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1.1 Organization of this Paper
2. Christianity in China
2.1 Freedom of religion in China
2.2 Registered Christian institutions
2.3 Unregistered churches
2.4 Modern Christian persecution in China
3. The role of Christianity in Chinese society
3.1 Social safety net
3.2 Economic improvement
3.3 Indicator of Democracy
In his book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” (2011), Huntington mentioned that the United States is the principal enemy of China and there is a possibility of war between China and the United States for hegemony in East Asia. Today, China has the second-largest military budget and economy in the world, whereas the larger country is the United States. Moreover, while the United States’ influence on economy and military has declined gradually, Chinese power has risen steadily. In 2021, China’s GDP might overtake America’s GDP (The Economist 2013). Nowadays, East Asian people worry about the relationship between China and the United States, North Korea might be the trigger and involve these two big countries into a new war. Therefore, understanding the power of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is important in understanding the East Asia situation.
However, as contrasted to its increased power in the world, China struggles with inside, and that is how to deal with religions in China. Under a communist philosophy, China labeled religion as if it was opium and started to go about eliminating it. In the 70 years since the People's Republic of China (PRC) was established, the number of religious people in China, especially the number of registered and unregistered Christian church members have increased significantly. There is an increasing number of Christians under the CPC government which leads us to two questions. The first question is how far the CPC can control Christianity in China. China is characterized by the fact that there is no separation of the church and the state because the CPC manages all religions strictly. Hence, if a religion does not follow the CPC’s decision, the religion is going to be destroyed by the CPC likes Falun Gong. However, the increase in Christianity, particularly unregistered church members in the past few years, seems to be an indication of the limit of the CPC’s control. The second question is what is the role that Christianity plays in Chinese society. Despite belonging to unregistered Christian groups being risky in China, it is spreading broadly through China, not only within rural areas but cities as well. There are several reasons to encourage people to join Christianity, and that the management of religion by the CPC has reached its limits, and that the number of religious people will increase more in the future. Moreover, religion plays an important role in Chinese society, and it is difficult to remove it from people's lives. However, the existence of religion is perfectly contradictory to Communism thought. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the role and influence of Christianity in China in order to reveal the limitation of governance by the CPC.
In section 2, this research covers the current situation of Christianity in China. It will include the freedom of religion, relationship between the government and Church, and religious practice of the Protestant church, Catholic church, and unregistered churches. This section explains how Christianity in China has been developed under the CPC after the PRC was established, and how the CPC has tried to control Christianity.