The ruin of the Ming dynasty and the subsequent establishment of the Qing dynasty by the non-Chinese Manchus was blamed by some literati (Confucians) on religion – specifically Daoism.
Daoism has never been a unified religio-philosophical tradition, in that it has always been consisted of different teachings (some revealed, other developed through philosophical argumentation).
On the philosophical side, Daoist alchemist Ge Hong, also known as Baopuzi (??? The "Master Embracing Simplicity") was active in the third and fourth centuries and had great influence on later Daoism.
Traditional Chinese religion (and the institutional Daoism that it came to be at least partially merged with) is notably polytheistic.
Following the example of the Tang and Song emperors, some leaders of the Ming also favored Daoism.
The Communist Party of China, officially atheistic, initially suppressed Daoism along with other religions.
The compound Daojiao, then, refers to Daoism as a religion, while Daojia refers to the activity of scholars in their studies.
Until well into the twentieth century, Christians have tended to view religious Daoism as a hodgepodge of primitive superstitions, or even as a form of demonolatry due to insufficient understanding.
Despite this extensive (and multifaceted) textual corpus, it is notable that religious Daoism does not make particular use of it (at least not its collected form).
During the short period following the fall of the Han, the philosophical stream of Daoism continued to develop apace.
The Han dynasty also saw the emergence of Daoism as a revelatory religious movement.
The English word "Daoism" is used to translate the Chinese terms Daojiao (?? "teachings/religion of the Dao") and Daojia (?? "school of the Dao").
Geographically, Daoism flourishes most readily in regions populated by Chinese people: inland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and various Chinese diaspora communities.
Another significant development for religious Daoism was the founding of the Quanzhen school in the twelfth century C.E.
More difficult still is the complex relationship between Chinese folk religion, whose adherents might number in the hundreds of millions, and Daoism.
Night-time, exile, or retirement provided the opportunity to cultivate Daoism and to reread Laozi and Zhuangzi.
Areas as varied as alchemy, martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), feng shui, and many styles of qigong breath training have some practical or philosophical relationship with the tenets of Daoism.
Specifically, this period saw Daoism gain official status as an imperially-sanctioned religion, to the extent that the Tang emperors claimed Laozi as their relative.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, Daoism had fallen from favor to such an extent that the only one complete copy of the Daozang remained at the White Cloud Monastery in Beijing.
Daoism is one of five religions recognised by the PRC, which, like the imperial bureaucracy of old, insists on controlling its activities through state power (as manifested in the China Daoist Association).
During the Han Dynasty, the idea of Daoism as a discrete tradition began to be defined.