NANJING, China (NNI) – China’s Protestant Christian population is now “approaching five million” in 5,000 churches, according to Three-Self leader, Bishop K.H. Ting. “Church buildings,” said Ting, “have for the last nine years been increasing at the rate of three every two days.” This is believed to be the first time the figure of five million believers has been used by a Three-Self leader.
Ting also talked about a more worrying trend – pressure on the church from leftist cadres – and revealed that the China Christian Council had sent letters of protest to certain provincial governments who had toughened their religious policies in the past year.
Speaking in a News Network International interview in Nanjing on October 17, Bishop Ting maintained that this growth of roughly one million in the past year was due not so much to more Christians being discovered as more churches were opened, but to an increase in new converts to Christianity as seen in applications for baptism. Said Ting, “In the hearts of the Chinese people there is an emptiness and they don’t find fulfillment elsewhere … eventually they come into contact with the church and they are satisfied.”