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POLI 338 (20)
Juan Wang (20)

POLI 338 - Overmyer: Religion in China Today, Intro.doc

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Political Science
POLI 338
Juan Wang

Overmyer – Religion in China Today: Introduction Greater social freedom, which accompanied Dengist economic development, saw revival of religious traditions in many parts of China. Government remains committed to control and regulation, but when local conditions permit, religious activites come bubbling to the surface. Some outside help from Chinese diaspora and foreign organizations along religious ties, but most fundamental impetus is Chinese people themselves. Contrary to Marxist ideology, religion has not withered but flourished. This amounts to a challenge to the authority of the Party and state. Religious freedom is important to China's foreign relations. Imperial China has always been characterized by a state that assumed it has the right and obligation to control every aspect of life, including religious beliefs and practices. PRC has five recognized religious—Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Protestantism—but independent groups and popular religious sects are proscribed. This also leaves out beliefs and rituals of majority of Chinese people as practiced in local communities. Kenneth Dean Southeast China is area where local communal religion has most strongly been revived, in part due to influence of Taiwan. Local temple networks can be an “unofficial level of local governance.” Despite revival, effects of repression under Republican and communist governments is still evident. Because city temples have been mostly destroy,ed urban youth have no way of learning traditional religious practices. In rural areas, symbols of modernity may be incorporated in tradition. Liu Tik-sang Mutually supportive relationships between rituals and organization of local households, communities and lineages. People may also incorporate beliefs in urban settings (i.e., fengshui). Most vibrant religious scene is Taiwan, with democratic government and complete freedom of religion. Taiwan is also “a standing refutation of the old idea that religion will fade away as modernity advances.” “Local religious traditions are understood as an integral part of Taiwanese identity, while politicians seek the support of gods and temples for their campaigns.” Oldest religious traditions are those of local communities, the emperor and state, and Daoism. Though imperial traditions died with end of Qing dynasty, many of their forms, symbols, and dieties stil linfluence local community traditions. Daoism Daoists maintained their dieties were superior to common traditions. Daoist gods are immortal or symbols of astral forces, not deified human beings. Buddhism Buddhism has similarly long been part of Chinese religion and culture. Imported from south Asia
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