Mission life: THE KUKMIN DAILY

“China will have the world’s largest Christian population in 2030”

2016-06-22 17:17

At an international symposium held at Kyung Hee University in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, on June 20, Prof. Fenggang Yang (54, photo) of Purdue University in the United States said, “The number of Christians in China is drastically increasing at a rate of 10% on average every year.” He said that in the year 2030, the Christian population will reach 240 million and China will become the country with the largest Christian population in the world. Yang also forecasts that China’s oppression of Christianity will become more severe.

According to official Chinese statistics, Christians in China currently number 28 million. This figure is for the registered members of Three-Self churches, the only Protestant Christian churches recognized in China. Prof. Yang said, “If we add to this the members of underground churches (“house churches”), the number of Christians will be over 100 million (7% of the entire current population).”

Though the number of Christians is rapidly growing, Yang noted that crosses were pulled down from 1,700 churches in Zhejiang Province since August last year. He explained, “The provincial government justifies its actions, saying the crosses violated the construction code. But the Chinese government may have concluded that those churches are trying to destroy the authority of the Communist Party.”

Mentioning one reason why Chinese people come to church, Yang pointed to the failure of welfare policies. “In China, all social welfare services are free of charge, but they have failed nevertheless. The churches, by empathizing with their neighbors in difficult circumstances and giving them material support, have built the foundation for church growth.”

Prof. Yang, a Presbyterian living in the U.S., is a sociologist of religion widely known for his research work “The red, black, and gray markets of religion in China,” published in 2006.

Reporter Yeong Dae Yoo (ydyoo@kmib.co.kr), with Yeara Ahn-Park (yap@kmib.co.kr)
Photo by intern reporter Bo Yeon Kim

Full Story in Korean:
“2030년 기독교인구 2억4000만명 중국, 세계 최대 기독교국가 된다”: 미국 퍼듀대 펭강 양 교수, 서울 국제학술대회서 주장

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