China, including Hong Kong and Tibet.
See also Taiwan.
1. Brief Introduction to Religion and Politics in China
China has a population of 1,343 million, with a relatively low .48% population growth rate (July 2012 est). The country ranks #89 in the 2010 HDI and 39 (80th globally) in the 2012 CPI Index. The population is 91.5% Han Chinese, and 8.5% other ethnicities such as Mongol, Turkish, and Tibetan. The country is officially atheist and religious belief is discouraged, but the CIA Factbook lists the Chinese as Daoists, Buddhists, 3-4% Christian, and 1-2% Muslim. See 9/15/10 article below for 2006 survey. The Hong Kong SAR ranks #21 in the 2010 HDI, with a high 8.4 ranking in the 2010 CPI. In fact, Hong Kong (77, 14th globally) and Singapore (87, fifth globally) serve as models in fighting corruption in an Asian context, thus enhancing their value for international business. Hong Kong has a population of just over 7 million, with a population growth rate of .42% (July 2012 est).
Traditionally China split between a Confucian elite and rural sectarian peasant organizations, both of which combined religion and politics in a complete way of life. For example, in the Confucian state, only the Emperor, the Son of Heaven, could worship Heaven. Mao combined a Confucian social fabric with Marxism, substituting peasant for Marxist proletarian leadership. Mao’s amalgamation worked well as a national ideology until the debacles of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. From the death of Mao’s designated successor Lin Biao as a traitor in 1971, belief in Maoist Communism decreased markedly, opening up a national spiritual vacuum for all sorts of other religions, from local Daoism to Protestantism. The latest significant religious challenge to the Chinese state came from the rise of the Falun Gong in April 1999.
The government recognizes five religions: Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. To supervise these religions, in 1954 it established the Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) as a central ministry under the State Council. In 1998 the RAB was renamed the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).Religions like Judaism and Mormonism exist in a "grey area," and sectarians of any stripe, e.g., Falun Gong, are definitely unacceptable. From the Communist Party’s perspective, since the end of the Cultural Revolution, world religions, provided they are penetrated, regulated, and controlled by the party apparatus, are deemed politically acceptable. This means, for example, that from the Party perspective, all Catholics should belong to the Catholic Patriotic Association. Those that do not are classed as underground sectarians. The Party occasionally appoints Catholic bishops without Vatican approval, but most bishops have been approved, at least sub rosa, by both the Vatican and the Party. Indeed, in June 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued a special letter to Chinese Catholics calling for reconciliation. Among Protestants, the religious-political division is between members of the state-approved Three Self Patriotic Association and those who hide from party influence in “house” congregations. Many rural Daoist sects adopt organizational and ideological forms from various religious traditions in very creative syntheses. The split in recognized and non-recognized religious institutions makes statistics for the number of religious adherents in country very problematic, with Party and Church research figures widely divergent, e.g., five million Catholics according to the Party, twelve million according to Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong. The number of "house" Protestants is particularly difficult to know, with some outside Protestant researchers putting the figure as high as 50-70 million. All sources agree that Buddhists constitute the largest group at 10-15% of the population. The political reliability of Han Buddhists, however, is distinguished from that of other ethnic groups like Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs, who are viewed with much more suspicion (See the fifth section of the newspaper articles below).
The Chinese Communist Party remains the most powerful national institution. It oversees the rest of the organizations in the country, including the government, by penetrating the crucial centers of power with its own personnel. Leaders cannot rise above a certain level in any organization unless they are party members. Since the accession of Deng Xiaoping in December 1978, the Chinese economy has constituted a global success story, averaging a growth rate of at least eight percent per year during the entire period. The cities and the coastal areas have been particularly successful, with the rural and inner sectors of the country less so. Rural health care, education, and pollution remain major issues, as recognized by the party. Rural depravation has also led to massive immigration within the country, with many peasants coming to the major cities without the urban passports (hukou) required for schooling and medical care. Party leader (2002-2012) and President Hu Jintao stressed the necessity of dealing with such inequality by building a new "harmonious society" based on a "socialist core value system." (October 2006 Plenum), but success under Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao was limited. There have been some local experiments with more democratic elections. The party runs on five-year cycles, with the last leadership chosen in November 2012. The new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee is led by General Secretary Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. They are focused on corruption and on rebalancing the economy toward more consumer demand and less export, with the central role of the state-owned enterprises a major issue.
