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China (Includes Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Macau)

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.4 billion (July 2018 estimate).  According to the State Council Information Office’s (SCIO) report on religious policies and practices, published in April, there are more than 200 million religious believers in the country.  Many experts, however, believe official estimates understate the total number of religious adherents.  The U.S. government estimated in 2010 that Buddhists comprise 18.2 percent of the population, Christians 5.1 percent, Muslims 1.8 percent, and followers of folk religion 21.9 percent.  According to a February 2017 estimate by the international NGO Freedom House, there are more than 350 million religious believers in the country, including 185-250 million Chinese Buddhists, 60-80 million Protestants, 21-23 million Muslims, 7-20 million Falun Gong practitioners, 12 million Catholics, 6-8 million Tibetan Buddhists, and hundreds of millions who follow various folk traditions.  According to 2017 data from the Jewish Virtual Library, the country’s Jewish population is 2,700.

SCIO’s report found the number of Protestants to be 38 million.  Among these, there are 20 million Protestant Christians affiliated with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the state-sanctioned umbrella organization for all officially recognized Protestant churches, according to information on TSPM’s website in March 2017.  According to a 2014 State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) statistic, more than 5.7 million Catholics worship in sites registered by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), the state-sanctioned organization for all officially recognized Catholic churches.  The SCIO’s report states there are six million Catholics, although nongovernment estimates suggest there are 10-12 million Catholics, approximately half of whom practice in non-CCPA affiliated churches.  Accurate estimates on the numbers of Catholics and Protestants as well as other faiths are difficult to calculate because many adherents practice exclusively at home or in churches that are not state sanctioned.

According to SCIO’s report, there are 10 ethnic minorities in which the majority practices Islam, and these 10 groups total more than 20 million persons.  Other sources indicate almost all of the Muslims are Sunni.  The two largest Muslim ethnic minorities are Hui and Uighur, with Hui Muslims concentrated primarily in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan Provinces.  SARA estimates the Muslim Hui population at 10.6 million.

While there is no reliable government breakdown of the Buddhist population by branch, the vast majority of Buddhists are adherents of Mahayana Buddhism, according to the Pew Research Center.

Prior to the government’s 1999 ban on Falun Gong, the government estimated there were 70 million adherents.  Falun Gong sources estimate that tens of millions continue to practice privately, and Freedom House estimates 7-20 million practitioners.

Some ethnic minorities retain traditional religions, such as Dongba among the Naxi people in Yunnan Province and Buluotuo among the Zhuang in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.  Media sources report Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, is growing in popularity among the Han Chinese population.

Local and regional figures for the number of religious followers, even state-sanctioned legal religions, are unclear and purposely kept opaque by authorities.  Local governments do not release these statistics, and even official religious organizations do not have accurate numbers.  The Pew Research Center and other observers say many religious groups often are underreported.

Hong Kong

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 7.2 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to SAR government statistics, there are more than one million followers of Buddhism and more than one million followers of Taoism; 480,000 Protestants; 379,000 Roman Catholics; 100,000 Hindus, and 12,000 Sikhs.  According to the World Jewish Congress, about 2,500 Jews live in Hong Kong.  According to a 2017 South China Morning Post article, there are approximately 25,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints residing in Hong Kong.  SAR government statistics estimate the SAR has approximately 300,000 Muslims.  Small communities of Baha’is and Zoroastrians also reside in the SAR.  Confucianism is widespread, and in some cases, elements of Confucianism are practiced in conjunction with other belief systems.  The Falun Gong estimates there are approximately 500 Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong.

There are dozens of Protestant denominations, including Anglican, Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of Christ in China, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Seventh-day Adventists.  The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong recognizes the pope and maintains links to the Vatican.

