A large number of Chinese students who converted to Christianity while studying abroad are leaving their faith after returning to China because of the difficulty in adjusting to their home country’s religious environment.
The number of Chinese students who have studied in English-speaking countries has been increasing since 2010, and tens of thousands have embraced the Christian faith while living abroad, the Christian Daily website reported Feb. 2.
However, missionary staff who have worked with them in the United States say around 80 percent of these converts gradually stop attending church services after going back to China.
Wu Yutong experienced some difficulties finding a church in Shanghai similar to the one she attended back in London, where she converted to Christianity. She kept on moving from church to church because she found Christian teachings in China incongruent with her own faith.
Like Wu, many other Christian converts find that there is something amiss in churches in China. Because the state monitors religious groups closely, local believers have learned to act cautious and defensive toward outsiders.
China Aid recently released a summary of religious persecutions in China last year. According to the report, 2016 ushered in major changes in the country’s religious environment after President Xi Jinping ordered religions to comply with the government’s agenda.
To prepare for the implementation of China’s Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, house churches have been targeted, forcing them to register under the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement, one of the official Christian organizations run by the Communist Party. Authorities have also enacted measures against these unregistered churches just to push them into compliance.