Last modified on October 11, 2021, at 07:55

Future of atheism in China

Map of East Asia.

China has the world's largest atheist population and practices state atheism.[1][2] China has one of the highest rates of atheism in the world.[1][2] See also: China and atheism

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[3] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world's population. China's population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[4]

The current atheist population mostly resides in East Asia (particularly China) and in secular Europe/Australia among whites.[5]

According to Slate, "Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China."[6] Evangelical Christianity is especially growing sharply in China.[7] See also: Growth of Christianity in China

In 2020, The Economist published an article entitled Protestant Christianity is booming in China which indicated:

As for China’s Christians, their numbers continue to grow. The government reckons that about 200m of China’s 1.4bn people are religious. Although most practice traditional Chinese religions such as Taoism, and longer-standing foreign imports such as Buddhism, Protestant Christianity is probably the fastest-growing faith, with at least 38m adherents today (about 3% of the population), up from 22m a decade ago, according to the government’s count. The true number is probably much higher: perhaps as many as 22m more Chinese Protestants worship in unregistered “underground” churches, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Notre Dame. As China also has 10m-12m Catholics, there are more Christians in China today than in France (38m) or Germany (43m). Combined, Christians and the country’s estimated 23m Muslims may now outnumber the membership of the Communist Party (92m). Indeed, an unknown number of party members go to church as well as local committee meetings.[8]

To see the magnitude of the explosive growth of Christianity in China, look at this graph about the growth of Christianity in China in a DW news story about Chinese Christianity (DW is a mainstream news outlet in Germany).

For more information, please see: East Asia and global desecularization

Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union and state atheism

See also: Collapse of atheism in the former Soviet Union and Persecution of Christians in the USSR and Militant atheism

Joseph Stalin, the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953, patronised the League of Militant Atheists, whose chief aim, under the leadership of Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, was to propagate militant atheism and eradicate religion.

The former Soviet Union had state atheism.

Professor Eric Kaufmann points out that the percentage of the world's population that is atheist declined after the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union and that was largely the cause although the growth of religious fundamentalism played a part as well.[9]

The website Science 2.0 points out concerning state atheism: "... “forced” atheism has been disappearing steadily over the past 40 years and we see a corresponding surge of people towards spiritual clusters. In percentage terms, 1970 may be considered the high point for global atheism and agnosticism. As communism weakened, and eventually collapsed in 1989, there was a significant resurgence of religious belief...The same thing is now happening in China.[10]

According to Investopedia:

For much of the 20th Century, the Soviet Union rivaled the United States in political, military and economic strength. While the central command economy of the Soviet Union was diametrically opposed to the market liberalism of Western nations, the rapid economic development that the Soviets posted in the middle decades of the century made their system appear to be a viable economic alternative...

After experiencing a catch-up period with attendant high growth rates, the command economy began to stagnate in the 1970s. At this point, the flaws and inefficiencies of the Soviet system had become apparent. Rather than saving the economy, various piecemeal reforms instead only undermined the economy's core institutions. Gorbachev’s radical economic liberalization was the final nail in the coffin, with localized interests soon unraveling the fabric of a system founded on centralized control...

...after growth tapered off and various reforms were instituted to revive the stagnating economy, the Soviet Union eventually collapsed, along with its promise of an alternative to Western capitalism. Where centralized economic planning helped spur its mid-century growth, the Soviet Union's piecemeal reforms to decentralize economic power ultimately undermined its economy.[11]

The dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991 was also a watershed event in terms of the decline of leftism and the decline of the secular left (see also: Central and Eastern Europe and desecularization).

The former communist countries of Europe experienced a significant drop in atheism after the breakup of the Soviet Union.[12]

According to the University of Cambridge, historically, the "most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power."[13] Vitalij Lazarʹevič Ginzburg, a Soviet physicist, wrote that the "Bolshevik communists were not merely atheists but, according to Lenin's terminology, militant atheists." However, prior to this, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution established an atheist state, with the official ideology being the Cult of Reason; during this time thousands of believers were suppressed and executed by the guillotine.