India

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.30 billion (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2011 national census, the most recent year for which disaggregated figures are available, Hindus constitute 79.8 percent of the population, Muslims 14.2 percent, Christians 2.3 percent, and Sikhs 1.7 percent.  Groups that together constitute less than 1 percent of the population include Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians (Parsis), Jews, and Baha’is.  The Ministry of Tribal Affairs officially classifies more than 104 million members of Scheduled Tribes – indigenous groups historically outside the caste system who often practice animism and indigenous religious beliefs – as Hindus in government statistics.  Approximately one-third of Christians also are listed as part of Scheduled Tribes.

According to government estimates, there are large minority Muslim populations in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala states.  Muslims constitute 68.3 percent of the population in Jammu and Kashmir, the only state in which Muslims constitute a majority.  Slightly more than 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni; most of the rest are Shia.  Christian populations are found across the country but in greater concentrations in the northeast, as well as in southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Goa.  Three small northeastern states have large Christian majorities:  Nagaland (90 percent of the population), Mizoram (87 percent), and Meghalaya (70 percent).  Sikhs constitute 54 percent of Punjab’s population.  The Dalai Lama’s office estimates there are significant resettled Tibetan Buddhist communities in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Delhi.  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are approximately 108,000 Tibetan Buddhists in the country and 21,000 Muslim refugees from Burma.

Indonesia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 262.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2010 census, approximately 87 percent of the population is Muslim, 7 percent Protestant, 3 percent Roman Catholic, and 1.5 percent Hindu.  Those identifying with other religious groups, including Buddhism, traditional indigenous religions, Confucianism, and other Christian denominations, and those who did not respond to the census question comprise approximately 1.3 percent of the population.

The Muslim population is overwhelmingly Sunni.  An estimated one to three million Muslims are Shia.  Many smaller Muslim groups exist; estimates put the total number of Ahmadi Muslims at 200,000 to 400,000.

Many religious groups incorporate elements of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, making it difficult to disaggregate the exact number of followers.  An estimated 20 million people, primarily in Java, Kalimantan, and Papua, practice various traditional belief systems, often referred to collectively as aliran kepercayaan.  There are approximately 400 different aliran kepercayaan communities throughout the archipelago.

There is a Sikh population estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000, with approximately 5,000 in Medan and the rest in Jakarta.  There are very small Jewish communities in Jakarta, Manado, Jayapura, and elsewhere.  The Baha’i Faith and Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) communities report thousands of members, but independent estimates are not available.  The number of atheists is also unknown, but the group Indonesian Atheists states it has more than 700 members.

The province of Bali is predominantly Hindu, and the provinces of Papua, West Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, and North Sulawesi are predominantly Christian.

Japan

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 126.2 million (July 2018 estimate).  A report by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) indicates that membership in religious groups totaled 182 million as of December 31, 2016.  This number, substantially more than the country’s population, reflects many citizens’ affiliation with multiple religions.  For example, it is common for followers of Buddhism to participate in religious ceremonies and events of other religions, such as Shinto, and vice versa.  According to the ACA, the definition of follower and the method of counting followers vary with each religious organization, and religious affiliation includes 86 million Shinto followers, 85 million Buddhists, 1.9 million Christians, and 7.7 million adherents of other religious groups.  The category of “other” and nonregistered religious groups includes Islam, the Baha’i Faith, Hinduism, and Judaism.  The indigenous Ainu people mainly practice an animist faith and are concentrated in the northern part of Honshu, in Hokkaido, and in smaller numbers in Tokyo.  Most immigrants and foreign workers practice religions other than Buddhism or Shinto, according to a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in close contact with foreign workers.  A scholar estimated there are 100,000 non-Japanese Muslims and 10,000 Japanese Muslims in the country.  Approximately 300 Rohingya Muslims are mostly concentrated in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo, according to Rohingya representatives.  The Japan Uyghur Association said most of the approximately 3,000 Uighur Muslims in the country reside in Tokyo or its surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Saitama, and Kanagawa.  According to the Jewish Community of Japan (JCJ), 100-110 Jewish families belong to the JCJ, but the total Jewish population is unknown.

