Carsten T. Vala

Carsten T. Vala



Carsten T. Vala is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland. He published a book on the rise and fall of public house churches like Beijing Shouwang church in 2017 (The Politics of Protestant Churches and the Party-State in China: God Above Party?), and has written a number of articles on church-state relations, Protestants and patriotism, the Bible hand-copying movement, Protestant seminary politics, and other issues in China.


Blog Entries

Chinese Christians in the New Era—Hope and Overcoming

The winter 2022 issue of ChinaSource Quarterly offers perspectives like a plane dropping from thirty thousand feet to ground level, as they shift from high-level and mildly optimistic…to close up, personal, and much more pessimistic. Together, they offer helpful insight on what’s happening in China after ten years of…political leadership by Xi Jinping.

Blog Entries

Reading Tea Leaves from the 2021 National Religious Work Conference

What can we learn from the recent conference on religious work? A comparison with the 2018 conference helps tease out key points.

Lead Article

The Three-Self Patriotic Movement

Divergent Perspectives and Grassroots Realities

Vala addresses the history of TSPM churches and the distinction between them and house churches. He looks at their relationship over past years and describes what is happening with both today.

Supporting Article

How China’s Religious Affairs Bureaucracy Works

The author helps us to understand the workings of the religious affairs bureaucracy first by following the story of an aspiring pastor, then by viewing them historically. The Chinese Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement Association, China Christian Council, Religious Affairs Bureau and United Front Work Department are all discussed along with how they interact, lines of authority and the role of guanxi.