15. Sects, Secret Societies, New Religions


Ackerman, Susan E. "Divine Contracts: Chinese New Religions and Shamanic Movements in Contemporary Malaysia." Journal of Contemporary Religion 16(2001)3: 293-311.


Ackerman, Susan E. "Falun Dafa and the New Age Movement in Malaysia: Signs of Health, Symbols of Salvation." Social Compass 52(2005) 4: 495-511.

Abstract: Falun Dafa entered Malaysia in the mid-1990s as a spiritual movement for the mind-and-body development market that attracts middle-class consumption-oriented Malaysians. Its self-presentation as a New Age product tends to obscure its connections with Chinese popular religion. The movement's similar profile to other Chinese sectarian groups is accompanied by claims to absolute difference from these groups. Development of Falun Dafa during the phase of persecution and exile since 1999 has involved an ongoing encounter with new symbols and signs. The symbols of human rights, democracy and salvation are transacted with the Western media and the signs of New Age lifestyle products. These address identity needs within the diverse Malaysian Chinese community. (Source: article)


Adams, Ian, Riley Adams & Rocco Galati, Power of the Wheel: The Falun Gong Revolution. Toronto: Stoddart, 2000.


Agnew, Christopher S. “Bureaucrats, Sectarians, and the Descendants of Confucius.” Late Imperial China 31.1 (2010): 1-27.

Abstract: Through an examination of an investigation of heterodoxy and corruption, this article explores the relationship between the Kongs of Qufu, the recognized descendants of Confucius, and the bureaucracy of the Qing state in the early nineteenth century. In 1811, the Kongs were scandalized by revelations that officials of their estate had been accepting contributions of silver from a popular religious association decried as “heterodox” by the Qing state. This study of the subsequent investigation reveals the bureaucratic dynamics of anti-corruption cases; provincial officials drove the interrogations to increasingly violent extremes in the search for silver. The unusual arrangement linking the Kong estate to a sectarian organization is also suggestive. While the declining fortunes of the Kongs contributed to an increased motivation to forge patronage relationships with alternative social networks, it also weakened the Kong duke’s ability to protect his mansion bureaucracy from intrabureaucratic attack.


Antony, Robert J. "Demons, Gangsters, and Secret Societies in Early Modern China." East Asian History 27 (2004): 71-98


Antony, Robert J. "Ethnic and Religious Violence in South China: The Hakka-Tiandihui Uprising of 1802." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 532-562.


Antony, Robert J., & Joseph Tse-Hei Lee. "Chinese Secret Societies and Popular Religions Revisited: An Introduction." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 503-509.


Bari, Dominique, "Chine--Maître Kong et les superstitions: le bras de fer." La Pensée 303 (1995): 125-136.


Bejesky, Robert. "Falun Gong & Re-education through Labor: Traditional Rehabilitation for the 'Misdirected' to Protect Societal Stability within China's Evolving Criminal Justice System." Columbia Journal of Asian Law 17 (2004) 2: 147-189.


Billioud, Sébastien. “Le role de l’éducation dans le projet salvateur du Yiguan Dao.” Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 33 (2011): 211-234.


Billioud, Sébastien. Reclaiming the Wilderness: Contemporary Dynamics of the Yiguandao. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.

Abstract: A syncretistic and millenarian religious movement, the Yiguandao (Way of Pervading Unity) was one of the major redemptive societies of Republican China. It developed extremely rapidly in the 1930s and the 1940s, attracting millions of members. Severely repressed after the establishment of the People's Republic of China, it managed to endure and redeploy elsewhere, especially in Taiwan. Today, it has become one of the largest and most influential religious movements in Asia and at the same time one of the least known and understood. From its powerful base in Taiwan, it has expanded worldwide, including in mainland China where it remains officially forbidden. Based on ethnographic work carried out over nearly a decade, Reclaiming the Wilderness offers an in-depth study of a Yiguandao community in Hong Kong that serves as a node of circulation between Taiwan, Macao, China and elsewhere. Sébastien Billioud explores the factors contributing to the expansionary dynamics of the group: the way adepts live and confirm their faith; the importance of charismatic leadership; the role of Confucianism, which makes it possible to defuse tensions with Chinese authorities and sometimes even to cooperate with them; and, finally, the well-structured expansionary strategies of the Yiguandao and its quasi-diplomatic efforts to navigate the troubled waters of cross-straits politics.


Boas, Taylor C., "Falun Gong and the Internet: Evangelism, Community, and Struggle for Survival." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 277-293.


Bohr, P. Richard, "Jesus, Christianity, and Rebellion in China. The Evangelical Roots of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom." In: Roman Malek [ed.], The Chinese Face of Jesus Christ. Vol.2. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica and China-Zentrum; Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 2003. Pp.613-661.


Bohr, P. Richard, "The Taipings in Chinese Sectarian Perspective." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.393-430.


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)

Broy, Nikolas. "Die religiöse Praxis der Zhaijiao („Vegetarische Sekten“) in Taiwan." Doctoral dissertation, Universität Leipzig, 2014. http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:15-qucosa-138361

Abstract: Die Dissertation beschäftigt sich mit drei Religionsgemeinschaften in Taiwan, die spätestens seit der japanischen Kolonialzeit (1895-1945) unter der Bezeichnung „vegetarische Sekten“ (Zhaijiao) klassifiziert werden. Auffälligstes Merkmal dieser Gruppen war und ist das der Mahayana-buddhistischen Tradition entlehnte Gebot vegetarischer Ernährung. Während sich der chinesische Mönchsorden von Beginn an Anfeindungen ausgesetzt sah, welche die tatsächliche Befolgung des vegetarischen Gebots in Frage stellten, waren es oft nicht-monastische Gruppierungen außerhalb des klerikalen Machtmonopols, welche dieses und andere Gebote scheinbar viel strikter befolgten. Zu diesem Kreis „außerbuddhistischer Buddhisten“ zählen die in dieser Studie untersuchten Religionsgemeinschaften Longhuapai („Sekte der Drachenblume“), Xiantianpai („Sekte des früheren Himmels“) und Jintongpai („Sekte des Goldwimpels“), die generisch als Zhaijiao bezeichnet werden. Diese drei ursprünglich vom chinesischen Festland stammenden Traditionen werden heute zumeist als laienbuddhistische Vereinigungen angesehen, teilen aber eine Geschichte, die weit über die Grenzen des „orthodoxen“ und distinkten Buddhismus hinausgeht. In ihnen verschmelzen nicht nur buddhistische und daoistische Elemente sowie Vorstellungen und Praktiken der kommunalen Volksreligiosität. Sie stehen auch in ungebrochener Tradition mit volksreligiösen Sekten der späten Ming- (1368-1644) und frühen Qing-Zeit (1644-1911). Während die religiösen Vorstellungen und sozialen Organisationsformen der seit der Ming-Zeit entstandenen volksreligiösen Sekten – in deren Tradition die Zhaijiao Taiwans stehen – durch das Studium schriftlicher Quellen bereits recht gut bekannt sind, ist ihre religiöse Praxis hingegen bisher kaum erforscht. Die Dissertation unternimmt daher den Versuch, einen Beitrag dazu zu leisten, diese Lücke zu schließen. Sie hat es sich zum Ziel gemacht, die religiöse Praxis der vegetarischen Sekten im heutigen Taiwan zu analysieren und sie vor dem Hintergrund ihrer historischen Entwicklung einzuordnen. „Religiöse Praxis“ fungiert dabei als Oberbegriff für alles soziale und individuelle Sichverhalten in einem religiösen Feld und schließt damit sowohl hochgradig standardisiertes, formelles und vorgeprägtes Handeln (z.B. Rituale), als auch Formen religiös geprägter Lebensführung ein. Die religiöse Praxis der Zhaijiao wird dabei erstmals einer ausführlichen diachronen Untersuchung unterzogen, die von den ältesten Erwähnungen im 16. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart des frühen 21. Jahrhunderts reicht. Ein zentrales Element besteht dabei in der Verknüpfung von Feldforschung und dem Studium literarischer Quellen, welche es ermöglicht, einerseits historische Veränderungen zu erkennen und andererseits die historischen Quellen vor dem Hintergrund empirischer Beobachtungen besser zu verstehen. Zu diesem Zweck wurde im Jahr 2010 eine Erhebung von Primärdaten im Zuge einer Feldforschung durchgeführt, die sich insgesamt über sieben Monate erstreckte und in der 31 Gemeinden in ganz Taiwan besucht wurden. Erst mit diesen vor Ort gewonnenen Daten über das religiöse Leben der Zhaijiao-Anhänger in ihrem „natürlichen Umfeld“ können die spärlichen Informationen, die aus historischen Quellen und bisherigen Forschungsarbeiten gewonnen werden konnten, in einen lebensweltlichen Kontext eingebettet und interpretiert werden. Die heutigen Zhaijiao in Taiwan tragen als Abkömmlinge festlandchinesischer Sekten der Ming- und Qing-Zeit ein tief verwurzeltes historisches Erbe in sich. Dies besteht nicht nur aus jahrhundertealten Texten, die noch immer gedruckt, gelesen und rituell benutzt werden. Auch die religiöse Vorstellungswelt und Praxis nährt sich weiterhin aus dieser Tradition. Auf der anderen Seite erlebte Taiwan im vergangenen Jahrhundert infolge von Modernisierung, Verwestlichung, Urbanisierung usw. erhebliche politische und gesellschaftliche Umwälzungen, die auf die Entwicklung der Zhaijiao einen nachhaltigen Einfluss ausübten. Vor dem Hintergrund dieser zum Teil gegenläufigen Entwicklungen soll nach dem Verhältnis von Kontinuität und Wandel der Zhaijiao gefragt werden: Wie haben sich die kulturell eher konservativ und traditionell eingestellten Sekten unter den Bedingungen einer modernen und demokratischen Gesellschaft entwickelt und möglicherweise verändert? (Source: see URL above)


Broy, Nikolas. "Syncretic Sects and Redemptive Societies." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 2, no. 2 (2015): 145-185.

Broy, Nikolas. "Moral Integration or Social Segregation? Vegetarianism and Vegetarian Religious Communities in Chinese Religious Life." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 37-64. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.


Broy, Nikolas. "Maitreya's Garden in the Township: Transnational Religious Spaces of Yiguandao Activists in Urban South Africa." China Perspectives 2019, no. 4: 27-36.

Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the spaces created by practitioners of the Taiwanese-Chinese religious movement Yiguandao 一 貫 道 (“Way of Pervading Unity”) in urban South Africa. Drawing on ethnographic data from fieldwork conducted in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in late 2017 as well as on published Yiguandao materials, this contribution analyses how these spaces are created, maintained, and charged with meaning. It investigates the uses of these spaces as well as how and why various actors engage in them. By proposing a preliminary typology that is based on the location, function, and mobility of these spaces, this contribution argues that Yiguandao religious spaces represent more intense arenas of transcultural interaction than most other – and predominantly economic – Chinese spaces in Africa.


Broy, Nikolas. "American Dao and Global Interactions: Transnational Religious Networks in an English-Speaking Yiguandao Congregation in Urban California." In Transnational Religious Spaces: Religious Organizations and Interactions in Africa, East Asia, and Beyond, edited by Philip Clart and Adam Jones, 263–282. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020.

Broy, Nikolas. "The Filial Sectarian: Confucian Values and Popular Sects in Late Imperial China and Modern Taiwan." In New Religious Movements in Modern Asian History: Sociocultural Alternatives, edited by David W. Kim, 139–163. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.

Broy, Nikolas. "Global Dao: The Making of Transnational Yiguandao." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 174–193. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.

Bunkenborg, Mikkel. „From Metaphors of Empire to Enactments of State: Popular Religious Movements and Health in Rural North China.“ positions: east asia cultures critique 22, no.3 (2014): pp. 573-602.


Casil, Janice. "Falun Gong and China's Human Rights Violations." Peace Review 16 (2004) 2: 225-230.


Chae, Jun Hyung. "Religion, Charity, and Contested Local Society: Daoyuan and World Red Swastika Society in Eastern Shandong, 1920-1954." PhD dissertation, The University of Chicago, 2015.

Abstract: This study describes Daoyuan, a syncretic popular religion that emerged after the Great War, and its charity wing, the World Red Swastika Society. Focusing on this popular religion's active involvement in public affairs from 1920 to 1954, mostly in Shandong province, it explores how this religious organization developed its networks and businesses, as well as how its syncretic belief shaped its unique religious identity. It also examines the complex relationship between religious charity and the state in modern China. Religious charity in this project focuses on charitable works by the popular religion. One of the purposes of this research is to view local popular religions as influential social actors. It also creates a vehicle for exploring the ways various charitable works by these groups served as a critical node in which religious and secular forces overlapped. Few historians mention the role of religion in the social formation of modern China. This study aims to contribute to the scholarly discussion on religion-state relations in the modern Chinese context. It is, however, neither another simple reiterated critique of secularization theory, nor a grandiose theorization of Chinese religiosities. Instead, it presents the informal religious sector as an alternative within the socio-historical context of modern China. By so doing, it challenges the secular modernity thesis, and argues that there were various ways to become modern.


Chan, Cheris Shun-ching, Hong Kong in Reenchantment: A Case Study of the New Religious Discourse. Shatin: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1996.


Chan, Cheris Shun-Ching. "The Sacred-Secular Dialectics of the Reenchanted Religious Order--the Lingsu Exo-Esoterics of Hong Kong." Journal of Contemporary Religion 15(2000)1: 45-63.


Chan, Cheris Shun-ching, "The Falun Gong in China: A Sociological Perspective." The China Quarterly 179 (2004): 665-683.