Kuwait

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 2.9 million (July 2018 estimate).  The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), a local government agency, reports there are 1.4 million citizens and 3.3 million noncitizens.  The national census does not distinguish between Shia and Sunni Muslims.  The PACI estimates approximately 70 percent of citizens are Sunni Muslims, while the remaining 30 percent are Shia Muslims (including Ahmadi and Ismaili Muslims, whom the government counts as Shia).  Community leaders have indicated there are 290 Christian citizens and a handful of Baha’i citizens.  There are no known Jewish citizens.

In June the PACI released statistics indicating 64 percent of expatriates are Muslim, 26 percent Christian, and 10 percent from non-Abrahamic faiths.  Sources in various expatriate communities also said approximately 5 percent of the expatriate Muslims are Shia, while Buddhists and Hindus account for half of the non-Abrahamic faith population.  Informal estimates by members of different faiths indicate there are approximately 250,000 Hindus, 25,000 Bohra Muslims, 10,000-12,000 Sikhs, 7,000 Druze, and 400 Baha’is.

While some geographic areas have higher concentrations of either Sunnis or Shia, the two groups are distributed relatively uniformly throughout most of the country.

Macau

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 606,000 (July 2018 estimate).  The latest SAR yearbook does not provide an estimate for Buddhists but states they are numerous and that individuals often practice a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, and Chinese folk religions.  Other sources say the majority of the population practices Buddhism or Chinese folk religions.  The SAR Government Information Bureau estimates there are approximately 30,000 Roman Catholics, of whom more than half are foreign domestic workers and other expatriates, and more than 8,000 Protestants.  Protestant denominations include the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian Churches.  Evangelical Christian and independent local nondenominational churches, some of which are affiliated with Mainland churches, are also present.  Various reports estimate the Muslim population at 5,000 to 10,000.  Smaller religious groups include Baha’is, who estimate their membership at above 2,000, and a small group of Falun Gong practitioners, with some estimates at 20 to 50 persons.

Malaysia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 31.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  Figures from the most recent census in 2010 indicate that 61.3 percent of the population practices Islam; 19.8 percent, Buddhism; 9.2 percent, Christianity; 6.3 percent, Hinduism; and 1.3 percent, Confucianism, Taoism, or other traditional Chinese philosophies and religions.  Other religious groups include animists, Sikhs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Baha’is.  Almost all Muslims practice Sunni Islam of the Shafi’i school.  Ethnic Malays, defined in the federal constitution as Muslims from birth, account for approximately 55 percent of the population.  Rural areas – especially in the east coast of peninsular Malaysia – are predominantly Muslim, while the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo have relatively higher numbers of non-Muslims.  Two-thirds of the country’s Christian population inhabit the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Pakistan

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 207.9 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the provisional results of a national census conducted in 2017, 96 percent of the population is Muslim.  According to government figures, the remaining 4 percent includes Ahmadi Muslims (whom Pakistani law does not recognize as Muslim), Hindus, Christians, Parsis/Zoroastrians, Baha’is, Sikhs, Buddhists, Kalash, Kihals, and Jains.  Most of the historic Jewish community has emigrated.

Sources vary on the precise breakdown of the Muslim population between Sunni and Shia Muslims.  Sunnis are generally believed to be 80-85 percent of the Muslim population and Shia are generally believed to make up 15-20 percent.  Unofficial estimates vary widely with regard to the size of minority religious groups.  According to 2014 media accounts, although there are 2.9 million non-Muslims registered with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the actual number exceeds 3.5 million.  Religious community representatives estimate minority religious groups constitute 3 to 5 percent of the population.

According to the 2014 government registration documents cited by the press, there are approximately 1.4 million Hindus, 1.3 million Christians, 126,000 Ahmadis, 34,000 Baha’is, 6,000 Sikhs, and 4,000 Parsis.  Taking account of the Ahmadi boycott of the official census, however, community sources put the number of Ahmadi Muslims at approximately 500,000-600,000.  Estimates of the Zikri Muslim community, located in Balochistan, range between 500,000 and 800,000 individuals.  Several minority rights advocacy groups dispute the provisional results of the 2017 census and state the numbers underrepresent their true population.

