Organized Religions in China

February 19, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner once said, “Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer difficult questions: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?” Source: Theocracy Watch

The answer to Justice O’Conner’s question may be the reason why China’s government keeps such a close watch on religions and decides which ones may practice there. In fact, there’s plenty of historical evidence that China’s restrictions on religions may be justified.

For instance, Roman Catholic Popes influenced the kings of Europe leading to the Crusades (1095 – 1291) with 1 to 3 million dead; the persecution and eradication of the Cathars, and the Medieval, Spanish, Portuguese and Roman inquisitions.

Then there were the Protestant-Catholic Wars: the Thirty Year’s War (1618 – 1648) with 3 to 11.5 million dead and the French Wars of Religion (1562 – 1598) with 2 to 4 million dead.

Next there are the major modern Islamic-Christian wars: The Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970) with 1 to 3 million dead; Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 – 2005) with 1 to 2 million dead, and the Lebanese Civil War (1975 – 1990) with 120 – 250 thousand dead.

Last there’s China’s Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864) led by converted Chinese Christians against the Qing Dynasty with 30 to 100 million dead.

You may have noticed from the few examples that religions with too much political influence and power do not have a good track record.

Then consider how many major religions there are. Why does it have to be so complicated? After all, there’s only one God—I think.

As it is, “China is a country with a great diversity of religious beliefs. The main religions are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism… According to incomplete statistics, there are over 100 million followers of various religious faiths, more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. In addition, there are 74 religious schools and colleges run by religious organizations for training clerical personnel.” Source: Chinese Culture

If you visited the previous link, you discovered that China does allow people to worship God and join a few approved closely watched religions.

Reuters.com reports: “About half of China’s estimated 100 million religious followers are Christians or Muslims, with the rest Buddhists or Taoists, the government says, though it thinks the real number of believers is probably much higher.”

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Falun Gong’s Media Machine

July 18, 2013

A few years ago when I attended the 6th Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco, I stopped at a booth for Shen Yun Performing Arts staffed with attractive, college age girls. My wife loves dance, and I thought she might be interested. I asked if this dance troop was part of a local college or university. The girl who handed me the brochure said yes.

She lied to me.

That evening, when I arrived home, I handed the brochure to my wife, who said, “That is Falun Gong.” I’ve written about The Falun Gong and Costco, about A Visit from the Falun Gong, and the more I learn about this group, the more sinister they become.

Turning to the Internet and using Google, I learned that New Tang Dynasty Television, Shen Yun Performing Arts and The Epoch Times all appear to be part of Falun Gong. I also discovered that Falun Gong must buy lots of Internet AD words so Google searches lead to one of the gears in the Falun Gong machine.  In fact, I had trouble finding anything but Falun Gong propaganda and had to keep altering my search terms to get beyond the Falun Gong firewall.

In time, I discovered a piece published in the Buffalo News saying, “the promoters and creators of “Shen Yun,” who have picked up a reputation for misrepresentation and deception over the years, have adopted the questionable propagandist tactics of the very government they criticize in their productions.”

Digging further, the New York Times reported, “China’s decision to ban Falun Gong was made after 10,000 adherents staged a silent protest outside the gates of Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s leadership compound in Beijing, to complain about reports in the state-run media that the group said were defamatory. Security forces apparently had no advance knowledge of the demonstration, which took place on April 25, 1999. The Chinese government began treating the group as a threat to national security.”

How about visiting Belching About China

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China


The Connection between Opium, Christianity, Cults and Cannon Balls in China

March 1, 2011

Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China.

C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” powered by opium.

The treaty that ended the opium wars included a clause that required China to allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens.

Then the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, was responsible for more than 20 million deaths. Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Millions believed him.

In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most. These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.

Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures.

This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

Learn of Christianity and Islam in China

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Note: This post first appeared on iLook China March 11, 2010 as post # 128. This revised version reappears as post # 1095.


