Media

11.06.18

ChinaFile Presents: The Situation in Xinjiang

ChinaFile and the U.S.-Asia Law Institute of NYU School of Law co-hosted a discussion with historian Rian Thum and journalists Gulchehra Hoja of Radio Free Asia and James Palmer of Foreign Policy on the human rights crisis in the far-western region...

Anxious Hong Kong Catholics Told to Make Leap of Faith over China Deal

Greg Torode, Venus Wu
Reuters
Beijing-Vatican deal causes divisions among Catholics in Hong Kong.

China Jails Muslim Man for 2 Years over Islam WeChat Groups

South China Morning Post
A member of a Muslim minority group has been sentenced to two years in a Chinese prison after forming online discussions groups to teach Islam.

China’s Astounding Religious Revival

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
If there were just one Chinese in the world, he could be the lonely sage contemplating life and nature whom we come across on the misty mountains of Chinese scrolls. If there were two Chinese in the world, a man and a woman, lo, the family system is...

China Is Touting Its Protection of Human Rights in a Muslim-Majority Region Riven by Violence

Quartz
China put out a policy paper today on human rights in the Muslim-heavy Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government has been cracking down extensively in recent years.

Books

05.08.17

The Souls of China

Ian Johnson
From journalist Ian Johnson, a revelatory portrait of religion in China today—its history, the spiritual traditions of its Eastern and Western faiths, and the ways in which it is influencing China’s future.The Souls of China tells the story of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals. Following a century of violent anti-religious campaigns, China is now filled with new temples, churches, and mosques—as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty over what it means to be Chinese and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is searching for new guideposts.Johnson first visited China in 1984. In the 1990s, he helped run a charity to rebuild Daoist temples, and in 2001 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the suppression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. While researching this book, he lived for extended periods with underground church members, rural Daoists, and Buddhist pilgrims. Along the way, he learned esoteric meditation techniques, visited a nonagenarian Confucian sage, and befriended government propagandists as they fashioned a remarkable embrace of traditional values. He has distilled these experiences into a cycle of festivals, births, deaths, detentions, and struggle—a great awakening of faith that is shaping the soul of the world’s newest superpower. —Pantheon{chop}

Media

04.19.17

ChinaFile Presents: Ian Johnson on ‘The Souls of China’

Ian Johnson & Ian Buruma
On April 13, ChinaFile and The New York Review of Books co-hosted the launch of author Ian Johnson’s new book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao at the Asia Society’s New York headquarters. Johnson discussed the book with Ian...

China Names Areas in Region Disputed with India to Assert Claims

Reuters
China has issued standardized spellings of the names of six places in a region disputed with India, in what China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday was an assertion of sovereignty.

Viewpoint

04.06.17

What Do Trump and Xi Share? A Dislike of Muslims

Nury Turkel
During the 1980s, as an idealistic, ambitious Uighur growing up under repressive Chinese conditions in the city of Kashgar, there was one nation to which I pinned my hopes for freedom and democracy. To me, the United States was a symbol of my...

Books

02.16.17

Chinese Theology

Chloë Starr
In this groundbreaking and authoritative study, Chloë Starr explores key writings of Chinese Christian intellectuals, from philosophical dialogues of the late imperial era to micro-blogs of pastors in the 21st century. Through a series of close textual readings, she sheds new light on such central issues in Chinese theology as Christian identity and the evolving question of how Christians should relate to society and state.Reading these texts in their socio-political and traditional literary contexts, Starr opens a new conversation about the nature of Chinese theology and the challenge it offers to a broad understanding of how theology is created and contextualized. Concentrating on those theologians who have engaged most actively with their cultural and political milieus, Starr argues throughout her readings, as she examines how Chinese literary traditions and reading patterns have shaped Chinese theology, that text is as important as context. —Yale University Press{chop}