Philippines

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 105.9 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2015 census conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), 79.5 percent of the population is Roman Catholic and 9 percent belong to other Christian groups, including Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of Christ, United Methodists, Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Bible Baptist Church, other Protestant churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Other Christian groups include locally established churches such as the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan), Members Church of God International, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the Name Above Every Name.  Approximately 6 percent of the population is Muslim, according to the PSA; the NCMF estimates that 10 to 11 percent of the total population is Muslim.  The NCMF attributes its higher estimate to the reluctance of Muslims to participate in a formal survey, failure to survey Muslim areas and communities, and transience due to internal movement of Muslims for work.  According to the PSA, approximately 4 percent of those surveyed in the 2015 census did not report a religious affiliation or belong to other groups, such as animism or indigenous syncretic faiths.

The majority of Muslims are members of various ethnic minority groups and reside in Mindanao and nearby islands in the south.  Although most are practitioners of Sunni Islam, a small minority of Shia Muslims live in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur on Mindanao.  An increasing number of Muslims are migrating to the urban centers of Manila and Cebu.

Republic of Korea

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 51.4 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2016 census conducted by the Korea Statistical Information Service, of the 44 percent of the population espousing a religion, 45 percent are Protestant, 35 percent Buddhist, 18 percent Roman Catholic, and 2 percent “other.”  The census counts members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church) as Protestants.  Followers of “other” religious groups, including Won Buddhism, Confucianism, Jeongsando, Cheondogyo, Daejonggyo, Daesun Jinrihoe, and Islam, together constitute less than 2 percent of the population.  According to the only rabbi in the country, there is a small Jewish population of approximately 1,000, almost all expatriates.  According to the Korean Muslim Federation, the Muslim population is estimated at 135,000, of which approximately 100,000 are migrant workers and expatriates mainly from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Russia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 142.2 million (July 2018 estimate).  A 2015-2016 poll by the Pew Research Center reported 71 percent of the population is Orthodox, while 10 percent identify as Muslim.  Religious groups constituting less than 5 percent of the population each include Buddhists, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, Baha’is, members of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), pagans, Tengrists, Scientologists, and Falun Gong practitioners.  The 2010 census estimates the number of Jews at 150,000; however, the RJC stated in October that the actual Jewish population is nearly one and a half million, most of whom live in Moscow and St. Petersburg.  Immigrants and migrant workers from Central Asia are mostly Muslim.  The majority of Muslims live in the Volga Ural region and the North Caucasus.  Moscow, St. Petersburg, and parts of Siberia also have sizable Muslim populations.

Saudi Arabia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the country’s total population at 33 million (July 2018 estimate), including more than 12 million foreign residents.  Between 85 and 90 percent of the approximately 20 million citizens are Sunni Muslims.

Shia Muslims constitute 10 to 12 percent of the citizen population.  Approximately 80 percent of Shia are “Twelvers” (Shiites who recognize 12 imams) and are primarily located in the Eastern Province.  Nakhawala, or “Medina Shia,” are also Twelvers and reside in small numbers in the western Hejaz region.  Estimates place their numbers at approximately 1,000.  Twelver Shia adhere to the Ja’afari School of jurisprudence.  Most of the remaining Shia are Sulaimani Ismailis, also known as “Seveners” (those who branched off from the Twelvers to follow Isma’il ibn Ja’afar as the Seventh Imam).  Seveners number approximately 500,000 and reside primarily in Najran Province, where they constitute the majority of the province’s inhabitants.  Another branch of Sevener Shia, the Bohra Ismailis, number approximately 2,000, most of whom are of Yemeni or South Asian origin.  Pockets of Zaydis, members of another branch of Shia Islam, numbering a total of approximately 20,000, reside primarily in the provinces of Jizan and Najran along the border with Yemen.

