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Religions and Beliefs

China is a country with a great diversity of religions, with over 100 million followers of the various faiths. There are now mainly five religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and other Christian religions.



Buddhism was introduced to China from India approximately in the 1st century AD and became increasingly popular and the most influential religion in China after the 4th century. It plays an important role in Chinese history and culture. Tibetan Buddhism, as a branch of Chinese Buddhism, is primarily in Tibet and Inner Mongolia. Currently China has 13,000-some Buddhist temples and about 200,000 Buddhist monks and nuns.

Taoism native to China, probably took shape as a religion during the second century, based on the philosophy of Lao Zi (traditionally said to be born in 604 BC) and his work, the Dao De Jing (Classic of the Way and Virtue). China now has over 1,500 Taoist temples and more than 25,000 Taoist priests and nuns. One of the Chinese philosophers, Lu Xun once said: "China roots deeply in Taoism. If one wants to comprehend Chinese history and culture, one must comprehend Taoism first."

Islam probably first introduced to China in the mid-7th century and climb to a peak in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Islam is also an important religion in China. Now China has more than 30,000 mosques and about ten national minorities, including the Hui and Uygur and Kazak with a total population of 18 million, who faith in Islam.

Catholicism and other forms of Christianity reached China several times in the seventh century, but had not spread widely until the Opium War in 1840. and Protestantism was introduced into China in the early 19th century. After the founding of New China, Chinese Catholic and Christian communities took the path of independence and self-administration. Now there are more than 3.3 million catholic and nearly 5 million Protestants in the country.

Confucianism, based on the teachings and writings of the philosopher Confucius, is an ethical system that sought to teach the proper way for all people to behave in society. It is true to say that Confucianism is a school of philosophy rather than a religion. Citizens of China may freely choose and express their religious beliefs, and make clear their religious affiliations.


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