China Allows 50,000 Baptisms, Reversing a Slowdown

March 13, 2019

In the People’s Republic of China, nearly 50,000 baptisms were celebrated in the Catholic Church in 2018, confirming the end of the slowdown observed between 2010 and 2014.

At least 48,365 baptisms were celebrated in the Catholic churches and communities of the People’s Republic of China in 2018.

These numbers were published by the very official cultural institution Faith, based in Shijiazhuang, capital of the Chinese province of Hebei, and include the figures from 104 Catholic diocese recognized by the Chinese authorities. Although partial—the statistics of the so-called “underground” Church are lacking, even though an agreement was signed between China and the Vatican in September 2018—these numbers seem to confirm those of the previous year and show an increase in the number of baptisms. 

The annual reports on Catholic baptisms provided by Faith every year since 2000 have revealed a fluctuating trend, going back and forth between increase (up until 2010) and a significant drop between 2010 and 2015, with a renewed increase beginning in 2016.

Faith, as the faithful spokesman of the Maoist regime—and using conventional rhetoric—says that the Gospel still has “a long way to go” in China, urging the leaders of the Catholic hierarchy to carefully update and report their records… 

But in the light of the systematic and blind Sinicization of Christianity desired by Xi Jinping’s regime—in a country where the Church represents 1% of the population—this encouragement sounds more like a lure.