Government More Tolerant of Christianity--As Long as Followers Are Loyal to the State

March 8, 2004

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On March 8, 2004 The Christian Science Monitor reported, "[D]espite the challenges of practicing Christianity in China, there are signs that the once near pariah faith is being given more latitude. Most striking is what appears to be a public admittance by Beijing that Christianity is not only on the rise but is growing rapidly - and that the church is benefiting a spiritually hungry population that is growing more 'individualistic.' The change is part of a new official formula that is fitfully taking shape here: a basic and perhaps grudging acceptance of faith, including low-level experiments with religious exchange abroad - so long as Chinese believers profess loyalty and patriotism to the state. 'Christianity is growing quickly here, faster maybe than in any other part of the world,' says Gao Ying, vice president of the Beijing Christian Council. 'Individualism is growing, and people need to feel love and community. We encourage the home church members to worship, and to register themselves as Christians so they can worship under the law.'"