God and Caesar in China: Policy Implications of Church-State Tensions

God and Caesar in China: Policy Implications of Church-State Tensions

by Jason Kindopp
     
 

In the late 1970s when Mao's Cultural Revolution ushered in China's reform era, religion played a small role in the changes the country was undergoing. There were few symbols of religious observance, and the practice of religion seemed a forgotten art. Yet by the new millennium, China's government reported that more than 200 million religious believers worshiped in

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Overview

In the late 1970s when Mao's Cultural Revolution ushered in China's reform era, religion played a small role in the changes the country was undergoing. There were few symbols of religious observance, and the practice of religion seemed a forgotten art. Yet by the new millennium, China's government reported that more than 200 million religious believers worshiped in 85,000 authorized venues, and estimates by outside observers continue to rise.

The numbers tell the story: Buddhists, as in the past, are most numerous, with more than 100 million adherents. Muslims number 18 million with the majority concentrated in the northwest region of Xinjiang. By 2000 China's Catholic population had swelled from 3 million in 1949 to more than 12 million, surpassing the number of Catholics in Ireland. Protestantism in China has grown at an even faster pace during the same period, multiplying from 1 million to at least 30 million followers. China now has the world's second-largest evangelical Christian population —behind only the United States. In addition, a host of religious and quasi-spiritual groups and sects has also sprouted up in virtually every corner of Chinese society.

Religion's dramatic revival in post-Mao China has generated tensions between the ruling Communist Party state and China's increasingly diverse population of religious adherents. Such tensions are rooted in centuries-old governing practices and reflect the pressures of rapid modernization. The state's response has been a mixture of accommodation and repression, with the aim of preserving monopoly control over religious organization. Its inability to do so effectively has led to cycles of persecution of religious groups that resist the party's efforts. American concern over official acts of religious persecution has become a leading issue in U.S. policy toward China. The passage of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which institutionalized concern over religious freedom abroad in U.S. foreign policy, cemented this issue as an item on the agenda of U.S.-China relations.

God and Caesar in China examines China's religion policy, the history and growth of Catholic and Protestant churches in China, and the implications of church-state friction for relations between the United States and China, concluding with recommendations for U.S. policy.

Contributors include Jason Kindopp (George Washington University), Daniel H. Bays (Calvin College), Mickey Spiegel (Human Rights Watch), Chan Kim-kwong (Hong Kong Christian Council), Jean-Paul Wiest (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Richard Madsen (University of California, San Diego), Xu Yihua (Fudan University), Liu Peng (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), and Carol Lee Hamrin (George Mason University).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815749370
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press
Publication date:
12/28/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1Policy dilemmas in China's church-state relations : an introduction1
Pt. 1State policy : control of religion
2A tradition of state dominance25
3Control and containment in the reform era40
4Accession to the world trade organization and state adaptation58
Pt. 2Church-state interaction
5Setting roots : the catholic church in China to 194977
6Catholic conflict and cooperation in the people's Republic of China93
7"Patriotic" protestants : the making of an official church107
8Fragmented yet defiant : protestant resilience under Chinese communist party rule122
Pt. 3Religion in U.S.-China relations
9Unreconciled differences : the staying power of religion149
10Advancing religious freedom in a global China : conclusions165
Suggested reading187
Contributors191
Index195

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