Religion in China survived the most radical suppression in the human history—a total ban of any religion during the Cultural Revolution. All churches, temples, and mosques were closed down, converted for secular uses, or turned into museums for the purpose of atheist education. Since the 1970s, however, religion has thrived even though China remains under Communist rule. Christianity ranks among the fastest-growing religions throughout the vast land while many Buddhist and Daoist temples have been restored. The Communist authorities have carried out waves of atheist propaganda, anti-superstition campaigns, and severe crackdowns on Christian churches and new religious movements. How do we explain the resilience and vitality of religion in modernizing China? How did religion survive the eradication measures in the 1950s to 1970s? How have various religious groups managed to revive despite strict regulations? Why have some religions grown fast? Why have some forms of spirituality gone through dramatic turns? This book provides a comprehensive overview of the religious change in China under сommunist rule, and it also offers a set of theoretical tools for studying religious vitality in modernizing societies.
Fenggang Yang is Professor of Sociology and the founding Director of the Center on Religion and the Global East at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. His research focuses on the sociology of religion, religious change in China and immigrant religion in the United States. He has served as the President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2014-15) and the first President of the East Asian Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2018-2020). He has given many invited lectures and keynote presentations at major universities and professional associations in the US, Asia, and Europe. His media interviews have appeared on the National Public Radio, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time, Economist, CNN, BBC, etc.