Berezkin, Rostislav, and Vincent Goossaert. “The Three Mao Lords in Modern Jiangnan: Cult and Pilgrimage between Daoism and baojuan Recitation.” Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 99 (2012): 295-326.


Berndt, Andreas. "The Cult of the Longwang: Their Origin, Spread, and Regional Significance." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.61-94.

Abstract: This essay discusses the cult of the Chinese water deities called longwang (Dragon Kings or Dragon Princes). Deriving mainly from two sources - one the ancient Chinese belief in dragons itself, the other Indian snake deities called nagas or nagarajas that came to China along with Buddhism beginning in the first millennium - the cult became increasingly popular during the Tang and Song dynasties and can be found throughout the empire of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The essay focuses on how the expansion of the longwang cult can be explained. It argues that, despite historical developments, its expansion was mainly influenced by geographical factors like climate and topography. But these influences also modified the cult of the longwang: in late imperial China, instead of a homogeneous cult, a great variety of different forms of longwang worship existed. Local case studies from Qing dynasty Xuanhua (former Chaha’er), Changting (Fujian), Taigu (Shanxi), and Suzhou (Jiangsu) are introduced to illustrate these developments. (Source: book)


Broy, Nikolas. "Secret Societies, Buddhist Fundamentalists, or Popular Religious Movements? Aspects of Zhaijiao in Taiwan." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.329-369.

Abstract: Zhaijiao or “vegetarian sects” is a common designation given to the three religious traditions Longhuapai, Jintongpai, and Xiantianpai, which were founded during the late imperial period in southern China and have since been introduced to Taiwan. The characterization of Zhaijiao, however, is still a matter of debate. Whereas Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese scholars tend to regard their historical antecedents as popular religious sects or even as secret societies, Western scholarship argues that Zhaijiao represents a form of lay Buddhism that exists outside the domain of monastic infl uence. The present paper aims to shed more light on this contested issue. By applying historical sources that have not been used extensively yet, as well as empirical data from fi eld research conducted in Taiwan in 2010, the paper tries to examine the weaknesses and fallacies of the different characterizations. In doing so, it hopefully will contribute to a less biased perception of Zhaijiao. (Source: book)


Bunkenborg, Mikkel. "Popular Religion Inside Out: Gender and Ritual Revival in a Hebei Township." China Information 26.3 (2012): 359-376.


Chan, Margaret. “Bodies for the Gods: Image Worship in Chinese Popular Religion.” In: The Spirit of Things: Materiality and Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia, ed. Julius Bautista. Ithaca, N.Y.: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 2012. Pp. 197-215.


Chang, Hsun. “Between Religion and State: the Dajia Pilgrimage in Taiwan.” Social Compass 59.3 (2012): 298-310.

Abstract: In this paper the author will utilize both anthropological and historical approaches to illustrate how religion and the State intersect in the Dajia Mazu pilgrimage. Moreover, she will critique the conventional binary model of sacred versus profane by demonstrating how these two concepts are intricately intertwined in the course of the Dajia pilgrimage. The article aims to: provide a brief introduction and background to the Dajia pilgrimage; explore how the pilgrimage route is determined; discuss the protagonists involved in the choice of the pilgrimage route – temple committee leaders and members, as well as local politicians; and examine how temple committee members exploit the pilgrimage to express dissent against the central government of Taiwan. (Source: journal)


Chau, Adam Yuet. "Script Fundamentalism: The Practice of Cherishing Written Characters (Lettered Paper xizizhi) in the Age of Literati Decline and Commercial Revolution." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.129-167.

Abstract: The practice of cherishing written characters (xizizhi) has a long history. Many late imperial morality books (shanshu) included xizizhi as one of the many merit-generating practices that people should be engaged in. Xizizhi often appeared as an item in ledgers of merits and demerits (gongguoge). It later became attached to the worship of Lord Wenchang (Wenchang Dijun), who was the patron deity of candidates for the imperial civil service examination. In the early 20th century, however, xizizhi acquired a new significance. With the abolition of the imperial civil service examination in 1905 and the introduction of ”Western Learning,” the traditional literati lost their sense of purpose and superiority and the foundation of their identity. As a response to such sudden transformation, many grassroots literati resorted to advocating practices that emphasized the role of writing and the Chinese language, which allowed them to recreate a sense of purpose and identity and to maintain or regain respectability in local society. Spirit-writing became increasingly popular among local literati groups, often connected to newly- established redemptive societies. On the other hand, xizizhi became an all-purpose devotional practice, as a new generation of advocates fetishized the Chinese written language as the foundation of Chinese civilization. More interestingly, merchants and commerce featured more prominently in stories of divine retribution relating to xizizhi practices, which more than hinted at the impact of the commercial and consumer revolutions in the early 20th century on popular religiosity. In other words, what seems like a very old traditional practice (xizizhi) was deployed and repackaged strategically to respond to a very modern situation. (Source: book)


Chen, Frederick Shih-Chung. “Buddhist Passports to the Other World: a Study of Modern and Early Medieval Chinese Buddhist Mortuary Documents.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 261-286.


