Remaking the Civic Space: The Rise of Unregistered Protestantism and Civic Engagement in Urban China

  • Li Ma
  • Jin Li
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Religion, Politics, and Policy book series (PSRPP)


Two waves of social change converge in contemporary China: the growth of an educated upper middle class in urban areas, and the growth of Christianity, especially Protestant Christianity. Among Chinese Protestants, the great majority appear to be in unregistered “house churches.” Since the mid-2000s, this religious movement has been attracting urban professionals, technicians, and intellectuals. And this change, in turn, has redirected the house church movement more into the public sphere. This study examines the views and actions of urban, house church Protestants and explores how their faith shapes their engagement in public life. The authors find that unlike the quiet, privatized faith of earlier house church people, the new urban house churches encourage public assertiveness and may help build civil society in China.


Chinese Protestants civil society house church public life 


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© Li Ma and Jin Li 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Ma
  • Jin Li

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