Religion had and retains a wide influence throughout the ethnic minority areas.

  Lamaism, a Buddhist sect, has its followers mostly among the Tibetan, Mongolian, Tus and Yugur. Hinayana, or Lesser Vehicle Buddhism, has believers mainly among such ethnic groups as the Bai, Dai, Deang, Achang, Blang, Jingpo and some of the Va.

  Islam has a following among ten ethnic groups -- the Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Tatar, Kirgiz, Tajik, Ozbek, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan.

  Protestantism found converts among the Miao and Yi, and some ethnic minorities living in western Yunnan. Believers in the Orthodox Eastern Church are found among the small groups of Russian and Ewenki.

  Primitive fetishism and polytheism, ancestor worship, totemism and shamanism can still find believers among such ethnic minority groups as the Drung, Nu, Va, Shui, Dong, Bouyei, Jingpo, Gaoshan, Oroqen, Miao, Jino and Pumi.

  Religion exerted an enormous influence among Islamic and Lamaist peoples. Before 1949, Lamaist monasteries in Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan held large amounts of land and livestock and practiced usury. Spiritual rulers not only went into political and economic collaboration with the secular feudal lords and big landlords, but worked with them as one, forming an inseparable whole in the exercise of power.