Religion and citizenship in China’s moral-political education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The concept of ‘religion’ was imported to China from the West via Japan in the late nineteenth century, which suggests that the modern conception of religion in China is closely intertwined with the construction of the Chinese nation-state (Ashiwa & Wank, 2009; Duara, 1991; Yang, 2008). As Yang (2008, p. 13) noted, terms such as religion and superstition “were swept up into the national elite efforts to reform traditional culture and promote a new nationalism in order to counter the threats posed by European and Japanese imperialism.” Goossaert and Palmer (2011, p. 168) used the term “political religiosity” to describe these social changes and argued that building a modern nation-state “required forging the ‘Chinese people’ as a new community of citizens bound together by new rituals and moral norms.” As in many post-communist nations, religiosity has risen as a powerful social force in public discourse and the institutions in China. For example, Wielander (2011) traced how Christian terminologies are used in China’s official discourse, including ‘love,’ which is deeply rooted in Christianity but widely used in the public language of the post-Mao era, sometimes together with references to Confucianism, Daoism, and other religious traditions. The purpose of this study is to study explore how religion has been portrayed in the moral-political education directives over time in modern China. The research findings will shed light on the interplay between the construction of religiosity and the state discourse on citizenship in China’s educational field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
EventThe 12th CitizED International Conference - The University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Jul 201630 Jul 2016


ConferenceThe 12th CitizED International Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Zhao, Z. (2016, July). Religion and citizenship in China’s moral-political education. Paper presented at The 12th CitizED International Conference, the University of Birmingham, UK.


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