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There are five religions recognized by China, a country previously affiliated as "atheist." One third of the population now identifies themselves as religious. NPR's Louisa Lim reports on how China's astonishing economic transformation is changing worship and spearheading economic and political activism. Lim highlights scenes that few outsiders have witnessed: Christian proselytizing, female mosques and more. The five-part series starts Monday, July 19. Photo Credits: 2007 NPR by Ariana Lindquist
New Believers: A Religious Revolution in China
Protestants in China
China now has more Christians than Communist party members. The government is struggling to contain and control communities where Protestantism has taken hold. Chief among those is the coastal city of Wenzhou which boasts self-made Christian millionaires who use their wealth and their trading routes to convert unbelievers. Airs Monday, July 19Photo Credits: Ariana Lindquist for NPR
Catholicism in China
China's 12 million Catholics have long been divided, since Beijing refuses to recognize the Vatican and the authority of the Pope. China's Catholics have been forced to choose between worshipping in state-sanctioned churches cut off from Rome, or join underground churches. Recently there have been quiet signs of lessening tension. How do China's Catholic leaders and clergy negotiate this tricky balancing act, and what does this mean for the future of Catholicism in China? Airs Tuesday, July 20
Islam in China
China has 21 million Muslims, with their own set of Islamic practices that are distinctly Chinese. It's the only place in the world where independent female mosques with female imams exist and thrive.Airs Wednesday, July 21Photo Credits: Ariana Lindquist for NPR
Buddhism in China
China's government, which once thought of religion as "the opiate of the people," is now shifting stances to build a "harmonious society." As Chinese people become richer and tithe to religious organizations, Buddhist temples are reaping multi-million dollar annual incomes - from which government leaders also hope to benefit. Airs Thursday, July 22
Daoism/Folk Religion in China
China is experiencing a remarkable rebirth of folk religion. The goddess Mazu of the Daoist and Buddhist pantheon are now reaching 160 million followers in China. Instead of mistrusting Mazu's worshippers, the Communist Party is actually encouraging them. Lim travels to Fujian Province in the south for a special birthday celebration. Airs Friday, July 23