In 2003, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard published a paper by Assaf Moghadam entitled A Global Resurgence of Religion? which declared:

As the indications leave little doubt, Russia is showing clear signs of a religious resurgence. In fact, all seven criteria by which change in religious behavior and values are measured here confirmed that Russia is experiencing what could be called a religious revival. Since 1970, the nonreligious/atheist population has been on steady decline, from 52% in 1970 to 33% in 2000. Further, the percentage of this population is projected to decrease even further, possibly reaching the 20% mark in 2025. Between 1990 and 1997, belief in God has risen from 35% to a whopping 60%, while belief in the importance of God has climbed to 43% in 1997, up from 25% in 1990. More people have been raised religious in Russia in 1997 (20%) than at the beginning of the decade (18%), and 8.39% more Russians believed religion to be important toward the end of the 1990s, when compared to 1990. “Comfort in Religion” has also sharply increased within this time period, from less than 27% to over 46%. Finally, more and more Russians attend church services more regularly in 1997 than they did in 1990.

In the three Eastern European countries that were included in the WVS survey on belief in God, a drastic rise could be witnessed of respondents who answered this question in the affirmative. In Hungary, the percentage of believers in God jumped from 44% to 58% from 1981 to 1990, even prior to the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In Belarus, the number of people who believe in God nearly doubled over the course of the 1990s, from 36% to 68%, while in Latvia this figure almost quadrupled, from 18% to 67% in the same time period. Similar trends held true when it came to the importance of God, where there was a sharp rise in all three countries.[14]

Christianity Today indicated in 2017:

“The comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking,” states Pew in its latest report. Today, only 14 percent of the region’s population identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nones.” By comparison, 57 percent identify as Orthodox, and another 18 percent as Catholics.

In a massive study based on face-to-face interviews with 25,000 adults in 18 countries, Pew examined how national and religious identities have converged over the decades in Central and Eastern Europe. The result is one of the most thorough accountings of what Orthodox Christians (and their neighbors) believe and do.[15]

Pew Research indicated in a 2017 article entitled Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe:

In many Central and Eastern European countries, religion and national identity are closely entwined. This is true in former communist states, such as the Russian Federation and Poland, where majorities say that being Orthodox or Catholic is important to being “truly Russian” or “truly Polish.” It is also the case in Greece, where the church played a central role in Greece’s successful struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire and where today three-quarters of the public (76%) says that being Orthodox is important to being “truly Greek.”

Many people in the region embrace religion as an element of national belonging even though they are not highly observant. Relatively few Orthodox or Catholic adults in Central and Eastern Europe say they regularly attend worship services, pray often or consider religion central to their lives. For example, a median of just 10% of Orthodox Christians across the region say they go to church on a weekly basis.

Indeed, compared with many populations Pew Research Center previously has surveyed – from the United States to Latin America to sub-Saharan Africa to Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa – Central and Eastern Europeans display relatively low levels of religious observance.

Nonetheless, the comeback of religion in a region once dominated by atheist regimes is striking – particularly in some historically Orthodox countries, where levels of religious affiliation have risen substantially in recent decades.[16]

China's state atheism, the communist control of China and deteriorating economic conditions

Xi Jinping is the current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China which requires that all their members be atheists.[17] See: China and atheism and Atheism and communism

See also: China and atheism and Persecution of Christians in the People's Republic of China and Communism and religious persecution

China's state atheism and its persecution of Christians

Atheism is a core tenet of militant communist ideology (see: Atheism and communism). In 1955, Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai declared, "We Communists are atheists".[18]

In 2016, the International Business Times reported: "A senior Chinese advisor on religious affairs has said the country should promote atheism throughout society, in remarks that appear to reflect a deepening campaign to reinforce traditional Marxist values in China — and could add to concern about official attitudes among believers in the country’s five officially recognized religions."[19]

In 2014, the New American website indicated: "The Communist Party of China (CPC) is letting its members know that the party’s official adherence to militant atheism has not changed; Party members are not allowed to be Christians, or to hold any other religious beliefs. That is the clear message sent by a top Party official in an editorial published on November 14 in the Global Times, the international version of People’s Daily, the official newspaper and mouthpiece of the CPC."[20]

There is growing persecution of Christians by the Chinese government.[21] Historically persecution has often been an ineffective means to stop the growth of Christianity in a region.[22] Persecution and exponential Christian growth have frequently coincided. On the other hand, persecution often coincides with diminishing Christianity.[22]

Chinese allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party, increasing protests in China, high Chinese debt, real estate bubble, demographic crisis and deteriorating economic conditions

Unlike the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party has not been overthrown and one of the key reasons it has not is that it delivered economic growth by adopting an economic hybrid of capitalism/communism/socialism.[23] However, there are signs that China is going to experience great economic turmoil in the next few decades.

