Religion in China

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China is a large and diverse country with stark geographic differences. One particular regional difference is religion. The Communist Party of China is officially atheist and party members are strongly discouraged from holding religious faith, however, China does officially sanction five religious organizations – Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestant Christianity, and Catholicism (the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is not recognized by the Vatican). Above are six maps of China, each showing the regional concentration of the largest faiths in China. The northwestern desert region is Islamic, the southwestern mountainous region is Buddhist, the northeast is Chinese folk religions, and the southeast Taoist.

The above maps may be a little misleading as they display the percentage for various religions, but the scale on each map is different and the population in the western provinces are much smaller than the eastern ones. For example, the Christianity scale only goes up to 7% (for the darkest shade) whereas Buddhism reaches a high of 70% and Islam 50%. Overall, the majority of Chinese are unaffiliated with any religion or practice some ancient folk religion (73% of the population). The other major religions are Buddhism 16%, Taoism 7%, Christianity 2%, and Islam 0.5%.

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