In September 1992, the Hong Kong-based Chinese Church Research Center, under the leadership of the late missionary statesman Jonathan Chao, caused a stir around the world when it announced that an informant had seen a document produced by China’s State Statistical Bureau that said there were 63 million Protestants and 12 million Catholics in the country as of June that year. Earlier in 1992, the TSPM had published a figure of just five million Christians under its supervision, while the official figure for Catholics at the time was four million.
Reactions to the CCRC’s statement varied widely. Those who had promoted a high estimate of the number of Christians in China felt vindicated. Others expressed scepticism or outright disbelief and demanded more evidence. One publication commented:
"The informant was not able to give any further details, such as the definition of Protestant and Catholic Christian used by the survey, the Christian population of each province, or the gender proportion and average educational level of the Christian community."
The Amity News Service noted that the CCRC had “never published a copy of this document, and there has been no independent confirmation of its existence.” The Chinese authorities never did release the figures the CCRC claimed to have seen, and so they remain unsubstantiated.Main Article