Books

02.07.17

Shanghai Faithful

Jennifer Lin
Within the next decade, China could be home to more Christians than any other country in the world. Through the 150-year saga of a single family, this book vividly dramatizes the remarkable religious evolution of the world’s most populous nation. Shanghai Faithful is both a touching family memoir and a chronicle of the astonishing spread of Christianity in China. Five generations of the Lin family—buffeted by history’s crosscurrents and personal strife—bring to life an epoch that is still unfolding.A compelling cast—a poor fisherman, a doctor who treated opium addicts, an Ivy League-educated priest, and the charismatic preacher Watchman Nee—sets the book in motion. Veteran journalist Jennifer Lin takes readers from remote nineteenth-century mission outposts to the thriving house churches and cathedrals of today’s China. The Lin family—and the book’s central figure, the Reverend Lin Pu-chi—offer witness to China’s tumultuous past, up to and beyond the betrayals and madness of the Cultural Revolution, when the family’s resolute faith led to years of suffering. Forgiveness and redemption bring the story full circle. With its sweep of history and the intimacy of long-hidden family stories, Shanghai Faithful offers a fresh look at Christianity in China—past, present, and future. —Rowman & Littlefield{chop}

Sinica Podcast

01.13.17

Can the Vatican and China Get Along?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has lived in Beijing and Taiwan for more than half of the past 30 years, writing for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and other publications. He has...

Xinjiang Attack: Four 'Terrorists' and One Bystander Killed, Says China

Reuters
Guardian
Assailants shot dead after driving up to regional Communist party headquarters and setting off bomb, according to official media, in flare-up in Uighur region

In China’s Tiny Catholic Community, Hopes Rise for Beijing- Vatican Ties

Rob Schmitz
NPR
Beijing and the Vatican seem to want to come to an agreement, though who has the last word in appointing bishops is still a point of contention

Tibetan Leader Urges Trump to Confront China on Rights

Sanjeev Miglani
Reuters
The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile said he was encouraged by Trump’s tough stand on China

Popular Chinese Muslim Website Down After Posting Letter Critical of Xi

Christian Shepherd
Reuters
Users of China Muslim Net say they have been unable to access the website since Saturday

China and the Church: The “Outlaw” Do-It-Yourself Bishop

Carrie Grace
BBC
Mr. Dong is a thorn in the side of both the Vatican and the Chinese state. This 58-year-old laborer from a village in northern China calls himself a bishop

China is Confiscating the Passports of Citizens in its Muslim-Heavy Region

Echo Huang
Quartz
China is requiring all residents in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to turn in their passports to help the government “maintain social order”

Dalai Lama Says He Will Visit Trump in Move Bound to Anger China

Ben Blanchard
Reuters
"I think there are some problems to go to United States, so I will go to see the new president," the Dalai Lama told reporters, without elaborating...

Features

10.21.16

The Separation Between Mosque and State

Alice Y. Su
Driving through the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu province, in China’s northwest, minarets puncture the sky every few minutes. Many rise out of mosques that resemble Daoist temples, their details a blend of traditional Chinese and...

Pope Francis Targets Deal With China in Year of Mercy

Stephanie Kirchgaessner
Guardian
Agreement on issue of Vatican’s right to appoint bishops in China would be biggest diplomatic feat of Francis’s papacy

China Targets Parents With Religion Rules in Xinjiang

Al Jazeera
Government denies committing abuses and says legal rights of Uighur people are protected as new laws are announced

To Beijing’s Dismay, Jailed Uighur Scholar Wins Human Rights Award

Simon Denyer and Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
A coalition of leading rights groups will bestow their annual award on Ilham Tohti, who is currently serving a life sentence in China

China's Other Muslims

Economist
By choosing assimilation, China’s Hui have become one of the world’s most successful Muslim minorities

China Seeks Tighter Grip in Wake of a Religious Revival

Ian Johnson
New York Times
Increased regulations on religion are the latest move by President Xi to strengthen the Communist Party’s control over society and combat foreign influences.

Media

07.21.16

More Than 100 Chinese Muslims Have Joined the Islamic State

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A July 20 report from New America, a think tank in Washington, DC, examined more than 4,000 registration records of fighters who joined the Islamic State between mid-2013 and mid-2014.

