Advertisement

Higher Education

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 635–649 | Cite as

Religion and the cultivation of citizenship in Chinese higher education

  • Zhenzhou ZhaoEmail author
Article

Abstract

A growing body of research has documented the escalating popularity of religion among student populations in China’s higher education settings. Despite the changes sustained by China’s religious policies throughout the post-Mao era, the state has not abandoned its long-standing approach of cultivating citizenship through Marxist–Leninist-oriented political education. The rising popularity of religion on university campuses thus reflects a complex interplay between religion and the state in the education sector. This study explores the meaning of religion as constructed in this setting by comparing (a) the political education curriculum, (b) the academic discussions of religious issues and the challenges faced by political education scholars and (c) the daily life discourse embedded in the voices of university teachers. The findings suggest that the manipulated meaning of religion in the political education arena accommodates the agenda of building a modern, secular state, but it fails to construct a cohesive and coherent understanding of religion. The state’s interpretation of religion leaves space for curriculum and policy implementers to renegotiate the meaning of religion in practice.

Keywords

University Citizenship Political education Religion Diversity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Financial support for this study was provided by the Start-up Research Fund (RF13/2012-2013R) from the Education University of Hong Kong. The author is grateful to Miss Li Caihong's assistance and all the informants who gave time to be interviewed in the project. The author also thanks two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights.

