Ever since Deng Xiaoping’s relaxation of the Chinese Communist party’s (CCP) suppression of religious practice in the late 1970s, Christianity has flourished in China. This has been an unexpected phenomenon, as it has been a story largely unheralded by the western media. While figures are patchy, it is estimated that the Christian missionaries (of whom the first were the Nestorians as far back as the Tang dynasty in the seventh century) that were expelled from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 left behind about half a million people baptised – the majority of whom were Catholics. Today, estimates of Christians range between 40 million and 100 million.

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