The lack of a widely believed state ideology means that ethical questions are introduced into society from multiple perspectives. Cultural norms reinforce some Confucian values, especially those relating to the family, while the state Marxism maintains its emphasis on sacrificing individual good for the party and the nation. Both the world religions and local sectarian organizations foster their own ethical viewpoints. With nationalism and consumerism growing among the new urban elites, it is a very confused situation in terms of national ethics, exacerbated by very different historical experiences for the different generational cohorts. At the beginning of 2013, current issues include: the great socioeconomic gap between the cities and the countryside; the limits of democracy, especially in local elections and on the Internet; ethnic religious tension among Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs; and the impact of the global economic downturn and its effect on migration and unemployment among college graduates.
Hanson (2006) discusses “China and Japan: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Maoism” (pp. 111-19); Contemporary China: The Ideological Vacuum After the Cultural Revolution” (pp. 165-73); “The Falun Gong: Religion and Politics Within the Economic and Communication Systems” (173-77); and “The Future of East Asia in the EMC Systems” (pp. 188-97).
For Tibet, see p. 305 and below.
2. A Short Introductory Course to Religion and Politics in China
Bergsten, et al. present a very well organized, balanced, brief analysis of China' current political and economic situations. Yang provides one classic introduction to the place of religion in Chinese society. Madsen’s award-winning book about Chen Village explains the demise of Maoist ideology and its ethic during the Cultural Revolution. The China Quarterly volume represents a collection of the best scholarship by the best scholars on religion in China. For Confucian ethics, read Chan and Yearley in the collection below. Teresa Wright explains the lack of a cohesive democratic opposition in terms of the political nature of various sectors of Chinese society.
Bergsten, C. Fred, Gill, Bates, Lardy, Nicholas R., and Mitchell, Derek, China's Rise: Challenges and Opportunities (Washington, D.C.: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009).
Yang, C.K., Religion in Chinese Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961).
Madsen, Richard, Morality and Power in a Chinese Village (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984).
The China Quarterly 174 (June 2003), Special issue on “Religion in China Today.”
Chan, Joseph “Confucian Attitudes toward Ethical Pluralism,” and Yearley, Lee H., “Two Strands of Confucianism,” in Madsen, Richard, and Strong, Tracy B., eds. The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 129-60.
Wright, Teresa. Accepting Authoritarianism: State-Society Relations in China's Reform Era (Stanford, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 2010).
3. Other Key Resource Materials for Religion and Politics in China
See Asian Survey for annual summaries of politics in China.
Aikman, David. Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power (Washington: Regnery, 2003).
Ashiwa, Yoshiko, and Wank, David L., eds. Making Religion, Making the State: The Politics of Religion in Modern China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009). This collection focuses on the process of the state imposing its notion of "modern religion" on China's beliefs and practices, and on the resulting interactions. Religions include Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Daoism, and folk religion. Dru C. Gladney's chapter on Islam is a particularly good introduction to that history.
Barnes, Nancy J., “Buddhist Women and the Nuns’ Order in Asia,” in Queen, Christopher S., and King, Sallie B., eds. Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia (Albany, NY: SUNY, 1996), 259-94. This article discusses women religious and the movement to reestablish the bhikshuni sangra [ordained women mendicantes] in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Tibet, and the Chinese tradition. Monks and laity in the Theravada countries oppose full ordination, but have developed other women’s organizations: the dasa sil matavo in Sri Lanka, the mae ji in Thailand, and the thila-shin in Thailand. Taiwan has fostered the bhikshuni sangra as part of its Buddhist revival, and the Dalai Lama has supported such a move among Tibetan Buddhism. The role of the male bhikshu sangra as “fields of merit” is important to both monks and laity, especially in the rural areas.
Baker, Don, “World Religions and National States: Competing Claims in East Asia,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997), 144-72.
Brockey, Liam Matthew. Journey to the East: The Jesuit Mission to China, 1579-1724. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007. Review by John W. O’Malley (America, May 7, 2007).
Chan, Anita, Madsen, Richard, and Unger, Jonathan. Chen Village Under Mao and Deng, expanded and updated edition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
Creel, H.G. What is Taoism? (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1970).
Dean, Kenneth, “Local Communal Religion in Contemporary South-east China,” in The China Quarterly (2003).