Foreign embassies indicate the foreign population in the country, including many undocumented migrants, is mostly Muslim.  According to a 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center, of the country’s total population (including foreigners), there were approximately 25.5 million Muslims, 1.2 million Christians (including Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, and Roman Catholics); 310,000 Hindus; 180,000 religiously unaffiliated (including atheists, agnostics, and individuals who did not identify with any particular religion); 90,000 Buddhists; 70,000 followers of folk religions; and 70,000 adherents of other religions.

Singapore

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 6 million (July 2018 estimate).  Of the four million individuals the local government counts as citizens or permanent residents, 81.5 percent stated a religious affiliation in the General Household Survey.  According to 2015 data, approximately 33.2 percent of the population of citizens and permanent residents are Buddhist, 18.8 percent Christian, 14 percent Muslim (predominantly Sunni), 10 percent Taoist, and 5 percent Hindu.  Groups together constituting less than 1 percent of the population include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Unification Church.  Although estimates varied widely, the government estimated there were 2,500 members in the Jewish community.

According to a 2018 report by the Department of Statistics, 74.3 percent of the resident population is ethnic Chinese, 13.4 percent ethnic Malay, 9.0 percent ethnic Indian, and 3.2 percent other, including Eurasians.  Nearly all ethnic Malays are Muslim.  According to a 2016 national survey, among ethnic Indians, 59.9 percent are Hindu, 21.3 percent Muslim, and 12.1 percent Christian.  The ethnic Chinese population includes Buddhists (42.3 percent), Christians (20.9 percent), and Taoists (12.9 percent).

Sri Lanka

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 22.6 million (July 2018 estimate).  The 2012 national census (the most recent) lists 70.2 percent of the population as Buddhist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.4 percent Christian.  According to census data, the Theravada Buddhist community, which comprises nearly all the country’s Buddhists, is a majority in the Central, North-Central, Northwestern, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, and Western Provinces.

Tamils, mainly Hindu with a significant Christian minority, constitute the majority in the Northern Province and constitute the second largest group, after Muslims, in the Eastern Province.  Most Muslims self-identify as a separate ethnic group.  Tamils of Indian origin, who are mostly Hindu, have a large presence in the Central, Sabaragamuwa, and Uva Provinces.  Muslims form a plurality in the Eastern Province, and there are sizable Muslim populations in the Central, North-Central, Northwestern, Sabaragamuwa, Uva, and Western Provinces.  Christians reside throughout the country but have a larger presence in the Eastern, Northern, Northwestern, and Western Provinces, and a smaller presence in Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces.

Most Muslims are Sunni, with small Shia and Ahmadi minorities.  An estimated 82 percent of Christians are Roman Catholic.  Other groups include Church of Ceylon (Anglicans), the Dutch Reformed Church, Methodists, Baptists, Assembly of God, Pentecostals, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Christian evangelicals and other “free” (evangelical and nondenominational Protestant) groups have grown in recent years, although there are no reliable estimates of their numbers.  According to the government, membership remains low compared to the larger Christian community.  Although the government does not recognize Judaism as an official religion, there is a small Jewish population living in different parts of the country.

Taiwan

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates Taiwan’s total population at 23.5 million (July 2018 estimate).  Based on a comprehensive study conducted in 2005, the Religious Affairs Section of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) estimates 35 percent of the population considers itself Buddhist and 33 percent Taoist.  Although the MOI has not tracked population data on religious groups since the 2005 study, it states this estimate remains largely unchanged.  While the majority of religious adherents categorize themselves as either Buddhist or Taoist, many adherents consider themselves both Buddhist and Taoist, and many others incorporate the religious practices of other faiths into their religious beliefs.

