The number of religious believers in China could be three times higher than official estimates, according to a survey reported by state media.
A poll of 4,500 people by Shanghai university professors found 31.4% of people above the age of 16 considered themselves as religious.
This suggests 300 million people nationwide could be religious, compared to the official figure of 100 million.
China is regularly criticised for cracking down on unauthorised worship.
Believers are only allowed to attend government-approved churches, mosques and temples.
Correspondents say the poll's findings back up suspicions that religion has been enjoying a resurgence in China over the past 20 years, as Communist Party disapproval has eased.
But the party is still ready to deal harshly with any religious group it perceives to be a challenge to its authority - especially the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, which was not mentioned in the reports. ...