Chang, Maria H., Falun Gong: The End of Days. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

Abstract: The world first took notice of a religious group called Falun Gong on April 25, 1999, when more than 10,000 of its followers protested before the Chinese Communist headquarters in Beijing. Falun Gong investigates events in the wake of the demonstration: Beijing's condemnation of the group as a Western, anti-Chinese force and doomsday cult, the sect's continued defiance, and the nationwide campaign that resulted in the incarceration and torture of many Falun Gong faithful.

Maria Hsia Chang discusses the Falun Gong's beliefs, including their ideas on cosmology, humanity's origin, karma, reincarnation, UFOs, and the coming apocalypse. She balances an account of the Chinese government's case against the sect with an evaluation of the credibility of those accusations. Describing China's long history of secret societies that initiated powerful uprisings and sometimes overthrew dynasties, she explains the Chinese government's brutal treatment of the sect. And she concludes with a chronicle of the ongoing persecution of religious groups in China--of which Falun Gong is only one of many--and the social conditions that breed the popular discontent and alienation that spawn religious millenarianism. [Source: publisher's website]


Chao, Shin-yi. "The Precious Volume of Bodhisattva Zhenwu Attaining the Way: A Case Study of the Worship of Zhenwu (Perfected Warrior) in Ming-Qing Sectarian Groups." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour of Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 63-81.


Chen, Chiung Hwang. "Framing Falun Gong: Xinhua News Agency's Coverage of the New Religious Movement in China." Asian Journal of Communication 15 (2005)1: 16-36.


Chen, Nancy N., "Falungong: Cultivating Qi and Body Politic." Harvard Asia Pacific Review 4(2000)1: 45-49.


Chen, Nancy N., Breathing Spaces: Qigong, Psychiatry, and Healing in China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.

Abstract: The charismatic form of healing called qigong, based on meditative breathing exercises, has achieved enormous popularity in China during the last two decades. Qigong served a critical social organizational function, as practitioners formed new informal networks, sometimes on an international scale, at a time when China was shifting from state-subsidized medical care to for-profit market medicine. The emergence of new psychological states deemed to be deviant led the Chinese state to "medicalize" certain forms while championing scientific versions of qigong. By contrast, qigong continues to be promoted outside China as a traditional healing practice. Breathing Spaces brings to life the narratives of numerous practitioners, healers, psychiatric patients, doctors, and bureaucrats, revealing the varied and often dramatic ways they cope with market reform and social changes in China. [Source: publisher's website]


Chen, Nancy N., "Healing Sects and Anti-Cult Campaigns." The China Quarterly 174(2003): 505-520.


Chen, Yong. „Conceptualizing “Popular Confucianism”: The Cases of Ruzong Shenjiao, Yiguan Dao, and De Jiao.“ Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no.1 (2017): 63-83.

Abstract: This article examines the importance and difficulty of conceptualizing “popular Confucianism” and proposes defining it as a continuum with its religious and secular manifestations poised at each end. It then provides three case studies: Ruzong Shenjiao, Yiguan Dao, and De Jiao—sectarian religions with a strong disposition to Confucian values and rites. It argues that an extended and analytical definition can better direct the scholarly and public attention to the social pertinence and daily utility of Confucianism, i.e., in what ways it is still lived by various Chinese communities and how it furnishes cultural identity and value orientation to them. (Source: journal)


Cheung, Anne S.Y., "In Search of a Theory of Cult and Freedom of Religion in China: The Case of Falun Gong." Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal 13(2004)1: 1-30.


Ching, Julia, "The Ambiguous Character of Chinese Religion(s)." Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 11(2001)2: 213-223. (Note: On religious nature of qigong and qigong movements in China.)


Ching, Julia, "The Falun Gong: Religious and Political Implications." American Asian Review 19(2001)4: 1-18.


Ching, Julia. "The Falun Gong: Religious and Political Implications." In: Tun-Jen Cheng & Deborah A. Brown [eds.], Religious Organizations and Democratization: Case Studies from Conremporary Asia. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2006. Pp. 41-54.


Chung, Jae Ho; Lai, Hongyi; Xia, Ming. "Mounting Challenges to Governance in China: Surveying Collective Protestors, Religious Sects and Criminal Organizations." China Journal 56 (2006): 1-31.


Clarke, Peter. "East Asia (2) NRMs in China, Taiwan and Korea." In: Peter Clarke, New Religions in Global Perspective: a Study of Religious Change in the Modern World. London, New York: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 319-350.


Clart, Philip, "The Birth of a New Scripture: Revelation and Merit Accumulation in a Taiwanese Spirit-Writing Cult." British Columbia Asian Review 8(Winter 1994/95):174-203.


Clart, Philip, "Sects, Cults, and Popular Religion: Aspects of Religious Change in Post-War Taiwan." British Columbia Asian Review 9(Winter 1995/96):120-163.


Clart, Philip, "The Ritual Context of Morality Books: A Case-Study of a Taiwanese Spirit-Writing Cult." Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 1996.

Abstract: The present study focusses on the description and analysis of the religious beliefs and practices of a central Taiwanese spirit-writing cult or "phoenix hall" (luantang). A phoenix hall is a voluntary religious association of congregational character centring upon communication with the gods by means of the divinatory technique of "spirit-writing" (fuluan). While spirit-writing can be and is used as an oracle for the solving of believers' personal problems, its more high-profile application is for the writing of so-called "morality books" (shanshu), i.e., books of religious instruction and moral exhortation. Spirit-writing cults are nowadays the most important sources of such works. Much attention has been given to morality books as mirrors of the social concerns of their times, but comparatively little work has been done on the groups that produce them and the meaning these works have for them. An adequate understanding of the meanings and functions of morality books, however, is impossible without some knowledge of the religious groups that produce them and the role played by morality books in their beliefs and practices. It is the objective of this thesis to provide a detailed description and analysis of one such group, the "Temple of the Martial Sage, Hall of Enlightened Orthodoxy" (Wumiao Mingzheng Tang), a phoenix hall in the city of Taizhong that was founded in 1976 and has played a significant role in the modern development of the shanshu genre through the active and varied publications programme of its publishing arm, the Phoenix Friend Magazine Society. The study utilizes data extracted from the Hall's published writings as well as interview, observation, and questionnaire data collected during an eight month period of field research in Taizhong.

Part I provides a macrohistorical overview of the development of spirit-writing cults on the Chinese mainland (chapter 1) and on Taiwan (chapter 2) since the nineteenth century, leading up to the case-example's microhistory (chapter 3). Part II is devoted to an account of the beliefs and practices of the Wumiao Mingzheng Tang, including descriptions and analyses of its organization, deities, ritual activities, concepts of moral cultivation, and of the body of morality book literature it has produced over the years. The appendix contains samples of the cult's morality book and scriptural literature, as well as of various liturgical texts. [Source: author.]


Clart, Philip, "The Phoenix and the Mother: The Interaction of Spirit Writing Cults and Popular Sects in Taiwan." Journal of Chinese Religions 25 (1997): 1-32.


Clart, Philip, "Opening the Wilderness for the Way of Heaven: A Chinese New Religion in the Greater Vancouver Area." Journal of Chinese Religions 28 (2000): 127-144.


Clart, Philip, "Confucius and the Mediums: Is There a 'Popular Confucianism'?" T'oung Pao: International Journal of Chinese Studies 89(2003)1-3: 1-38.


Clart, Philip. "Generals, Pigs, and Immortals: Views and Uses of History in Chinese Morality Books." Journal of Ritual Studies 19(2005)1: 99-113.


Clart, Philip. "The Image of Jesus Christ in a Chinese Inclusivist Context: I-kuan Tao's Christology and its Implications for Interreligious Dialogue." In Chung Yun-Ying [ed.], Zongjiao, wenxue yu rensheng. Chungli: Yuanzhi Daxue Zhongwenxi, 2006. Pp.279-313.


Clart, Philip. "Generals, Pigs, and Immortals: Views and Uses of History in Chinese Morality Books." In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures, edited by Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew Strathern. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. Pp.209-238.


Clart, Philip. "The Eight Immortals between Daoism and Popular Religion: Evidence from a New Sprit-Written Scripture." In: Florian C. Reiter [ed.], Foundations of Daoist Ritual: A Berlin Symposium. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009. Pp.84-106.


Clart, Philip. “Merit beyond Measure: Notes on the Moral (and Real) Economy of Religious Publishing in Taiwan.” In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour of Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 127-142.


Clart, Philip. “Anchoring Guanyin: Appropriative Strategies in a New Phoenix Hall Scripture.” Min-su ch’ü-i / Journal of Chinese Theatre, Ritual and Folklore 173 (2011): 101-128.

Abstract: The fact that scriptures play such a significant role in the supposedly mainly oral culture of Chinese popular religion raises a number of questions: Who writes them? How are they used? What religious ideas do they manifest? How do they appropriate and affect the cult of their protagonist deities? The present article seeks to address these questions using the case of Guanyin’s Lotus Sutra of the Marvellous Dao (Guanyin miaodao lianhua jing), a text revealed between 1998 and 2000 by means of spiritwriting at a Taichung city phoenix hall, the Xuyuan tang. The analysis of the scripture’s structure and rhetoric reveals that the Guanyin sutra represents a mode of popular and sectarian engagement with the Buddhist tradition that differs from and enriches the picture provided for us by Chün-fang Yü’s studies of Guanyin and by Prasenjit Duara’s notion of “superscription.” While we are definitely looking at a layering of meanings, as Duara did by regarding the Guandi myth as “a palimpsest of layered meanings,” the image of “superscription” does not accurately describe the way the Guanyin sutra does not so much overwrite but underlay Buddhist devotionalism with phoenix hall notions of Dao cultivation. In effect, the Guanyin sutra provides an inclusivist re-anchoring of Guanyin-related devotional practices in a core set of sectarian notions of personal cultivation, thus allowing us to differentiate a distinct mode of the syncretic construction of religious doctrine in a popular sectarian context. (Source: journal)


Clart, Philip. “Yiguan Dao.” In Handbook of East Asian New Religious Movements, edited by Lukas Pokorny & Franz Winter, 429-450. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2018.


Clart, Philip; David Ownby and Wang Chien-chuan, eds. Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Clart, Philip. “Text and Context in the Study of Spirit-Writing Cults: A Methodological Reflection on the Relationship of Ethnography and Philology.” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 309–322. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Cohen, Paul A., History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.


Cook, Ryan J., "Chen Tao in Texas: A New Religious Movement, its Host Community, and Mass-Mediated Adaptation." 1999. http://www.cesnur.org/testi/bryn/chen_cook.htm


Cook, Ryan J. "News Media and the Religious Use of UFOs: The Case of Chen Tao--True Way." In: James R. Lewis [ed.], Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003. Pp. 301-320.


Coplin, James R. "The Confucian Vitality in an Anti-Confucian Movement: Revisiting the Taiping Rebellion." Wittenberg University East Asian Studies Journal 30 (2005): 1-35.


Cowan, Douglas E.; Rebecca Moore. "The First International Symposium on Cultic Studies, Shenzhen, China." Nova Religio 12.2 (2008): 121-130.


Dean, Kenneth, "Multiplicity and Individuation: The Temple Network of the Three in One Religion in Putian and Xianyou." In: Proceedings of the Conference on Temples and Popular Culture. Taipei: Center for Chinese Studies, 1995.


Dean, Kenneth, Lord of the Three in One: The Spread of a Cult in Southeast China. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Ritual, Language, and Social Memory in a Nineteenth-Century Chinese Secret Sworn Brotherhood." In: Linguistic Form and Social Action (= Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 13), 1998. Pp.103-125.


Deeg, Max. “Zwischen kultureller Identität und universalem Heilsanspruch. Chinesische religiöse Diaspora-Gemeinden im Wandel moderner gesellschaftlicher Verhältnisse: Das Beispiel der »Mile-dadao (Yiguan-dao)«- und »Foguang-shan«-Gruppen in Wien,” in: Hartmut Lehmann (ed.), Migration und Religion im Zeitalter der Globalisierung. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2005. Pp. 49–63.


Deng Zhaoming. "Recent Millennial Movements in Mainland China." Japanese Religions 23 (1998)1/2: 99-109.


Despeux, Catherine, "Le Qigong, une expression de la modernité chinoise." In: Jacques Gernet & Marc Kalinowski [eds.] (avec la collaboration de Jean-Pierre Diény), En suivant la voie royale: mélanges offerts en hommage à Léon Vandermeersch. Paris: École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 1997. Pp.267-281.

Abstract: Qigong as a practice combining martial arts, gymnastic and mental concentration became a fully recognized discipline after 1949. The first official organizations of Qigong focused on its therapeutic function, but in the 1980s they started to use it as an ideological tool in the constitution of science and to enhance China's contribution to postmodernity. [Source: article.]


DuBois, Thomas, "The Sacred World of Cang County: Religious Belief, Organization and Practice in Rural North China During the Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001.

Abstract: Since the late nineteenth century, the villages of Cang County, located in southern Hebei Province, have undergone enormous political, social, and economic change. Yet throughout this period, personal and public religious life have remained matters of highest importance. This dissertation combines traditional archival sources with the authorís fieldwork to outline the religious needs and devotion of the individual, the history of local religious institutions and networks, and interaction between religious organization and local society in Cang County during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The dissertation begins with an analysis of personal religious mentality, asking how the individual comes to know the sacred and what he or she comes to expect of it. An analysis of religious vows (yuan) in the city of Tianjin and in rural Cang County demonstrates the place of morality and devotion in an overtly functional ritual regimen. The place of spirit healers (xiangtou) in Cang County, and their interaction with other healers, particularly village doctors, demonstrates both the contingency of belief and the characteristic manner by which religious knowledge is spread through the medium of miracle tales.