In addition to organized religious groups, many individuals also practice traditional Chinese folk religions, which include some aspects of shamanism, ancestor worship, and animism.  Researchers and academics estimate as much as 80 percent of the population believes in some form of traditional folk religion.  Such folk religions frequently overlap with an individual’s belief in Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or other traditional Chinese religions.  Some practitioners of Buddhism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions also practice Falun Gong, a self-described spiritual discipline.  According to the leadership of the Falun Gong Society of Taiwan, estimates of Falun Gong practitioners number in the hundreds of thousands.

Religious groups that total less than 5 percent of the population include I Kuan Tao, Tien Ti Chiao (Heaven Emperor Religion), Tien Te Chiao (Heaven Virtue Religion), Li-ism, Hsuan Yuan Chiao (Yellow Emperor Religion), Tian Li Chiao (Tenrikyo), Pre-cosmic Salvationism, Roman Catholicism, Islam, the Church of Scientology, the Baha’i Faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mahikari Religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), and the Presbyterian, True Jesus, Baptist, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist, and Episcopal Churches.

According to recent statistics of the Ministry of Labor, the Council of Indigenous Peoples, and conversations with religious leaders, the majority of the indigenous population of 563,000 is Protestant or Roman Catholic.  There are an estimated 1,000 Jews, approximately half of whom are foreign residents.  An estimated 696,000 foreign workers, primarily from Southeast Asia, differ in religious adherence from the general population.  The largest single group of foreign workers is from Indonesia, with a population of approximately 262,000 persons, who are largely Muslim.  Workers from the Philippines – numbering approximately 153,000 persons – are predominately Roman Catholic.

Thailand

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 68.6 million (July 2018 estimate).  The 2010 population census indicated 93 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist and 5 percent Muslim.  NGOs, academics, and religious groups state that 85 to 95 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist and 5 to 10 percent Muslim.  Groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include animists, Christians, Confucians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, and Taoists.

Most Buddhists incorporate Hindu and animist practices into their worship.  The Buddhist clergy (sangha) consists of two main schools of Theravada Buddhism:  Mahanikaya and Dhammayuttika.  The former is older and more prevalent within the monastic community.

Islam is the dominant religion in four of the five southernmost provinces (Narathiwat, Yala, Satun, and Pattani) near the Malaysian border, commonly referred to as the Deep South.  The majority of Muslims in those provinces are ethnic Malay, but the Muslim population nationwide also includes descendants of immigrants from South Asia, China, Cambodia, and Indonesia, as well as ethnic Thai.  Statistics provided by the Religious Affairs Department (RAD) of the Ministry of Culture indicate that 99 percent of Muslims are Sunni.

The majority of ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese practice either Mahayana or Theravada Buddhism.  Many ethnic Chinese, as well as members of the Mien hill tribe, also practice forms of Taoism.

The majority of Christians are ethnic Chinese, and more than half of the Christian community is Roman Catholic.

Tibet

Section I. Religious Demography

According to official data from China’s most recent census in November 2010, 2,716,400 Tibetans make up 90 percent of the TAR’s total population.  Han Chinese make up approximately 8 percent.  Other ethnicities comprise the remainder.  Some experts, however, believe the number of Han Chinese and other non-Tibetans living there is significantly underreported.  Outside the TAR, official census data show Tibetans constitute 24.4 percent of the total population in Qinghai Province, 2.1 percent in Sichuan Province, 1.8 percent in Gansu Province, and 0.3 percent in Yunnan Province, although the percentage of Tibetans is much higher within jurisdictions of these provinces designated as autonomous for Tibetans.

Most Tibetans practice Tibetan Buddhism, although a sizeable minority practices Bon, a pre-Buddhist indigenous religion; small minorities practice Islam, Catholicism, or Protestantism.  Some scholars estimate there are as many as 400,000 Bon followers across the Tibetan Plateau who follow the Dalai Lama, and some of whom consider themselves Tibetan Buddhist.  Scholars also estimate there are up to 5,000 Tibetan Muslims and 700 Tibetan Catholics in the TAR.  Other residents of traditionally Tibetan areas include Han Chinese, many of whom practice Buddhism (including Tibetan Buddhism), Taoism, Confucianism, traditional folk religions, or profess atheism; Hui Muslims; and non-Tibetan Catholics and Protestants.