Friedman, Edward, Pickowicz, Paul G., and Selden, Mark Revolution, Resistance, and Reform in Village China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005).
Gilley, Bruce. China’s Democratic Future: How It Will Happen and Where It Will Lead (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).
Goldman, Merle. From Comrade to Citizen: The Struggle for Political Rights in China (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).
Gries, Peter Hays. China’s New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).
Hanson, Eric O. Catholic Politics in China and Korea (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1980).
Hilton, Isabel. “Flight of the Lama,” New York Times Magazine (March 12, 2000): 50-55.
Iyer, Pico. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008). A bibiography set within the intellectual context of globalization. Author's father, a Bombay-raised Oxford philosophy professor, went to Dharamsala in 1960, one year after Tenzin Gyatso fled Tibet.
Jenkins, Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
Johnson, Ian. Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China. (New York: Pantheon Books, 2004).
Kindopp, Jason, and Hamrin, Carol Lee, eds. God and Caesar in China: Policy Implicationss of Church-State Tensions. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2004.
Kristoff, Nicholas, “A Little Leap Forward,” New York Review of Books (June 24, 2004).
Kurlantzick, Joshua, “Move Over, Confucius,” The New Republic (September 6, 2004).
Lewis, John Wilson, and Xue, Litai. Imagined Enemies: China Prepares for Uncertain War. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.
MacInnis, Donald E. Religion in China Today: Policy and Practice. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1989).
Madsen, Richard, “Understanding Falun Gong,” Current History (September 2000): 243-47.
Madsen, Richard. China's Catholics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
Mariani, Paul P. Church Militant: Bishop Kung and Catholic Resistance in Communist Shanghai (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).
Nathan, Andrew J. “Tiananmen and the Cosmos: What Chinese democrats mean by democracy,” The New Republic (July 29, 1991): 31-36.
Nathan, Andrew J., and Gilley, Bruce. China’s New Rulers: The Secret Files (New York: New York Review of Books, 2002).
Nathan, Andrew J., and Link, Perry, eds. The Tiananmen Papers. Paperback edition with new preface (New York: Public Affairs, 2002).
Pan, Philip P. Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of China (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008).
Pu, Bao, Chiang, Renee, and Ignatius, Adi, trans. and eds. Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Zhao Ziyang (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009).
Reardon, Lawrence C., “The Chinese Catholic Church: Obstacles to Reconciliation,” Paul Christopher Manuel, Lawrence C. Reardon, Clyde Wilcox, eds. The Catholic Church and the Nation-State: Comparative Perspectives (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006), 227-44.
Schram, Stuart. The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung, rev. ed (New York: Praeger, 1969).
Shambaugh, David. Modernizing China’s Military (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
Tamney, Joseph B., and Chiang, Linda Hsueh-Ling. Modernization, Globalization and Confucianism in Chinese Societies. Westport, CN: Greenwood, 2002.
Wei Jingsheng, The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters from Prison and Other Writings (New York: Viking Penguin, 1997).
Weller, Robert P. Alternate Civilities: Democracy and Culture in China and Taiwan (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1999).
Wright, Teresa. The Perils of Protest: State Repression and Student Activism in China and Taiwan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2001).
4. Recent News Articles on China (a. General Politics; b. Politics and Economics; c. Religion and Ideology, d. Foreign Policy; e. Tibet and Xinjiang, f. Hong Kong)
a. General Politics
“China’s Textbooks Twist and Omit History,” New York Times, December 6, 2004. The closer to the present, the more distortion. Cf. with Japanese textbook issue.
“At a Secret Meeting, Chinese Analysts Clashed Over Reforms,” New York Times, April 7, 2006.
“Scandals Emerging in Shanghai as Political Season Nears,” New York Times, September 5, 2006. Investigation by party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection into pension fund irregularities. Jiang Zemin no longer covers as media reports. Build up to 17th Communist Party Congress.
“In Graft Inquiry, Chinese See a Coming Shake-Up,” New York Times, October 4, 2006. Arrest of Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu on September 25, and analysis of meaning to Chinese political system, alliance of Hu Jintao and Zeng Qinghong versus Shanghai faction.
“Chinese Leaders Give Social Ills a Spot On National Agenda,” Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2006. Central Committee embraces Hu’s “harmonious society” to attack income gap, pollution, and breakdown of ethics.
