] and in 1980 the China Christian Council (CCC) was formed. He warned them that the Manchus must follow only the Manchu way of worshipping Heaven since different peoples worshipped Heaven differently. [51], Local gentry published hate literature against the foreign missionaries. [8] For instance, according to Asia Harvest, a US non-profit organization and "inter-denominational Christian ministry", there were 105 millions Christians in China in 2011. . [2] Today, it is estimated that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China[3] with approximately 38 million Protestants and 10-12 million Catholics, with a smaller number of Evangelical and Orthodox Christians. Cai Gao was the first mainland Chinese convert of the 19th-century Protestant missions. They were established in China in the late 19th and early 20th century, including both the Little Flock or Church Assembly Hall and True Jesus Church. During the ten-year period the government began to crackdown and persecute all religions. Government figures only count adult baptized members of government sanctioned churches. ", Jean-Guy Daigle, "Challenging the imperial order: The precarious status of local Christians in late-Qing Sichuan. [74], Miller (2006) explains that a significant amount of the house churches or unregistered congregations and meeting points of the Protestant spectrum, that refuse to join the Three-Self Church—China Christian Council, belong to the Chinese Independent Churches. [121] [122], Popularity and indigenous growth (1900–1925), Era of national and social change: the war against Japan and the Chinese Civil War (1925–1949), Since 1949: Communist government on the mainland, Official organizations—the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church and the Chinese Protestant Church. Thus they generally do not include un-baptized persons attending Christian groups, non-adult children of Christian believers or other persons under age 18 and they generally do not take into account unregistered Christian groups. [52], The Boxer Uprising was in large part a reaction against Christianity in China. [9] On the other hand, many Christians practice in informal networks and unregistered congregations, often described as house churches or underground churches, the proliferation of which began in the 1950s when many Chinese Protestants and Catholics began to reject state-controlled structures purported to represent them. The Ming dynasty decreed that Manichaeism and Christianity were illegal and heterodox, to be wiped out from China, while Islam and Judaism were legal and fit Confucian ideology. [98] In Wenzhou, a city of Zhejiang, about one million people (approximately 11%) are Christians, the highest concentration in one city. Surveys on religion in China conducted in the years 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011 by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of the. Liang Fa ("Leung Faat" in Cantonese) worked in a printing company in Guangzhou in 1810 and came to know Robert Morrison, who translated the Bible to Chinese and needed printing of the translation. Since then, persecution of Christians in China has been sporadic. 2014: scholars at a conference for the 60th anniversary of the Three-Self Church showed that China has about 23 million to 40 million Protestants, 1.7% to 2.9% of the total population. [47][48] According to historian Paul Varg: In December 1897, Wilhelm II declared his intent to seize territory in China, which triggered a "scramble for concessions" by which Britain, France, Russia and Japan also secured their own sphere of influence in China. The Reluctant Exodus. Paul A. Varg, "Missionaries and Relations Between the United States and China in Christianity has been practiced in Hong Kong since 1841. [73], The Chinese Independent Churches are a group of Christian institutions that are independent from Western denominations. By the 16th century, there is no reliable information about any practicing Christians remaining in China. The Tibetan lamas were alarmed by Catholic missionaries converting natives to Roman Catholicism. Some prominent Chinese universities began as religious-founded institutions. But as they become more numerous, the country’s faithful face ever-stricter oversight from the state. [13], The first documentation of Christianity entering China was written on an 8th-century stone tablet known as the Nestorian Stele. The church has had expatriate members worshiping in China for a few decades previous to this, but with restrictions. The Christian apologist Arnobius (died c. AD 330) claimed in his work Against the Heathen: Book II, that Christianity had reached the land of Seres (an old Roman name for northern China) saying "For the deeds can be reckoned up and numbered which have been done in India, among the Seres, Persians, and Medes; in Arabia, Egypt, in Asia, Syria; among the Galatians, Parthians, Phrygians; in Achaia, Macedonia, Epirus; in all islands and provinces on which the rising and setting sun shines; in Rome herself, finally, the mistress of the world, in which, although men are busied with the practices introduced by king Numa, and the superstitious observances of antiquity, they have nevertheless hastened to give up their fathers' mode of life, and attach themselves to Christian truth. Preachers face harsh surveillance. The Big Swords practiced heterodox practices, however, they were not bandits and were not seen as bandits by Chinese authorities. During World War II, China was devastated by the Second Sino-Japanese War which countered a Japanese invasion, and by the Chinese Civil War which resulted in the separation of Taiwan from mainland China. Whereas the clergy at state-sanctioned churches are told to lecture on party-favoured topics, such as blending Christianity with secular Chinese culture, underground pastors often touch on taboo subjects, such as the existence of demons and miracles, or even worse, the importance of proselytising to friends and co-workers. Its three main sects all have numerous followers. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church, and the Protestant Three-Self Church and China Christian Council, are the three centralised and government-approved Christian institutions which regulate all local Christian gatherings, all of which are required to be registered under their auspices. [38] Some hoped that the Chinese government would discriminate between Protestantism and the Catholic Church, since the law was directed at Rome, but after Protestant missionaries in 1835– 36 gave Christian books to Chinese, the Daoguang Emperor demanded to know who were the "traitorous natives in Canton who had supplied them with books".