It is tempting to think of the Communist Party of China as being axiomatically opposed to religion. In its six decades, the People’s Republic has launched repeated campaigns against figures such as the Dalai Lama and against groups ranging from the Catholic Church to Falungong, not to mention the wholesale destruction of religious artifacts during the Cultural Revolution. However, the litany of suppression provides only a partial view of the complex issues surrounding religion in China. Conflict over the definition and status of religion far predates the founding of the People’s Republic, and continued even after 1949, when China consciously diverged from the strict anti-religious policies of the Soviet Union. While the 1982 promulgation of “Basic Ideas and Policies Concerning Our Country’s Religious Question in the Socialist Era” marked a turn to an apparently more tolerant approach to religion, it also resurrected older theoretical contradictions that Chinese scholars have approached from the dual perspectives of religious and Marxist theory. This talk will outline the complex of ideas, which Standing Director of the Chinese Society for the Study of Human Rights Zhu Xiaoming (朱晓明) has termed “Socialist View of Religion with Chinese Characteristics.” (中国特色社会主义宗教观), that guide Chinese religion policy.
Thomas David DuBois is Senior Research Fellow in the history of China at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific.
To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by drinks at the Fellows Bar at University House and a dinner beginning at 6:30pm with the guest speaker at the Red Chilli Restaurant. All are welcome, though due to budget limitations, participants will need to pay for their own drinks and food.
As reservations must be made at the restaurant, please RSVP by noon on the day before the seminar to Jasmine firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending dinner. There is no need to RSVP for drinks.