Turkey

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 81.3 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the Turkish government, 99 percent of the population is Muslim, approximately 77.5 percent of which is Hanafi Sunni.  Representatives of other religious groups estimate their members represent 0.2 percent of the population, while the most recent published surveys suggest approximately 2 percent of the population is atheist.

Alevi foundation leaders estimate Alevis comprise 25 to 31 percent of the population; Pew Research Center reporting indicates five percent of Turkish Muslims state they are Alevis.  The Shia Jafari community estimates its members make up 4 percent of the population.

Non-Muslim religious groups are mostly concentrated in Istanbul and other large cities as well as in the southeast.  Exact figures are not available; however, these groups self-report approximately 90,000 Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians (including migrants from Armenia); 25,000 Roman Catholics (including migrants from Africa and the Philippines); and 16,000 Jews.  There are also approximately 25,000 Syrian Orthodox Christians (also known as Syriacs); 15,000 Russian Orthodox Christians (mostly immigrants from Russia who hold residence permits); and 10,000 Baha’is.

Other groups include fewer than 1,000 Yezidis; 5,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses; 7,000 members of Protestant denominations; fewer than 3,000 Chaldean Christians; and up to 2,000 Greek Orthodox Christians.  There also are small, undetermined numbers of Bulgarian Orthodox, Nestorian, Georgian Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Armenian Catholic, and Maronite Christians.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints estimates its membership at 300 individuals.

Vietnam

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 97 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to statistics released by the Government Committee for Religious Affairs (CRA), 26.4 percent of the population is categorized as religious believers:  14.91 percent is Buddhist, 7.35 percent Roman Catholic, 1.09 percent Protestant, 1.16 percent Cao Dai, and 1.47 percent Hoa Hao Buddhist.  Within the Buddhist community, Mahayana Buddhism is the dominant affiliation of the Kinh (Viet) ethnic majority, while approximately 1.2 percent of the total population, almost all from the ethnic minority Khmer group, practices Theravada Buddhism.  Smaller religious groups that combined constitute less than 0.16 percent of the population include a devotional form of Hinduism, mostly practiced by an estimated 70,000 ethnic Cham in the south-central coastal area; approximately 80,000 Muslims scattered throughout the country (approximately 40 percent are Sunnis; the remaining 60 percent practice Bani Islam); an estimated 3,000 members of the Baha’i Faith; and approximately 1,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ).  Religious groups originating within the country (Buu Son Ky Huong, Tu An Hieu Nghia, Minh Su Dao, Minh Ly Dao, Tinh Do Cu Si Phat Hoi, Phat Giao Hieu Nghia Ta Lon) comprise a total of 0.34 percent.  A small, mostly foreign, Jewish population resides in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Other citizens say they have no religious affiliation, or practice animism or the veneration of ancestors, tutelary and protective saints, national heroes, or local, respected persons.  Many individuals blend traditional practices with religious teachings, particularly Buddhism and Christianity.

Ethnic minorities constitute approximately 14 percent of the population.  Based on adherents’ estimates, two-thirds of Protestants are members of ethnic minorities, including groups in the Northwest Highlands (H’mong, Dzao, Thai, and others) and in the Central Highlands (Ede, Jarai, Sedang, and M’nong, among others, including groups referred to as Montagnards).  The Khmer Krom ethnic group overwhelmingly practices Theravada Buddhism.

Xinjiang

Section I. Religious Demography

A 2015 report on Xinjiang issued by the State Council Information Office (SCIO) states Uighur, Kazakh, Hui, Kyrgyz, and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities constitute approximately14.2 million residents in Xinjiang, or 61 percent of the total Xinjiang population.  Uighur Muslims live primarily in Xinjiang.

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