Grafetti from the late November 2019 Hong Kong democracy protests reads: "Dear World, CCP will infiltrate your government, Chinese enterprises $ interfere your political stance, China will harvest your home like Xinjiang. BE AWARE or BE NEXT!"[24]

The Chinese government's response to the Tiananmen Square protest which was the Tiananmen Square massacre fueled a big rise in Chinese interest in Christianity.[25]

The Gospel Herald points out concerning the Tiananmen Square massacre:

"The brutal massacre caused many Chinese intellectuals and other elites to lose faith in communism and embrace Christianity," said Loyola University of Maryland professor Carsten Vala. "Following the events, China's church has grown so large that the Communist Party fears its influence."

Rev. Zhang Boli, A human rights activist who was present at Tiananmen in 1989, agrees, saying the Chinese government continues to oppress Christians because the religion is "moving very, very quickly" in the country.[26]

The article Protesting In China states:

While the Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees "citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration," in practice protests are closely monitored and shut down by police. Some large protests gain international attention, like those in Tiananmen Square and across China in 1989 and the more recent demonstrations in Hong Kong, most don't get covered by news organizations. There are a lot of them. The Chinese government reported the number of "mass incidents" grew from 8,700 in 1993 to over 87,000 in 2005, the last year it released an official count. Sun Liping 孙立平, a sociology professor at Tsinghua University, estimated that there were up to 180,000 in 2010—or 490 protests every day. "Stability maintenance" is a priority for China's leaders and they invest immense time and resources into "winning the battle for public opinion" and squelching discontent.

The protests often complain about government action or inaction, but the grievances cover a wide range of issues involving labor disputes, rural land grabs, environmental damage or perceived threats, how women or minorities are treated, the actions of other nations, conditions for demobilized soldiers and policing practices. The China Labour Bulletin’s Strike Map has already documented 451 strikes this year. Below are some of the USC U.S.-China Institute events and films about protests in China.[27]

China's real estate bubble crisis and debt crisis

CNBC declared in 2021:

China’s debt has grown dramatically over the past decade and is one of the biggest economic challenges confronting the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which turns 100 this week.

Beijing has identified the ballooning debt pile as a potential threat to its economic stability, and in recent years tried to reduce the economy’s reliance on debt for growth.

That deleveraging effort came to a pause for much of last year, when China’s debt — measured against the size of its economy — soared to record levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic.[28]

The city of Shanghai

In 2014, The Diplomat published the article Chinese Elites: The Real Threat to the Communist Party which stated:

When Westerners think of the kind of political crises that could threaten the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rule, they tend to think of mass protests in the mold of Tiananmen Square. While no doubt conscious of this potential threat, Chinese leaders need to guard against a much more diverse set of challenges to their rule. Besides mass protests, these include: ethnic unrest, China’s regional divisions, and the threat posed by CCP members and Chinese elites.

It is this latter threat that will pose the greatest risk to the CCP in the years ahead as it embarks on a much needed economic rebalance.

To understand why elites pose a bigger threat to the Party than the Chinese masses, one needs to consider what China must do in rebalancing the economy. The major imbalance in the Chinese economy is the excessive amount of state-driven investment that has fueled China’s rapid economic growth, particularly in the last decade plus. As Michael Pettis and others have explained, this excessive investment has been made possible primarily by policies that artificially repress the income and wealth of Chinese households.

For example, by keeping the renminbi artificially low, Chinese households pay more for imported goods while Chinese exporters—many of which are state owned enterprises or at least owned by the politically well-connected—find their products more competitive on global markets. Similarly, by artificially repressing interest rates, and strictly limiting creditors’ (households) investment options, Chinese households are in effect subsidizing credit for the borrowers through their bank deposits. Those borrowing money in China are overwhelming local governments and state owned enterprises.