Clart, Philip. “Chinese Popular Religion.” In: The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Chinese Religions, edited by by Randall Nadeau. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Pp.219-235.


Clart, Philip. “Parteikader und Drachenkönige: Niedergang und Rückkehr der Volksreligion in der Volksrepublik China.“ In Religionen und gesellschaftlicher Wandel in China, edited by Iwo Amelung & Thomas Schreijäck, 129-142. Munich: Iudicium, 2012.


Clart, Philip (ed.). Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. (See Editor's Introduction and table of contents here.)


Cooper, Gene. The Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China: Red Fire. London & New York: Routledge, 2012.

Abstract: During the early communist period of the 1950s, temple fairs in China were both suppressed and secularized. Temples were closed down by the secular regime and their activities classified as feudal superstition and this process only intensified during the Cultural Revolution when even the surviving secular fairs, devoted exclusively to trade with no religious content of any kind, were suppressed. However, once China embarked on its path of free market reform and openness, secular commodity exchange fairs were again authorized, and sometimes encouraged in the name of political economy as a means of stimulating rural commodity circulation and commerce. This book reveals how once these secular "temple-less temple fairs" were in place, they came to serve not only as venues for the proliferation of a great variety of popular cultural performance genres, but also as sites where a revival or recycling of popular religious symbols, already underway in many parts of China, found familiar and fertile ground in which to spread. Taking this shift in the Chinese state’s attitudes and policy towards temple fairs as its starting point, The Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China shows how state-led economic reforms in the early 1980s created a revival in secular commodity exchange fairs, which were granted both the geographic and metaphoric space to function. In turn, this book presents a comprehensive analysis of the temple fair phenomenon, examining its economic, popular cultural, popular religious and political dimensions and demonstrates the multifaceted significance of the fairs which have played a crucial role in expanding the boundaries of contemporary acceptable popular discourse and expression. (Source: publisher's website)


Erickson, Susan. “Ways of Facing the Dead in Ancient China.” Arts Asiatiques 67 (2012): 19-34.


Fisher, Gareth. “Religion as Repertoire: Resourcing the Past in a Beijing Buddhist Temple.“ Modern China 38 (2012): 346-376.

Abstract: This article presents an ethnographic examination of a range of religious practices at the Buddhist Temple of Universal Rescue (Guangji si) in Beijing. Temple-goers engaged in both ritual practices in the temple’s inner courtyard and moralistic conversations in the outer courtyard draw on recycled fragments of China’s many “pasts” to form cultural repertoires. These repertoires provide the temple-goers with a cultural toolkit to enter into meaningful projects of self- and identity-making in an environment of rapid social change. Participants in different religious activities at the temple both add to and mobilize different elements in their repertoires as their life circumstances change. The example of the temple shows that, in the popular Chinese social arena, various past stages of China’s history, including phases in its modernization process, have neither been abandoned nor superseded but remain as cultural resources to be drawn from as needed. (Source: journal)


Formoso, Bernard. “From Bones to Ashes: the Teochiu Management of Bad Death in China and Overseas.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 192-216.


Galvany, Albert. "Death and Ritual Wailing in Early China: Around the Funeral of Lao Dan." Asia Major, Third Series, 25.2 (2012): 15-42.


Goossaert, Vincent. "Daoism and Local Cults in Modern Suzhou: A Case Study of Qionglongshan." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.199-254.

Abstract: The richly documented life of Shi Daoyuan (1617-1678) provides a unique case study of the relationship between elite Daoist institutions and local cults, particularly spirit-medium cults. The article discusses current research on this topic before introducing Shi and the sources for his dealings with local cults, notably the Wutong. Shi was often called by members of the local elites in Suzhou to perform exorcisms. In this process, Shi not only employed martial gods from the classical Daoist thunder rites traditions, but also incorporated local gods into his pantheon. As a result, ambivalent gods such as the Wutong were to some extent tamed and made more acceptable. Such a process developed over the long term; present fieldwork shows that the Wutong are still partly marginal but have been nonetheless quite thoroughly integrated within mainstream Daoism. (Source: book)


Haar, Barend J. ter. "The Non-Action Teachings and Christianity: Confusion and Similarities." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.295-328.