Religious institutions generally did not demand exclusive belief or affiliation, and popular religiosity freely drew upon different sects and teachings as sources of inspiration. Formal teachings such as Buddhism made a great impact on local belief, but by the twentieth century, monks were few and their teaching nearly indistinguishable from local religiosity. Sectarian groups, long characterized as subversive and secret, also left an important mark on local religious life. Each teaching had distinct doctrine, organization and social appeal. Teachings such as Zailijiao were oriented towards the development and public expression of personal morality, particularly of the local mercantile elite. Yiguandao addressed millenarian longings, thus finding a ready audience during times of trial, particularly the Japanese occupation. Others, such as Tiandimen and Taishangmen were grounded in everyday ritual practice, and have thus retained their popular appeal throughout the period.

Outside of religious networks, the organization of local society shaped the diffusion and of religious knowledge. The concentration of religious resources (such as temples and specialists) within the village, influenced the votive lives of individual peasants. However, although the village supported these resources and expressed a sense of common welfare, the ritual use of these resources was primarily by the household. [Source: author.]


DuBois, Thomas David. The Sacred Village: Social Change and Religious Life in Rural North China. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005.

Abstract: Until recently, few villagers of rural North China ventured far from their homes. Their intensely local view of the world included knowledge of the immanent sacred realm, which derived from stories of divine revelations, cures, and miracles that circulated among neighboring villages. These stories gave direction to private devotion and served as a source of expert information on who the powerful deities were and what role they played in the human world. The structure of local society also shaped public devotion, as different groups expressed their economic and social concerns in organized worship. While some of these groups remained structurally intact in the face of historical change, others have changed dramatically, resulting in new patterns of religious organization and practice.

The Sacred Village introduces local religious life in Cang County, Hebei Province, as a lens through which to view the larger issue of how rural Chinese perspectives and behaviors were shaped by the sweeping social, political, and demographic changes of the last two centuries. Thomas DuBois combines new archival sources in Chinese and Japanese with his own fieldwork to produce a work that is compelling and intimate in detail. This dual approach also allows him to address the integration of external networks into local society and religious mentality and posit local society as a particular sphere in which the two are negotiated and transformed. [Source: publisher's website]


DuBois, Thomas David. “Manchukuo’s Filial Sons: States, Sects and the Adaptation of Graveside Piety.” East Asian History 36 (2008): 3-27.


DuBois, Thomas David. “The Salvation of Religion? Public Charity and the New Religions of the Early Republic.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore / Minsu quyi 172 (2011): 73-126.


Edelman, Bryan & James T. Richardson, "Falun Gong and the Law: Development of Legal Social Control in China." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 312-331.


Edelman, Bryan; Richardson, James T. "Imposed Limitations on Freedom of Religion in China and the Margin of Appreciation Doctrine: A Legal Analysis of the Crackdown on the Falun Gong and Other 'Evil Cults'." A Journal of Church and State 47(2005)2: 243-267.


Espesset, Grégoire. “Latter Han Religious Mass Movements and the Early Daoist Church.” In: John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD). Leiden: Brill, 2009. Pp.1061-1102.


Fan Chun-wu (trsl. by David Ownby). “The Religious Texts of the Moral Studies Society: Print Publications, Photographs, and Visual Presentations.” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 82–125. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Faure, David, "The Heaven and Earth Society in the Nineteenth Century: An Interpretation." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.365-392.


Faure, David, & He Xi. "The Secret Society's Secret: The Invoked Reality of the Tiandihui." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 510-531.

 Feuchtwang, Stephan, "Spiritual Recovery: A Spirit-writing Shrine in Shifting under Japanese Rule." Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica 88(1999): 63-89.


Fisher, Gareth, "Resistance and Salvation in Falun Gong: the Promise and Peril of Forbearance." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 294-311.


Formoso, Bernard. De Jiao - A Religious Movement in Contemporary China and Overseas: Purple Qi from the East. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010.

Abstract: De Jiao ("Teaching of Virtue") is a China-born religious movement, based on spirit-writing and rooted in the tradition of the "halls for good deeds," which emerged in Chaozhou during the Sino-Japanese war. The book relates the fascinating process of its spread throughout Southeast Asia in the 1950s, and, more recently, from Thailand and Malaysia to post-Maoist China and the global world. Through a richly-documented multi-site ethnography of De Jiao congregations in the PRC, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Bernard Formoso offers valuable insights into the adaptation of Overseas Chinese to sharply contrasted national polities, and the projective identity they build with relation to China. De Jiao is of special interest with regard to its organization and strategies which strongly reflect the managerial habits and entrepreneurial ethos of the Overseas Chinese businessmen. It has also built original bonding with symbols of the Chinese civilization whose greatness it claims to champion from the periphery. Accordingly, a central theme of the study is the role that such a religious movement may play to promote new forms of identification with the motherland as substitutes for loosened genealogical links. The book also offers a comprehensive interpretation of the contemporary practice of fu ji spirit-writing, and reconsiders the relation between unity and diversity in Chinese religion. [Source: publisher's website]


Formoso, Bernard. “Dejiao, a Chinese Religious Movement in the Age of Globalization.” Journal of Chinese Religions 38 (2010): 36-58.


Formoso, Bernard. “A Wishful Thinking Claim to Global Expansion? The Case of Dejiao.” In Xuezhe guan Dejiao 学者观德教. Edited by Chen Jingxi 陈景熙 and Zhang Yudong 张禹东, 521-546. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2011.


Formoso, Bernard. “Spirit-Writing and Mediumship in the Chinese New Religious Movement Dejiao in Southeastern Asia.” Anthropos 109, no.2 (2014): 539-550.


Galambos, Imre. "Laozi Teaching Confucius: History of a Text Through Time." Studies in Chinese Religions 4, no. 4 (2018): 355–381.

Abstract: In addition to religious scriptures that survive from the Ming-Qing period, the Qing archives related to the prosecution of secret societies contain references to texts and images found in the possession of members of such societies at the time of their arrest. Texts may also be mentioned or at times quoted in full by the accused in the course of their interrogation. Some of these texts are unknown from other sources and thus the archival material offers precious insights into religious literature used by sectarian groups. This article examines a text that appears in the archives under the title Laojun du fuzi 老君度夫子 (The Elderly Lord Saves the Master), tracing the history of its transmission from the Song dynasty until modern days. In the course of the centuries, the text changed its title and part of its content, to the extent that it may be argued that its versions no longer constitute the same text but rather several interrelated ones, each with its own agenda and socio-cultural background.


Gaustad, Blaine C., "Prophets and Pretenders: Inter-sect Competition in Qianlong China." Late Imperial China 21(2000)1: 1-40.


Haar, Barend J. ter, "China's Inner Demons: The Political Impact of the Demonological Paradigm." China Information 9(1996/97)2/3: 54-88.


Haar, Barend J. ter, Ritual and Mythology of the Chinese Triads: Creating an Identity. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998.


Haar, Barend J. ter, The White Lotus Teachings in Chinese History. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999. (Republication of original edition published by E.J. Brill, Leiden, in 1992.)


Haar, Barend J. ter, "Falun Gong: Evaluation and Further References." 2000. http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/bth/falun.htm


Haar, Barend J. ter, "Whose Norm, Whose Heresy: The Case of the Song-Yuan White Lotus Movement." In: Irene Pieper, Michael Schimmelpfennig, and Joost van Soosten [ed.], Häresien. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2003. Pp. 67-93.


Haar, Barend ter. "The Teachings of the Dragon Flower as a Continuation of Song-Yuan Lay Buddhism." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 31-83.


Haar, Barend J. ter. "The Dragon Flower Teachings and the Practice of Ritual." Minsu quyi (Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore) 163 (2009): 117-159.


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)


Haar, Barend J. ter. Practicing Scripture: A Lay Buddhist Movement in Late Imperial China. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2014.

Abstract: Practicing Scripture is an original and detailed history of one of the most successful religious movements of late imperial China, the Non-Action Teachings, or Wuweijiao, from its beginnings in the late sixteenth century in the prefectures of southern Zhejiang to the middle of the twentieth century, when communist repression dealt it a crippling blow. Uncovering important data on its beliefs and practices, Barend ter Haar paints a wholly new picture of the group, which, despite its Daoist-sounding name, was a deeply devout lay Buddhist movement whose adherents rejected the worship of statues and ancestors while venerating the writings of Patriarch Luo (fl. early sixteenth century), a soldier-turned-lay-Buddhist. The texts, written in vernacular Chinese and known as the Five Books in Six Volumes, mix personal experiences, religious views, and a wealth of quotations from the Buddhist canon. Ter Haar convincingly demonstrates that the Non-Action Teachings was not messianic or millenarian in orientation and had nothing to do with other new religious groups and networks traditionally labelled as White Lotus Teachings. It combined Chan and Pure Land practices with a strong self-identity and vegetarianism and actively insisted on the right of free practice. Members of the movement created a foundation myth in which Ming (1368–1644) emperor Zhengde bestowed the right upon their mythical forefather. In addition, they produced an imperial proclamation whereby Emperor Kangxi of the Qing (1645–1911) granted the group similar privileges. (Source: publisher's website)


Haar, Barend ter. "Rumours and Prophecies: The Religious Background of the Late Yuan Rebellions." Studies in Chinese Religions 4, no. 4 (2018): 382-418.

Abstract: The conventional view of the late Yuan rebellions of Xu Shouhui and Han Shantong is that they were both inspired by Maitreyist beliefs. Han Shantong claimed that a Luminous King would appear. The prominent Chinese historian Wu Han therefore argued that this rebellion was influenced by Manichaean beliefs. The rebellion is also traditionally seen as the moment that the lay Buddhist devotionalist White Lotus movement worshipping Guanyin and Amitāhba changed into the messianic and suppo- sedly rebellious White Lotus Teachings. I will demonstrate that the Xu Shouhui rebellion was not Maitreyist at all, but advocated the reestablishment of a Song dynasty. It included a large number of leaders with a background in the lay Buddhist White Lotus movement, but was never labelled a messianic White Lotus Teachings until modern historians applied this label. The Han Shantong rebellion on the other hand was definitively Maitreyist, but the belief in a Luminous King did not derive from Manichaean beliefs but from an old indigenous tradition, the Sutra of the Five Lords. I argue that even the choice of the name Ming for Zhu Yuanzhang's new dynasty and his choice of the capital of Nanjing were inspired by this particular religious text.

Haar, Barend J. ter. "The Way of the Nine Palaces (jiugong dao 九宮道): A Lay Buddhist Movement." Studies in Chinese Religions 5, no. 3-4 (2019): 415–432.

Abstract: The Way of the Nine Palaces (jiugong dao 九宮道) was founded in the late nineteenth century by a monk on Mount Wutai. Largely unknown in Western scholarship, it is studied in Chinese scholarship in the context of secret societies. In earlier research I have argued that research on new religious movements in China suffers from negative labelling, which skews our perspective on new developments at the level of lay religious activities. Since this particular movement has been relatively well-studied in Chinese language scholarship, I will use this case to show what insights we can get when we relinquish traditional labels and look at a specific local group or movement in a more empathetic way. In this case we will see that the Way of the Nine Palaces was very much an ordinary lay Buddhist movement in the eyes of northern Chinese believers of the time. Moreover, it is from this regular lay Buddhist perspective that its followers provided crucial financial support to the rebuilding of Mount Wutai in the early twentieth century. Without their support the mountain’s monasteries would not have survived into the present in their relatively well-kept form.


Haar, Barend J. ter. "The White Lotus Movement and the Use of Chan." Journal of Chan Buddhism 1 (2019): 17–54.

Abstract: In this brief investigation, the author looks at the use of elements of Chan practice in Chinese religious culture in the Yuan period, with a particular focus on the White Lotus movement. The latter movement is often judged to be a Pure Land movement, but this as well as the Chan label are not very useful in understanding actual religious life and writing on the ground. Here the author assumes that the use of a speech- phrase (huatou), the anecdotes known as Public Case (gongan), and belief in a sudden enlightenment are typical of Chan practice. The famous apologist of the White Lotus movement, and Pure Land Buddhism more generally, Pudu 普度 (1255–1330) certainly shared this approach, and it seems that other adherents shared in this view. They all had a view of what Chan should be that did not even diverge very much from each other. They also felt that they were able to pronounce on what were right and wrong interpretations and did not see their own Pure Land practices and Chan practices as mutually exclusive.


Haar, Barend J. ter. “Giving Believers Back Their Voice: Agency and Heresy in Late Imperial China.” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 16–54. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Han, Sam; Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir. Digital Culture and Religion in Asia. London: Routledge, 2015. (See chapter 3 on "Religion as propaganda: The Falun Gong’s Info-War.")


Heberer, Thomas, "Falungong: Religion, Sekte oder Kult? Eine Heilsgemeinschaft als Manifestation von Modernisierungsproblemen und sozialen Entfremdungsprozessen." China heute 20(2001)3-4: 101-110.


Heberer, Thomas. “Falungong: soziales, politisches und religiöses Phänomen zwischen Tradition und Modernisierungsfrust.” In: Wiebke Koenig & Karl-Fritz Daiber [eds.], Religion und Politik in der Volksrepublik China. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2008. Pp. 289-312.


Höke, Holger, "Qigong als Religionsersatz, Naturwissenschaft, medizinische Therapie und Weg zur Erlangung paranormaler Fähigkeiten." Orientierungen 14(2002)1: 1-43.


Holbig, Heike, "Falungong: Genese und alternative Deutungen eines politischen Konflikts." China aktuell 29 (Februar 2000): 135-147.


Hsu, Wen-hsiung, "The Triads and Their Ideology up to the Early Nineteenth Century: A Brief History." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.323-364.


