[ 2007-02-07 11:39 ]
Liu attributed the rising influence of religions to the religious freedom
enjoyed in the country and social problems confronting the Chinese in a time of
The survey also finds that more young people have joined the ranks of the
religious since 2000. "This is markedly different from the previous decade, when
most religious believers were in their 40s or older," said Liu.
Specifically, 62 percent of the 1,435 religious believers surveyed are in the
16-39 age group, while only 9.6 percent are 55 years old or older.
Also, the number of middle-aged believers saw a big surge in the late 1990s,
according to Liu.
"They were atheist in the 1950s, but they have turned to religion when they
About 72 percent of the religious said they are happier now than when they
were not believers.
At the first world Buddhism forum in East China's Zhejiang Province last
year, the Chinese government acknowledged the active role religion plays in
building a harmonious society.
"For example, religious beliefs have helped cut down crime to a large
extent," said Liu.