This fascinating map shows the new religious breakdown in China
China has historically followed ancient religions like Buddhism and Taoism for about 2,000 years, according to China's State Council. But a a recent map published by Reuters shows that the country's belief systems have become increasingly diverse.
"Protestant Christianity has been the fastest growing religion in China," Yang writes in his essay, When Will China Become The World's Largest Christian Country? Though the estimates are varied, The Economist puts 100 million Christians in China as of last year.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, that number could reach 160 million as early as 2025.Despite anti-church sentiments, Yang expects growth as well.
"If the growth continues at the rate of 7 percent," Yang wrote, "Christians could be 32.5 percent of the Chinese population by 2040, and 66.7 percent by 2050."
Eleanor Albert, Julia Ro/Council on Foreign Relations
According to the map, Chinese authorities in Huzhou removed a cross from a church despite the month long protesting efforts to protect their religious symbol. This is only one of the 1,200 crosses that have been removed in China "for the sake of safety and beauty" since late 2013, The Guardian reported.
Catholic leaders protested the removals, reported The Guardian, by disseminating an open letter to China's Christian population in late July.Officials however believe that the major consensus favors the cross removal. "Generally speaking, the church staff and people are very supportive [of the removals]" an official from Zhejiang's ethnic and religious affairs bureau told Global Times - China's state-run newspaper.Advertisement
The Uighurs, a mostly Muslim indigenous population in China, has also faced tension in Xinjiang. According to the BBC, the Uighurs and China's officials have had a long history of violence and restrictions. Last year, the Xinjiang government placed a ban on fasting during Ramadan, a holy month for practicing Muslims.