The People’s Republic of China, in Asia, is comprised of 31 Provinces, Regions and Municipalities.  Hong Kong and Macau are integral parts of China and Taiwan’s status is debated.  These three are described separately following this country.  China is the world’s second-largest economy and the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.  Following Maoist/Marxist economics, a centrally managed “Chinese socialism” has raised China’s living standards.  There remains a tight state control over most sectors of society including repression of minorities and dissidents, systemic violations of the rights to privacy and expression, and a harsh penal code.  The social ills facing China are many including corruption, social and health needs, and environmental pollution.   There were devastating earthquakes in 2008 and 2010.


The population exceeds 1.3 billion and the official language is Mandarin Chinese (spoken by 70%) with estimated 600 different Han dialects, but one written language.  There are close to 500 indigenous distinct ethnic groups, but 55 “nationalities” officially recognized.

East Asians are ~93.1% (73 peoples), Chinese, Chinese-Hui, Manchu, Mongolian, and others.

Southeast Asian are ~3.3% (167 peoples in southern provinces), Zhuang,

Miao/Hmong, Tai, Yao-Mien, Bouyei, and others.

Tibetan/Himalayan are ~2.5% (238 peoples in western and southwestern

provinces), Nosu, Tibetan, West China/Yi, and others.

Turkic are ~1% (26 peoples in northwest).

Others are ~0.1%.


Ancestor worship is a major religious theme of all Chinese religions: Chinese culture, Taoism, Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism. The historic hostility of the government toward any religious expression, and the fact that normative practice of religion has been private/secret, mean that exact statistics for religions do not exist. These are estimates from government information and China-focused researchers:

  • Non-religious 44.36%, Chinese 28.5%, Buddhist 12.5%, Christian 7.92%,
  • Ethnoreligionist 4.55%, Muslim 1.87%, Other 0,3%.
  • China remains officially atheist and Communist Party members number well over 70 million.  But the Christian population (also Buddhists) have eclipsed this number. Estimates for the Christian category are given by various official and house-church network leaders:
  • Protestants 2.24%, Independent 4.12%, Catholic 1.6%, Orthodox <0.01%.
  • Evangelicals represent 5.7% and Charismatics 2.1%.

Donna Siemens



Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *