Chinese Religions and Beliefs
The province of China is extended over a vast land, thronged with the largest population of the world. The region also enjoys the status of being one of the oldest civilizations, since then numerous religions grew and flourished in this ancient world.
China is beckoned by the edification and rituals of mainly 5 religions-- Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and other Christian religions.
Confucianism - a reasoned doctrine rather than a religion, remarkably ruled China for more then 2,000 years. There are also many other ancient religions and beliefs followed by some ethnic groups. Chinese culture was perhaps the first to develop an intellectual skepticism regarding the gods.
Freedom of Religious Belief
Buddhism came to China from its bordering country India, in the 1st century AD, and could flourish only after the 4th century. China has more than 13,000 Buddhist temples, with about 200,000 monks and nuns, spreading all over the country.
Buddhism falls mainly into three groups: Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism) and Bali Buddhism.
Taoism was brought into existence during the Han dynasty in China. The Chinese philosopher, Lu Xun once said: "China roots deep in Taoism. If one wants to understand Chinese history and culture, one must perceive Taoism first."
Taoism is also known as a traditional religion of China and has more than 600 Taoist temples throughout the country with 6,000 resident Taoist priests and nuns.
Islam, which entered China in the 7th century, is followed by about more then 17 million members. There are more than 26,000 mosques with 40,000 Imams.
Islam immerged on the coastal lines of China cities during the Tang dynasty -618 - 907 AD and progressively extended to other parts of China.
Arab traders, who came to China for the purpose of trade, settled down on the southern coast of China and later established their mosques in great maritime cities like Guangzhou and Quanzhou.
Catholicism was ubiquitously prevalent in China during the Tang Dynasty in the year 635, later on its mark faded but again in the Yuan dynasty -1271 - 1368 the religion endeavor a comeback for a short period. Later, the Italian priest ‘Matteo Ricci’, was authorized to set up churches during the Ming Dynasty- 1368-1644. After the opium war, there was a rapid catholic development in China.
Now China is home to 4 million Catholics, including 2,700 clergymen who serve more than 4,000 churches.
Christianity includes Protestant, not of a Catholic or Eastern Church. The religion was introduced to China during the 1930s, when there was a large inflow of missionaries from the world.
When new China was founded in 1949, there were some 700,000 Chinese Christians. Today, the followers of Christianity in China believed to rise up to 6.5 million, including 18,000 missionaries. There are more than 8,000 Christian churches and 20,000 meeting halls nationwide. China also has about 48 religious seminaries and colleges, and almost 10 million copies of the Bible have been published all over China.