Were rampant commercialism and plagiarism more harmful for Chinese Christians than government censorship?
The Chinese government’s latest crackdown on online evangelism has deleted or led to the closure of numerous Christian accounts after new measures took effect in March.
Among them are Jonah’s Home, which for years provided Bible study, evangelism, and discipleship resources for Chinese Christians. Jidian, a Christian apologist and influencer on Zhihu, a Q&A platform, lost nearly 300 Christianity and Bible-related questions he had answered on the website.
These restrictions have intensified since 2018 and have crushed hundreds of WeChat public accounts created by evangelical organizations and Christians. Those who attempted to reopen would find their “reincarnated” accounts quickly deleted.
WeChat is a powerful digital media outlet with more than 1.2 billion users worldwide and tens of millions of “public accounts.” Over the past decade, WeChat accounts have been an important platform for Chinese Christians to speak about their faith and communicate the gospel. Prior to 2018, these accounts offered discipleship materials, inspirational messages, and apologetics resources, attracting followings of millions of Christians and seekers.
In 2017, our Chinese team at ReFrame Ministries commissioned a professional company in China to analyze more than 5,000 WeChat public accounts and to study the content and influence of the Christian accounts. This report examined and calculated parameters such as the number of reads, likes, Christian-related keywords, and published articles.
Though many individual Christians and Christian media groups have left WeChat or lost their accounts recently, we hope that our study can still be a useful reference for believers, churches, and organizations interested in …