Jesus Beats Communism on Chinese Social Media

A Chinese social media survey from the beginning of April suggests that there may be more online conversations about Christianity than Communism.

Christians receive communion at the state-controlled Xishiku Cathedral in Beijing. | (Photo: Reuters)

According to data from Foreign Policy taken from a Weibo search on April 3, God received over 150 million mentions, while Mao Zedong was only referenced around 10 million times. In a table created this week, the publication juxtaposes Christian terms with their Communist Chinese "counterparts," suggesting that the Bible may be more popular than politics.

According to its findings, Chinese Congregation received 40 million mentions to the Communist Party's roughly eight million and the Bible was included in posts 17 million times, compared to the less than 60,000 posts referencing former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's famous Little Red Book, featuring his sayings and beliefs.

Christian references only "trailed" when Christians (five million) were compared against Communist Party Members (30 million).

Foreign Policy noted that the work of the allegedly 100,000 government censors have likely skewed the numbers, deleting posts which are overly political and consequently removing posts "containing the names of China's top leaders, perhaps as a measure to deflect controversy and criticism."

It also noted that "underground church" did not appear in their queries, but instead turned up a page explaining that "results cannot be displayed due to relevant laws and regulations."

Still, it noted that while headlines frequently name political officials such as Premiere Xi Jinping, he only received 4 million Weibo mentions, compared to Jesus, with 18 million references.

The population of Christians in China has increased dramatically in recent decades, though actual numbers are difficult to find. A 2011 Pew Study, stated that five percent of China's two billion population identified as Christian.

Pew has previously noted that "published estimates of the Christian share of the Chinese population range from about 1% in some relatively small-sample public opinion surveys to about 8% in reviews of membership reports from churches and church leaders (including unregistered churches) within China. Given the size of China's population, a difference of a single percentage point represents more than 10 million people."

According to a Bloomberg report from 2012, the social media site, boasts over 300 million users.

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