Complexities of translating Chinese religious identification establish the nation as perennial statistical outlier in polling
- Although the widely cited WIN/Gallup poll on global religiosity indicates 61% of Chinese respondents identified as atheist, 27% as nonreligious, and only 7% as religious, the Chinese term used to translate “religious” carries more politicized, institutional connotations than in other languages.
- In addition, one anthropologist notes that many Chinese people have more syncretic belief systems and practices than in other parts of the world.
- Because the survey was administered online, there could have been additional pressure to identify as atheist as the Communist Party is officially atheist and surveils online communications.
“In other parts of the world, the survey is more uniformly understood. … In East Asia, the signals are more complex, but it still gives some insight.”
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