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Is Jesus Really Hotter Than Mao on China’s Social Media?

Tea Leaf Nation

It’s easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, China’s massive Twitter-like social media platform.

Chinese Atheists? What the Pew Survey Gets Wrong

Ian Johnson

Earlier this month, I came across a fascinating opinion survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. The report asked people in forty countries whether belief in God is necessary for morality.

The Brave Catholics of China

Ian Johnson

Like most pilgrimage sites in China, the shrine in the village of Cave Gulley in Shanxi province is located partway up a mountain, reachable by steep stairs that are meant to shift worshipers’ attention from the world below to heaven abo

Caixin Media


Kunming Attack Is ‘China’s 9/11,’ State Media Says


In the days after a major terror attack in Kunming, state media outlets are calling for a united front to combat terror and warning against excusing the attackers or criticizing the government’s policies on minorities.



What Can the Dalai Lama’s White House Visit Actually Accomplish?

Isabel Hilton, Donald Clarke, Robert Thurman, Vincent Ni, Edward Friedman

On February 21, the Dalai Lama visited United States President Barack Obama in the White House over the objections of the Chinese government.



Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China?

Enze Han, James Palmer, Robert Barnett, Nicholas Bequelin, James A. Millward, Rachel Harris, James Leibold, Uradyn E. Bulag, Nathan Hill, Elliot Sperling, Tsering Shakya, Emily Ting Yeh

On December 31, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.” On January 15, Beijing officials

China’s Way to Happiness

Ian Johnson

Richard Madsen is one of the modern-day founders of the study of Chinese religion.



2013 Year in Review

The Editors

As the year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the stories ChinaFile published in 2013. We hope you’ll find something that interests you to read—or watch—over the holidays.



Confucianism as a World Religion

Laura Chang

Is Confucianism a religion? If so, why do most Chinese think it isn’t?

China’s Sufis: The Shrines Behind the Dunes

Ian Johnson

Lisa Ross’s luminous photographs are not our usual images of Xinjiang.



Yak Butter Tea for Eight Hundred

Michael Yamashita

The monks in this photograph were preparing tea to serve 800 at Shechen Monastery. It is in these kitchens, where monks are brewing yak butter tea, where I have made some of my favorite photographs.

Dancing in Empty Beijing

Ian Johnson

The Lunar New Year began last week as it always does, with a new moon.