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Lecture Video: New Civil Religion in China—Opportunity for Engagement?

On January 25 I had the opportunity to be in New York to attend a lecture at Fordham University given by journalist Ian Johnson, author of The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao. The event was part of our joint lecture series with the US-China Catholic Association and China Academic Consortium. 

The lecture was titled “New Civil Religion in China—Opportunity for Engagement?”

Drawing on the research for his book, Johnson talked about how China is using civil religion, which he defines as the government using religion and religious images to legitimize its rule. He argued that this has been most visible in the government’s more tolerant attitude towards what it considers to be indigenized religions—Buddhism and Daoism—as well as Chinese folk religions.

Following Johnson’s talk, a response was given by Dr. Kin Sheung Chiaretto Yan, a Catholic scholar based in Shanghai.

Watch the entire lecture, response, and Q&A session on our YouTube channel.

The next lecture in this series will be held on April 26 at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Il. Dr. Daryl Ireland will present a lecture called “Spreading the Gospel: Chinese Posters in Early 20th Century China.” This will be an in-person event, so we hope that those of you in the Chicago area will be able to come. A recording will be released following the event. Please go to EventBrite to register to attend the lecture or be notified when the recording is available.  

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Image credit: Courtesy of the author.
Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio

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