References

  1. Ashiwa, Y., & Wank, D. L. (2009). Making religion, making the state in modern China: an introductory essay. In Y. Ashiwa & D. L. Wank (Eds.), Making religion, making the state: the politics of religion in modern China (pp. 1–21). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Baranovitch, N. (2010). Others no more: the changing representation of non-Han peoples in Chinese history textbooks, 1951–2003. The Journal of Asian Studies, 69(1), 85–122. doi: 10.1017/S0021911809991598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chu, Y. (2015). The power of knowledge: a critical analysis of the depiction of ethnic minorities in China’s elementary textbooks. Race Ethnicity and Education, 18(4), 469–487. doi: 10.1080/13613324.2015.1013460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dubois, T. D. (2010). Religion and the Chinese state: three crises and a solution. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 64(3), 344–358. doi: 10.1080/10357711003736501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Entwistle, P. (2016). Faith in China: religious belief and national narratives amongst young, urban Chinese Protestants. Nations & Nationalism, 22(2), 347–370. doi: 10.1111/nana.12162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fairbrother, G. P. (2003). Toward critical patriotism: student resistance to political education in Hong Kong and China. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fang, L. (1996). Renwen kexue ketizhong de yingyou zhiyi: zhongshi kaizhan zongjiaoxue yanjiu (Religious studies should play a role in the social science discipline). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, (6), 16–18.Google Scholar
  8. Feuchtwang, S., & Wang, M. (1991). The politics of culture or a contest of histories: representations of Chinese popular religion. Dialect Anthropol, 16(3/4), 251–272. doi: 10.1007/BF00301240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gladney, D. (1999). Making Muslims in China: education, Islamicization and representation. In G. A. Postiglione (Ed.), China’s national minority education: culture, schooling and development (pp. 55–94). New York: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  10. Goossaert, V., & Palmer, D. A. (2011). The religious question in modern China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grose, T. (2012). Uyghur language textbooks: competing images of a multi-ethnic China. Asian Studies Review, 36(3), 369–389. doi: 10.1080/10357823.2012.711809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hu, A., & Leamaster, R. J. (2015). Intergenerational religious mobility in contemporary China. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 54(1), 79–99. doi: 10.1111/jssr.12168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Huang, F. (2015). Building the world-class research universities: a case study of China. Higher Education, 70(2), 203–215. doi: 10.1007/s10734-015-9876-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jiang, K., & Xu, Y. (2014). Paradoxes of civic and political education in China’s higher education institutions. In K. J. Kennedy, G. P. Fairbrother, & Z. Zhao (Eds.), Citizenship education in China: preparing citizens for “the Chinese century” (pp. 66–82). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Jin, B. (2012). [2006]. Minzu lilun yu minzu zhengce gailun (Ethnic theories and overview of ethnic policies). Beijing: Zhongyang minzu daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
  16. Jorgensen, M., & Phillips, L. (2002). Discourse analysis as theory and method. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kuang, C. (2012). Xinxingshi xia diyu xifang didui sichao dui woguo shehui zhuyi yishixingdai shentou de sikao (Thoughts on defending the penetration of the opposing forces in the west into China’s socialism in new situation). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, (7), 65–68.Google Scholar
  18. Lai, M., & Lo, L. N. K. (2011). Struggling to balance various stakeholders’ perceptions: the work life of ideo-political education teachers in China. Higher Education, 62(3), 333–349. doi: 10.1007/s10734-010-9391-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leibold, J., & Chen, Y. (Eds.) (2014). Minority education in China: balancing unity and diversity in an era of critical pluralism. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Li, J. (2009). Fostering citizenship and civil society in China’s move to mass higher education: an analysis of students’ experiences. International Journal of Educational Development, 29(4), 382–398. doi: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2008.10.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li, J. (2012). The student experience in China’s revolutionary move to mass higher education: institutional challenges and policy implications. Higher Education Policy, 25(4), 453–475. doi: 10.1057/hep.2011.30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lin, Y. (2003). Dangdai yingguo xuexiao deyu pinglun (moral education in contemporary UK). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, (9), 68–71.Google Scholar
  23. Liu, F. (2015). Shanghai gaoxiao daxuesheng zongjiao xinyang wenti yanjiu (a research on religious belief of college students in Shanghai). Shannxi gaodeng xuexiao shehui kexue xuebao, 27(2), 27–31.Google Scholar
  24. Liu, C., & Han, Y. (2010). Dangdai daxuesheng zongjiao xinyang diaocha: Yi Beijing wei zhongxin de kaocha (Contemporary university students’ religious faith: A case study in Beijing). Renmin luntan, (35), 128–129.Google Scholar