[38]. All of them have given Baptists and the Christian faith a good reputation. The educated gentry were afraid for their own power. In practice, however, the Vatican and the Chinese State have been, at least unofficially, accommodating each other for some time. ", Theron Kue-Hing Young, "A conflict of professions: the medical missionary in China, 1835-1890. [7] On the other hand, some international Christian organizations estimate there are tens of millions more, who choose not to publicly identify as such,[8] but these estimations are usually controversial and even suspected as deliberate inflation. In the mid-1990s, Chinese government started to monitor these new religious movements, and prohibited them officially, so their activities soon turned underground. As China continues its crackdown on religion, Christians in the Communist country are fleeing for their lives. ], Pope Benedict XVI urged China to be open to Christianity, and said that he hoped the Olympic Games would offer an example of coexistence among people from different countries. It records that Christians reached the Tang dynasty capital Xi'an in 635 and were allowed to establish places of worship and to propagate their faith. [59], Medical missions in China by the late 19th century laid the foundations for modern medicine in China. Christianity is exploding in China! In large cities with international links such as Beijing, foreign visitors have established Christian communities which meet in public establishments such as hotels and, sometimes, local churches. In the 1940s they gathered 200,000 adherents, that was 20% to 25% of the total Christian population of that time. [108] Macau prospered as a port but was the target of repeated failed attempts by the Dutch to conquer it in the 17th century. "[95] Citing one of the aforementioned surveys, Gerda Wielander says that the actual number of Christians is around 30 million. Christianity first reached China in the 7th century AD, brought by Nestorian Eastern Syriac believers. [60] By 1901, China was the most popular destination for medical missionaries. Russian Orthodoxy was introduced in 1715 and Protestants began entering China in 1807. During the Cultural Revolution believers were arrested and imprisoned and sometimes tortured for their faith. Rioting sparked by false rumors of the killing of babies led to the death of a French consul and provoked a diplomatic crisis. The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) originated in the influence of missionaries on the leader Hong Xiuquan, who called himself the younger brother of Jesus Christ but was denounced as a heretic by mainstream Christian groups. Christian missionaries and their schools, under the protection of the Western powers, went on to play a major role in the Westernization of China in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prior to the Church being demolished, one man was arrested and at least two women were injured. It has often been seen as a springboard for evangelizing in China and a vital nerve centre for Christian media. As for China’s Christians, their numbers continue to grow. [84] On March 31, 2020, during its general conference, the church announced its intent to build a temple in Shanghai as a "modest multipurpose meetinghouse.". Although a number of factors—the vast Chinese population and the characteristic Chinese approach to religion among others—contribute to a difficulty to obtain empirical data on the number of Christians in China, a series of surveys have been conducted and published by different agencies. [83], In 2010, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in China revealed its on-going efforts to negotiate with authorities to regularize its activities in the country. The way was prepared for the creation of the Church of Christ in China, a unified non-denominational church. Contacts with Western Christianity also came in this time period, via envoys from the Papacy to the Mongol capital in Khanbaliq (Beijing). [62] There was also a level of distrust on the part of traditional evangelical missionaries who thought hospitals were diverting needed resources away from the primary goal of conversions. The elite currently in power feared this might be replaced by the Bible, scientific training and Western education. Pastor Cao became a Christian in his twenties after meeting an American Christian family. [23][27][28] Tournon's policies, confirmed by Clement's 1715 bull Ex Illa Die..., led to the swift collapse of all of the missions across China,[27] with the last Jesuits—obliged to maintain allegiance to the papal rulings—finally being expelled after 1721. [10] Members of such groups are said to represent the "silent majority" of Chinese Christians and represent many diverse theological traditions.[11]. Singapore: OMF Books. [citation needed] The government declared in 2018 that there are over 44 million Christians in China. "Great Light Newspaper" (大光報), a Christian newspaper based in Hong Kong and distributed in Hong Kong and China, was in operation in the early 1900s, with Dr. Man-Kai Wan, 尹文階 (1869–1927) as its chairman of the board and Dr. Sun Yat-sen (a secondary school classmate of Dr. Wan) as its contributor. But already in 1892, the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden started missions in the area around Kashgar, and later built mission stations, churches, hospitals and schools in Yarkant and Yengisar. [61] They began establishing nurse training schools in China in the late 1880s, but nursing of sick men by female nurses was rejected by local traditions, so the number of Chinese students was small until the practice became accepted in the 1930s. They also opposed the opium trade and brought treatment to many who were addicted. These colleges for the training of male and female doctors were separately founded. Though the Hui people live in nearly every part of China, they make up about 30% of the population of Ningxia. The pamphlet also showed Christian clergy engaging in orgies following Sunday services and removing the placentas, breasts, and testicles from kidnapped Chinese. [98] These characteristics are confirmed by the findings of the Yu Tao survey of 2008, which also found that Protestantism has the lowest proportion of believers who are at the same time members of the Communist Party of China in comparison to other religions,[90] and by the China Family Panel Studies' survey of 2012. In 845, at the height of the Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution, Emperor Wuzong decreed that Buddhism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism be banned, and their very considerable assets forfeited to the state. In 1583, the Portuguese in Macau were permitted to form a Senate to handle various issues concerning their social and economic affairs under strict supervision of the Chinese authority, but there was no transfer of sovereignty.