Hu, Ping; Mosher, Stacy, tr. "The Falun Gong Phenomenon." In Challenging China: Struggle and Hope in an Era of Change, edited by Sharon Hom & Stacy Mosher. New York; London: New Press, 2007. Pp.226-251.


Huang, Shih-ju. "Religious Experiences of Taiwanese I-Kuan Tao and Buddho-Daoism." In Religious Experience in Contemporary Taiwan and China, ed. Yen-zen Tsai. Taipei: Chengchi University Press, 2013. Pp. 91-104.

Huang, Weishan. "Globalization as a Tactic – Legal Campaigns of the Falun Gong Diaspora." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 233-255. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.


Hung Chang-tai. “The Anti-Unity Sect Campaign and Mass Mobilization in the Early People’s Republic of China.” The China Quarterly 202 (2010): 400-420.

Abstract: The anti-Unity Sect campaign (1949–53), a precursor to the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries (the zhenfan movement), was one of the Chinese Communists' most violent policies to root out a perceived evil cult in China. This article argues that the drive was never simply a religious crusade. It was essentially a mass mobilization for the purpose of consolidating the Communists' power and legitimacy. Through a host of propaganda channels, including media attacks and public trials, the Communists dealt a crippling blow to the sect. The mobilization campaign turned many citizens into supporters and agents of the government, and its tactics would soon be mimicked in subsequent political movements.


Huntington, Rania. "Chaos, Memory, and Genre: Anecdotal Recollections of the Taiping Rebellion." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 27(2005): 59-91.


Introvigne, Massimo. “Xie Jiao as ‘Criminal Religious Movements’: A New Look at Cult Controversies in China and Around the World.” The Journal of CESNUR 2, no. 1 (2018): 13-32.

Abstract: Chinese Criminal Code punishes those active in a xie jiao with imprisonment from three to seven years. Xie jiao is translated in the English versions of Chinese official documents as “evil cults,” but the translation is inaccurate. As “heterodox teachings,” xie jiao have been banned in China since the Ming era, and the Communist regime inherited the practice of publishing lists of xie jiao from imperial and republican China. Historically, teachings were often declared “heterodox” for political rather than purely theological reasons, and today the definitions of xie jiao in Chinese documents and case law are vague at best. The paper argues that taking inspiration on Western categories such as “heresy” and “cult” would not help the Chinese in defining xie jiao in more precise terms, since these Western terms were als o historically fluid and easily used as tools for discriminating unpopular groups. In recent years, the Chinese authorities did invite to their anti - xie - jiao events, in addition or as an alternative to militant anti - cultists, Western scholars of new religious movements, including the author of this paper. I tried to introduce a new category, “criminal religious movements,” including groups that either (or both) consistently practice and justify common crimes such as terrorism, child abuse, rape, physical violence, homicide, and serious economic crimes, as opposite to the vague or imaginary crimes of “being a cult” or “brainwashing members.” The paper argues that there would be definite advantages in replacing categories such as xie jiao, “destructive cults,” and “extremist religions” (the latter now fashionable in Russia) with “criminal religious movements,” a notion that would refer to ascertained crimes perpetrated by each movement rather than to notions so vague that they become dangerous for religious liberty. (Source: journal)


Irons, Edward Allen, "Tian Dao: The Net of Ideology in a Chinese Religion." Thesis (Ph.D.), Graduate Theological Union, 2000, 312p.

Abstract: Tian Dao (Yiguandao) is a dynamic Chinese religious tradition which began in the early years of the twentieth century and is now found all over the world, in particular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and southeast Asia. The current work is an in-depth description of Tian Dao through focus on what is called the ideological complex of ritual, myth, emotional tone, the panoply of deities, and doctrinal exposition.

The study is based primarily on ethnographic observation of two Tian Dao temples, one in Oakland, California, and one in Hong Kong. It seeks to highlight the ways in which individual members integrate local concerns with the temple and the overall cultural environments, and how the Tian Dao ideological perspective is translated into practice. Key to this articulation are the concepts of Daopan ("Dao, foundation") and Tianming ("heavenly decree"), as well as moral cultivation interpreted as constant self-observation and discourse practice. While the Dao, ultimate Truth and the source of the universe, is the focus of much Tian Dao discourse, the practices associate with the discourses account for group ideological cohesion.

Tian Dao leaders have been successful at reformulating cultural elements into a syncretic tradition capable of blending members' concerns with institutional impetus. This loosely organized network of temples and lineages is clearly united by their common orientation, the net of Tian Dao ideology. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Irons, Edward, "Falun Gong and the Sectarian Religion Paradigm." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 244-262.


Irons, Edward Allen. “The List: The Evolution of China’s List of Illegal and Evil Cults.” The Journal of CESNUR 2, no. 1 (2018): 33–57.

Abstract: In China, departments under the central government have published lists of banned and illegal religious groups since 1995. This practice can be seen as an extension of traditional ways of categorizing heterodox associations dating back to imperial times. Groups on the current list are often identified as xie jiao — normally translated as “ evil cults. ” The list is thus directly connected to questions of the categorization of religion in China. The study of the lists provides insight into the government ’ s evolving policy on religion, as well as the legal environment for religious activity.

 Jackson, Forrest. "April Fools: The Saucers will not Be Landing." In: James R. Lewis [ed.], Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003. Pp. 321-330.


Jansen, Thomas. “Sectarian Religions and Globalization in Nineteenth Century Beijing: The Wanbao baojuan (1858) and Other Examples.” In Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present, edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, and Christian Meyer, 115-135. Leiden: Brill, 2014.


Jochim, Christian, "Carrying Confucianism into the Modern World: The Taiwan Case." In: Philip Clart & Charles B. Jones [eds.], Religion in Modern Taiwan: Tradition and Innovation in a Changing Society. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003. Pp.48-83.


Jochim, Christian. "Popular Lay Sects and Confucianism: A Study Based on the Way of Unity in Postwar Taiwan." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 83-107.


Johnson, Ian, Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China. New York: Pantheon Books, 2004. (Note: See chapter 3, "Turning the Wheel", on the persecution of the Falun Gong.)


Kang, Xiaoguang. "The Political Effects of the Falun Gong Issue." Chinese Education and Society 35(2002)1: 5-14.


Katz, Paul, "The Wayward Phoenix?--The Early History of the Palace of Guidance." In Li Fengmao & Zhu Ronggui [eds.], Yishi, miaohui yu shequ--Daojiao, minjian xinyang yu minjian wenhua. Taipei: Zhongyang Yanjiuyuan, Zhongguo Wenzhe Yanjiusuo Choubeichu, 1996. Pp.197-228.


Katz, Paul R., "Morality Books and Taiwanese Identity: The Texts of the Palace of Guidance." Journal of Chinese Religions 27(1999): 69-92.


Katz, Paul R. When Valleys Turned Blood Red: The Ta-pa-ni Incident in Colonial Taiwan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005.

Abstract: When Valleys Turned Blood Red tells the story of colonial policies and their tragic impact on local communities. The Ta-pa-ni Incident of 1915 was the largest single act of Han Chinese armed resistance during the fifty years of Taiwan's colonial era. More than a thousand villagers and Japanese were killed during the fierce fighting and thousands more were later arrested and made to stand trial.

Based on detailed archival research, interviews with survivors, painstaking demographic analysis, and a thorough reading of secondary scholarship in all of the relevant languages, Paul Katz examines the significance of the Ta-pa-ni Incident by focusing on what Paul Cohen terms history's "three keys": event, experience, and myth. Katz provides a vivid description of events surrounding the uprising as well as the ways in which it has been mythologized over time. His primary emphasis, however, is on the experiences of the men and women who were caught up in the flow of history. [Source: publisher's website]


Katz, Paul R. "Religion, Recruiting and Resistance in Colonial Taiwan: A Case Study of the Xilai An Incident, 1915." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 249-282.


Katz, Paul R. „Spirit-writing Halls and the Development of Local Communities: A Case Study of Puli (Nantou County).“ Min-su ch’ü-i / Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 174 (2011): 103-184.


Katz, Paul. R. “Illuminating Goodness -- Some Preliminary Considerations of Religious Publishing in Modern China.” In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 265-294. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Keith, Ronald C. & Zhiqiu Lin, "The 'Falun Gong Problem': Politics and the Struggle for the Rule of Law in China." The China Quarterly 175 (2003): 623-642.

Abstract: This article examines the CCP's "falun gong problem" with reference to PRC law and policy on "heretical cults," paying particular attention to the implications of this problem for the ongoing struggle to establish human rights under the rule of law. Official PRC commentary contends that the falun gong not only committed criminal acts but also wilfully sought to undermine the rule of law itself. Human rights critics and agencies, such as the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, have, on the other hand, attacked the PRC for a "repressive legal framework" that threatens human rights. The "falun gong problem" is an important chapter in the struggle for the rule of law in China, and it appears that the law has not been able to transcend the conceptual bias of past criminal law on counter-revolution. The related politicization of the law through a revived principle of "flexibility" challenges the internal process of criminal justice reform and the recent reform focus on the balance of human rights protection and public order. [Source: Cambridge University Press website]


Kim, David W. “Intenational Moral Association (IMA): A Chinese New Religious Movement in Modern Korea.” In New Religious Movements in Modern Asian History: Sociocultural Alternatives, edited by David W. Kim, 165–185. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.


Kipnis, Andrew B., "The Flourishing of Religion in Post-Mao China and the Anthropological Category of Religion." Australian Journal of Anthropology 12(2001)1: 32-46.

Abstract: In his provocative critique of Clifford Geertz's 1966 definition of religion, Talal Asad (1993) suggests that the very project of defining the category of religion is rooted in the historical rise of Western secularism in societies formerly dominated by Christianity. In post-Mao China, there has been an explosion of activities that might be categorized as religious in the Geertzian sense, including church attendance, temple building, qi gong practice, pilgrimage, & geomancy. This paper examines two such activities, the participation of women in a Protestant church in rural Shandong & the recent protest by members of the Fa Lun Gong (Buddhist Law Qi Gong) society in Beijing, & asks what their emergence in a post-Maoist communist state tells us about the historical processes that frame the possibility of defining religion. Working with theories of religious participation from Geertz, Asad, Tambiah, & Feuchtwang, the paper develops a conception of "symbolic participation" to illuminate the flourishing of religious practice in post-Mao China. 48 References. Adapted from the source document. [Source of abstract: SOCIOFILE]


Kohn, Livia. "The Beginnings and Cultural Characteristics of East Asian Millenarianism." Japanese Religions 23 (1998)1/2: 29-51.


Kravchuk, L.A.; Walker, James E., tr. "Activity of the Chinese Religious Movement Falun Gong in Russia." Anthropology & Archeology of Eurasia 46.3 (2007-2008): 36-50.

Kühner, Hans, Die Lehren und die Entwicklung der "Taigu-Schule". Eine dissidente Strömung in einer Epoche des Niedergangs der konfuzianischen Orthodoxie. Wiesbaden: Harassowitz, 1996.


Kuehner, Hans, "Plurality and Confucian Orthodoxy. The Views of a Neglected Qing School of Thought." Journal of Chinese Philosophy 26(1999)1: 49-88.


Kühner, Hans. "Weltanschauliche Toleranz oder staatliche Verfolgung von Heterodoxien? Ein Fall aus dem späten chinesischen Kaiserreich." In: Konrad Meisig [ed.], Chinesische Religion und Philosophie: Konfuzianismus - Mohismus - Daoismus - Buddhismus. Grundlagen und Einblicke. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. Pp. 155-174. [Note: Deals with the persecution of the Taigu school/sect in 1866.]


Kühner, Hans. “Sorcerers, Bandits and Rebels: Anti-Heretical Discourse and Practice in Late Qing China.” Bochumer Jahrbuch für Ostasienforschung 33 (2009): 17-38.


Kupfer, Kristin, "'Geheimgesellschaften' in der VR China: Christlich inspirierte, spirituell-religiöse Gruppierungen seit 1978." China Analysis, Working Paper No.8, 2001. (Published by the Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies, Trier University, Germany). Can be viewed online at http://www.asienpolitik.de/working_papers.html (pdf file).


Kupfer, Kristin, "Christlich inspirierte, spirituell-religiöse Gruppierungen in der VR China seit 1978 (I)." China heute 21(2002)4-5: 119-127.


Kupfer, Kristin, "Christlich inspirierte, spirituell-religiöse Gruppierungen in der VR China seit 1978 (II)." China heute 21(2002)6: 169-175.


Kupfer, Kristin, "Christlich inspirierte, spirituell-religiöse Gruppierungen in der VR China seit 1978 (III)." China heute 22(2003)1-2: 27-32.


Kupfer, Kristin, "Christlich inspirierte, spirituell-religiöse Gruppierungen in der VR China seit 1978 (IV)." China heute 22(2003)3: 81-83.


Kupfer, Kristin. "Emergence and Development of Christian-Inspired, Spiritual-Religious Groups in the People's Republic of China since 1978." Quest 4(2005)2: 29-54.


Kupfer, Kristin. "'Häretische Lehren bekämpfen' - Der Umgang der chinesischen Regierung mit spirituell-religiösen Gruppierungen seit 1978." In: Wiebke Koenig & Karl-Fritz Daiber [eds.], Religion und Politik in der Volksrepublik China. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2008. Pp. 251-288.


Lang, Graeme & Lars Ragvald, "Spirit-Writing and the Development of Chinese Cults." Sociology of Religion 59(1998)4: 309-328.


Langone, Michael D., "Reflections on Falun Gong and the Chinese Government." Cultic Studies Review (Online) 2(2003)2. http://www.culticstudiesreview.org/


Lee, Anru. “Women of the Sisters' Hall: Religion and the Making of Women's Alternative Space in Taiwan's Economic Restructuring." Gender, Place and Culture 15.4 (2008): 373-393.