"New Chinese Hierarchy May Crimp President's Power," New York Times, October 13, 2007. Analysis of political impact of choosing new leadership.
"Hu's Big Challenge: Getting Provinces on Board," Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2007. Photos of nine members of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo. Challenge of provincial politics to central party policies.
"Despite Flaws, Rights in China Have Expanded/Gains Are Incremental/Dissent is Still Muzzled, but Society Tiptoes Toward Openness," New York Times, August 2, 2008. Good summary of current situation. See also Foreign Policy (August 2008), "The List: The Ten Worst Chinese Laws."
"Despite Warnings, China's Regulators Failed to Stop Tainted Milk," New York Times, September 27, 2008. Fine summary of what is known about the history of this case.
"China's Charter 08," New York Review of Books, January 15, 2009. Translation by Perry Link and CCP's initial reactions.
"Mythical Beast (a Dirty Pun) Tweaks China's Web Censors," New York Times, March 12, 2009. The tale of the "grass-mud horse" and its struggle against the "river crab," set in the context of Internet censorship.
"A Manifesto on Freedom Sets China's Persecution Machinery in Motion," New York Times, May 1, 2009. The party struggle against Charter '08.
"The World Can Watch China's Party, but the Intended Audience Is at Home," New York Times, October 2, 2009. Coverage of 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China, that "infinitely bright prospects" lay ahead. Each of four floats saluted the four great historical leaders (Mao, Deng, Jiang, and Hu) with their respective ideological slogans.
"Chinese Activist Surfaces After Year in Custody and Conflicting Reports on His Status," New York Times, March 29, 2010. Gao Zhisheng gave few details in phone call.
"Jailed Activist in China Wins Nobel Peace Prize," New York Times, October 9, 2010. Liu Xiaobo wins prize and Chinese government negative reaction.
"An Online Scandal Underscores Chinese Distrust of State Charities," New York Times, July 4, 2011. Extravgant living, featured online, raises suspicion of corruption by Chinese Red Cross. Problems with one of few philanthropic entities allowed to collect public donations.
"China Frees Artist Held For Months," New York Times, June 23, 2011. Ai Weiwei, renowned artist and son of one of China's most famous poets, is released after three month in detention. There had been strong international pressure. He was later rearrested, released, then forbidden to take trips abroad.
"A Promise to Tackle China's Problems, but Few Hints of a Shift in Path," New York Times, November 16, 2012. Xi and the new Politburo Standing Committee.
"Reformers Aim to Get China to Live Up to Own Constitution," New York Times, February 4, 2013. Establishment attempts to make the 1982 Constitution relevant to Chinese governance.
"Vows of Change in China Belie Private Warning," New York Times, February 15, 2013. During Xi's trip to the south, tension between attacking corruption and maintaining stability, with Gorbachev as a warning against losing control.
See Foreign Affairs (January-February 2013) for debate between Eric X. Li and Yasheng Huang over democracy and China's future. Li asserts current system will last because of Party adaptability, system of meritocracy, and popular legitimacy. Huang questions all three.
b. Politics and Economics
“Wealth Grows, but Health Care Withers in China,” New York Times, January 14, 2006.
“China Unveils Plan to Aid Farmers but Avoids Land Issue,” New York Times, February 23, 2006.
“Chinese Premier Pledges Help for Rural Poor, Playing Down Growth of Military Spending,” New York Times, March 5, 2006.
“Sharp Labor Shortage in China May Lead to World Trade Shift,” New York Times, April 3, 2006. From Shenzhen, wages going up resulting in more middle class and movement of lowest wage manufacturing to other countries.
"Murdoch's Dealings in China: It's Business and It's Personal," New York Times, June 26, 2007. Rupert Murdoch's courtship of the Chinese political leadership to increase his business presence in China.
"Booming, China Faults U.S. Policy on the Economy," New York Times, June 17, 2008. Chinese criticism of U.S. lack of regulation, but U.S. still leads in "soft power."
"Facing Shortages, China Raises Domestic Energy Prices, New York Times, June 20, 2008.
"Despite Flaws, Rights in China Have Expanded," New York Times, August 2, 2008. Fine overview of current state of human rights in China, with areas of improvement over Maoist era and crackdown in advance of Olympic Games.
