Chinese History and Statistics -- Page 14
Traditionally, the major religions found in China were Buddhism and Taoism. Most Chinese also believed in Ancestor Worship and Confucianism, a system of social and political values. Muslim and Christian (primarily Roman Catholic) minorities were also important.
After 1949, under the Communist government, the practice of religion was discouraged, although freedom to believe in religion was guaranteed under the constitution of 1954. During the Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s, religious institutions were destroyed, but since 1978 the government has become more tolerant of religious observance.
China contains about one-fourth of the world's people; the latest official census, completed in 1982, placed the country's population at more than 1.2 billion, about half of whom are under the age of 30. During the 1950s the population grew at a rate of 2% per year. The rate of growth slowed to 1.1% by 1984 but then turned upward again family planning, and penalties are imposed on families with more than three children. The adoption of a new farming system since 1982, however, has increased the economic value of offspring and made family planning less effective in rural areas. About 95% of China's people are crowded into the eastern and southeastern sections of the country. The most densely populated areas are in the Chang Jiang plain and the Guangzhou delta.
In 1982 an estimated 21% of China's population were urban, up from 13.3% in 1952. The pace of urbanization accelerated in 1984-86 when many rural counties were incorporated into metropolitan areas, adding 90 million people to the urban population. The largest urban centers are Shanghai, Beijing Tianjin, Shenyang, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Harbin, Chongqing, Nanjing, Xi'an, and Chengdu.