Since 1949, indigenous Chinese Christianity has been growing at a rate unparalleled in history. Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist of the New York Times wrote on June 25, 2006:
“Although China bans foreign missionaries and sometimes harasses and imprisons Christians, especially in rural areas, Christianity is booming in China.
Most of the growth has taken place in the unofficial Chinese house church movement.
Christianity also follows Chinese migration.
After 2000, the center of gravity has shifted from the countryside to the cities, spreading Christianity among intellectuals and associating it with modernity, business and science.
In 1800 there were 250,000 baptized Roman Catholics, but no known Protestant believers out of an estimated 362 million Chinese.
By 1949, out of an estimated population of 450 million, there were just over 500,000 baptized Protestant Christians.
Anonymous internet columnist Spengler speculated in 2007 that Christianity could “become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now.”
The current number of Christians in China is disputed.
The most recent official census enumerated 4 million Roman Catholicism in China” Roman Catholics and 10 million “Protestantism in China”
However, independent estimates have ranged from 40 million to 130 million Christians.
According to “China Aid Association” China Aid Association State Administration for Religious Director Ye Xiaowen reported to audiences at ”Beijing University” Beijing University and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences estimates that the number of Christians in China had risen to 130 million by the end of 2006, including 20 million Catholics.
This has been officially denied by the Foreign Ministry.
According to a survey done by China Partner and East China Normal University in Shanghai, there are now 39 to 41 million Protestant Christians in China.
These include Christians in registered and unregistered churches.
All other numbers previously mentioned were rough estimates that never have been substantiated. The survey was done with 7,400 individuals in 2007-08 by China Partner in all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.
Another survey done with 4,500 individuals by East China Normal University in Shanghai reveals up to 40 million. This claim needs references to reliable sources from April 2011.
Other studies have suggested that there are roughly 54 million Christians in China, of which 39 million are Protestants and 14 million are Roman Catholics; these areseen as the most common and reliable figures.
Today, the Chinese language typically divides Christians into two groups, members of Jidu jiao.. Protestantism, and members of Tianzhu jiao literally ”Lord of Heaven” ..Catholicism.