  25. Lu, Y. (2013). Understanding the rise of religion in China. Chinese Sociological Review, 45(2), 3–7. doi: 10.2753/CSA2162-0555450200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mabokela, R. O., & Seggie, F. N. (2008). Mini skirts and headscarves: undergraduate student perceptions of secularism in Turkish higher education. Higher Education, 55(2), 155–170. doi: 10.1007/s10734-006-9040-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Madsen, R. (2011). Religious renaissance in China today. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 40(2), 17–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Makesi zhuyi jiben yuanli gailun bianxiezu (2010). Makesi zhuyi jiben yuanli gailun (introduction to philosophical principles of Marxism). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  29. Maozedong sixiang he zhongguo tese shehhui zhuyi lilun tixi gailun bianxiezu (2010). Maozedong sixiang he zhongguo tese shehhui zhuyi lilun tixi gailun (Mao Zedong thought and socialism with Chinese characteristics theories). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  30. McCarthy, S. K. (2013). Serving society, repurposing the state: religious charity and resistance in China. The China Journal, 70, 48–72. doi: 10.1086/671330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Postiglione, G. A. (2015). Research universities for national rejuvenation and global influence: China’s search for a balanced model. Higher Education, 70(2), 235–250. doi: 10.1007/s10734-014-9838-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sixiang daode xiuyang yu falujichu bianxiezu (2010). Sixiang daode xiuyang yu falüjichu (cultivation of ideology and moral character and the basics of law). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  33. Spohn, W. (2003). Multiple modernity, nationalism and religion: a global perspective. Curr Sociol, 51(3–4), 265–286. doi: 10.1177/0011392103051003007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. (2015). Guanyu jinyibu jiaqiang he gaijin xinxingshi xia gaoxiao xuanchuan sixiang gongzuo de yijian (Opinion on further strengthening and improving political education in higher education in the new environment). 19 January, http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2015-01/19/content_2806397.htm. Accessed 10 February 2016.
  35. The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese State Ministry of Education (2005). Guanyu jinyibu jiaqiang he gaijin gaodeng xuexiao sixiang zhengzhi lilunke de yijian (On further strengthening and reforming political education at the tertiary level) .http://www.moe.edu.cn/publicfiles/business/htmlfiles/moe/moe_772/201001/xxgk_80415.html. Accessed 10 February 2016
  36. Turner, B. S. (2011). Religion and modern society: citizenship, secularisation and the state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wang, D. (2009). Ketang shang de minzu lilun yu minzu zhengce jiaoyu (Education of ethnic theories and policies in the classroom). Zhonguo minzu, (7), 52–53.Google Scholar
  38. Wang, W. (2010). Sulian daode jiaoyu de lishi jingyan yu jiaoxun (Historical experiences and lessons in the Soviet Union’s mora education). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, (7), 105–109.Google Scholar
  39. Wang, Q. (2013). Strengthening and professionalizing political education in China’s higher education. Journal of Contemporary China, 22(80), 332–350. doi: 10.1080/10670564.2012.734086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang, Z., & Fu, A. (2005). Zhong de gaoxiao deyu shishi tujing de yitong (Similarities and differences in implementing moral education between Chinese and German universities). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, (4), 71–73.Google Scholar
  41. Wielander, G. (2011). Beyond repression and resistance—Christian love and China’s harmonious society. The China Journal, 65, 119–138. doi: 10.1086/tcj.65.25790560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Xie, X. (2010). Religion and modernity in China: who is joining the three-self church and why. Journal of Church and State, 52(1), 74–93. doi: 10.1093/jcs/csq049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yang, F. (2004). Between secularist ideology and desecularizing reality: the birth and growth of religious research in Communist China. Sociol Relig, 65(2), 101–119. doi: 10.2307/3712401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yang, M. M. (Ed.) (2008). Chinese religiosities: afflictions of modernity and state formation. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  45. Yang, F. (2012). Religion in China: survival and revival under communist rule. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Yang, R., Vidovich, L., & Currie, J. (2007). ‘Dancing in a cage’: changing autonomy in Chinese higher education. Higher Education, 54(4), 575–592. doi: 10.1007/s10734-006-9009-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Yao, X., & Badham, P. (2007). Religious experience in contemporary China. Cardiff [Wales]: University of Wales Press.Google Scholar
  48. Yi, L. (2007). Ethnicization through schooling: the mainstream discursive repertoires of ethnic minorities. The China Quarterly, 192, 933–948. doi: 10.1017/S030574100700210X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zhao, Z. (2010). Practices of citizenship rights among minority students at Chinese universities. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(2), 131–144. doi: 10.1080/0305764X.2010.483223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhao, Z., & Postiglione, G. A. (2008). Making globalization work for Chinese higher education by building bridges between internationalization and multiculturalism. Asian Ethnicity, 9(2), 133–150. doi: 10.1080/14631360802042057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhonguo jindaishi gangyao bianxiezu (2010). Zhonguo jindaishi gangyao (compendium of modern Chinese history). Beijing: Gaodeng jiaoyu chubanshe.Google Scholar
  52. Zhou, J. (2015). Xibu diqu daxuesheng zongjiaoguan diaocha (Study on university students’ views towards religion in the West). Dangdai qingnian yanjiu, (2), 49–54.Google Scholar
  53. Zuo, P. (2011). Sixiang zhengzhi lilun ke zhong jiaoyu yindao daxuesheng zhengque renshi he duidai zongjiao wenti tanxi (exploration of guiding university students to correctly understand and deal with religious issues in ideological-political courses). Sixiang lilun jiaoyu daokan, 66(10), 52–55, 66.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesThe Education University of Hong KongHong KongChina

Personalised recommendations