There are now more than 100 million Protestants and over 10 million Catholics in China, according to this report, up from 3 million at the end of the Cultural Revolution. "The explosive growth of Chinese Christianity is on a collision course with a government determined to centralize power in the Communist Party in ways not seen since the death of Mao. China’s Christians are to a great extent urban, well-educated and connected to global information networks. For these reasons, serious pressure on Christians will have an even more damaging impact on China’s international standing than what happened in Tibet, Xinjiang or Hong Kong. As news spreads that the Communist Party is persecuting Christians for their faith, the effects on American public opinion will be both explosive and long-lasting, potentially ending any hope for better or even stable relations between Washington and Beijing." Read the story here (paywall may apply).
"(T)here is one place where China’s bullying elicits only silence: the Vatican. Which is strange, because Jimmy Lai is not only Hong Kong’s most well-known champion of democracy; he is also its most prominent Catholic layman. At a moment when he and his family most need their shepherd, Pope Francis is MIA.
The silence might be understandable if Pope Francis were in the tradition of pontiffs who hold themselves aloof from worldly affairs. But Pope Francis is a man who readily weighs in on outrages wherever he finds them, whether it be modern air conditioning, American capitalism or Catholic moms who breed “like rabbits. But on China . . . silence." Read the story here (paywall may apply.)