China is a country with
great diversity of religions, with over 100 million followers of various
faiths. The main religions are Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, China's
indigenous Taoism, along with Shamanism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity and
the Maxi people's Dongba religion. The Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz,
Tatar, Ozbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar, and Bonan people adhere to Islam; the
Tibetan Buddhism, and the Dai, Blang and Deang to Theravada Buddhism.
Quite a few Miao,
Yao and Ti are Christians. Religious Han Chinese tend to practice
Buddhism, Christianity or Taoism. Buddhism
was first introduced to China from India approximately in the first century
A.D., becoming increasingly popular after the fourth century. Tibetan
Buddhism, or Lamaism as it is sometimes called, is found primarily in Tibet
and Inner Mongolia.
Now China has more
than 13,000 Buddhist temples, with about 200,000 monks and nuns. Islam
probably first reached China in the mid-seventh century. During the
Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, Arab and Persian merchants of
the Islamic faith came overland through Central Asia to northwest China,
bringing with them the Islamic faith.
The Yuan dynasty
(1279-1368) witnessed the zenith of prosperity of Islam. Now China has
more than 30,000 mosques and more than 40,000 imams and ahungs. Christianity
reached China several times after the seventh century, and was introduced to
the country on a large scale after the Opium War of 1840. Now there
area bout four million Catholic believers, 4,000 clergy and more than 4.600
churches and meeting places in China.
introduced to China in the early 19th century, and spread widely after the
Opium War. Now China has a bout 10 million Protestant believers,
18,000 clergy and more than 12,000 churches and 25,000 other centers of
took form as a religion during the second century, originating from sorcery,
pursuit of immortality and other supernatural beliefs in ancient China.
Taoists take the philosopher Lao Zi
(traditionally said to be born in 604 B.C.) as their teacher, and his work,
the Dao De Jing (The Classic of the Way and Its Power), as their
canon. Sublimating the philosophical concept of "Dao" or
"Tao" (the Way) as described in the Dao De Jing), the posit
that man can become one with the "Tao" through self-cultivation,
and achieve immortality. China now has more than 1,500 Taoist temples
and over 25,000 Taoist monks and nuns.
The constitution of China specifies: Citizens
of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public
organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to
believe in, any religion; nor may anyone discriminate against citizens who
believe in or, or do not believe in, any religion.
The Criminal Law of China, the General
Principles of the Civil Law, the National Minority Regional Autonomy Law,
the Education Law, the Labor Law, the Electoral Law of the People's
Congresses, and the Organic Law Governing Villagers' Committees include
corresponding articles stipulating that citizens' freedom of religious
belief should be protected, and that citizens who believe in, or do not
believe in, any religion should not be discriminated against.
The policy of freedom of religious belief
adopted by the Chinese government has the following basic contents: Respecting
and protecting freedom of religious belief. In China, every
citizen enjoys the freedom to believe in, or not to believe in, any
religion. Within a religion, every Chinese citizen has the freedom to
believe in any denomination or division. Each citizen has the freedom
to adopt or reject a religious belief.
This means that believing in or not believing
in religion is a citizen's personal affair, and no state organ, public
organization or individual may put pressure on any citizen in this regard.
All citizens are completely equal, are entitled to equal rights and at the
same time must perform the duties prescribed by law, whether or not they are
religious believers. Protecting normal religious activities.
All normal religious activities held at special sites for religious
activities or in believers' homes according to religious custom shall be
managed by religious organizations and believers, and shall be protected by
No one shall interfere with them. The
Regulations on the Management of Sites for Religious Activities promulgated
by the Chinese government specify: The site for religious activities shall
be managed by the administration organization of the site autonomously.
Its lawful rights and interests and normal
religious activities held at the site shall be protected by the law.
Whoever infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of a site for
religious activities shall bear legal responsibility. All religions
are equal. In China, no religion occupies a privileged position.
The Chinese government treats all religions equally, without discrimination.
All religions shall respect each other and co-exist in harmony.
In China, religion is separated from political
power and from education too. State power shall not use religion in
its own service' and religion shall not interfere with the state's
administration, judicature and education. All religions adopt the
principle of independence and self-management. Chinese religions
shall be run solely by the religious organizations, clergy and believers
themselves. Chinese religious affairs and organizations shall not be
controlled by foreign forces. Chinese religious organizations are
willing to conduct friendly exchanges and with counterparts in other
countries to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship. But such
exchanges must be based on complete equality and mutual respect.
to other websites
Putuozongcheng ( Potaraka Doctrine ) Temple in Chengde
AsianInfo on China