Chinese Religion: Tolerating Religious Freedom Under Modernization Essays

Chinese Religion: Tolerating Religious Freedom Under Modernization Essays

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B. DENG Xiaoping (1982-1987): Tolerating Religious Freedom Under Modernization

After the death of Mao, Deng Xiaoping bought an end to class struggle and mass movement but adopted pragmatic governance to modernization and economic development. He realized China had eroded into a poverty-stricken society and stagnated economy as he acknowledged, “In a country as big and as poor as ours, if we don't try to increase production, how can we survive? How is socialism superior, when our people have so many difficulties in their lives?”

In face of the urgent need to revive eroded public confidence, Deng adopted a more liberal and subtle version of religious freedom policy to unite people from all walks of life. Deng did not reject the ideology of Marxism-Leninism but he perceived that further eradication of religious through coercive means would only disintegrate the society. On the balance of limiting religious expansion and uniting China along the way of Four Modernizations (in agriculture, industry, science and technology, and national defence), Deng tried to gain cooperation from non-communist intellectuals and patriotic religious leaders.

Document No. 19 Concerning Our Country’s Basic Standpoint and Policy on Religious Questions During the Socialist Period (the Document) was the official instrument published to illustrate the new “liberal” religious freedom policy in 1982 onwards. The thirty-page guideline synchronized with the intention of Li Weihan’s formulation thirty years ago: “the basic policy of the Party towards religion … is a long-term policy and one which must be carried out until religion totally disappears”. The Document talked through State’s policies to “win over, unite and educate the religious professional”...


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...jian mingpai shengdanshu bian shanghai (Christmas Tree With Brand Tag Found All Over Shanghai), (Kwongwah News, 24 December 2013), available at http://www.kwongwah.com.my/index.php?view_type=news&date=20131224&id=72 [accessed 20 May 2014]

Mingpao Special, Gangzhai jiaotang Wenzhou zaijing jiating jiaohui (Demolish Church; Underground Church Banned in Wenzhou) (Mingpao Daily, 9 May 2014)

Pingxiang City Chinese Communist Party Editorial Group, (ed.), “Anyuan lukuang gongren yundong” (“The Anyuan railway and mine workers’ movement”), Beijing Chinese Communist Party History Documents Press, Vol. 2 (2002), 45.

Singtao Daily, Dixia zhujiao chubin wuqian jiaotu songbie (Five Thousand Followers Farewell Underground Bishop At Funeral), (Singtao Daily, 23 March 2013), available at http://news.singtao.ca/calgary/2014-03-23/china1395555538d4971544.html [accessed 20 May 2014]

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