A Christian watchdog group is pushing back against a Pew report suggesting a decline in Christians in China

The leader of a Christian nonprofit watchdog group is pushing back against a recent one Pew Research report suggesting that the number of Christians in China may have declined in recent years amid repression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“A recent Pew Research Report measuring religion in China suggests that Christianity in the country has stagnated and may even be declining,” wrote David Curry, president and CEO of Global Christian Relief, on November 19. Fox News Digital about the Chinese Christian population.

“But to borrow from Mark Twain, such suggestions seem greatly exaggerated. In fact, many of us who advocate for persecuted Christians worldwide believe that the Christian community in China may even be growing,” he continued.

Curry, which also works as a commissioner on the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), continued to explain that internal research by Global Christian Relief suggests that Pew’s estimates “could be off by as much as 100 million, but no one really knows the size” of China’s Christian population.

The Pew study cited a survey by the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS), which claimed that about 23.2 million adults in China self-identified as Christians in 2010, while 19.9 million identified as Christians in 2018. And Curry and Pew Research noted such figures. however, it may be unreliable.

“Unfortunately, we cannot be sure how survey patterns are affected by political circumstances,” the study noted. “There could be a real increase in the share of Chinese adults who identify with Christianity, which is hidden from survey measurement. For example, it is possible that there has been an increase in Christian affiliation that is offset in surveys by a growing reluctance among respondents to identify as. Christian due to the intensifying government scrutiny of Christian religious activity. While this is a hypothetical possibility, there is no way of knowing from the available survey data whether it is actually the case.”

Curry wrote that “according to the analysts within Global Christian Relief, and our many contacts on the ground in China, only about one in five people self-report.”

In a recent phone interview with The Christian Post, Curry said the church in China is “definitely under attack,” and that they have faced greater pressure since “President Xi has consolidated his control.”

“Part of that scenario is trying to minimize faith in general, but Christianity specifically, mostly because there are so many Christians, and this is why the number of Christians is significant,” Curry explained. He speculated that the number of Christians in China is somewhere between 100 million to 120 million people, which is more than the estimated 98 million. members of the CPC.

Curry said the Chinese government is trying to split up churches, noting that he recently spoke with the leaders of a 500-person church in China that was forced by authorities to split into separate groups of 100.

“This is a very common practice where they try to take big churches and break them into pieces,” he said, adding that such efforts by the Chinese government effectively force many of them underground again.

“They attack churches and Christianity by trying to divide it and strike at the leadership of the church,” Curry said. “But I think the church is strong, and I think it’s still growing.”

Curry also noted that he was “troubled” by the warm reception Jinping received during his recent visit to the United States, and that “business leaders are in for a rude awakening if they think they can have long-term success by tapping into the Chinese market. Without understanding of the moral structure on which that government is based.”

He further noted a Chinese-style pressure fast approaching for Western Christians.

“I think you’ll see it first in censorship, and then deplatforming,” he said of the potential prosecution. “I think you’ll see it in restrictions on banking systems for Christian ministries. I think you’ll see it using the tax system to punish Christian ministries or limit them.”

“It will put a lot of pressure on the church, but I think that in the long run, the American church will have an opportunity to grow healthier if they respond correctly, because I think the church so far in China is becoming healthier, even as it is under pressure,” Curry added.

Source: www.christianpost.com

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