China’s Leader Xi Jinping Reminds Party Members to Be ‘Unyielding Marxist Atheists’

Charlie Campbell
Time
He tells cadres to beware of "overseas infiltrations via religious means."...

Why Are Tibetans Setting Themselves on Fire?

Tsering Woeser from New York Review of Books
February 27, 2009, was the third day of Losar, the Tibetan New Year. It was also the day that self-immolation came to Tibet. The authorities had just cancelled a Great Prayer Festival (Monlam) that was supposed to commemorate the victims of the...

China Stick to Right to Decide Reincarnation of Dalai Lama

Reuters
The Dalai Lama and China's officially atheist Communist Party have repeatedly tussled over who has final authority on the issue of reincarnation...

Media

09.23.15

‘God’s United Front’ and the Battle Over China’s Crosses

This article first appear in Chinese on September 2 in Hong Kong-based outlet The Initium Media. Foreign Policy translates with permission, with edits for brevity and clarity.On the evening of August 16, nearly one hundred pastors, ministers, and...

I’m with the Banned: China Blocks Bon Jovi Gigs

Jennifer Duggan
Guardian
U.S. group were due to perform first China shows next week, but previous use of Dalai Lama image may have prompted officia intervention.

Media

07.21.15

China: The Best and the Worst Place to Be a Muslim Woman

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
A woman’s solitary voice, earthy and low, rises above the seated worshipers. More than 100 women stand, bow, and touch their foreheads to the floor as a female imam leads evening prayers at a women-only mosque during the first week of Islam’s holy...

China Concerned Over Turkish Religious Complaints

The Associated Press
Washington Post
China expressed displeasure with Turkey’s complaints about restrictions on worship and fasting by Uighur Muslims during Ramadan.

Obama’s Public Encounter With the Dalai Lama Riles China

New York Times
Obama previously met the Dalai Lama privately in the White House rather than in public.

Conversation

02.05.15

What’s the Case for Heads of State Meeting the Dalai Lama?

Francesco Sisci, Robert Barnett & more
On Thursday in Washington, the Dalai Lama attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast hosted by President Barack Obama, angering China's leaders in Beijing who have long called the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader a "splittist" and...

Viewpoint

02.04.15

Why China Is Banning Islamic Veils

Timothy Grose & James Leibold
This week, regional authorities outlawed Islamic veils from all public spaces in the regional capital of China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The Urumqi ban, which went into effect on Sunday February 1 (coincidentally the third annual*...

Features

02.04.15

The City of Urumqi Prohibition on Wearing Items That Mask the Face or Robe the Body

A Proclamation from the Standing Committee of the Urumqi People’s CongressThe “Regulation banning the wearing of items that mask the face or robe the body in public places in the city of Urumqi,” which was passed at the 21st Meeting of the 15th...

Pope Francis’ China Problem

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
China-watchers, friends of Tibet, and admirers of Pope Francis were amazed and disappointed last week when the Pope announced he would not be meeting the Dalai Lama during the Tibetan leader’s visit to Rome. The Dalai Lama was there with other...

A Comb Worth Fighting For

Economist
By one estimate, the number of Chinese Christians could by 2030 have reached 250 million—the largest Christian population of any country in the world.

China Removes Crosses From Two More Churches in Crackdown

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
In another sign of the authorities’ efforts to contain one of China’s fastest-growing religions, a government demolition campaign against public symbols of the Christian faith has toppled crosses at two more churches in the coastal province of...

China Bans Xinjiang Officials From Observing Ramadan Fast

BBC
Activists have accused Beijing of exaggerating the threat from Uighur separatists to justify a crackdown on the Uighurs’ religious and cultural freedoms.

Xi Jinping Hopes Traditional Faiths Can Fill Moral Void in China

Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
President Xi Jinping believes China is losing its moral compass and he wants the ruling Communist Party to be more tolerant of traditional faiths in the hope these will help fill a vacuum created by the country’s breakneck growth...