Abstract: Against the background of Taiwan's recent economic restructuring, this article investigates the lives of a group of working-class women who were believers of I-Kuan Tao, a sectarian religion, and who had by and large decided to remain single in order to better practice their religious teaching. They lived together in an I-Kuan Tao temple. This article situates singlehood in the literature of resistance and sees it as a strategy of these women seeking an alternative lifestyle from the culturally prescribed roles of wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Three interlocking factors are particularly important to an understanding of these women's experience: cultural (the Taiwanese patrilineal family), religious (I-Kuan Tao), and economic (Taiwan's post-World War II export-oriented industrialization and its recent economic restructuring). Paradoxically, while trying to establish an alternative social space, these women were also seeking cultural legitimacy for their choice. Marriage resistance, in this case, was an act of both transgression and conformity. Yet the different readings that these women and their families applied to their situations, as well as the ingenuous strategies they deployed to solve their predicaments, also added new elements to the cultural repertoire which, collectively considered, might broaden the range of options for future Taiwanese women who attempt a similar life trajectory. In this article, I therefore caution against a totalizing understanding of the concept of resistance based on its final result, but call for a more nuanced analysis focusing on the process. (Source: journal)


Leung, Beatrice, "China und falungong: Das Verhältnis zwischen Staat und Gesellschaft in der Moderne." (Translated by Katharina Wenzel-Teuber) China heute 20(2001)5-6: 146-153.


Leung, Beatrice. "China and Falun Gong: Party and Society Relations in the Modern Era." Journal of Contemporary China 11(2002), no.33: 761-784.


Lewis, James R. Falun Gong: Spiritual Warfare and Martyrdom. Cambridge Elements: Elements in Religion and Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Abstract: Falun Gong, founded by Li Hongzhi in 1992, attracted international attention in 1999 after staging a demonstration outside of government offices in Beijing. It was subsequently banned. Followers then created a number of media outlets outside of China focused on protesting the People’s Republic of China’s attack on the “human rights” of practitioners. This volume focuses on Falun Gong and violence. Although I will note accusations of how Chinese authorities have abused and tortured practitioners, the volume will focus on Li Hongzhi’s teachings about “spiritual warfare” and how these teachings have motivated practitioners to deliberately seek brutalization and martyrdom. (Source: book)


Lim, Chee-Han. “Migration as a Spiritual Pathway: Narratives of Chinese Falungong Practitioners in Singapore.” Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 14.1 (2013): 57-70.


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 Yu-Sheng 林育生. “The Practices and Networks of Female Yiguan Dao Members in Buddhist Thailand.” Nova Religio 22, no. 3 (2019): 84–107.

Abstract: Yiguan Dao’s similarity to Buddhism is often considered the reason for its expansion in Thailand and its attraction of not only ethnic Chinese members, but also Thai members. However, the teachings, practices, and networks of female Yiguan Dao members in Thailand are exemplary of Yiguan Dao’s discontinuities with established Buddhism in Thailand. In Thai Theravāda Buddhism, women’s full ordination as bhikkhunīs is not recognized by the authorities and much of the public, and women are considered subordinate to men in the religious dimension. Although certain ideas and practices regarding the reform of women’s status in Thai Buddhism have made advances, most reforms continue to face difficulties under the restrictions of the Thai Buddhist establishment. Although some sexist elements exist in its teachings, Yiguan Dao, a new religious movement in modern Thailand existing outside the framework of Buddhism, offers its female members a competitive alternative to women’s religious equality and geographic mobility in the pluralistic Thai religious marketplace.



Liu, Kwang-Ching and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004.

Abstract: In a series of well-documented case studies ranging over the centuries, contributors examine aspects of early Daoism and Buddhism as essential background to the sectarian movements of the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing (1644-1911) periods. They take up White Lotus ("Eternal Mother") millenarianism prior to and during the eighteenth century and the Triads of the nineteenth, who were, it seems, only politically heterodox. Finally the most radical and populist traditions are explored: the quasi-Christian Taipings of the nineteenth century and the elite Republican movement of the early twentieth. Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China attempts to define the efforts of groups and individuals to propose alternatives to the formidable socioethical orthodoxy of China's heritage. By approaching modern China from its long-standing tradition of dissent, it provides essential reading for those seeking the enduring themes of China's nonofficial history and especially the transition between the late imperial and modern eras. [Source: publisher's website.]


Liu, Kwang-Ching, "Religion and Politics in the White Lotus Rebellion of 1796 in Hubei." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.281-320.


Lowe, Scott, "Western Millennial Ideology Goes East: The Taiping Revolution and Mao's Great Leap Forward." In: Catherine Wessinger [ed.], Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000. Pp.220-240.


Lowe, Scott, "China and New Religious Movements." Nova Religio 4(2001)2: 213-224.


Lowe, Scott, "Chinese and International Contexts for the Rise of Falun Gong." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 263-276.


Lowe, Scott. "Religion on a Leash: NRMs and the Limits of Chinese Freedom." In: Phillip Charles Lucas & Thomas Robbins [eds.], New Religious Movements in the 21st Century: Legal, Political, and Social Challenges in Global Perspective. New York, London: Routledge, 2004. Pp. 179-190.


Lu, Paul Yunfeng. "Helping People to Fulfill Vows: Commitment Mechanisms in a Chinese Sect." In: Fenggang Yang & Joseph B. Tamney [eds.], State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Pp.181-201. [Note: The sect in question is Yiguan Dao; data were collected during fieldwork in Taiwan in 2002.]

Lu, Yunfeng. "Entrepreneurial Logics and the Evolution of Falun Gong." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44(2005)2: 173-185.


Lu, Yunfeng & Lang, Graeme. “Impact of the State on the Evolution of a Sect.” Sociology of Religion 67.3 (2006): 249-270.

Abstract: Theories about the sect-to-church transition focus on changes in the social characteristics of members, or changes in the size and prosperity of the organization, to account for the transition. However, the state may also affect the likelihood of a sect-to-church transition. Under conditions of state repression, sects are likely to be more schismatic. State repression can also strengthen sectarianism by preventing the orderly succession of leaders and the emergence of professionalized and educated priesthood. We illustrate with the case of Yiguan Dao in China. This sect exhibited sectarian features under state repression, until the late 1980s when the sect was legalized in Taiwan. Thereafter, the various branches of the sect have introduced a series of changes designed to reduce schisms, formalize the succession of leadership, professionalize sectarian leaders and elaborate doctrines. These developments cannot be comprehended theoretically without some revisions to theories of sect-to-church changes. [Source: journal]

Lu Yunfeng. The Transformation of Yiguan Dao in Taiwan: Adapting to a Changing Religious Economy. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2008.

Abstract: Yiguan Dao, the most influential sect in the Chinese mainland in the 1940s, was largely destroyed in mainland China by 1953. However, Yiguan Dao survived and developed into the largest sect in Taiwan, despite its suppression by the Kuomintang state. In 1987, through relentless efforts, the sect finally gained legal status in Taiwan. Today, Yiguan Dao not only thrives in Chinese societies, but has also become a worldwide religion that has spread to more than sixty countries.

The Transformation of Yiguan Dao in Taiwan is the first English-language scholarly study exclusively focusing on Yiguan Dao. Utilizing fieldwork conducted in 2002 in Taiwan, Yunfeng Lu provides a history of Yiguan Dao in mainland China and focuses on the sect's evolution in Taiwan in the past few decades. Lu probes the operation of Yiguan Dao under suppression over the past twenty years, and examines the relationship between Yiguan Dao and its rivals in Taiwan's religious market. The Transformation of Yiguan Dao in Taiwan also develops the religious economy model by extending it to Chinese societies. It is essential reading for anyone interested in religion and contemporary Chinese society. [Source: publisher's website]


Lu Yunfeng, Lu Yuxin, Zhou Na. “Doctrinal Innovation, Resistance, and Falun Gong’s Politicization.” The China Review 18, no. 4 (2018): 41-62.


Lu, Zhongwei. “Huidaomen in the Republican Period.” Chinese Studies in History 44.1-2 (2010/11): 10-37.

Abstract: Lu Zhongwei’s study of huidaomen in the Republican period is a classic Marxist analysis such as often found in the People’s Republic of China. Huidaomen are presented as the “opiate of the people,” peddled to the suffering masses during a difficult period by evil charlatans eager for money and fame. At the same time, Lu has done a great deal of work in the sources of the period and presents a useful sociological profile of huidaomen leaders and members. (Source: journal)


Lum, Thomas, "China and 'Falun Gong': Implications and Options for U.S. Policy." Current Politics and Economics of China 2(2000)4: 177-182.


Madsen, Richard, "Understanding Falun Gong." Current History 99(2000): 243-247.


Malek, Roman, "'Zitadellen der Hoffnung' - Entwicklungstendenzen der Religiosität in der Volksrepublik China." Forum Weltkirche 2003, No.1: 14-19.


Masuo Shin'ichiro; Elacqua, Joseph P., tr. “Chinese Religion and the Formation of Onmyodo.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 40, no.1 (2013): 19-43.


Melton, J. Gordon. “The Affirmation of Charismatic Authority: The Case of the True Buddha School.” The Australian Religious Studies Review 20, no. 3 (2007): 286-302.

Abstract: The True Buddha School (TBS) is one of a set of new expressions of Buddhism that have arisen in Taiwan in the decades since World War II. It is a version of Esoteric Buddhism, following a path much closer to Tibetan Buddhism, rather than either the Ch'an or Pure Land Buddhisms that have dominated Chinese Buddhist groups for the past few centuries. It is headed by Lu Sheng-yen (b.1945) who began his religious career as an independent Daoist spiritual counsellor in Taichung, the large city in the centre of this island nation. In this paper I will introduce the True Buddha School and discuss this movement in relation to theories of charismatic leadership. (Source: journal)


Meyer, Christian. "Religionspolitik und die Transformation des religiösen Feldes in der Volksrepublik China am Beispiel Falun Gong - Gibt es eine neue ‚Religionspolitik chinesischen Typs’?" In Religion und Politik im gegenwärtigen Asien Konvergenzen und Divergenzen, edited by Edith Franke und Katja Triplett, 141-165. Berlin: Lit-Verlag, 2013.


Micollier, Evelyne. "Un aspect de la pluralité médicale en Chine populaire: les pratiques de qigong. Dimension thérapeutique, dimension sociale." Doctorat en anthropologie, Université de Provence, France, 1995. 547 p.


Micollier, Evelyne, "Entre science et religion, tradition et modernité: le discours pluriel des pratiquants de Qigong." In: J.Benoist [ed.], Soigner au pluriel. Paris: Karthala, 1996. Pp. 205-223.


Micollier, Evelyne, "An Approach to the 'New Religions' in Taiwanese Society." China Perspectives 16 (1998): 34-40.


Micollier, Evelyne, "Yiguan Dao: An Example of a 'New Religion'." China Perspectives 19 (1998): 37-43.


Micollier, Evelyne, "Qigong Groups and Civil Society in PR China." IIAS Newsletter 22(2000): 32.


Micollier, Evelyne. "Le qigong chinois: enjeux économiques et transnationalisation des réseaux, pratiques et croyances." Journal des Anthropologues n°98-99 (2004): 107-146. (Thematic issue: Globalisation, Tome II : Consommations du religieux, ed. by L. Bazin, A. Benveniste, V.A. Hernandez & M. Sélim.)


Mori Yuria, "Identity and Lineage: The Taiyi jinhua zongzhi and the Spirit-Writing Cult of Patriarch Lü in Qing China." In: Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth [eds.], Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002. Pp.165-184.


Morris, E.B., "The Rise of Mass Literacy and Its Adjunct, Sectarianism, in Late Imperial China." Chinese Culture 37(1996)4:1-28.


Morris Wu, Eleanor, "Chinese Roots of Taiwanese Sectarianism." In: Eleanor Morris Wu, From China to Taiwan: Historical, Anthropological, and Religious Perspectives. Sankt Augustin: Monumenta Serica Institute, 2004. Pp. 179-199.


Moses, Paul. "The First Amendment and the Falun Gong." In: Claire H. Badaracco [ed.], Quoting God: How Media Shape Ideas about Religion and Culture. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2005. Pp. 67-77.


Munekage, Natsuko, "China's New Religious Movement: Falun Gong's Cultural Resistance and Political Confrontation." Thesis (M.A.), University of Oregon, 2001, 141p.

Abstract: Falun Gong, a Chinese new religious movement has experienced political confrontation with the state since 1999. An analysis of Falun Gong theology and the movement's interactions with Chinese society, the state, and a global audience projects the epitome of the transforming cultural matrix of the PRC. This thesis concerns itself seriously with Falun Gong practitioners' spiritual world, together with their interactions in society, to reveal their voices and perceptions regarding to post-Maoist social values, which was neither discussed nor paid scholarly or mass media attention. In an attempt to map the movement's autonomous sphere in relation to state hegemony, this thesis shall highlight the existence of latent conflicts between Falun Gong and the Chinese state since the emergence of Falun Gong as an apolitical movement, and argue how the group's unspoken resistance developed into explicit political confrontation. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Noakes, Stephen & Caylan Ford. "Managing Political Opposition Groups in China: Explaining the Continuing Anti-Falun Gong Campaign." The China Quarterly, no. 223 (September 2015): 658-679.

Abstract: In this article, we seek to explain the persistence of the Communist Party's campaign to suppress the Falun Gong religious movement. We argue that the unrecoverable investment of more than a decade's worth of suppression work, compounded by the ineffectiveness of these efforts (as evinced in official documents and by the continuation of resistance activities), limits the state's ability to halt its campaign against Falun Gong. Our findings shed light on some of the Chinese state's current strategies for the management and control of domestic opposition groups, and challenge the view of the Party as adaptable and highly capable of reform from within. (Source: journal)


Olles, Volker. "Das Dao des Herrn von der Schnurbaumgalerie: Die konfuzianisch-daoistische Liumen-Bewegung im China des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 159.1 (2009): 129-140.