Regardless of the instrument used, the important point is that the current economic model has disproportionately benefited borrowers who in most of the cases are CCP members or part of the larger Chinese elite. By contrast, the income of Chinese households has continued to decline precipitously as a percentage of GDP. As Pettis explains in his book, The Great Rebalancing, “For the past decade, as China grew by 10–12 percent annually, household income grew by 7–8 percent annually while the state sector grew by nearly 15 percent annually.”[29]

The news organization Wion points out that "China's housing boom was built on a great wall of debt. Senseless lending and construction have straddled the real estate sector with millions of empty apartments and billions of dollars in debt."[30]

The mainstream German news organization DW indicated in 2021: "In China, embattled real estate giant Evergrande faces a major moment of truth this week. The company owes an estimated 300 billion dollars, and is expected to default on bond payments. Evergrande operates and develops 1,300 real estate projects across China and employs 200,000 people. The company financed its breakneck expansion with credit and bond issues. But the pandemic has paralyzed its operations. Its debt equates to two percent of Chinese Gross Domestic Product. Evergrande was always thought to be 'too big to fail.' If it topples it could take a number of banks down with it, like Lehman Brothers did in 2008. The risk of defaulting has prompted a sell-off. Evergrande stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since the start of the year."[31]

In the first half of 2021, 12 Chinese real estate companies have defaulted. The Evergrande debt crisis has intensified and has had spillover effects in the real estate market and 274 real estate companies across China declared bankruptcy.[32]

Even if the Chinese government can fence off and contain the Evergrande crisis, China has a real estate bubble and investors are concerned that it is going to burst and a huge effect on the Chinese economy. 30% of China's gross domestic product (GDP) is in the real estate market.[33] China's real estate bubble bursting could be much worse than Japan's real estate bubble which greatly affected its economy.[34] Investopedia's article The Lost Decade: Lessons From Japan's Real Estate Crisis indicates: "From 1991 through 2001, Japan experienced a period of economic stagnation and price deflation known as 'Japan's Lost Decade.' While the Japanese economy outgrew this period, it did so at a much slower pace than other industrialized nations. During this period, the Japanese economy suffered from both a credit crunch and a liquidity trap."[35]

China's debt crisis videos

China's demographic crisis, aging population and its effect on its economy

Eric Kaufmann, author of the book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the 21st Century, has pointed out that a sub-replacement level fertility rate for a country is a very difficult problem for a country to fix through public policies and culture places a significant effect on fertility rates (Religious cultures have significantly higher fertility rates than cultures with nonreligious/irreligious populations. See: Atheism and fertility rates).[36] The Institute for Family Studies article Pro-Natal Policies Work, But They Come With a Hefty Price Tag states: "Pro-natal incentives do work: more money does yield more babies. Anybody saying otherwise is mischaracterizing the research. But it takes a lot of money. Truth be told, trying to boost birth rates to replacement rate purely through cash incentives is prohibitively costly."[37] So far no country has been able to turn around a sub-replacement level of fertility in its population via public policies.

In order for a society to replace itself via births, the fertility rate must be 2.1 birth per woman.

France is a fairly nonreligious/irreligious country (see: French atheism). France has instituted some pro-natal policies in order to raise it national fertility rate.[38] The current fertility rate for France in 2021 is 1.850 births per woman, a 0% increase from 2020. As noted above, a replacement level of birth for a nation is 2.1 births per woman.

A Great Leap Forward propaganda poster.

In 2021, the Financial Times reported:

China is set to report its first population decline since the famine that accompanied the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong’s disastrous economic policy in the late 1950s that caused the deaths of tens of millions of people...

Analysts said a decline would suggest that China’s population could soon be exceeded by India’s, which is estimated at 1.38bn. A fall in population could exact an extensive toll on Asia’s largest economy, affecting everything from consumption to care for the elderly.

“The pace and scale of China’s demographic crisis are faster and bigger than we imagined,” said Huang. “That could have a disastrous impact on the country.”...

In a report published last week, China’s central bank estimated that the total fertility rate, or the average number of children a woman was likely to have in her lifetime, was less than 1.5, compared with the official estimate of 1.8.[39]

According to Harvard Business Review:

Demographic data shows that China’s working-age population is shrinking. In the absence of drastic improvements in labor productivity, a smaller workforce means a lower GDP growth rate. Japan has experienced a similar decline in working-age population, and it has been unable to achieve the productivity gains necessary to maintain growth. It is unlikely that China’s firms will succeed where Japan’s have failed, primarily because the factors that have driven China’s spectacular growth over the past 20 years—a low baseline of productivity to begin with, an excess supply of rural workers, and easy access to foreign technology—have significantly weakened.[40]

In 2021, The Atlantic indicated:

The oft-repeated compliment paid to China’s leaders is that they “play the long game.” Masters of strategic thinking, the narrative goes, Beijing’s top cadres are always looking far ahead—planning, preparing, and plotting for the future. If only American politicians and businessmen could see past the next election cycle or quarterly earnings report, the Chinese wouldn’t be eating our lunch.

