The Atlantic

Catholics Have a Messaging Problem in China

The Vatican seems desperate to beat Protestantism in the race for Chinese souls. Can it convince the population that it’s not a “cult”?
Source: Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

Nearly half a century after Mao Tse-Tung banned religion in China, the country is home to an estimated 72 percent of the world’s religiously unaffiliated people. Yet if Christianity continues to grow at its current rate there, in a few years there will be more Christians in China than in any other country in the world.

By claiming just a sliver of China’s population of 700 million religiously unaffiliated people, religious groups can drastically change their size and influence. As Christian religions lose ground across much of the Western world, China is one of the few countries where Christianity is experiencing stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in 1956 to an estimated 87 million today.

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