When Mao Zedong became the chairman of China in 1949, he decided to get rid of all religion. The only thing the Chinese people should believe in was the Great Chairman’s word. Before that many different religions were practiced around the big country but suddenly one day they weren’t allowed anymore.
Because of that, the majority of Chinese people don’t practice any religion but because the rules have eased a lot since the Mao era, there are religious people in China. The five recognized religions in China are:
Religions in China are still controlled by each area’s authorities but it is legal to participate in an official acknowledged church. Even though these 5 religions are acknowledged by the Chinese Government, the churches and their members still face problems. I won’t discuss this more in this post (search on Google for more information).
My own religious story begins when I was in Hainan province to catch up with the beach, and I met this lovely Chinese girl who told me what she was doing at this moment. She first told me that I shouldn’t talk to other Chinese about it because many people looked down on her work. She was a Christian volunteer. First, I didn’t understand why she was embarrassed to talk about it but I soon realized it must have something to do with the fact that a big amount of the Chinese people doesn’t believe in anything else than maybe financial security so she must have met a lot of judgmental stares when she was traveling around China with the church to learn about Christianity and teach others.
I thought it was quite interesting to hear her story because it is true that you don’t meet many Christian Chinese (or maybe I just haven’t been around the right places) and I think for a Chinese person the thought of a young girl who’s already graduated from university is working as a volunteer for a church while learning about Christianity doesn’t seem like the future dream of parents who probably put all their savings into their daughter’s education.
But they are there and I think they should be proud of who they are and I hope the Chinese society will be more accepting of people being different from each other in the future.
What do you think? Do you know anyone who’s religious in China? Are they shy about it or do they talk openly about being religious? Please let me know in the comments below.