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China's citizens are promised freedom of worship by their constitution. But China's communist leaders have always been suspicious of organized religion, which it views as a potential threat to the legitimacy of the state. But they have grown particularly wary of non-approved religious activity during the past several years as ordinary citizens have turned to belief systems beyond communism to bring meaning to their lives.

Although Beijing claims to permit a variety of faiths, including Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity, it recognizes only five churches – each of which is required to register with and submit to oversight by the State Administration of Religious Affairs.

China's communist leaders have established a state-sanctioned church for Chinese Catholics, run by Beijing-appointed prelates who reject the legitimacy of the pope. An estimated 12 million Chinese loyal to Rome worship at clandestine prayer meetings often held in private homes.

Last year, authorities in a number of Chinese provinces demolished churches and places of worship used by scores of Protestant groups, and thousands of privately built temples for folk worship.
Beijing Arrests Catholic Bishop, Washington Post, Apr. 23, 2001


Secular Religon in China Collection of articles from TIME Asia; part of its special report on China's campaign against Falun Gong

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Note: Most of the items included here are of a general nature. News items on specific organizations, people, movements, etcetera, are listed in the A-Z Apologetics Index.

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(Includes items added between Oct. 25, 1999 and Jan. 31, 2002. See about this database)

(Sep. 9, 1999) China denies U.S. report of religious oppression
(Jul 23, 1999) Many People in China Search For a Place to Put Their Faith
(Jul 22, 1999) Banned sect joins long Chinese history of religious suppression
(May 27, 1999) New law would affect rights of Catholic church in Chile


The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC) was founded in 1991 as a publicly financed research institute, based in Hong Kong; our offices in Taipei were opened in 1994. The CEFC's mission is to study political, economic and social developments in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.