But then there’s the curious case of China’s impending demographic disaster: The country is getting old, and quickly, which is threatening its economic progress. The problem is nothing new. Experts have been ringing the alarm for years...

It may seem puzzling that the world’s most populous nation, with 1.4 billion people, needs more people. But in an aging society, a larger number of elderly, less productive people who are more reliant on health care and pensions need to be supported by a proportionally smaller group of productive youngsters. The burden that mismatch creates—for families, the government, and the economy—can weigh on growth. The research firm Capital Economics, in a February study, cited aging as a key reason China may fail to overtake the U.S. as the world’s No.1 economy by 2050. The demographic drag will be so severe, Mark Williams, the firm’s chief Asia economist, told me, that he thinks China’s economy will likely never surpass America’s...

The government has been signaling that it may become more proactive in promoting having babies. Premier Li Keqiang, at this year’s legislative assembly, mentioned China needed an “appropriate” level of births, while the latest five-year plan sets a goal of greatly increasing day-care facilities for infants. Such measures may help, but likely only at the margins. The demographic decline China is experiencing may simply be beyond fixing. The problem “is so massive, and they are so late to this game,” Wang said.

Yet we can’t dismiss the possibility that the Communist Party will completely reverse course. For the past five decades, Beijing utilized its repressive machinery to suppress births; it could try to use that same machine to increase them. That new mission, though, could be significantly more difficult. “It is much easier to control and prevent births,” said Fong, the One Child author. “You can’t make people have children.”

Or can you? The Chinese state has tremendous (and terrifying) power to control the populace. To compel couples to have more babies, officials could reintroduce some of the tools used to enforce the one-child policy, such as stiff fines, and employ them with new technology. The social credit system, a method of scoring people based on their behavior, could link child-rearing to bank loans or plum jobs.

This may sound outrageous at first. But the Communist Party, still desperate to legitimize itself by meeting economic targets, fixated on control and locked into outdated thinking, could once again head down a dangerous course, motivated not by long-term strategy but by perceived political necessity. And once again, the path would be littered with abuses and individual tragedies that the party itself may come to regret.[41]

However, the damage to China's economy by its demographic problems has already been done as it takes time for babies to mature and become economically productive citizens. So even if China were to radically improve its fertility rate, it will take time to reverse the economic effects of its past below-replacement fertility rate.[42]

The videos below show that China's demographic crisis and aging population may be the biggest economic and societal problem facing the country:

Chinese Communist Party and its crackdown on key industries

Germany's DW news website declared its article China crackdown: How much pain can the economy take?:

The future of China's economic miracle has been preying on investors' minds this year in the wake of a far-reaching crackdown by Beijing on many of its key industries.

Billions of dollars have been wiped off the value of several Chinese technology firms as a result of new anti-monopoly and data security rules. Online shopping behemoth Alibaba and its peers have been hit particularly hard.

The curbs have been extended to many other areas of the economy, including the burgeoning cryptocurrency market, where transactions of digital currencies — including Bitcoin — are now effectively illegal. The private education and energy sector have also not been spared.[43]

Future of the Chinese Communist Party and state atheism in China

Demonstrator in Tiananmen Square

As noted above, Eric Kaufmann points out that the percentage of the world's population that is atheist declined after the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union and that was largely the cause although the growth of religious fundamentalism played a part as well.[44]

The CNBC Op-ed article Chinese Communist Party at age 100 confronts growing contradictions states about the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Xi Jinping:

As Jude Blanchette writes in Foreign Affairs: “His belief that the CCP must guide the economy and that Beijing should rein in the private sector will constrain the country’s future economic growth. His demand that party cadres adhere to ideological orthodoxy and demonstrate personal loyalty to him will undermine the governance system’s flexibility and competency. His emphasis on an expansive definition of national security will steer the country in a more inward and paranoid direction. His unleashing of ‘Wolf Warrior’ nationalism will produce a more aggressive and isolated China.”...

Yet recent history also shows that the CCP has demonstrated a ruthless resilience, brutal efficiency and ideological dexterity that has confounded its critics time-and-again and has allowed it to navigate Mao’s Cultural Revolution from 1966-1976 with its estimated death toll of up to 20 million, the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989, the Covid-19 crisis of 2020 that China spawned and then slayed, and so much more.

