1,343,239,923 (July 2012 est.)
GDP PER CAPITA
$8,500 (2011 est.)
Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2% note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
China has a long tradition of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, which have undergone a revival due to many of the government’s restrictions on religious practice having been lifted since the 1980s. The Han Dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) promulgated Confucianism as the state culture, which it has largely remained. Buddhism gained significant influence by the 5th century and mixed considerably with native Daoism. The Communist Party implemented state atheism when it came to power in 1949 and attempted to expunge religion from society during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). However, religious practice surged as prohibitions eased. Chinese religious policy is freedom of belief and practice with government oversight of organization and political action. The government oversees officially organized religious bodies, though underground organizations also exist, particularly for Christianity. Foreign proselytism is illegal, and Communist Party members are required to be atheist. Internal conflicts tend to have a religious element, as seen in the cases of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province.
As an umbrella organization founded in 1957, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) organized the Church in China under government auspices—a break with the Republican period. The Catholic Church in China was under the control of foreign missionaries up through the 1949 revolution, and some Church institutions resisted the establishment of communist rule. The CCPA consecrates bishops in China without the approval of the Pope, but many are informally recognized by Rome. There...
Founded in 1954, the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) is an umbrella organization sanctioned by the government for all Protestant churches in China. Initiated by a member of the Congregational Church, Y.T. Wu, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement promoted a strategy of “self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation” in order to remove foreign influences from the Chinese churches and to assure the communist government of their loyalty to the newly-established...
The China Islamic Association of China (CIA) was founded in 1953 under government auspices as a means to organize the practice of Islam in China. The CIA integrates the work of Muslim leaders representing different nationalities concentrated in Western China. It provides guidelines for Islamic education, supports seminaries, and organizes the distribution of the Qur’an. The CIA also represents China’s Muslims in international forums and coordinates annual pilgrimages to Mecca. It is located...