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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 was an androcentrism in which women has no dignity and human rights. According to Confucianism, women had to obey absolutely their fathers when they were not married, to obey their husbands absolutely after in the wedlock and to obey absolutely their sons in their widowhood. Morality, proper speech, modest manner and diligent work were basic virtues they ought have. In case women were barren, unfilial, talkative, jealous, heavily sick, or in adultery and theft, they would be divorced no matter what the reasons were.

Buddhism spreads into China during the Han Dynasty (206 BC --- 220 AD) , and played an important role in Chinese history and culture. The main classifications are Han Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Southern Buddhism. Han Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism are important divisions, because they keep a great many Buddhist scriptures. The related scenic spots are Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi Province, Xiqiao Scenic Area in Guangdong Province, Longmen Grottoes in Henan Province, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Shaanxi Province.

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.'

Dialectic Taoism holds an opinion that the movement of Tao is continuous interplay between opposites. Taoists consider Yin and Yang are negative and positive principles of the universe. One cannot exist without the other, and they often represent opposites in relations to each other. Through the Taoist totem above, one can know how important they are in Taoism. Yin usually means negative, female, dark, evil and earth while Yang means positive, male, light, good and heaven. It is very similar with the Yin and Yang theory in Wushu, Chinese Herbalism, etc.

Islam aroses 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.

It 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  is 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.