Jesus More Popular Than Mao On China’s Social Media

According to a survey reported on by Foreign Policy, God, Jesus, the Bible, and other Christian topics show up more often in Weibo search results in China, than do topics related to communist leaders and the Chinese Communist Party. (Weibo is the approved alternative to Twitter in China.)

Christianity on Weibo, ChinaFor people who have never been to China, such an infograph can be hard to appreciate fully. Discussions are heavily monitored on Weibo by a legion of Fifty-Centers (citizens paid by the government to monitor social media and to astroturf), and by key word screening conducted by both Weibo and the Chinese government. Posts on off-limit topics are routinely deleted, and people have been hauled off to jail for comments deemed detrimental to the state.

While the infograph may or may not be an indication of a vibrant Christian community in China, it should not be seen as an indication that Christians can operate freely and without hindrance in China (stories like this should disabuse such a notion). Rather, it is an indication that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are more afraid of discussions regarding its own role in China than they are of discussions regarding Christianity. Given the scarcity of hits garnered by topics related to the the CCP on Weibo, either most political comments on Weibo are deleted because they are negative in nature, or the CCP has become so paranoid that it is simply deleting all political commentary on Weibo as a general rule, just in case. (This is quite likely.)

Either way, it is remarkable that Jesus is discussed more often on Weibo than is China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

 

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