"Despite Warnings, China's Regulators Failed to Stop Tainted Milk," New York Times, September 27, 2008. The complete story of the Sanlu melamine scandal and its relationship with the PRC regulatory structure and the Olympics, a disaster waiting to happen even though China had another food and pharmaseutical scandal one year previous.
"China Enacts Major Land-Use Reform for Farmers," New York Times, October 20, 2008. In an attempt to close urban-rural economic stratification, the Communist Party announced that for the first time it would allow farmers to lease or to transfer land-use rights.
"Factories Shut, China Worlkers Are Suffering," New York Times, November 14, 2008. The impact of global downturn and China's stimulus package.
"China Takes Stage as World Economic Power, but Its Transformation Is Incomplete," New York Times, April 2, 2009. G20 meeting in London and China's current economic situation.
"Beijing Adds Curbs On Access To Internet," New York Times, June 26, 2009. The latest moves on government's demand that all new computers sold after July first have "anti-pornography" software.
"In a Shift, Chinese Workers Set Their Terms," New York Times, July 13, 2010. Workers exercise increased bargaining clout on South China coast. Demographic changes and strikes against Honda, Toyota.
"Discontent on Heath Care Spurs Violence at Hospitals in China," New York Times, August 12, 2010. Current state of health care, better than 1990s after government withdrawal, but significant problems coming from private funding model.
"Workers Let Go By China's Banks Putting Up Fight," New York Times, August 16, 2010. State banks success stories contrast with many workers let go. Workers protest, and government reaction, fearing protesters knowledge of technology (cf. manuel worker protest).
"China Fortifies State Businesses to Fuel Growth," New York Times, August 30, 2010. Discussion of enhanced role of 129 state-owned enterprises in responding to the global economic crisis. They received the vast bulk of the stimulus money. Article ends with two questions: how much longer will state control of vast sectors of the economy generate such growth? If party decides strategy is not working, could it reverse course, given tight connections with party leadership? Everyone agrees China runs a bifurcated economy, private and state sectors.
"Lead Poisoning in China: The Hidden Scourge," New York Times, June 15, 2011. Recurrent development problem in many provinces, especially from battery factories and metal smelters.
"Top Auditor In China Says Debt Risks Grow," New York Times, June 28, 2011. Chinese response to global economic downturn points to growing debt due to poor central government control of investment companies set up by municipalities and provinces.
"China's Cities Piling Up Debt to Fuel Boom," New York Times, July 7, 2011. The city of Wuhan serves as a "poster child" for the above article.
See Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2012, for influential World Bank and Chinese Think Tank report urging rebalancing of Chinese economy to more domestic consumer demand.
c. Religion, Ideology, and the Communication System
See also Tibet and Xinjiang below.
“Violence Taints Religion’s Solace for China’s Poor,” New York Times, November 25, 2004. Battle between Three Grades of Servants and Eastern Lightning.
"China interreligious conference held," Asia Focus, March 18, 2005. Catholic Faith Institute for Cultural Studies organized conference, Feb. 25-27, in Shijiazhuang, Hebei.
“China Said to Step Up Religious Persecution of Minority in West,” New York Times, April 12, 2005. Religious persecution against Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang province.
“A Spectator’s Role for China’s Muslims,” New York Times, February 19, 2006. Report from Linxia, China’s “Little Mecca.” Nation’s 21 million Muslims very quiet, even over Islamic issues like Danish cartoons. Differences between Hui and Uighurs.
“China Attacks Its Woes With an Old Party Ritual,” New York Times, March 9, 2006. Maoist-style ideology under Hu Jintao.
“A Sharp Debate Erupts in China Over Ideologies,” New York Times, March 12, 2006.
“Vatican Takes Stern Line Against China for Installing Bishops,” New York Times, May 5, 2006. Spring 2006 tension over appointment of bishops.
“Where’s Mao? Chinese Revise History Books,” New York Times, September 1, 2006. Shanghai adopts new high school history books which downplay Mao and revolution, emphasize economic growth, innovation, respect for diverse cultures, and social harmony.
"As China's Bishops Die Off, Clash Looms With Vatican," Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2007. The battle over the naming of successor bishops.
"'State leader' Bishop Fu of Beijing dies at age 76," Asia Focus, April 27, 2007. Fu Tieshan, the government-approved leader of Chinese Catholics, died. He was also a vicechairperson of the National People's Congress.
