A shocking graph released earlier this month reveal that despite China's oppression of Christians, Jesus is far more popular than Chairman Mao on the Chinese version of Twitter.
Researchers at the online magazine Tea Leaf Nation recently conducted a survey studying social media trends in China. They were amazed to discover that Christian terms such as Jesus and God were trending far more than Communist terms such as Chairman Mao and President Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader who is daily featured in the state newspaper.
Although the country closely monitors religion, the Christian Today reports that the Bible, with 17 million hits, was far more researched on social media than Chairman Mao's Little Red Book, which Fox News reports registered so few hits that the data couldn't be displayed. "Christian congregation" received 41.8 million hits, while "the Communist Party" only garnered 5.3 million.
"No matter how hard the government tries to stamp God out, He remains stronger than earthly forces," says Zachary Lin, pastor of the Chinese Community Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. "People in China are thirsty for the Word of God and the social media trends are just one indicator of that thirst."
However, the Chinese government continues to regulate certain terms. Foreign Policy reported that a search for the term "underground church" produced a blank page with a warning stating "results cannot be displayed do to relevant laws and regulations."
While social media websites may not be entirely accurate, The Tea Leaf site believes the focus placed on Christianity is due to a growing lack of interest in Communist ideology.
Pastor Lin attributes the phenomenon to fast growth of the Christian religion in China in the past few decades.
"The Chinese church is incredibly strong," says pastor Lin. "Christians are far more influential in China than in the United States and have a huge impact on Chinese culture."
The official Chinese government reports the number of Christians in China at 25 million in relation to the 25 million people living in the country. However, according to Christian Today, external observers with more knowledge of the underground church situation say the number is closer to around 60 to 100 million.