The Transformation of the Concept of Religion in Chinese Modernity

  • Rebecca Nedostup


The recent history of China demonstrates conclusively that, while secularization and modernity have not developed the normative relationship that students of nineteenth-century European societies predicted they would have, religious matters have been central to acts of political and cultural framing in self-consciously modernizing nation states. The transition to constitutional government, begun in the late nineteenth century, brought with it guarantees of religious freedom, but that very framework was predicated on a redefinition of religion itself that undermined the eclecticism of Chinese religious practice and elevated state interests. Thus, views of religion originating in Europe and America have combined with legal structures of similar origins to challenge free exercise and pluralism in China, more often than support it.


Religious Freedom Free Exercise Provisional Constitution Falun Gong Local Temple 
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© Perry Schmidt-Leukel and Joachim Gentz 2013

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  • Rebecca Nedostup

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