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中国佛教,伊斯兰教和道教研究

Religion in China beyond Christianity; Prof studying Buddhism, Islam, Taoism

发布时间: 2014-01-15

January 14, 2014

Religion in China beyond Christianity; Prof studying Buddhism, Islam, Taoism

 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — While attention is focused on the explosive growth of Christianity in China, a Purdue University religious studies expert says that the popularity and trends of other religions need to also be studied in the world's largest country.

"China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world in less than two decades, which is astounding considering religion was banned just a few decades ago and is still restricted today," says Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology and director of Purdue's Center on Religion and Chinese Society. "But, how the country's religious scene is changing beyond Christianity needs to be understood as well, as these changes can affect the economical, cultural and political landscape of the world's largest country."

Yang, who is launching a new study of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism in mainland China, says this year will be interesting as the country's new leadership, established last year, has not yet set a clear religious policy. The topic is expected to be addressed this March during the National People's Congress. In China, the government approves the practice of five religions - Buddhism, Catholicism, Taoism (also Daoism), Islam and Protestantism under patriotic associations.

"There are still many other faiths not approved by the government, but they exist and some are thriving," says Yang, author of "Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule." "It will be interesting to see what tone this government sets, or doesn't, regarding tolerance or support that could influence religious groups."

The government provides some basic statistics of religious sites - churches, temples and mosques, and Yang is interested in collecting more demographic data that could identify specific religious trends such as which religions are embraced by different economic or urban and rural groups in massive China.

Purdu