"6 July 2006
CHINA: RELIGIOUS BOOKS' TORTUOUS ROUTE TO THE SHELVES
Perhaps surprisingly, China's book lovers have ready access in the many bookshops in the country's cities to publications about religion. While very little - if any - tackles any connection between religion and contemporary Chinese society and polity, various publications discuss the history, doctrine and practices of the five approved faiths - Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism - Forum 18 News Service has found. While state censorship persists, books promoting a particular faith and offering adherents texts to help their religious practice are difficult to find in general bookshops - though some innovative publishers have been able to get round official controls. Instead, religious believers have to seek out bookshops of the five state-sanctioned faiths, whose own publications cannot be sold in general bookshops as they lack official publication data. Private bookshops - such as those run by individual Protestants - can only stock devotional material that has slipped through the official net."