The largest Christian theme park in southern China will be opening its doors this coming Spring. Changsha Xingsha Ecological Park will be a sprawling 150,000 square meters and will be a place of prayer, site seeing, and photography for all Chinese citizens.
The biggest attraction will be an 80-meter-tall, ark-shaped church standing in the Middle of the park.
While the park is expected to be a major tourist attraction, many are outraged after learning that China’s atheistic government helped fund the project.
One Sina Weibo user, China’s version of Twitter, wrote “the government should be alert to the penetration of religious ideas that contradict China’s mainstream ideology, which might pose a threat to political security.”
Many are skeptical as to why China would use religion for tourism.
“Many local governments are struggling for progress during industrial transformation, and religion is being used for cultural and tourist development,” Zhang Yiwu, a professor and cultural scholar at Peking University, told Global Times.
Despite the backlash, reports say Christianity is on the rise in China.
A report released during the 9th National Chinese Christian Congress in 2013 showed that more than 2.4 million Chinese Protestants were baptized from 2007-2012, with experts saying that more people are turning to religion for help and spiritual consolation.