China is a country that having many kinds of religious belief, people are free in choosing their own religions and they can express their beliefs openly. According to some recent surveys, there are 100 million people who have religious beliefs and religious establishments about 85,000 with 300,000 clergymen in China nowadays. There are some major religions in China:
Confucianism We can say Confucianism is the biggest religion in China with most believers. It is also one of the world ideological sense. No one can deny its importance to China's glorification and greatness in all aspects. Exactly it is not religion, but it surpasses the importance and influence of all the regilions in China. Firmly speakling, it is one of social or human philosophy for harmonization of people to people, and people to nature! The value of peaceful co-existence between man and nature is thoroughly shown in this philosophical system. Nowadays, the whole world are suffering the unprecedented crisis in dealing with the relationship between human and nature, probably the solution could be found in Confucianism! It is the Chinese-style Christianism! By the way, the new-born generation is going back to the essence education of Confucianism. This is traditional heritage and spiritual succession.
Buddhism Introduced from ancient India and greatly developed in China, Buddhism has about a two thousand year of history. Traditionally, Buddhism has been a religion that maintained the most believers in the country. Now there are more than 13,000 Buddhist temples and monasteries throughout China, monks and nuns about 200,000 of whose 120,000 are believed in Tibetan Buddhism, which is first worshipped by people living in Tibet and Inner Mongolia regions.
Taoism is originated in China that having more than 1700 years history. Initially, Taoism was derived from some mystical beliefs, later the religion absorbed the doctrines of the Chinese philosopher Lao Zi. Taoists regard Lao Zi as the teacher in Taoism. Now there are Taoist palaces more than 1500 and 25,000 Taoist masters.
Islam was introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), at that time many merchants from the Arab countries came to trade with China. They were Muslims, so they introduced Islamic belief to China. The most flourishing time of the religion was during the Yuan Dynasty (1279 - 1368). The Mongolian forces defeated the Arabs and Persians in the Middle East, they captured and enrolled them into the Genghis Khan's forces to fight in China's soil. The Muslim soldiers came with the Mongolian forces to roam around China, their belief influenced the local people then. Nowadays, most of the 20 million believers in Islam are among 10 ethnic minorities like Hui and Uyghur with a small number of Han Chinese.
Catholicism China has been influenced with intervals by the religion since 7 century AD and greatly introduced by the Western powers since 1840. Presently, about 4 million Catholic followers in China with 4000 clergymen and nuns.
Protestantism came into China in the early 19th century and began to flourish in the 1840s. Now there are Protestant churches 12,000, 10 million Protestant believers and the number of followers is increasing.
Religious organizations are free in practicing their beliefs and holding religious activities upon abiding the Chinese law. These organizations can deal with their internal affairs independently, establish religious schools and publish books about belief according to their own discretion. In schools, teachers don't preach about religious beliefs during conventional classes, but in some religious establishments, preachers can hold some classes about religion for new followers and priests. Some higher education institutions, there are departments for research in religious history and development. According to the Chinese law, people are free to practice kinds of normal religious activities at home and nobody can meddle in.
Since the 1980s, there were about 600 Christian churches to be built or renovated every year. Over 18 million copies of the Holy Bible were printed and published till the end of 1996. The authority granted tax reduction for printing of the Bible. The Chinese Catholicism has appointed 126 archbishops from 1958 to 1995. The South Catholic Church in Beijing hold 4 masses every Sunday, one of which is in English.
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