Abstract: Christianity entered China in the seventeenth and eighteenth century in two missions, one the better known Jesuit mission and the other less known and more localized, the Franciscan-Dominican mission. In northern Fujian both missions had to compete with an extremely popular new religious movement, known locally as the Old Official Vegetarians or Dragon Flower Gathering. Elsewhere this movement was known as the Non-Action or Great Vehicle Teachings. Christian authors wrote rather detailed polemical texts to distinguish themselves from this specific movement, showing that they were well aware of their competition. This article investigates three of these texts. In addition it shows why late Ming and Qing anti-Christian authors sometimes confused these different groups and thought of them as one single phenomenon, namely heretic groups or, to use the Western label, “sects.” (Source: book)


He, Qimin. “Religious Traditions in Local Communities of China.” Pastoral Psychology 61.5/6 (2012): 823-839.

Abstract: All religions in China are closely linked to the traditional religion based on the patriarchal clan system. This bedrock faith of the Chinese, as it interacts with native religions and foreign religions, has fundamentally influenced the religious psychology of all Chinese people. Following a brief introduction to China's religions, this article discusses folk religions as the main expression of traditional patriarchal religion, as well as their function and impact in contemporary society. The article then outlines relations between the multiple religions and cultures of ethnic groups in pluralist China to help the reader better understand the interaction between religious and cultural traditions of the Chinese people. (Source: journal)


Heise, Ingmar. “For Buddhas, Families and Ghosts: the Transformation of the Ghost Festival into a Dharma Assembly in Southeast China.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 217-237.


Hu, Anning. “Folk Religion in Chinese Societies.” Ph.D. diss., Purdue University, 2012.

Abstract: This dissertation consists of three main chapters which investigate folk religion in Chinese societies (mainland and Taiwan). Field research performed in many parts China has documented the revival of folk religious practices and beliefs, but until now few rigorous quantitative studies have been performed to investigate its demographic characteristics, longitudinal trajectories, and civic functions. This dissertation studies these aspects of Chinese folk religion. Chapter 2 examines the number of folk religion adherents and their demographic characteristics in both mainland and Taiwan. The results suggest that in spite of the dramatic social, political, and cultural changes in modern times, the adherents of folk religion still substantially outnumber the believers of institutional religions in Chinese societies. Chapter 3 revisits Weber's classic discussion about disenchantment and recent theoretical development in the religious market approach about the failure of folk religion on a free religious market. In particular, Chapter 3 examines the longitudinal trends of different types of folk religion in Taiwan between 1990 and 2009. The findings highlight the decline of communal folk religion and the growth of certain types of individual folk religion. Chapter 4 focuses on the civic functions of different types of folk religion. Members of sectarian folk religion are found to be more likely to get involved in volunteering within religious organizations while participants of individual folk religion have significantly higher propensity to donate to both religious and secular organizations.


Idema, Wilt L. “English-language Studies of Precious Scrolls: a Bibliographical Survey.” CHINOPERL Papers no.31 (2012): 163-176.


Kataoka Tatsuki. "Religion as Non-Religion: The Place of Chinese Temples in Phuket, Southern Thailand." Southeast Asian Studies 1, no. 3 (2012): 461-485.


Li, Yuhang. "Oneself as a Female Deity: Representations of Empress Dowager Cixi as Guanyin." Nan Nü. Men, Women and Gender in China 14.1 (2012): 75-118.

Abstract: This paper discusses the practice of Empress Dowager Cixi’s embodiment of Guanyin, the most influential female deity in China. Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908), the ruling monarch of Qing China, embodied this deity via different media such as painting, fashion, and photographs. This study demonstrates both the religious and historical consequences of Cixi’s particular vision of herself as Guanyin. It explains how Cixi combined theatricality with religiosity in different media and how she fashioned herself in both roles simultaneously as Guanyin and ruling empress Cixi. (Source: publisher's website)


Lim, Francis Khek Gee. “The Eternal Mother and the State: Circumventing Religious Management in Singapore.” Asian Studies Review 36.1 (2012): 19-37.

