The Catholic church became established in northeastern China in 1838 as the Apostolic Vicariate of Liaotung 遼東 / Manchuria and Mongolia 滿蒙獨立 (The Good News was brought to the Shenyang area by Jean Chenin (in Chinese: 神南诺望), a French Franciscan missionary, who came in 1861 by way of Yingkou. A church was built in 1861, followed by a nursery and a school. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, they were destroyed. Based on the indemnity of the Rebellion, a large cathedral was built, which remains the current cathedral.

n many parts of China, the practice of religion continues to be tightly controlled by government authorities. Chinese over the age of 18 are only permitted to join officially sanctioned Christian groups registered with the government-approved Protestant Three-Self Church and China Christian Council, and Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church. On the other hand, many Christians practice in informal networks and unregistered congregations, often described as house churches or underground churches, the proliferation of which began in the 1950s when many Chinese Protestants and Catholics began to reject state-controlled structures purported to represent them. Members of such groups are said to represent the "silent majority" of Chinese Christians and represent many diverse theological traditions.