Steve's China Blog

Monday, July 18, 2005


I haven’t posted anything in awhile since not too has been going besides work the last few weeks, and Saturday I ate or drank something that has made me sick so I haven’t been doing too much besides work.

A few weeks ago I went to a place near where I live to have dinner, and I was sitting at a able where I could watch the people outside as they walked down the sidewalk outside. A group of Americans walked by, and seeing me in this restaurant, they decided to try it out. They were two families originally from Ohio who were working here as English teachers. One of the wives, even though she was obviously an American from her voice, had family from this area and her mother was with them. It was kind of interesting to hear the children speak English to their parents and Chinese to their grandmother. After the food arrived they did something I have not seen anyone do over here... they said a prayer.

This got me to thinking that I haven't talked about what religion is like here. This is just my opinions, so I'll apologize ahead of time for any mistakes I make. Since this is a communist country (and has been for a long time) most people do not belong to any religion. Leftist doctrine is that the masses should worship the state, and until 1977 it was against the law to practice any religion here. The law now says that citizens here can worship only government-approved religions. Most people here that do practice an approved religion are Buddhists and Taoists. There are not many Chinese Christians... maybe about 2 million (I have heard Hong Kong has the most), and the Muslim population here is at about 4 million (mostly in the southwest of China). There are a few here who worship religions that are not approved and do so in hiding since they are considered a threat to the state.

It is kind of interesting to watch the interaction between China and the Vatican lately. They are still negotiating with each other for recognition. China won't add any religion to its list of approved religions that could potentially have more members than are in the communist party, and the Vatican would love to convert a lot of Chinese. A few weeks ago a Catholic Bishop was arrested here for printing Bibles. I am not sure of all of the details, but I think it has more to do with politics than religion. I would be more inclined to believe the Bishop's side of the story.


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