This summer’s Olympics in Beijing are sure to cast a spotlight on human-rights issues in China. Chinese citizens can now choose their own careers, travel abroad, own a car and establish a business. But Christians cannot legally hold a prayer meeting in a private home, share a church service with foreign Christians or interact with foreign Christian organizations.
China officially recognizes five religions – Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam and Taoism. An official patriotic association for each religion controls adherents’ activities and governs the appointment of clergy.
Officially, there are 16 million Protestant believers and 5 million Catholics in China, but these figures exclude members of unregistered churches, and experts believe that the true figure is much greater.