Abstract: Most modern states have policies for the management of religion. For those with diverse religious communities, how to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the various religions becomes an important challenge for governments. Hence, modern secular states often delineate a proper “domain” for religion in society in order to properly regulate it. In response, religious groups, many transnational in nature, can adopt various strategies to respond to state regulation, ranging from resistance, to accommodation, to acceptance. This paper examines how, in its negotiations with state-imposed restrictions, the Yiguan Dao – a transnational Chinese syncretic sect that has experienced phenomenal growth in Asia and beyond – has chosen not to identify itself publicly as a “religion”, but rather adopts a more “secular” identity in its official dealings with the public and the state by emphasising its “cultural” and “scientific” aspects. Further, the sect utilises the practice of religious territoriality to transform officially secular residential properties into the sacred sites of temples in order to circumvent state restrictions on religious buildings. This paper demonstrates how a religious movement can undergo organisational change and adopt innovative territorial practices, and manage to flourish in the face of state regulations as well as the negative views of other, more “orthodox”, religions. (Source: journal)


Lin Wei-ping. "Son of Man or Son of God? The Spirit Medium in Chinese Popular Religion." In Affiliation and Transmission in Daoism: A Berlin Symposium, edited by Florian C. Reiter, 249-275. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2012.


Liu, Xuan: Monica McGarrity; Li Yiming. “The Influence of Traditional Buddhist Wildlife Release on Biological Invasions.” Conservation Letters 5.2 (2012): 107-114.

Abstract: An understanding of anthropogenic factors influencing wildlife invasions is crucial to development of comprehensive prevention and management strategies. However, little attention has been paid to the role religious practice plays in biological invasions. The tradition of wildlife release is prevalent in many areas around the world where Asian religions are influential and is hypothesized to promote species invasions, although quantitative evidence is lacking. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the influence of Buddhist wildlife release events on establishment of feral populations of American bullfrogs ( Lithobates catesbeianus) in Yunnan province, southwestern China, from 2008 to 2009. We identified frequency of release events and lentic water conditions as factors that promote establishment of bullfrog populations, whereas hunting activity likely helps to prevent establishment. Our study provides the first quantitative evidence that religious release is an important pathway for wildlife invasions and has implications for prevention and management on a global scale. (Source: journal)


Lo, Roger Shih-Chieh. “Local Politics and the Canonization of a God: Lord Yang (Yang fujun) in Late Qing Wenzhou (840-67).” Late Imperial China 33.1 (2012): 89-121.

Abstract: In early February 1855, a group of “local bandits” led by Qu Zhenhan occupied Yueqing city of Wenzhou prefecture for a week. According to Qing officials’ report, this incident was suppressed by the divine manifestation of Lord Yang, a popular local deity in Wenzhou. Instead of focusing on how Qing authority regained control over local society, this article takes advantage of the local materials available in Wenzhou to explore the following two questions: How does a local deity function politically in local society? What is the role of popular religion in local politics and even national politics in late Qing China? This local history study sheds light on the significance of popular religion in Chinese political culture. (Source: journal)


Martin, Sylvia J. “Of Ghosts and Gangsters: Capitalist Cultural Production and the Hong Kong Film Industry.” Visual Anthropology Review 28.1 (2012): 32-49.

Abstract: This article contends that ghosts and gangsters are not merely popular genres in the Hong Kong film industry; they are also legitimate participants in the film production process itself, influencing financial, creative, and logistical resources and decisions. Film personnel's accounts of the possession and protection of their bodies by members of the cosmological and criminal underworlds, particularly in location filming in graveyards and gangster turf as well as ritual payments and appeasements made to the underworlds, reveal the diverse risks and cultural practices in film production. This article argues that despite the rationalization of commercial filmmaking, 'enchantments' in the form of religion and feudalistic crime linger within capitalist production. (Source: journal)


Olles, Volker. "The Gazetteer of Mt. Tianshe: How the Liumen Community Reshaped a Daoist Sacred Mountain." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.229-289.

