China Creating New 'Theology' for Christians

One that will 'better integrate with Chinese culture,' says an official

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 7, 2014 12:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – The number of Christians in China is on the rise, a fact that's making the country's control-freak atheistic government quite nervous and causing tensions between police and worshipers. To address this issue, state media reports that China is creating its own Christian-based theology that will conform more closely with the government's way of doing things, according to the South China Morning Post. "The construction of Chinese Christian theology should adapt to China's national condition and integrate with Chinese culture," says a director with the country's religious affairs department. No more details were offered.

There were about 67 million Christians in China in 2010, or about 5% of the population, according to the Pew Research Center. However, the Communist Party allows worship only in state-sanctioned churches under the government's watchful eye. Officials have started taking aim at the many "underground" churches that have cropped up across the republic, as well as some of the state-approved ones: In Zhejiang province—where Wenzhou, the city known as "China's Jerusalem," is located—officials have been tearing down crosses and steeples and have ordered at least 100 church demolitions for "zoning" violations since the spring, reports the New York Times. This battle "has been going on for decades and will continue," a human-rights activist says in an email to the Washington Free Beacon. "The authoritarian police state cannot possibly tolerate a faith that preaches dissent from the regime's one-party rule."

In this photo taken July 16, 2014, church members pray in a private room in a Christian church in the Shuitou township in Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province.
In this photo taken July 16, 2014, church members pray in a private room in a Christian church in the Shuitou township in Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province.   (AP Photo/Didi Tang)
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