"Pope Appeals for Reconciliation Among China's Catholics," New York Times, July 1, 2007. Pope Benedict XVI's nuanced letter calling for reconciliation among Catholics, removing special powers granted to the underground in 1988. For further analysis, see Asia Focus, July 6, 2007.
"Beijing bishop's de facto blessing," San Jose Mercury News, September 22, 2007. Vatican response in L'Osservatore Romano indirectly indicates Joseph Li Shan, new bishop of Beijing, was accepted by both Beijing and Rome. For more, see Asia Focus, September 28, 2007. Vietnamese Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City visited Li in September. Asia Focus, October 5, 2007.
"Chinese Dissidents Take on Beijing Via Media Empire," Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2007. Falun Gong media seek to penetrate China.
See February 15, 2008 Asia Focus in Hong Kong section below
"Pope issues Marian prayer for China Church," Asia Focus, May 23, 2008. Pope Benedict composed prayer for May 24 World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, patroness of China, whose pilgrimage shrine is at Sheshan just outside of Shanghai.
"Bishops from HK, Macau invited to Beijing Olympics," Asia Focus, June 20, 2008. Bishops John Tong Hon and Jose Lai are invited for opening ceremonies. Cardinal Zen gave his blessing for the trip after consulting with the Holy See.
"China Starts New Bureau To Curb Web," New York Times, April 17, 2010. Internet News Coordination Bureau (Bureau Nine) added to Bureau of Internet Affairs (Bureau Five) in an attempt to better control social networks. The new bureau will focus on enforcement and the old one on promoting the official line to domestic and foreign media.
"China Puts Best Face Forward in New English-Language Channel," New York Times, July 2, 2010. Xinhua starts 24-hour English news channel based on Al Jazeera model.
"Chinese Turn to Religion to Fill a Spiritual Vacuum," National Public Radio, September 15, 2010. A 2006 survey of 4,500 people found 31.4% of Chinese described themselves as religious,with two-thirds classifyuing themselves as Buddhists, Daoists, or worshipers of folk gods. The latter are sometimes classified as a "cultural heritage," thus avoiding religious issues. Wang Zuo'an becomes head of SARA in 2009. Since 2006 the government has recognized that religion can contribute to creating a "harmonious society."
"China Bars Christians From South African Event," New York Times, October 16, 2010. More than 100 Christian leaders are blocked from attending an international evangelical conference.
"Vatican: Bishop's Ordination Inflicts "Painful Wound," America, December 13, 2010. Vatican response to government sponsored bishop of Chengde, Rev. Joseph Guo, on Nov. 20.
"Repackaging the Revolutionary Classics of China," New York Times, June 30, 2011. Chongqing party use of Maoist classic songs for political stability.
"China's Banned Churches Defy Regime," Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2011. Opposition from Protestant house churches, especially Shouwang in Beijing.
Showcase Party-Catholic Church tension arose over Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai proclaiming his alliance to the Universal Church at his July 7, 2012 ordination. See Catholic Church Quarterly 89 (April-June 2012). Shanghai is the most important Catholic archdiocese.
d. Foreign and Military Policy
"China Orchestra Plays for Pope for First Time, Hinting at Thaw," New York Times, May 8, 2008. The China Philharmonic Orchestra, joined by the Shanghai Opera House Chorus, performed Mozart's Requiem for Pope Benedict XVI. The 150 musicians were led by Deng Rong, founder of the orchestra and the daughter of Deng Xiaoping.
"In His Visit to Japan, China Leader Seeks Amity," New York Times, May 8, 2008. Hu Jintao visits Tokyo. Both he and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda focused on building friendlier ties. Fukuda praised the Chinese decision to meet with representatives of the Dalai Lama.
"Leading Chinese Advocate of Democracy and Human Rights Wins European Prize," New York Times, October 24, 2008. Hu Jia wins Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Buddhist Hu has worked on human rights issues, AIDs, and environmental protection. He and his wife are under house arrest. Last November he testified to a European parliamentary committee via video link. He was also a frontrunner for the Nobel Peace Prize just won by Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland.
"China Warns U.S. Leaders Not to Meet the Dalai Lama," New York Times, February 3, 2010. Zhu Weiqun, a senior figure in the United Work Department, warned the U.S. President Obama had not met with the Dalai Lama just before his China trip, but said he would afterwards. He did.
"China to Slow Rise of Military Spending," New York Times, March 5, 2010. Possibly responding to slower global economic growth, China slows military spending.
