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By Simon Foster

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Christian missionaries and Muslim merchants have also had their parts to play in China’s religious history, with the result that today most cities of any size have both churches and mosques to serve their sizeable Christian and Muslim populations. It is difficult to gauge the actual size of these groups, as only “official” religions are included in statistics, meaning that the millions who worship in secret according to other doctrines aren’t counted. Although there are still devout followers of each of the Three Teachings, belief among the populace can seem ambiguous and Taoist temples can show elements associated with Buddhism and vice versa.

China Bear Rescue has helped over 200 bears in China escape a torturous life of captivity. org). Although they are most readily associated with pandas in China, the WWF is involved in wide-ranging projects throughout the country that aim to protect various animals through a variety of means, including preserving their habitats, rehabilitation and education. Population In 2 AD China’s population was estimated at nearly 58 million by the world’s first large-scale census. 3 billion people, making it the One-Child Policy n 43 Introduction world’s most populous nation.

Lotus ponds can be seen in most parks and public gardens throughout the country and the roots make for a tasty vegetarian snack commonly used in cooking. You’ll also see the d is tinc tive s a ltshaker-style pod in local food markets. Orchid - The orchid is prevalent in Southeast Lotus flower Asia and has long evoked exotic images of the East. Its manifold varieties are appreciated by bota- 38 n Flora & Fauna nists and gardeners the world over and fetch high prices. Orchids have grown for thousands of years in China and can been seen throughout the seasons, particularly in the south.

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