A few notes from A Star in the East: The Rise of Christianity in China ….
In the 1940s Western academics like Harvard’s John K Fairbank, were proclaiming it had “become evident that few Chinese people are likely to become Christians and that the missionaries’ long-continued effort, if measured in numbers of converts, had failed.”
In 1949 the Chinese Communists came to power and within a few years had expelled all Western missionaries. China was to become the model of a fully secularized post-religious society.
By the best estimates, in 1949, there were around 1 million Chinese Protestants and 3.2 million Catholics. From the beginning the Communist Party opposed all forms of religious faith, although the fiercest and deadliest persecution awaited the Cultural Revolution of 1966.
The death of Mao in 1976 led to a relaxation of persecution, and by 1979 one million Protestants had become 5 million and 3.2 million Catholics had become 5 million, mostly due to fertility.
By 2007 there were as many Christians in China as members of the Communist Party. Today Christians greatly outnumber party members, although increasingly there is an overlap between the two affiliations. [Yes, there are now many members of the Communist Party who are Christians.]
If this rate of increase continues for just ten more years, there will be more Christians in China than any other nation in the world.
It appears that faith in a coming post religious China has been revealed as the opium of Western intellectuals. The foolishness of God has shamed the wise. The weakness of God has overpowered the strong.