"Pentagon Cites Concerns In China Military Growth," New York Times, August 17, 2010. Pentagon annual summary of Chinese military development.
"China Explores a Rich Frontier, Two Miles Deep," New York Times, September 12, 2010. China's deep sea program, affecting minerals and Asian politics.
e. Tibet and Xinjiang
“Shangri-La No More: The Dragons Have Settled In,” New York Times, December 8, 2004. Han Chinese influence in Tibet.
“A Living Buddha Shoulders a Historic Mission,” China Pictorial 685 (July 2005). Beijing propaganda of interview of Beijing candidate for Pachen Lama.
“Appointed Tibetan lama lauds China,” San Jose Mercury News, April 14, 2006. The 16-year-old Panchen Lama praises PRC government at World Buddhist Forum in Hangzhou. Days later Hu Jintao went to the United States.
"China uproots 250,000 rural Tibetans," San Jose Mercury News, May 6, 2007. Chinese government relocates nearly one-tenth of population to "socialist villages" from rural hamlets in a program reminiscent of 1950s China. Government seeks control as tourists come for Olympics. Government argues modernity, Human Rights Watch the forced removal.
"With One Eye on China, Bush Receives Dalai Lama," New York Times, October 17, 2007. Dalai Lama in Washington to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, and two will appear together in public for first time.
March 2008 constituted the forty-ninth anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight from Tibet. Beginning on March 14, Tibetans staged the largest protest demonstrations against the government since the 1980s. For coverage, see the New York Times, especially "Simmering Resentments Led to Tibetan Backlash at China" (March 18); "Curbs on Protest in Tibet Lashed By Dalai Lama ["cultural genocide"]" (March 17); "As Tibet Erupted, China Wavered" (March 24); "Dalai Lama And China: Old Enmity" (March 29); and "Chinese Nationalism Fuels Crackdown on Tibet" (March 31). The protests and Chinese response reflected the international context of the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Political leaders from the E.U. and the United States called for negotiations between the PRC and the Dalai Lama. The Chinese cut off media access, while stressing their restraint and ethnic Han causalities.
"China Blocks Thousands of Hindus From Tibet Pilgrimage," New York Times, May 21, 2008. China refusing visas for traditional summer Hindu pilgrimage for "domestic reasons."
"China to Resume Talks With Dalai Lama," New York Times, June 30, 2008. They resume again on November 1, 2008. Low expectations and growing disillusionment among exiled Tibetans.
"At Exile Meeting, Tibetans Debate Making a Push for Independence," New York Times, November 22, 2008. Very good on the current situation and Tibetan debate over whether or not to advocate independence, rather than the Dalai Lama's "middle way" of autonomy after Chinese intransigence.
"50 Years After Revolt, Clampdown on Tibetans," New York Times, March 5, 2009. Summary of situation as Tibet looks to March 10 anniversary. Connection to Tibetan areas outside of Tibet.
"China Seals Off Cities Batttered By Ethnic Fight," New York Times, July 7, 2009. Report on Uighur protest in Urumqi after cellphone photos of riots against Uighur worker immigrants in Guangdong.
"A Strongman Is China's Rock In Ethnic Strife," New York Times, July 11, 2009. Wang Lequan, protege of Hu Jintao, has been the person on Xinjiang and Tibet issues.
"At a Distant Toy Factory, the Spark for China's Ethnic Bloodshed," New York Times, July 16, 2009. Fine summary of what's known and connection to Han immigration to Xinjiang, where they are favored for jobs, and Uighur, sometimes forced, immigration to Guangdong factories to reduce unemployment.
"Protests in Xinjiang Turn Deadly, China Says," New York Times, September 5, 2009. Report on Han protests in Urumqi. Tensions remain high since early July rioting which killed at least 197 people.
"China Unveils Strategy for 'Stability' in Tibet," New York Times, January 24, 2010. China's top leaders announce "leapfrog development and lasting stability" strategy.
"Tibetans Fear Philanthropist's Ordeal Shows Broadening of Crackdown," New York Times, June 24, 2010. Trial of Karma Samdrup, wealthy Tibetan who used to be favorite of Chinese.
"China Asserts Role in Choosing Dalai Lama," New York Times, July 2, 2010. Senior party official says that choosing new Dalai Lama must follow an historical process which gives the government right of approval.
