Updated: 08/07/2014 12:18 | By Agence France-Presse

China pursues 'Chinese Christian theology': state media

China will construct a "Chinese Christian theology" suitable for the country, state media reported Thursday, with both believer numbers and tensions with authorities on the rise.


China pursues 'Chinese Christian theology': state media

File photo taken on April 30, 2014 shows a Christian church in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou being demolished by authorities after a stand-off between worshippers and the local government - by Mark Ralston

China has between 23 million and 40 million Protestants, accounting for 1.7 to 2.9 percent of the total population, the state-run China Daily said, citing figures given at a seminar in Shanghai.

About 500,000 people are baptised as Protestants every year, it added.

"Over the past decades, the Protestant churches in China have developed very quickly with the implementation of the country's religious policy," the paper quoted Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, as saying.

"The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture."

China's ruling Communist Party is officially atheistic and keeps a tight grip on religion for fear it could challenge its grip on power. It requires believers to worship in places approved by the state and under government supervision.

Besides officially sanctioned churches, China also has "underground" or "house" churches which seek to exist outside government control and are occasionally raided and shut down.

In April, authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Wenzhou -- known as China's Jerusalem with more than a million Christians -- demolished a church following government claims it was an illegal structure. 

Though a registered church, state media reported that the building was far larger than originally approved.

"Over the past years, China's Protestantism has become one of the fastest growing universal churches," Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council, was quoted as saying in the China Daily report.

It did not include a number for Catholics in China, who must also worship only in officially sanctioned churches which reject the Vatican's authority, though an "underground" church loyal to the Holy See also exists.

Experts estimate that there are as many as 12 million Catholics in China, split roughly evenly between the two churches.

As of the end of 2013, China had published 65 million copies of the Bible, the report said, including minority language editions.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。