Chinese Christians are sharing their faith on Weibo, China’s giant, state-regulated, social network and some are beginning to challenge the censorship by speaking out against religious persecution.
When Christian band Rainbow Come appeared on China’s equivalent of “The X Factor,” Christians turned to social networking to drum up votes for the band so their music could reach more Chinese.
Within a few days, thousands of votes had been posted for Rainbow Come, according to China’s Gospel Times, enough to propel them to a leading position in the seventh round of “Chinese Dream” on Zhejiang Television. Such is the power of social networking even in China, which has officially banned Facebook and Twitter.
In the place of these established but unregulated sites, the Chinese authorities have permitted Weibos microblogs. From its inception in 2009, China’s leading microblog company, Sina Weibo, now boasts 400 million users, and the number is rising. Rival companies also lay claim to hundreds of millions of subscribers.
According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, 40 percent of the population of China are now Internet users, and most of these are microbloggers. To put that in perspective, there are more microbloggers in China than the populations of Britain, Germany, France and the United States combined, by some margin.