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Religions and Beliefs

China has a vast land and a large population; thus a variety of religions grew and matured in this old nation. There are now mainly five religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and other Christian religions. 

 Confucianism, a philosophy rather than a religion, surprisingly ruled China for 2,000 years. There are still other primitive religions and beliefs followed by some minorities.

 Buddhism spread into China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC --- 220 AD) , and played an important role in Chinese history and culture.

 Taoism was founded in China during the Han Dynasty. The Chinese philosopher, Lu Xun once said: 'China roots deeply in Taoism. If one wants to comprehend Chinese history and culture, one must comprehend Taoism first.'

 Islam arose in China's coastal cities in Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and gradually spread to many other areas. Arab traders who landed on the southern coast of the country established their mosques in great maritime cities like Guangzhou and Quanzhou. Islam is also an important religion in China, since the religion of Allah converted many minority groups like Uigur, Hui and Kazak, etc.

 Catholicism was widely embraced in China in the year 635 during Tang Dynasty, but the enthusiasm soon waned. A historical record of the event was made on a stone stele which is now display in Xian. Later in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) the religion attempted a comeback for a short period. In the tenth year of Wanli reign (1582) in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Italian priest Matteo Ricci, was permitted to set up churches. After the opium war, catholic developed rapidly in China.

 Christianity not of a Catholic or eastern church (i.e. Presbyterian, Lutheran) was introduced to the country during the 1930s, when there was a large influx of missionaries.

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