Olles, Volker. "The Way of the Locus Tree Studio: Preliminary Remarks on the Foundations and Functions of the Popular Religious Liumen Movement." In: Florian C. Reiter [ed.], Foundations of Daoist Ritual: A Berlin Symposium. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2009. Pp. 107-117.


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)


Olles, Volker. Ritual Words: Daoist Liturgy and the Confucian Liumen Tradition in Sichuan Province. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013.

Abstract: The Qing dynasty scholar Liu Yuan (1768-1856) developed a unique system of thought, merging Confucian learning with ideas and practices from Daoism and Buddhism, and was eventually venerated as the founding patriarch of an influential movement combining the characteristics of a scholarly circle and a religious society. Liu Yuan, a native of Sichuan, was an outstanding Confucian scholar whose teachings were commonly referred to as Liumen (Liu School). Assisted by his close disciples, Liu edited a Daoist ritual canon titled Fayan huizuan (Compendium of Ritual Words). Daoist priests affiliated with the Liumen community and using the Fayan huizuan canon in their rituals constituted an independent liturgical branch of Daoism, which is still extant and known under the name of “Fayan tan” (Altar of Ritual Words). Following a comprehensive description of the Liumen tradition, the volume by Volker Olles discusses the compilation history of the Fayan huizuan canon, the lineage of the Fayan tan priests, as well as the temporal framework of their liturgy. The main part of the volume consists of a detailed study of the ritual canon, identifying its textual sources and describing its pantheon, the influence of the Liumen ideology on its texts, as well as the function and performance of its rituals in contemporary religious practice. Furthermore concluding thoughts about the Fayan tan tradition’s role in present-day Sichuan constitute the epilogue. By showing how members of the Confucian elite were involved in the evolution of modern Daoism, this study sheds light on hitherto obscure or poorly understood aspects of the intellectual and spiritual culture of Southwest China. (Source: publisher's website)

Olles, Volker. “Der Wahre Mensch von der Smaragdgrotte. Teil I einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 163.2 (2013): 485-504.


Olles, Volker. "Der Palast der Grauen Ziege. Teil II einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 166, no.2 (2016): 443-466.

Abstract: This contribution is the second in a series of articles presenting the texts and annotated translations of five stele inscriptions, which were included in the collection Chongkan Daozang jiyao (Reedited Essentials of the Daoist Canon), a Daoist anthology published in 1906 at the monastery Erxian An (Hermitage of the Two Immortals) in Chengdu (Sichuan). The inscriptions in question were, with one exception, composed to commemorate the renovation or rebuilding of temple halls and other structures belonging to either the Erxian An or the adjacent Qingyang Gong (Palace of the Grey Goat), and were included in the relevant sections of the Chongkan Daozang jiyao. All texts share a common derivation from the Liumen (Liu School) tradition. The term Liumen refers to the teachings of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan (1768–1856) as well as a quasi-religious movement, which was based on Liu’s thought and flourished in late imperial and Republican times. Liu Yuan and the following Liumen patriarchs were patrons of the Qingyang Gong and the Erxian An, and the two Daoist sanctuaries, among other temples in Chengdu and its environs, were supported by the Liumen community. The present article contains a full translation of Liu Yuan’s Chongxiu Qingyang Gong beiji (Stele Inscription on the Restoration of the Qingyang Gong) and outlines the historical development of Chengdu’s most important Daoist temple. Special emphasis is placed on the Qingyang Gong’s modern history and its relation to the Liumen community. From the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, the Qingyang Gong received substantial support from the Liu family and Liumen adherents, and it is obvious that the Liumen community was significantly involved in the management of this ancient sanctuary. (Source: journal)


Olles, Volker. "Die Halle der Drei Urspünge. Teil III einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 168, no.2 (2018): 465-480.

Abstract: This contribution is the third in a series of articles presenting the texts and annotated translations of five stele inscriptions, which were included in the collection Chongkan Daozang jiyao 重刊道藏輯要 (Reedited Essentials of the Daoist Canon), a Daoist anthology published in 1906 at the monastery Erxian An 二仙菴 (Hermitage of the Two Immortals) in Chengdu (Sichuan). The inscriptions in question were, with one exception, composed to commemorate the renovation or rebuilding of temple halls and other structures belonging to either the Erxian An or the adjacent Qingyang Gong 青羊宮 (Palace of the Grey Goat), and were included in the relevant sections of the Chongkan Daozang jiyao. All texts share a common derivation from the Liumen 劉門 (Liu School) tradition. The term Liumen refers to the teachings of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan 劉沅 (1768–1856) as well as a quasi-religious movement, which was based on Liu's thought and flourished in late imperial and Republican times. Liu Yuan and the following Liumen patriarchs were patrons of the Qingyang Gong and the Erxian An, and the two Daoist sanctuaries, among other temples in Chengdu and its environs, were supported by the Liumen community. The present article contains a full translation of Liu Yuan's Chongxiu Qingyang Gong Sanyuan Dian beiji 重 修青羊宮三元殿碑記 (Stele Inscription on Rebuilding the Three Primes Hall at Qingyang Gong). From the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, the Qingyang Gong received substantial support from the Liu family and Liumen adherents, and it is obvious that the Liumen community was significantly involved in the management of this ancient sanctuary. The Three Primes Hall inside the Qingyang Gong was rebuilt by Liumen adherents in the early 19th century. In addition to the annotated translation of the inscription, the present contribution introduces the deities worshiped in the temple hall and briefly discusses how Liu Yuan perceived the Daoist notion of the Three Primes (sanyuan). (Source: journal)


Ostergaard, Clemens Stubbe. "Governance and the Political Challenge of the Falun Gong." In: Jude Howell [ed.], Governance in China. London, Boulder, Colo.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Pp. 207-225


Otehode, Utiraruto, and Benjamin Penny. "Tension between the Chinese Government and Transnational Qigong Groups: Management by the State and Their Dissemination Overseas." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 194–209. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.


Overmyer, Daniel L., "Social Perspectives in Chinese Sectarian Scriptures from the Fifteenth to the Sixteenth Centuries." In: Charles Le Blanc & Alain Rocher [eds.], État, société civile et sphère publique en Asie de l'Est: regards sur les traditions politiques de la Chine, du Japon, de la Corée et du Vietnam. Montréal: Centre d'Études de l'Asie de l'Est, Université de Montréal, 1998. Pp.7-35.


Overmyer, Daniel L., Precious Volumes: An Introduction to Chinese Sectarian Scriptures from the Sixteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 1999.


Overmyer, Daniel L., "Quan-zhen Daoist Influence on Sectarian 'Precious Volumes' from the Seventeenth Century." In: Lai Chi Tim [ed.], Daojiao yu minjian zongjiao yanjiu lunji. Hong Kong: Xuefeng Wenhua Shiye, 1999. Pp.73-93.


Overmyer, Daniel L., "Hope in Chinese Popular Religious Texts." In: Overmyer, Daniel L. and Chi-tim Lai [eds.], Interpretations of Hope in Chinese Religions & Christianity. Hong Kong: Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, 2002. Pp. 105-116.


Ownby, David, "The Heaven and Earth Society as Popular Religion." Journal of Asian Studies 54(1995)4: 1023-1046.


Ownby, David [ed.]; David Ownby & Qiao Peihua [trsl.], "Scriptures of the Way of the Temple of the Heavenly Immortals." Chinese Studies in History 29(1996)3: 1-101.


Ownby, David, "Chinese Millenarian Traditions: The Formative Age." American Historical Review 104(1999)5: 1513-1530.


Ownby, David, "Imperial Fantasies: The Chinese Communists and Peasant Rebellions." Comparative Studies in Society & History 43(2001)1: 65-91.

Abstract: The author seeks to carry forward the discussion of popular religions in the People's Republic of China in their conflicts with the state, which tends to view them under the rubric of "feudal superstition" & as signs of tradition resisting modernization. The Way of the Temple of Heavenly Immortals is one such religion, which, exceptionally, has sacred texts that may be consulted to see the relation from the other side. Traditional popular morality, the healing powers of its leaders, & the coming apocalypse are themes of those scriptures, to which the government & the believers give decidedly different interpretations. 42 References. Adapted from the source document. [Source of abstract: SOCIOFILE]


Ownby, David, "Recent Chinese Scholarship on the History of Chinese Secret Societies." Late Imperial China 22(2001)1: 139-158.


Ownby, David, "Is There a Chinese Millenarian Tradition? An Analysis of Recent Western Studies of the Taiping Rebellion." In: Abbas Amanat & Magnus Bernhardsson [eds.], Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse from the Ancient Middle East to Modern America. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002. Pp.262-281.


Ownby, David, Falungong and China's Future. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.


Ownby, David, "A History of Falun Gong: Popular Religion and the Chinese State since the Ming Dynasty." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 223-243.


Ownby, David, "The Falun Gong in the New World." European Journal of East Asian Studies 2(2003)2: 303-320.

Abstract: Despite the polarised debate which has raged in the media over whether the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong should be seen as an 'evil cult' or as an innocent 'cultivation system', there is little doubt that most objective Western scholars would categorise Falun Gong as a new religious movement (many of which have also been accused rightly or wrongly of being 'cults' or 'sects'). Indeed, the controversy surrounding Falun Gong has attracted considerable media and scholarly attention, so that the Falun Gong is now undoubtedly the best known of Chinese new religious movements and, as I argue elsewhere, a key to the reevaluation of a centuries-old tradition of popular religious practice in China which has long been condemned and suppressed by Chinese authorities. The present article, based on fieldwork in North America, on research in Falun Gong written sources and on my previous work in the history of Chinese popular religion traces a portrait of Falun Gong practices both in China and in North America. [Source: article.]


Ownby, David. "The Falun Gong: A New Religious Movement in Post-Mao China." In: James R. Lewis & Jesper Aagaard Petersen [eds.], Controversial New Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Pp. 195-214.


Ownby, David. "Qigong, Falun Gong, and the Body Politic in Contemporary China." In China's Transformations: the Stories Beyond the Headlines, edited by Lionel M. Jensen & Timothy B. Weston. Lanham, Md.; Toronto: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Pp. 90-111.


Ownby, David. Falun Gong and the Future of China. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Abstract: On April 25, 1999, ten thousand Falun Gong practitioners gathered outside Zhongnanhai, the guarded compound where China's highest leaders live and work, in a day-long peaceful protest of police brutality against fellow practitioners in the neighboring city of Tianjin. Stunned and surprised, China's leaders launched a campaign of brutal suppression against the group which continues to this day. This book, written by a leading scholar of the history of this Chinese popular religion, is the first to offer a full explanation of what Falun Gong is and where it came from, placing the group in the broader context of the modern history of Chinese religion as well as the particular context of post-Mao China.

Falun Gong began as a form of qigong , a general name describing physical and mental disciplines based loosely on traditional Chinese medical and spiritual practices. Qigong was "invented" in the 1950s by members of the Chinese medical establishment who were worried that China's traditional healing arts would be lost as China modeled its new socialist health care system on Western biomedicine. In the late 1970s, Chinese scientists "discovered" that qi possessed genuine scientific qualities, which allowed qigong to become part of China's drive for modernization. With the support of China's leadership, qigong became hugely popular in the 1980s and 1990s, as charismatic qigong > masters attracted millions of enthusiastic practitioners in what was known as the qigong boom, the first genuine mass movement in the history of the People's Republic.

Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi started his own school of qigong in 1992, claiming that the larger movement had become corrupted by money and magic tricks. Li was welcomed into the qigong world and quickly built a nationwide following of several million practitioners, but ran afoul of China's authorities and relocated to the United States in 1995. In his absence, followers in China began to organize peaceful protests of perceived media slights of Falun Gong, which increased from the mid-'90s onward as China's leaders began to realize that they had created, in the qigong boom, a mass movement with religious and nationalistic undertones, a potential threat to their legitimacy and control.

Based on fieldwork among Chinese Falun Gong practitioners in North America and on close examinations of Li Hongzhi's writings, this volume offers an inside look at the movement's history in Chinese popular religion. [Source: publisher's website]

Ownby, David. "In Search of Charisma: The Falun Gong Diaspora." Nova Religio 12.2 (2008): 106-120.


Ownby, David. "Sect and Secularism in Reading the Modern Chinese Religious Experience." Archives de sciences sociales des religions 144 (2008): 13-29.

Abstract: This article analyses Western historiography of so-called Chinese “sectarian” movements and shows how scholars have adopted the late imperial state’s invention of a coherent sectarian tradition, described as the enemy of state and society. Such an invention has prevented historians from seeing the continuities between popular religious movements of the late imperial period and new religions of the twentieth century, such as the redemptive societies since the 1910s or the Qigong movements of the 1980s and 90s. Against this background, the article argues that we should rethink the categories used in studying Chinese religions, beginning with “sectarian”, and clarify the connections between the social-scientific study of religion and its political treatment that such categories facilitate.


Ownby, David. “Redemptive Societies in the Twentieth Century.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 685-727. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Ownby, David. “New Perspectives on the ‘Dao’ of ‘Huidaomen’: Redemptive Societies and Religion in Modern and Contemporary China.” Frontiers of History in China 11, no. 4 (2016): 563-578.

