Relaymedia

Chinese Government More Open to Christianity

( [email protected] ) Mar 13, 2004 07:24 AM EST

According to Focus on the Family, Christianity is expanding in China but at the same time it has been more accepted by its government.

Recently two large Protestant churches were built in the capital city of Beijing as the number of churchgoers has been increased rapidly. It is estimated that there are about 60 to 80 million Christians in China and analysts predict that within 30 years, one third of the Chinese population will be Christian.

Such development in China indicates the Communist regime has become more tolerant of Christianity. Scott Sundberg, a spokesman for the English Language Institute of China, said the government has become more tolerant because more people are dedicating their lives to Christ.

"They almost have no choice but to build these other churches because of the number of people who are needing to attend," Sundberg said. "There are probably some 30,000 house churches that are registered with the government" — but those are becoming more overcrowded every day.

According to Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin, a senior Associate with China Source, Christianity is also spreading among the elite group in society, which has allowed Christians to become more bold about what they believe.

"And with that," she said, "has come a greater boldness by the church to speak up and . . . playing a role in society."

However, Hamrin noted that the government is still careful of being tolerant of religion and not to lose control.

She explained, "The central policy on religion has very tight restrictions that don't match up to international norms and international covenants that they have signed.”