Xi’s world view was colored by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Communist party in 1989 and 1990, a lesson that drives almost everything he does regarding his own Communist party, and also by his own struggle for power.

Back in 2018, he reflected on how it was possible for the Soviet party to collapse with its 20 million members, when with 2 million members it had defeated Hitler and the Third Reich.

“Why,” he asked. “Because its ideals and beliefs had evaporated.” He derided Gorbachev’s policy of “so-called glastnost,” which allowed criticism of the Soviet party line. The implication was clear: There would be no such openness under Xi.

Though he’s said less about the experience of his own rise to power in 2012, when the party was facing its biggest political scandal in a generation, he can only come away from it having learned how perilous infighting and corruption could be to holding the Communist Party together. His consolidation of power ultimately involved the disciplining of 1.5 million officials.

One can only understand his rush now to crush all possibility of internal dissent and seize all opportunity of international gain as the keen reading of his own political lifeline, measured against the emergence of the Biden administration with its efforts to reverse Western democratic decline and allied disarray.

Xi likely has only a window of about a decade before his country’s demographic decline, its structural economic downturn, and inevitable domestic upheavals threaten to reduce the historic possibility currently presented to him by his country’s technological advance, its geopolitical gains and his own current hold on power.[45]

China's leaders are increasingly losing control over the information flow to its citizens

The world as a whole is becoming more religious (see: Desecularization) and Chinese citizens are increasingly coming in contact with the outside world.

On December 23, 2012, Eric Kaufmann wrote:

I argue that 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious.

On the other hand, the secular West and East Asia has very low fertility and a rapidly aging population... In the coming decades, the developed world's demand for workers to pay its pensions and work in its service sector will soar alongside the booming supply of young people in the third world. Ergo, we can expect significant immigration to the secular West which will import religious revival on the back of ethnic change. In addition, those with religious beliefs tend to have higher birth rates than the secular population, with fundamentalists having far larger families. The epicentre of these trends will be in immigration gateway cities like New York (a third white), Amsterdam (half Dutch), Los Angeles (28% white), and London, 45% white British.[46] [47]

Hong Kong Christians at Gateway Camp. In 2005, there were four times as many non-Western World Christians as there were Western World Christians.[48]

See also: Global Christianity

Thousands of Chinese university students in the United States have become Christians.[49]

Bloomberg News in its article China’s Communists Face Daunting Future as Party Marks 100 Years points out: "But while China has near-absolute control on information, its citizens are also more connected to the outside world than ever before through virtual private networks that skirt the Great Firewall and international travel -- at least before Covid-19 hit. In times of crisis, like at the early stages of the pandemic, China’s censors allowed a rare deluge of online criticism."[50] There are Christian ministries that have been very effective as far as internet evangelism. The Christian internet evangelism organization Global Media Outreach indicates that as of September 2019 over 1,900,000,000 "gospel visits" have occured via their websites. Global Media Outreach works with many Christians around the world (see: Global Christianity).

Although the future sustainability of China's Belt and Road Initiative is questionable given China's growing economic problems and the fact that foreign governments are racking up debts to China that are unlikely to be paid[51], the initiative does increase foreigner's influence on China - including foreigner's religious beliefs.

Typical lifespans of one-party governments

Australia's ABC News website indicates in its 2020 article China's Communist Party is at a fatal age for one-party regimes. How much longer can it survive?:

Pundits predicting the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party have been proven wrong decade after decade.

Communist China ...is one of the longest running single-party regimes in modern history.

But one-party governments have rarely survived longer than 70 years: the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ruled for 74 years before the bloc collapsed in 1991, and Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party retained power for 71 years until its defeat in the 2000 elections.

China's only contemporary competition is North Korea, which has been ruled by the Kim family dynasty for 71 years, since its founding in 1948.

Analysts say while there's no time limit on authoritarian governments, the CCP's one-party rule may not be sustainable in the long run despite its past resilience and distinctiveness from other regimes...

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor in Chinese politics at the University of Canterbury, says the big question is whether the CCP can continue to provide economic benefits for the Chinese population.

"Growth has [slowed] in China and they have the fastest ageing society in the world," she said.

"Chinese banks have bad debts, the actual unemployment figures are censored, [and] inflation is very high."

