Chinese over age 18 in the Peoples Republic of China are permitted to be involved with officially sanctioned Christian meetings through the China Christian Council, Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Roughly speaking the TSPM is in charge of administrative duties while China Christian Council is responsible for theological matters.
Communist Party Membership and Christianity
To belong to the Chinese Communist Party members must forgo their religion. The Party has an official stance of atheism. There are fears that mixed religious beliefs couldcause divisions. Not belonging to The Party does have repercussions on work and political aspirations.
Government authorities limit proselytism, particularly by foreigners and unregistered religious groups, but permit proselytism in state-approved religious venues and private settings.
After the Chinese Revolution and the victory of the People's Liberation army, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. It was ruled by the Communist Party of China.
In 1951, Y. T. Wu, a Chinese Christian leader, initiated the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, which promoted a strategy of 'self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation' in order to be independent of foreign influences on the Chinese churches and to assure the government that the churches would be patriotic to the newly established People's Republic of China.
The first Chinese Christian National Conference was held in Beijing in 1954. After that, the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China was set up.
Restrictions on religion were relaxed after the 1970s, however religion in China is still tightly controlled by government authorities. The enforcement of regulations can also vary between provinces.
There is a multiplicity of congregation types in China which do not fit neatly into the traditional ‘house church - Three-Self’ paradigm.”