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POL3114 (8)

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Political Science
David Rangdrol

One particular characteristic of East Asias recently consolidated democracies is a common realization that policies of recognition for religions that were once banned or even persecuted during the authoritarian era have led to the institutionalization of many religious beliefs and practices to such an extent that state control is being enhanced rather than diminished While operating under authoritarian rule these states sought to control religion in general by granting recognition to some religions forcing some to be absorbed into others and denying many others any kind of recognition by labeling them superstitions or wasteful practicesPart of the explanation resides in the fact that the categorization of religious identities in East Asia is a complicated matter that reflects the legacy of centuriesold traditions of state control of religious aff airs and attempts since the colonial era to implement the mechanisms used in Western states to deal with religious authoritiesIn sum democratization has helped the selfidentification of small religious groups that had been persecuted during the authoritarian period Groups that had previously been ignored also saw an opportunity in theprocess of democratization Many religious entrepreneursand their followers wanted to be counted on their own terms and wanted the benefits of the fiscal advantages that resulted from state recognition The context of free media and the eagerness of the political parties to appear more responsive to popular pressures made religious associations increasingly able to articulate demands for recognition as state institutions consolidated democracyIn this context few religious practitioners in Taiwan
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