A PEW report that predicts that by 2050, the Islam population will be as large as the Christian population. Islam is currently the most popular religion with young residents of China.
The 2015 China Religion Survey, conducted by the National Survey Research Center at the School of Philosophy in Renmin University, was released on Tuesday. It consisted of interviews across 31 regions through 4,382 religious sites between the years of 2013 and 2015. The results support the PEW report that predicts that by 2050, Islam will be as large a group as Christianity. The survey covered the five main religions that China recognizes: Protestantism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam and Taoism. While Protestantism has the most worship places, Buddhism has the most followers in China.
Islam was found to have a population consisting of 22.4% of the population below 30, giving them the most under 30 followers in China. Catholicism is just below that with 22% under 30. On the other hand, Buddhism has the most over 60 followers, with a population of 54.6%. Taoism follows just behind with 53.8%.
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According to Wei Dedong, who led the research for the survey and teaches Buddhist studies at the School of Renmin, Islam has a younger demographic because Islamic women tend to have more children. Children are Muslims growing up, whereas few adults convert to or from Islam. It makes for a steady growth rate in the Muslim faith.
The survey revealed that the government agencies have taken visits to various places of worship. According to Wei, this is typically done during a festival, event or conflict to promote communication between the groups and the government. The United Front Work Department visits 1.8 times each year, while worshippers visit the agency 1.3 times per year. The State Administration for Religious Affairs visits 3.8 times annually, while worshippers visit 3.5 times each year. These numbers demonstrate a willingness to open communication and strengthen the relationship between the government and the religious organizations. However, in spite of these interests, there have been numerous limitations placed on those of faith.
For the month of Ramadan, the Xinjiang province, which is primarily Muslim, has passed limits to prevent children, teachers and employees of the government fasting. The rules include other traditions as well. In addition, the Vatican has done little to maintain their relationship ever since the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, which is sanctioned by the government, was brought out as the authority in the Catholic religion.