Dr Diamond believes China's "demographic implosion" — fuelled by China's now-abolished one-child policy — will be hard to reverse without significant immigration.

"But how can China do that on a large enough scale?" he said.

"I think its efforts to encourage higher population growth will fail because there are still serious quality of life problems in China.

"The rapid ageing of the population is going to challenge every aspect of the 'China dream'."[52]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  2. 2.0 2.1 A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  3. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  4. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  5. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post, May 23, 2013
  6. When Will China Become the World’s Largest Christian Country?, Slate
  7. In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions
  8. Protestant Christianity is booming in China, The Economist, Sep 15th 2020
  9. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Eric Kaufman states this at around the 59 minute time of his speech at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University)
  10. Atheism Peaks, While Spiritual Groups Move Toward Convergence by Nury Vittachi | July 13th 2015 07:31 PM
  11. Why the USSR Collapsed Economically
  12. Global trends in religiosity and atheism 1980 to 2020
  13. Investigating atheism website
  14. A Global Resurgence of Religion? by Assaf Moghadam, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University
  15. Pew: Here’s How Badly Soviet Atheism Failed in Europe. Christianity Today, 2017
  16. Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe, Pew Research, 2017
  17. China’s Communist Party Reaffirms Marxism, Maoism, Atheism, New American, 2014
  18. Noebel, David, The Battle for Truth, Harvest House, 2001.
  19. Senior Chinese Religious Advisor Calls For Promotion Of Atheism In Society, International Business Times
  20. China’s Communist Party Reaffirms Marxism, Maoism, Atheism, New American, 2014
  21. Martyr killed by bulldozer becomes symbol of growing persecution of Christians in China
  22. 22.0 22.1 Persecution: Does It Help or Hurt Church Growth?
  23. China's Communist Party is at a fatal age for one-party regimes. How much longer can it survive? by B Christina Zhou, Jan 4, 2020
  24. https://twitter.com/HKstreetart/status/1196483549492391937/photo/1
  25. Militant atheists caused a massive and explosive growth of Christianity
  26. China: How the Tiananmen Square Massacre Grew the Chinese Church, By LEAH MARIANNE KLETT , Gospel Herald, Jun 04, 2014 05:04 PM EDT
  27. Protesting In China
  28. These charts show the dramatic increase in China’s debt
  29. Chinese Elites: The Real Threat to the Communist Party By Zachary Keck, The Diplomat, January 28, 2014
  30. Gravitas: China's housing bubble set to pop?
  31. Could Evergrande collapse topple China's economy?
  32. China’s real estate bubble explained and compared to Japanese real estate crisis 1990s
  33. China’s real estate bubble explained and compared to Japanese real estate crisis 1990s
  34. China’s real estate bubble explained and compared to Japanese real estate crisis 1990s
  35. China’s real estate bubble explained and compared to Japanese real estate crisis 1990s
  36. Eric Kaufmann - Whither the Child: Causes and Consequences of Low Fertility
  37. Pro-Natal Policies Work, But They Come With a Hefty Price Tag by Lyman Stone, Institute for Family Studies website, MARCH 5, 2020
  38. France, a Pro Natalist Country
  39. China set to report first population decline in five decades, Financial Times, 2021
  40. Can China Avoid a Growth Crisis?, Harvard Business Review, 2019
  41. China Isn’t That Strategic By Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 2021
  42. Demographic Collapse — China's Reckoning
  43. China crackdown: How much pain can the economy take?, DW news website, 2021
  44. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Eric Kaufman states this at around the 59 minute time of his speech at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University)
  45. Op-ed: Chinese Communist Party at age 100 confronts growing contradictions by Fredrick Kemp, CNBC website, SAT, JUN 26 20212:54 PM EDT
  46. London: A Rising Island of Religion in a Secular Sea by Eric Kaufmann, Huffington Post, 2012
  47. 97% of the world's population growth is taking place in the developing world, where 95% of people are religious, Tuesday, April 30, 2013
  48. Is Christianity taking over the planet?
  49. of Chinese students become Christians in US universities, Evangelical Focus website, 2016
  50. China’s Communists Face Daunting Future as Party Marks 100 Years, Bloomberg News, June 28, 2021, 6:06 AM EDT
  51. Report Raises New Concerns over China’s Overseas Lending, Voice of America website, 2021
  52. China's Communist Party is at a fatal age for one-party regimes. How much longer can it survive? by B Christina Zhou, Jan 4, 2020