The State of Religion in Today’s China

December 19, 2010

The U.S. Department of State reports that China is officially atheist (and has been for thousands of years). However, Taoist, Buddhist, Christian and Muslims are allowed to worship in China and these religions have a significant role in the lives of many Chinese.

A February 2007 survey conducted by East China Normal University and reported in China’s state-run media concluded that 31.4% of Chinese citizens ages 16 and over are religious believers.

While the Chinese constitution affirms “freedom of religious belief,” the Chinese Government places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. The five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations” are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Singapore, another nation in Asia, has similar restrictions.

Historically, China has not been accepting of cults, and there is a difference between a religion and a cult.

Princeton.edu says, cult members are “followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.”

All one has to do is study China’s history to understand the Middle Kingdom’s sensitivity toward cults and political activists. China’s struggle with pagan cults reaches back almost a thousand years. Source: The Millennium Cult

There are no official statistics confirming the number of Taoists in China.


Fascinating discussion of how Chinese culture interacts with religions.

Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 20 million Protestants, and 5.3 million Catholics; unofficial estimates are much higher.

According to About Chinese Culture.com, there are more than 85,000 sites for religious activities, some 300,000 clergy and over 3,000 religious organizations throughout China. In addition, there are 74 religious schools and colleges run by religious organizations for training clerical personnel.

Buddhism, the most popular religion in China with about a 100 million followers, has a 2,000-year history in the Middle Kingdom and there are about 13,000 Buddhist temples.

Taoism, native to China, has a history of more than 1,700 years with over 1,500 temples.

Islam, which was introduced into China in the seventh century has more than 30,000 mosques.

At present, China has about 4,600 Catholic churches and meetinghouses.

Protestantism first arrived in China in the early 19th century. Today there are more than 12,000 churches and 25,000 meeting places.

Although Judaism is not listed as one of the officially recognized religions in China, there are Jewish synagogues in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Jews first settled in Kaifeng, Henan Province in 960 AD after arriving along the Silk Road. The Jews were welcomed by the Imperial government, which encouraged them to retain their cultural identity by building the Kaifeng synagogue, which was finished in 1163 AD.

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


A Foul Taste in the Mouth of a Falun Gong Fanatic

October 13, 2010

On October 5, a comment appeared from someone called JJYZ to The Falun Gong Machine , which appeared in June 2010.

JJYZ says, “I leave this discussion with a foul taste in my mouth.” He or she also says, “Lloyd (me) has swallowed CCP propaganda hook, line, and sinker.” (This post is a short version of a reply to JJYZ’s comment)

I have news for JJYZ. My opinions formed from direct interactions with the Falun Gong.

I’ve had Falun Gong members sitting around my kitchen table. I’ve attended a Falun Gong Chinese New Year’s musical production at a theater in San Francisco and discovered that it was propaganda designed to recruit and retain religious cult members

I’ve also written other posts on the topic of Chinese religious cults: The Millennium Cult and The White Lotus Mutation.

JJYZ provides a link to a site called “defend democracy.org”, which doesn’t make much sense unless it is another gear in the Falun Gong running machine.

China has NEVER been a democracy so what is there to defend against. In 1982, the structure of China’s government became a one party republic, which offers more representation than any government in China’s history.

In fact, Chinese culture has never accepted organized religions or cults as a permanent element of the culture as the West and the Middle East have done.

There were four Buddhist persecutions in China carried out between the fifth through the tenth centuries by four Chinese emperors. Source: Four Buddhist Persecutions in China

The most brutal was in 845 AD by Emperor Wuzong of the Tang Dynasty. He decided that the Buddhists were growing too influential and wealthy so he outlawed the religion.

Wuzong also persecuted Christians, Muslims, Jews and other organized religions.

As for the bad taste in JJYZ’s mouth, this symptom may be a side effect of being brainwashed by a religious cult and becoming a fanatic.

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,754 other followers