Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China.
C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” powered by opium.
The treaty that ended the opium wars included a clause that required China to allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens.
Then the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, was responsible for more than 20 million deaths. Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Millions believed him.
In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.
Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most. These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.
Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures.
This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.
Learn of Christianity and Islam in China
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Note: This post first appeared on iLook China March 11, 2010 as post # 128. This revised version reappears as post # 1095.