Abstract: The Mountain of Lord Lao (Laojun shan), a sacred site in Sichuan Province, belongs to the earliest sanctuaries of the Daoist religion. In late Qing and Republican times, the temple on Mt. Laojun was closely connected with the Liumen (Liu School) community, a quasi-religious movement based on the doctrine of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan (1768-1856). Under the influence of the Liumen community, an ancient legend of Laozi’s sojourn on this mountain has become the main source of Mt. Laojun’s spiritual authority. Tang Jicang, an adherent of the Liumen tradition who functioned as the caretaker of the sanctuary from the early 1960s through the 1980s, wrote the only monograph on this sacred site: the Tianshe shan zhi (Gazetteer of Mt. Tianshe). “Tianshe shan” is an alternative appellation for Mt. Laojun, which is favoured by members of the Liumen community. The focus of my contribution is on this valuable document that allows fascinating insights into the modern history of the temple on Mt. Laojun. (Source: book)


Penny, Benjamin. The Religion of Falun Gong. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012.

Abstract: In July 1999, a mere seven years after the founding of the religious movement known as the Falun Gong, the Chinese government banned it. Falun Gong is still active in other countries, and its suppression has become a primary concern of human rights activists and is regularly discussed in dealings between the Chinese government and its Western counterparts. But while much has been written on Falun Gong’s relation to political issues, no one has analyzed in depth what its practitioners actually believe and do. The Religion of Falun Gong remedies that omission, providing the first serious examination of Falun Gong teachings. Benjamin Penny argues that in order to understand Falun Gong, one must grasp the beliefs, practices, and texts of the movement and its founder, Li Hongzhi. Contextualizing Li’s ideas in terms of the centuries-long Chinese tradition of self-cultivation and the cultural world of 1980s and ’90s China—particularly the upwelling of biospiritual activity and the influx of translated works from the Western New Age movement—Penny shows how both have influenced Li’s writings and his broader view of the cosmos. An illuminating look at this controversial movement, The Religion of Falun Gong opens a revealing window into the nature and future of contemporary China.(Source: publisher's website)


Reilly, Thomas. “Sectarian Conspiracy in the Taiping Rebellion: The View from the Chinese Elite.” Jindai Zhongguoshi jidujiaoshi yanjiu jikan, no.9 (2012): 18-33.


Robson, James. “Brushes with Some ‘Dirty Truths’: Handwritten Manuscripts and Religion in China.” History of Religions 51.4 (2012): 317-343.


Sangren, P. Steven. “Fate, Agency, and the Economy of Desire in Chinese Ritual and Society.” Social Analysis 56.2 (2012): 117-135.

Abstract: For many Western observers, Chinese religion and cosmology appear rife with contradictions, among them the recurrent motif in litera- ture and myth of preordination or fate, on the one hand, and a relentless attempt, through ritual means, to discern, control, or change fate, on the other. This article argues that the obsession with fate and luck is best comprehended with reference to desire understood as a human universal. Underlying one's hope to control the future lies a psychologically more fundamental wish to claim ownership of one's being. I argue that fate and luck are operators in a symbolic economy that implicitly posits what Freud terms the 'omnipotence of thoughts'. Moreover, if the underlying principle of Chinese notions of fate and luck can be termed an 'economy of desire', it is a principle that also coordinates and encompasses Chinese patriliny, family dynamics, and wider collective institutions. (Source: journal)


Song, Yoo-who. “'Breaking blood-pond (poxuehu)' Ritual and Women in China.” Asian Journal of Women's Studies 18.1 (2012): 62-86.


Stafford, Charles. “Misfortune and What Can Be Done about It: A Taiwanese Case Study.” Social Analysis 56, no.2 (2012): 90–102.

Abstract: Drawing primarily on ethnographic material from Taiwan, this paper focuses on misfortune, and more especially on the question of whether people are felt to deserve what happens to them - be it bad or good. I examine the cases of several people who have suffered misfortune in life, exploring ways in which they might actively try to make good things happen – as a way of convincing others, an d indeed themselves, that they are, after all, good. In considering these cases, I discuss three intersecting accounts of fate which are widely held by ordinary people in Taiwan and China: a cosmological one, a spirit - focused one, and a social one. (Source: LSE repository)


Tam, Yik Fai. “Xianghua foshi (incense and flower Buddhist rites): a Local Buddhist Funeral Ritual Tradition in Southeastern China.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 238-260.


Tan, Chee-Beng. “Shantangs.” Asian Ethnology 71.1 (2012): 75-107.

Abstract: This article is based on ethnographic and documentary research that concerns shantangs, Chinese charitable temples, in Southeast Asia and in the Chao-Shan region of Guangdong in China. Unlike the shantangs as benevolent societies in late Ming and Qing China, the shantangs described in this article not only emphasize charitable activities, they are also temples that honor Song Dafeng as a deity. I show that the religious nature of these shantangs account for their resilience, while the tradition of charity helps to promote their secular and benevolent image, especially when there is a need to emphasize their existence as non-superstitious organizations. I also describe the agency of the local elite--and especially merchants--in the development of shantangs in Southeast Asia and China. (Source: journal)


Tong, James W. “Banding after the Ban: the Underground Falungong in China, 1999-2011.” Journal of Contemporary China 21, no.78 (2012): 1045-1062.