"Tibet Exiles Elect Scholar at Harvard as Leader," New York Times, April 28, 2011. Lobsang Sangay, 42, receives 55 percent of vote as leader of Tibetan government after Dalai Lama resigned political post while keeping religious one.
"China Says Region's Attackers Trained in Pakistan," New York Times, August 2, 2011. Kashgar officials blamed the Uighur East Turkestan Islamic Movement, with the leader of the attack, which resulted in 18 deaths, being trained in Pakistan. Chinese officials seem to be growing impatient with Pakistan's inability to control radical groups.
"In Far Tibetan Corners, a Wired Revolution," New York Times, May 24, 2012. The use of the Internet by monk protestors in the Tibetan sections of Sichuan. Immolations publicized globally.
"From the Tibetan Monastery at the Heart of Self-Immolations, an Explanation," New York Times, June 3, 2012. Summary of immolations, connected to Kirti Monastery in Sichuan. Response to government heavy crackdown.
f. Hong Kong
“Hong Kong reinvents itself again,” San Jose Mercury News, June 9, 2002. Summary of five years since restoration to China.
“The Catholic Voice Leading Hong Kong’s Opposition,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2003. Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.
“China official meets HK bishop,” Asia Focus, June 4, 2004.Liu Yandong, head of the CCP’s United Work Department, met with Bishop Zen and Auxiliary Bishop John Tong Hon at a banquet for local religious leaders. She came for the opening ceremony of the exhibition of Buddha’s finger relic.
“Memorial Mass held in HK for Zhou,” Asia Focus, February 4, 2005. Ex-premier Zhou died on January 17. Mass organized by Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.
“Hong Kong lawmakers to visit China,” New York Times, September 23, 2005. Politics of visit of pro-democracy legislators like Martin Lee, who had been banned from visiting the PRC for 16 years.
“Hong Kong Legislators Pass Sweeping Surveillance Bill,” New York Times, August 7, 2006. Pro-Beijing legislators approved legislation to give police much broader surveillance powers, 32-0, after 28 opponents lost all attempts to amend and walked out.
"HK Christians to protest delay in realizing democracy," Asia Focus, January 11, 2008. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress decided on December 29 that 2012 elections of the Hong Kong chief executive and legislature will not be done through universal sufferage. Six Christian (2 Catholic and 4 Protestant) groups protested and called for participation in a January 13 protest march. Cardinal Zen visited a fasting legislator Martin Lee.
"Coadjutor bishop stresses Church principles, working with mainland," Asia Focus, February 15, 2008. Newly installed Hong Kong Coadjutor Bishop John Tong Hon stated that he would not sacrifice Catholic principles for better relations with the mainland, but that he would continue to focus on "the bridging role" while Cardinal Zen focused on "the prophetic role" in relations with China. Tong has headed Hong Kong's Holy Spirit Study Centre, which researchs church life in China, since 1980.
"Vigil for Tiananmen Dead Draws Fewer in Hong Kong," New York Times, June 5, 2008. Influence of Olympics, May 12 Sichuan earthquake, and growing propersity limits crowd. Even Cardinal Zen has praised China for its openness in handling earthquake relief.
"Populists Gain Seats In Election In Hong Kong," New York Times, September 8, 2008. Report of elections in midst of growing Chinese nationalism and economic worries. Democrats kept blocking (from rewriting Basic Law) coalition of more than one-third of seats, but greatest gain to pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of of Hong Kong, which favors more government measures against poverty and pollution. Democratic leaders Martin Lee, anson Chan, and Sin Chung Kai did not run, but supported younger democratic leaders.
"Hong Kong Moves Toward More Democratic System," New York Times, June 22, 2010. Hong Kong's chief executive and some democratic forces reach an agreement which gives the public geographical consituencies a little more clout than the professional constituencies which tend to back Beijing. Democratic forces disputed the compromise, but enough backed it to make the change.
"Beijing's Favorite to Lead Hong Kong See His Star Falling, New York Times, February 21, 2012. Henry Tang's problems with unauthorized home construction and tense relations between Mainlanders and native Hong Kong people for Hong Kong services, e.g., hospital beds for births. These problems led to the election of the other pro-Beijing candidate, Leung Chun-ying [CYLeung] with China's support and 689 votes (57.4%). The pro-democracy candidate, Albert Ho, came in third.
February 27, 2013