Organized Religions in China

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner once said, “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer difficult questions: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?” Source: Theocracy Watch

The answer to Justice O’Conner’s question may be the reason why China’s government keeps such a close watch on religions and decides which ones may practice there. In fact, there’s plenty of historical evidence that China’s restrictions on religions may be justified.

For instance, Roman Catholic Popes influenced the kings of Europe leading to the Crusades (1095 – 1291) with 1 to 3 million dead; the persecution and eradication of the Cathars, and the Medieval, Spanish, Portuguese and Roman inquisitions.

Then there were the Protestant-Catholic Wars: the Thirty Year’s War (1618 – 1648) with 3 to 11.5 million dead and the French Wars of Religion (1562 – 1598) with 2 to 4 million dead.

Next there are the major modern Islamic-Christian wars: The Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970) with 1 to 3 million dead; Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 – 2005) with 1 to 2 million dead, and the Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990) with 120 – 250 thousand dead.

Last there’s China’s Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864) led by converted Chinese Christians against the Qing Dynasty with 30 to 100 million dead.

You may have noticed from the few examples that religions with too much political influence and power do not have a good track record.

Then consider how many major religions there are. Why does it have to be so complicated? After all, there’s only one God—I think.

As it is, “China is a country with a great diversity of religious beliefs. The main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism… According to incomplete statistics, there are over 100 million followers of various religious faiths, more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. In addition, there are 74 religious schools and colleges run by religious organizations for training clerical personnel.” Source: Chinese Culture

If you visited the previous link, you discovered that China does allow people to worship God and join a few approved closely watched religions. reports: “About half of China’s estimated 100 million religious followers are Christians or Muslims, with the rest Buddhists or Taoists, the government says, though it thinks the real number of believers is probably much higher.”


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

6 Responses to Organized Religions in China

  1. maynard says:

    You have made some really good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  2. I read a sci fi novel a couple of years ago, the plot of which was that ALL religion was banned because it was the source of all social ills. Sometimes I think that’s no such a bad idea.

    • A good idea. Where does it say in the Bible to support and fund huge religious organizations that also use their wealth for influence politics? Did you know that the Catholic Church is the largest private land owner in the world because many followers died and left all that they owned to the Church?

      Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” That’s about it.

      But there are many examples that warn against large religions.

      For instance, 2 peter 2:1 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.’


      Metthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

      There are 65 Bible Verses about False Prophets:

      Two or three is probably a good number and they could gather in a park; a field, a living room but why do we need all these churches where mostly ignorant people who know nothing of the history of the Bible of what it says in any depth allow a preacher to possibly mislead them by misquoting one line from the Bible.

      The Bible was written over a period of several thousand years by a people who did not think literal but metaphorically. Any literal translation of the Bible is bound to be wrong as metaphorical writing is open to interpretation influenced by culture and bias.

  3. merlin says:

    I have an off the wall theory. China may watch religion more because of such situations as the Taiping rebellion. I’ve noticed Chinese enjoy copying and imitating others. There are numerous “fake” products in China, but it doesn’t stop there. The taiping rebellion consisted of a guy that claimed he was the 2nd coming of Jesus and rallied people behind him to overthrow the qing dynasty. Even today you can find Chinese imitating others. Just search youku for “aircraft carrier style” and you’ll see what I mean. They imitate the action of the flag man that gives the go ahead to jets to take off from the carriers, and they try to make it into a gangnam style dance. Something I would have done when I was 4 or 5, yet in the film you see university students and even civil service employees joining in.

    • This is nothing new.

      It’s called herd mentality and this mob like behavior plagues all countries even the United Sates. For instance, the KKK; Antisemitism in the United States; the persecution of the Mormons in the 19th century causing them to pack up, leave their homes and migrate to Utah; the Chinese Exclusion Act; Japanese Americans forced into prison camps during World War II; McCarthyism’s Red Scare and the current war on Public Education in the United States.

      I wonder if scientists have scanned people who tend to join these politically correct herds to see if their brains are wired differently from people who do not join the herd mentality.

      For this reason, I tend to avoid large gatherings of any kind. I do not like crowds. Scientists recently used scans to identify psychopaths by the electrical activity in the brains.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: