Source: The Washington Post
On November 28, 2004 The Washington Post reported, "On Sundays, the capital's government-registered Protestant churches overflow with as many as 5,000 worshipers each. Some are so crowded that believers who don't arrive early must huddle in the basements, watching services on closed-circuit televisions. And, since the Chinese government has limited the number of registered churches in Beijing and other cities, millions of other Christians worship underground. On a visit to Shanghai last year, I wandered into a registered Catholic church and witnessed nearly 1,000 Chinese participating in Mass -- one of three Masses held that Sunday, to keep up with rising demand. Believers listened raptly to a sermon, and prayed fervently in unison. Though the Communist Party all but destroyed the Protestant and Catholic churches when it took over in 1949, scholars estimate that the country now has at least 45 million Christians. Dennis Balcombe, pastor of Hong Kong's Revival Christian Church and an expert who has studied Chinese Christianity for two decades, believes that there may be as many as 90 million Christians in China."