We were driving through Taicang City on our way from Suzhou to a famous fish restaurant on Yangtze River for dinner. Suddenly I saw in the distance a building that resembled a church. With a rare quick action, I took out my camera and snapped this picture. It turned out to be the only picture I took in Taicang.
Taicang is a small city on the Yangtze River, northwest of Shanghai and northeast of Suzhou. It is famous for being the port from which Zhenghe (鄭和) launched his great voyages in the early 1400s. There is now a Memorial Hall of Zhenghe here. Taicang was most prosperous in the Ming Dynasty when the voyages were launched.
Now it is just a small and unremarkable city in the vast landscape of China. This church is a Catholic church named after Saint Francis. Beyond that, I know nothing about it. But it seems to be in reasonably good shape, and is a testimony to the strength of the church in China today.
According to the government, there are about 14 million Christians (including Catholics and Protestants) in China. Unofficial figures put the number at about 50 million.