Religions & Social Customs

The Protection of Ethnic Minorities' Freedom of Religious Belief 

The Chinese government has spared no effort to promote economic, cultural and educational progress in the areas inhabited by minority people, and to improve the material, cultural and living standards of the broad masses of the minority people while attaching great importance to respecting their religious beliefs and customs, and protecting their cultural legacy.

Most Tibetans believe in Tibetan Buddhism. Now Tibet has more than 1,700 places for Buddhist activities, with more than 46,000 lamas resident in monasteries. Almost every Buddhist dwelling has a small scripture hall or  prayer niche. Every year, the number of Buddhists going to Lhasa to worship totals more than one million. Since the 1980s, the Central Government has allocated more than 200 million RMB yuan to Tibet for the renovation of the Potala Palace, the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the Jokhang Temple, the Samye Monastery, and other places of worship. In addition, special funds were allocated for the publication of the Tibetan editions of The Tripitaka (The Buddhist Canon) and other classics, and the China Advanced Institute of Tibetan Buddhism was founded in Beijing,  and the Institute of Tibetan Buddhism, in Lhasa. In 1995, in accordance with the religious rituals and historical conventions of Tibetan Buddhism, including lot-drawing from a golden urn, the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Erdeni was discovered. Thus, China completed the identification, confirmation and enthronement of the 11th Panchen Erdeni.

In Xinjiang and Ningxia, the government provides various services to Moslems for pilgrimages. Since the  1980s, more than 40,000 Chinese Muslims have gone to Mecca. Now Xinjiang has more than 23,000 mosques, and 29,000 clergy to meet the religious needs of Muslims. The Islamic Association of Xinjiang has founded the Institute of Islamic Theology, and published the Koran in the Uygur language. The Chinese government respects the dietetic customs and burial rites of the minority peoples who believe in Islam, and has worked out laws and regulations on producing Muslim food and opened Muslim cemeteries.

Muslims at the Hantenggeli Mosque in Urumqi, celebrating the Corban Festival.


Beijing Pehtang Catholic Cathedral.



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Last updated: 2000-07-13.