Abstract: This essay uses research in Chinese religion, and specifically Chinese “redemptive societies,” to challenge and enrich the received history of “sects and secret societies” in modern and contemporary Chinese history, and suggests that a future “history of cultivation movements” might be a helpful means to steer between competing narratives of state-building and personal religious experience. The discussion is illustrated with a brief biography of Li Yujie (1901–94), founder of the redemptive society Tiandijiao who devoted his life to cultivation and religion, but also to independent journalism and the Guomindang. (Source: journal)


Ownby, David. "Li Yujie and the Rebranding of the White Lotus Movement." Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review E-Journal 24 (2017): 13-35.

Abstract: Li Yujie (1900–1994) was a walking contradiction: a student leader of the Shanghai May Fourth movement and a Guomindang member and technocrat in the Nanjing government, but also a cadre in Xiao Changming’s redemptive society—the Heavenly Virtues Teachings—and eventually the founder of two redemptive societies in his own right (the Heaven and Man Teachings and the Heavenly Emperor Teachings). Through a biographical study of Li Yujie, this article examines the complex appeal of redemptive societies to parts of the educated elite during China’s Republican period. The author focuses particularly on the period between 1937 and 1945, when Li retired to the sacred mountain of Huashan. There, with the help of Huang Zhenxia, a self-taught intellectual also employed by the Guomindang, Li sought to modernize the “White Lotus” teachings that he had received from his master by incorporating scientific insights received via spirit writing. Li believed that he was creating a new religion more adapted to the twentieth century. Both the texts produced on Huashan and the military and political elite that were attracted to these texts allow us to raise new questions about secularism and religion, traditional beliefs and science in the context of Republican-period China, thereby suggesting that the conflict between the modernizing state and traditional religious culture was not always as stark as we have believed it to be. (Source: journal)


Ownby, David. "The 'Redemption' of Redemptive Societies." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 209-228.

Abstract: "Redemptive societies" is a term often used to refer to the organized expression of salvationist religious activity in Republican period China. These groups were a major part of Chinese social and cultural life in the decades preceding the Communist revolution, and are related, in ways that remain unclear, to the "White Lotus" sectarian traditions under the dynasties, and to the qigong boom of the 1980s and 1990s. This article assesses the state of the field of studies on redemptive societies, and offers suggestions for its future development. (Source: journal)


Ownby, David. “Text and Context: A Tale of Two Masters.” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 173–216. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Palmer, David, "The Doctrine of Li Hongzhi." China Perspectives, no.35(2001): 14-23.


Palmer, David A. , "Le qigong au carrefour des 'discours anti'. De l'anticléricalisme communiste au fondamentalisme du Falungong." Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 24(2002): 153-166.


Palmer, David A., "Le qigong et la tradition sectaire chinoise." Social Compass 50(2003)4: 471-480.


Palmer, David A., "Modernity and Millenialism in China: Qigong and the Birth of Falun Gong." Asian Anthropology 2(2003): 79-109.


Palmer, David A. La fièvre du Qigong: guérison, religion et politique en Chine, 1949-1999. Paris: Éditions de l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 2005.

Abstract: Dérivé des pratiques chinoises traditionnelles d'entraînement corporel et mental, le qigong ou " travail du souffle " a suscité un engouement de masse en Chine au cours des décennies 1980 et 1990, au point d'entraîner ses adeptes dans un conflit religieux et politique jusqu'à la répression en 1999 du Falungong, secte issue du mouvement.
Qu'y avait-il derrière cette gymnastique du souffle pour qu'elle aspire dans sa gestuelle des dizaines de millions de Chinois ? Comment une pratique d'abord reconnue et encouragée par les chefs du Parti communiste chinois comme méthode de guérison et comme nouvelle révolution scientifique a-t-elle pu devenir le foyer d'une explosion religieuse de masse, puis déclencher une confrontation politique?
Le qigong moderne, fruit d'une volonté politique de séculariser les formes traditionnelles de guérison, est créé par l'État chinois dans les premiers temps de la République populaire. Mais dans les années 1980, le qigong devient le véhicule d'un mouvement de religiosité populaire légitimé par une idéologie qui se réfère aussi bien à la tradition antique qu'à la Science. Dans les années 1990, plusieurs stratégies s'affrontent, visant au contrôle des milliers de maîtres et des millions d'adeptes ainsi qu'à la gestion du potentiel symbolique, économique et politique du mouvement. C'est une radicalisation idéologique, religieuse et politique qui l'emporte, avec le militantisme du Falungong et sa répression par l'État.
[...] Il y a quelques années, Falungong ébranlait la cité interdite. Bien des observateurs de l'après-Mao ne s'attendaient pas non plus à voir surgir, non point dans de lointaines campagnes, mais au coeur urbain du "miracle" économique, dans un monde réputé matérialiste, individualiste et banalement sécularisé, un pan oublié de la vieille Chine, une révolte sectaire allumée à la face du pouvoir! On voulut trop vite classer l'affaire en concluant au retour d'une tradition engouffrée dans le vide spirituel laissé par l'abandon du communisme et en jugeant qu'entre la secte et le néo-empire, l'altérité était complète et l'affrontement inévitable. Heureusement, quelques années plus tôt, à Chengdu, au coeur du Sichuan, David Palmer avait entrepris une enquête minutieuse qui prouve le contraire et nous oblige, maintenant que la fièvre est retombée sous les coups de la répression, à ne pas oublier Falungong, à le comprendre comme un phénomène de recomposition religieuse propre au monde d'aujourd'hui tout en repensant la société des réformes post-maoïstes et l'histoire du régime communiste qui en ont permis le développement. [Source: publisher's website.]


Palmer, David A., "Body Cultivation in Contemporary China." In: James Miller [ed.], Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp.147-173.


Palmer, David A. Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Abstract: Qigong&emdash;a regimen of body, breath, and mental training exercisesmdash;was one of the most widespread cultural and religious movements of late-twentieth-century urban China. The practice was promoted by senior Communist Party leaders as a uniquely Chinese healing tradition and as a harbinger of a new scientific revolution, yet the movement's mass popularity and the almost religious devotion of its followers led to its ruthless suppression.

In this absorbing and revealing book, David A. Palmer relies on a combination of historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to describe the spread of the qigong craze and its reflection of key trends that have shaped China since 1949, including the search for a national identity and an emphasis on the absolute authority of science. Qigong offered the promise of an all-powerful technology of the body rooted in the mysteries of Chinese culture. However, after 1995 the scientific underpinnings of qigong came under attack, its leaders were denounced as charlatans, and its networks of followers, notably Falungong, were suppressed as "evil cults."

According to Palmer, the success of the movement proves that a hugely important religious dimension not only survived under the CCP but was actively fostered, if not created, by high-ranking party members. Tracing the complex relationships among the masters, officials, scientists, practitioners, and ideologues involved in qigong, Palmer opens a fascinating window on the transformation of Chinese tradition as it evolved along with the Chinese state. As he brilliantly demonstrates, the rise and collapse of the qigong movement is key to understanding the politics and culture of post-Mao society. [Source: publisher's website.]


Palmer, David A. "Embodying Utopia: Charisma in the post-Mao Qigong Craze." Nova Religio 12.2 (2008): 69-89.


Palmer, David A. “Heretical Doctrines, Reactionary Secret Societies, Evil Cults: Labeling Heterodoxy in Twentieth-Century China.” In: Mayfair Mei-hui Yang [ed.], Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Pp. 113-134.


Palmer, David A. "Les mutations du discours sur les sectes en Chine moderne: orthodoxie impériale, idéologie révolutionnaire, catégories sociologiques." Archives de sciences sociales des religions 144 (2008): 31-50.

Abstract: What is the evolution of official discourse on stigmatized religious groups in China, from the late 19th century until today? In imperial China, the state always defined itself as the upholder of orthodoxy against popular rebellions inspired by the « heretical doctrines », xiejiao. In the Peoples’ Republic of China, from the 1950’s to 80’s, it was the label huidaomen, « reactionary secret societies », which was used by the Chinese Communist Party to stigmatize and repress hundreds of popular groups. But since the late 1990’s, the term xiejiao reappeared in official discourse, translating the rhetoric of Western anti-cult associations in order to justify the suppression of Falungong and other groups.


Palmer, David A. “Chinese Redemptive Societies and Salvationist Religion: Historical Phenomenon or Sociological Category?” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore / Minsu quyi 172 (2011): 21-72.


Palmer, David A. “Chinese Religious Innovation in the Qigong Movement: The Case of Zhonggong.” In: Adam Yuet Chau [ed.], Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation. London: Routledge, 2011. Pp. 182-202.


Palmer, David A.; Paul R. Katz, Wang Chien-chuan. “Introduction: Redemptive Societies as Confucian NRMSs?” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore / Minsu quyi 172 (2011): 1-12.


Pan, Chiou-Lang. “Attaining the Dao: An Analysis of the Conversion Experiences of Adherents of Yiguan Dao.” Ph.D. dissertation, Trinity International University, 2009.

Abstract: Yi-guan Dao is one of the most popular examples of self-consciously syncretistic movements involving three Chinese religions: Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It has become one of the largest religious movements among the Chinese in just a few decades. Although the study of Yi-guan Dao is growing, the socio-cultural significance of the popularity of Yi-guan Dao and its challenge to Christianity are still largely unexplored. Therefore, this research is an attempt to study the experiential dimension of Yi-guan Dao in order to discover why Yi-guan Dao is attractive to Chinese people. The findings of this research give readers a glimpse of the deeper socio-cultural structure of Chinese religiosity and provide some insights for the Chinese churches to reflect on with respect to their theories and practices of contextualization and evangelism. The central concern of this research is: How do adherents of Yi-guan Dao understand their conversion experiences and the significance of Yi-guan Dao teaching and practice for their lives? Combining study of available published literature and my own ethnographic fieldwork of a temple in New York City, I employ an interdisciplinary approach to Yi-guan Dao by examining its doctrines, rituals, and symbolism as well as the experiential discourses of the respondents. The theoretical framework of this research is drawn from Dawson's detailed case study approach, focusing on a group of believers within a temple as the immediate context, and Harding's insight on the recruiting rhetoric which views conversion as acquiring a religious language. By examining when and how a listener of religious language becomes a speaker through analyzing the conversion narratives of these respondents, I develop a model of conversion to Yi-guan Dao as a process of "self-persuasion spiral." That is, these respondents chose to believe Yi-guan Dao for reasons of psychological or spiritual satisfaction more than for reasons of rationality. In addition, this research also found that Yi-guan Dao seems to be able to grow, especially among the Chinese diaspora, according to Stark's ten propositions. Finally, some missiological implications and theological reflections on the construction of a Chinese theology are provided. Several suggestions for further research are also provided.

Penny, Benjamin. "The Past, Present and Future of Falun Gong." Lecture at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 2001, http://www.nla.gov.au/grants/haroldwhite/papers/bpenny.html


Penny, Benjamin, "Falun Gong, Prophesy [sic] and Apocalypse." East Asian History 23(2002): 149-168.


Penny, Benjamin, "The Life and Times of Li Hongzhi: Falun Gong and Religious Biography." The China Quarterly 175 (2003): 643-661.

Abstract: When the suppression of the falun gong started in July 1999, one of the targets of the government's propaganda was the biography of Li Hongzhi, its founder and leader. This article examines two versions of a biography of Li Hongzhi published by the falun gong in 1993 and 1994 that are no longer available. This biography presents Li as possessing superhuman abilities and god-like insight. In my analysis, I place this biography in the context of a centuries-old tradition of religious biography in China showing that, in textual terms, it represents a contemporary example of that venerable genre. As with its precursors, this biography seeks to establish a genealogy of the figure whose life is recorded and to buttress the orthodoxy of his doctrine. [Source: Cambridge University Press website.]


Penny, Benjamin. "The Falun Gong, Buddhism and 'Buddhist Qigong'." Asian Studies Review 29 (2005) 1: 35-46.


Penny, Benjamin. “Animal Spirits, Karmic Retribution, Falungong and the State.” In: Mayfair Mei-hui Yang [ed.], Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Pp. 135-154.


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)


Porter, Noah, Falun Gong in the United States: An Ethnographic Study. Parkland, FL: dissertation.com, 2003. Note: Originally an M.A. thesis at the University of South Florida. Can be purchased at http://www.dissertation.com.

Abstract: Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has been described in many ways. It has been called qigong, one of many schools of physical exercises that aim at improving health and developing supernatural abilities. Scholars and mainstream media have referred it to as a spiritual movement or religion, although practitioners claim it is not a religion. It has been called a cult, in the pejorative sense rather than in a sociological context, by the Chinese government and by some Western critics. In the writings of Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, it is referred to in different ways, though primarily as a cultivation practice.

The question of how to define Falun Gong is not just an academic issue; the use of the cult label has been used to justify the persecution of practitioners in China. To a limited degree, the Chinese Government is able to extend the persecution overseas. How society defines Falun Gong has implications for action on the level of policy, as well as the shaping of social, cultural, and personal attitudes.

This research project addresses what Falun Gong is through ethnography. Research methods included participant-observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews (both in-person and on-line), and content analysis of text and visual data from Falun Gong books, pamphlets, and websites. Research sites included Tampa, Washington D.C., and cyberspace. In order to keep my research relevant to the issues and concerns of the Falun Gong community, I was in regular contact with the Tampa practitioners, keeping them abreast of my progress and asking for their input.

My findings are contrary to the allegations made by the Chinese Government and Western anti-cultists in many ways. Practitioners are not encouraged to rely on Western medicine, but are not prohibited from using it. Child practitioners are not put at risk. Their organizational structure is very loose. Finally, the Internet has played a vital role in Falun Gong's growth and continuation after the crackdown. [Source: dissertation.com]


Powers, John & Meg Y.M. Lee, "Dueling Media: Symbolic Conflict in China's Falun Gong Suppression Campaign." In: Guo-Ming Chen & Ringo Ma [eds.], Chinese Conflict Management and Resolution. Westport, Conn.; London: Ablex, 2002. Pp. 259-274.


