The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang for short) is located in northwest China. For thousands of years it has been a multi-ethnic region of multiple religions. At present, the major religions in Xinjiang are Islam, Buddhism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Taoism.
Historically, religious relations in Xinjiang were very complicated. Before the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 many conflicts had occurred between different religions or different sects of the same religion; some areas even experienced decades of religious wars and centuries of sectarian strife. Religious wars and conflicts not only caused serious damage to the economy and society, but also brought grave disasters to the people. As a result, people lost freedom of faith.
After the People’s Republic of China was founded, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang gained the freedom of religious belief. The central government and local governments at all levels of Xinjiang have fully implemented the system of regional ethnic autonomy and the policy on the freedom of religious belief, and constantly improved laws and regulations on the administration of religious affairs. All religions in Xinjiang have thus reached a new historical stage at which they coexist in harmony.