One of the early acts of the Chinese Communist Party after it gained control in 1949 was to officially eliminate organized religion. Previously the dominant creeds in China had been Confucianism, Daoism (Taoism), and Buddhism. Because of the quasi-secular nature of Confucianism, and because most Chinese were affected by all three major faiths and thus lacked strong allegiance to a single religion, the population offered little resistance to the party’s move.
Chief among the true religions of China, in addition to Buddhism and the form of Chinese religion based around Daoism, were Christianity and Islam. Most temples and schools of these four religions were converted to secular purposes. Only with the constitution of 1978 was official support again given for the promulgation of formal religion in China. The constitution also stated, however, that the Chinese population had the right to hold no religious beliefs and “to propagate atheism”.
Since religious rights were guaranteed, Christian groups in the cities and Buddhist sects in both the cities and countryside have been extremely active. The ethnic Chinese Muslims, or Hui, as well as the Muslim minority peoples such as the Uygur, Kazakhs, and Kirgiz, have held their faith in Islam continually but now practise their religion more openly. Tibetan Buddhism remains persecuted because of its association with the Tibetan pro-independence movement; over 2,700 Tibetan monasteries are estimated to have been destroyed since the Chinese occupation in 1950. "China" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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