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News from the USCCA and the church in China

China’s New Civil Religion: A Challenge and Opportunity for Engagement

When outsiders think of religion in China, they tend to focus on persecution--for example Muslims in Xinjiang or Christians in many big Chinese cities. While that is true for some faiths, China is also in the midst of a religious boom, which the government is trying to use to further its grip on power. That includes rebuilding ancient temples, subsidizing pilgrimages to holy mountains, and endorsing Confucian philosophers. But can authoritarianism and religious life coexist? What are the risks as the government in Beijing embraces some religions while opposing others? .

About Ian johnson

Ian Johnson is Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist who lived in China for more than 20 years. A regular contributor to the New York Times, he is the author of Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China (Pantheon, 2004) and The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao (Vintage, 2017), as well as numerous other publications.

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