Tsuda, Koji. “The Legal and Cultural Status of Chinese Temples in Contemporary Java.” Asian Ethnicity 13.4 (2012): 389-398.

Abstract: Since the collapse of Soeharto’s New Order in 1998, Indonesia has been experiencing broad political and social changes. While the Soeharto regime was generally cautionary and oppressive toward anything related to China or the ethnic Chinese, the subsequent administrations faced the pressure to make sweeping changes to existing discriminatory policies and laws, and have put these changes into action, though gradually. With this major change in the social environment, an atmosphere is being engendered across the nation, producing a feeling that anyone is free to enjoy ‘Chinese culture’ which for a long time was banned from being expressed in public. This spirit is palpable for example during Chinese New Year, when red lanterns and other ornate decorations, and characters such as Gong Xi Fa Cai are seen dancing about everywhere. Along with upscale malls and hotels, it is Chinese temples (klenteng) that have become the centers of these festivities. Having been the anchorage of traditional worship for the ethnic Chinese, during the Soeharto era these facilities were the target of unfavorable treatment. In the last few years, their activities have gradually been revitalized. This article scrutinizes the changed legal and cultural status of the Chinese temples engendering changes within the Chinese community at large, by focusing on developments in post-’New Order‘ Java. (Source: journal)


Wang-Riese, Xiaobing. "Popular Religious Elements in the Modern Confucius Cult." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.95-128.

Abstract: Starting with a brief historical review, this paper examines several official and nonofficial sacrificial rituals dedicated to Confucius in current times, as well as the popular religious elements included therein. With the collapse of the Chinese Empire at the beginning of the 20th century, Confucius’ cult lost its official status and had to find new forms more adaptive to modern Chinese society. In contrast to the orthodox sacrificial ritual in Imperial times, the reconstructed or newly invented rituals show a more secular character with some additional popular religious elements. Although commemorating events with the intervention of public authorities and rational behaviour patterns represent the main trend of the cult, the market for popular Confucianism is also huge. If the authorities were to relinquish their control in this domain, a strong movement of popular Confucianism might arise in mainland China similar to the one that exists in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia. (Source: book)


Xing, Guang. “Buddhist Influence on Chinese Religions and Popular Beliefs.” International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture 18 (2012): 135-157.


Yang, Fenggang; Hu Anning. “Mapping Chinese Folk Religion in Mainland China and Taiwan.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 51 (2012): 505-521.

Abstract: The revival of folk (popular) religion in China in the last three decades has been noted in many publications and documented in ethnographic studies. However, until now there has been no quantitative study that provides an overall picture of Chinese folk-religion practices. This article is a first attempt to draw the contours of Chinese folk religion based on three recent surveys conducted in mainland China and Taiwan. Three types of folk religion are conceptualized: communal, sectarian, and individual. Different types of folk religion may have different social functions and divergent trajectories of change in the modernization process. At present, in spite of the dramatic social, political, and cultural changes in modern times, the adherents of folk religion still substantially outnumber the believers of institutional religions in Chinese societies. [Source: journal]


Yu, Jimmy. Sanctity and Self-Inflicted Violence in Chinese Religions, 1500-1700. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Abstract: In this illuminating study of a vital but long overlooked aspect of Chinese religious life, Jimmy Yu reveals that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, self-inflicted violence was an essential and sanctioned part of Chinese culture. He examines a wide range of practices, including blood writing, filial body-slicing, chastity mutilations and suicides, ritual exposure, and self-immolation, arguing that each practice was public, scripted, and a signal of cultural expectations. Individuals engaged in acts of self-inflicted violence to exercise power and to affect society, by articulating moral values, reinstituting order, forging new social relations, and protecting against the threat of moral ambiguity. Self-inflicted violence was intelligible both to the person doing the act and to those who viewed and interpreted it, regardless of the various religions of the period: Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and other religions. This book is a groundbreaking contribution to scholarship on bodily practices in late imperial China, challenging preconceived ideas about analytic categories of religion, culture, and ritual in the study of Chinese religions. [Source: publisher's website]