“Folk Belief,” Cultural Turn of Secular Governance and Shifting Religious Landscape in Contemporary China
Chinese communal religion is welcoming a momentous change in its legal status after being attacked as “superstition” for over a century. In the last decade or so, the Chinese government is experimenting with the new legal designation “minjian xinyang huodong changsuo” (site of folk belief activity) as a regulatory category for the governing of communal religion across the country. In this chapter, the author argues that the new regulations are just the latest chapter in what he terms the “cultural turn” in secular governance of religion in China as the government lacks intention of fully legalizing communal religion. The new regulations though could have significant and long-term consequences on many fronts.