Pramod, C.R., "Falun Gong: Understanding the 'Threat' Perception of 'Gods' and 'Demons' in the People's Republic of China." China Report (New Delhi) 36(2001)1: 101-107.


Prather, Charles Houston. "God's Salvation Church: Past, Present and Future." Marburg Journal of Religion 4.1 (1999), http://web.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/prather.html


Prazniak, Roxann, Dialogues across Civilizations: Sketches in World History from the Chinese and European Experiences. Boulder: Westview Press, 1996. Chapter 4: "Popular Protest and Rural Activism: The Utopian Visions of Thomas Müntzer and Hong Xiuquan." Pp.76-95.


Prazniak, Roxann, Of Camel Kings and Other Things: Rural Rebels Against Modernity in Late Imperial China. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.


Price, Don C., "Popular and Elite Heterodoxy toward the End of the Qing." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.431-461.


Rahn, Patsy, "The Falun Gong: Beyond the Headlines." Paper for presentation at the American Family Foundation's Annual Conference, April 28, 2000. http://www.let.leidenuniv.nl/bth/FalunRAHN.htm


Rahn, Patsy, "The Chemistry of a Conflict: The Chinese Government and the Falun Gong." Terrorism and Political Violence 14(2002)4: 41-65.


Rahn, Patsy, "The Chemistry of a Conflict: the Chinese Government and the Falun Gong." Cultic Studies Review (Online) 2(2003)2. http://www.culticstudiesreview.org/


Reilly, Thomas H., "The 'Shang-ti Hui' and the Transformation of Chinese Popular Society: The Impact of Taiping Christian Sectarianism." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1997.

Abstract: Nineteenth-century China was an ideological volcano, with rebellions erupting throughout the century. But only one, the Taiping Rebellion, transformed the social landscape.

There is, nevertheless, something puzzling about the Taiping impact. As broad and as devastating as the impact was, the Taiping movement, apart from the Ch'ing efforts to suppress it, seems to have resulted in no long-term transformation of Chinese society. Most scholars have sought to explain this conundrum by arguing that it was the alien quality of the Taiping faith which explains why the Taiping were prevented from sparking any long-term transformation of Chinese society. This has solved one riddle, but created another: How then, if their ideology was so alien, were the Taiping able to recruit the legions of people to their cause and to mount their large-scale rebellion in the first place?.

I argue in my dissertation that the Taiping's Christian sectarianism, while unique in Chinese history, was more connected to culture and society than scholars have recognized. Indeed, the reason for the singularly unique impact of the Taiping movement relates both to the original character of Taiping ideology and to its creative connectedness to Chinese society. My argument is composed of three parts: in the first part of my study, I examine the translation of Catholic Christianity into the Heavenly Lord sect; in the second part, I look at the content and practice of Taiping Christian sectarianism; and in the third part, I survey the contact which the Taiping initiated with the sects and secret societies.

How the Taiping rebels interpreted the divine pretensions of the emperor and what they understood as the blasphemous character of the imperial office were both directly tied to their faith in Shang-ti. This faith ultimately led them on their iconoclastic campaigns whose impact on Chinese society contributed to the transformation of popular society, winning for the rebels a legacy in Chinese history. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Reilly, Thomas H. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom: Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004.

Abstract: Occupying much of imperial China's Yangzi River heartland and costing more than twenty million lives, the Taiping Rebellion (1851-64) was no ordinary peasant revolt. What most distinguished this dramatic upheaval from earlier rebellions were the spiritual beliefs of the rebels. The core of the Taiping faith focused on the belief that Shangdi, the high God of classical China, had chosen the Taiping leader, Hong Xiuquan, to establish his Heavenly Kingdom on Earth.

How were the Taiping rebels, professing this new creed, able to mount their rebellion and recruit multitudes of followers in their sweep through the empire? Thomas Reilly argues that the Taiping faith, although kindled by Protestant sources, developed into a dynamic new Chinese religion whose conception of its sovereign deity challenged the legitimacy of the Chinese empire. The Taiping rebels denounced the divine pretensions of the imperial title and the sacred character of the imperial office as blasphemous usurpations of Shangdi's title and position. In place of the imperial institution, the rebels called for restoration of the classical system of kingship. Previous rebellions had declared their contemporary dynasties corrupt and therefore in need of revival; the Taiping, by contrast, branded the entire imperial order blasphemous and in need of replacement.

In this study, Reilly emphasizes the Christian elements of the Taiping faith, showing how Protestant missionaries built on earlier Catholic efforts to translate Christianity into a Chinese idiom. Prior studies of the rebellion have failed to appreciate how Hong Xiuquan's interpretation of Christianity connected the Taiping faith to an imperial Chinese cultural and religious context. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom shows how the Bible - in particular, a Chinese translation of the Old Testament - profoundly influenced Hong and his followers, leading them to understand the first three of the Ten Commandments as an indictment of the imperial order. The rebels thus sought to destroy imperial culture along with its institutions and Confucian underpinnings, all of which they regarded as blasphemous. Strongly iconoclastic, the Taiping followers smashed religious statues and imperially approved icons throughout the lands they conquered. By such actions the Taiping Rebellion transformed - at least for its followers but to some extent for all Chinese - how Chinese people thought about religion, the imperial title and office, and the entire traditional imperial and Confucian order. [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.


Rhee, Hen Dong. “The Taiping and the Tonghak Rebellions as Millenarian Movements in Global Context: Historical and Philosophical Reflections.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2005.

Abstract: Millenarian movements have been mainly studied from a monotheistic perspective. Traditional explanations for millenarian movements may not be applicable to Asian cases, since Asian millenarian views of salvation differ from non-Asian ones. This study re-examines the Taiping and the Tonghak movements in nineteenth century Asia using a much wider range of sources than have been used by scholars in the past. It seeks to understand the movements as an expression, in part, of deeply-rooted Asian spiritual ideas. It also offers historical and philosophical reflections on what studies of Asian millenarianism can contribute to the comparative study of millenarianism. Author defines history as self struggle. In Asian thought, there are two types of self: material and selfless. Material self means that one's material body is real. Selfless means that one's material body is not real. Material self struggle often manifests itself in violent millenarian movements, while selfless struggle ideally produces peaceful inner mind activities. In Western societies, the self struggles of millenarian movements were typically based on the idea of "spirit within material body." In contrast, many Asian millenarian movements, inspired by the notion of "selfless" struggle, sought to avoid overt violence, although such movements frequently attracted elements associated with material self-struggle. Beliefs about salvation may be grounded in the wisdom of God, in intuition, or in reason. Scholars of millenarianism need to liberate themselves from explanatory models based on only one of these approaches. One needs instead to employ a comprehensive research strategy that draws on evidence from religion, culture, and the sciences. In reexamining the conceptual foundations of Asian millenarianism, the author explores ideas about "the end of the world" that are shared by major religions and natural scientists. He shows how Asian millenarian thought is related to I-jing and chi energy theory, linked to intuitive wisdom. The concluding section offers a philosophical view on higher civilization, government, democracy, and great freedom leading to Great Peace.


Richardson, James T.; Edelman, Bryan. "Cult Controversies and Legal Developments Concerning New Religions in Japan and China." In: James T. Richardson [ed.], Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe. New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum, 2004. Pp. 359-380.


Rosedale, Herbert L., "Ideology, Demonization, and Scholarship: the Need for Objectivity--a Response to Robbins' Comments on Rosedale, the Chinese Government, and Falun Gong." Cultic Studies Review (Online) 2(2003)2. http://www.culticstudiesreview.org/


Schechter, Danny, Falun Gong's Challenge to China: Spiritual Practice or "Evil Cult". New York: Akashic Books, 2000.


Schumann, Matthias. "Redemptive Societies." In Handbook on Religion in China, edited by Stephan Feuchtwang, 184–212. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020.


Schumann, Matthias. “Science and Spirit-Writing: The Shanghai Lingxuehui 靈學會 and the Changing Fate of Spiritualism in Republican China.” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 126–172. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Scott, Gregory. "Heterodox Religious Groups and the State in Ming-Qing China." M.A. thesis, University of Toronto, 2005.

Abstract: The present paper looks at two texts relating to 'White Lotus' sectarian religious groups in China during the Ming and Qing dynasties and examines how they illuminate the relationship between heterodox cults and the state during this period. Huang Yupian's A Detailed Refutation of Heresy demonstrates how the government viewed the heretical teachings presented in sectarian scripture, while the Chuxi baojuan is an example of a scripture that expresses orthodox moral values while criticizing the contemporary society and government.Based on the selected translations provided of the two texts, as well as the research and scholarship of other researchers in the field, it is argued that the key factors behind the conflict between religious groups and the state are still influencing present-day Chinese society, as evidenced by the fate of the Falun Gong group in the People's Republic. [Source: thesis]


Seiwert, Hubert, "Falun Gong - Eine neue religiöse Bewegung als innenpolitischer Hauptfeind der chinesischen Regierung." Religion - Staat - Gesellschaft 1(2000) 1: 119-145.


Seiwert, Hubert, "Häresie im neuzeitlichen China: die Erlösungslehre der Drachenblumenschrift (Longhua jing)." In: Manfred Hutter, Wassilios Klein & Ulrich Vollmer [eds.], Hairesis: Festschrift für Karl Hoheisel zum 65. Geburtstag. Münster : Aschendorff, 2002. Pp. 341-353.


Seiwert, Hubert (in collaboration with Ma Xisha), Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2003.


Seiwert, Hubert. "Religiöse Bewegungen im frühmodernen China. Eine prozesstheoretische Skizze." In: Manfred Hutter [ed.], Religionswissenschaft im Kontext der Asienwissenschaften. 99 Jahre religionswissenschaftliche Lehre und Forschung in Bonn. Berlin: LIT-Verlag, 2009. Pp. 179-196.


Seiwert, Hubert. "The Transformation of Popular Religious Movements of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: A Rational Choice Interpretation." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour of Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 39-62.


Shek, Richard, "Challenge to Orthodoxy: Beliefs and Values of the Eternal Mother Sects in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century China." Journal of Early Modern History 3(1999)4: 355-393.


Shek, Richard, "Ethics and Polity: the Heterodoxy of Buddhism, Maitreyanism, and the Early White Lotus." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp. 73-108.


Shek, Richard and Tetsurô Noguchi, "Eternal Mother Religion: Its History and Ethics." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.241-280.


Shen, Yeh-Ying. "The Expansion of the Andong Division of Yiguan Dao in Austria." Journal of Chinese Religions 49, no. 2 (2021): 241–264.

Abstract: This article examines the dissemination of an Yiguan Dao division, Andong, in Austria. Proselytizing activities of Andong are mainly conducted in Vienna, Linz, and Salzburg. In Vienna and Linz, Yiguan Dao has formed a diasporic religion for overseas Chinese from various national backgrounds. It caters to the Austrian Chinese community and engages in creating a shared diasporic identity. This paper also explores Andong’s most characteristic trait that distinguishes it from other divisions, namely, meditation. This practice seems to have attracted a number of Austrians to follow Yiguan Dao in both Vienna and Salzburg. Being a Chinese diasporic religion and attempting to spread cross-ethnically in Austria at the same time, Yiguan Dao is assuming new significance.



Shiga Ichiko, "The Manifestations of Lüzu in Modern Guangdong and Hong Kong: The Rise and Growth of Spirit-Writing Cults." In: Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth [eds.], Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002. Pp.185-209.


Shue, Vivienne, "Global Imaginings, the State's Quest for Hegemony, and the Pursuit of Phantom Freedom in China: from Heshang to Falun Gong." In: Catarina Kinnvall & Kristina Jonsson [eds.], Globalization and Democratization in Asia: the Construction of Identity. London; New York: Routledge, 2002. Pp.210-229


Shue, Vivienne. "Legitimacy Crisis in China?" In: Peter Hays Gries & Stanley Rosen [eds.]. State and Society in 21st-Century China: Crisis, Contention, and Legitimation. New York, Abingdon: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004. Pp. 24-49.


Skoggard, Ian A., "Inscribing Capitalism. Belief and Ritual in a New Taiwanese Religion." In Gösta Arvastson & Mats Lindqvist [eds.], The Story of Progress. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 1996. (Studia Ethnologica Upsaliensia 17) Pp.13-26.


Skoggard, Ian A., The Indigenous Dynamic in Taiwan's Postwar Development: The Religious and Historical Roots of Entrepreneurship. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1996.


Smith, Steve A. “Local Cadres Confront the Supernatural: The Politics of Holy Water (Shenshui) in the PRC, 1949–1966.” The China Quarterly 188 (2006): 999-1022.

Abstract: This article examines incidents in which the miracle-working properties of a source of water or other substance are discovered, thereby sparking unauthorized visits by hundreds or thousands of people to gain access to it. The article examines: the meanings of holy water and the motivations of those who set off in search for it; the sociological dimension of these quests; the extent to which such episodes were a deliberate attempt by enemies of the regime, principally redemptive religious sects (huidaomen), to sow disorder; the reaction of the authorities to outbreaks of holy water fever and the measures they took to deal with it; and what such outbreaks reveal about the nature of the local state and about popular attitudes to it in the first decade-and-a-half of the People's Republic of China.


Smith, S.A. "Redemptive Religious Societies and the Communist State, 1949 to the 1980s." In Maoism at the Grassroots : Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism, edited by Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. Johnson, 340–364. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015.


Song Guangyu. “The Heavenly Way Transmits the Light : The Yiguandao and Contemporary Society.” Chinese Studies in History 44.1-2 (2010/11): 76-90.

Abstract: Song Guangyu was among the first Chinese scholars to study Chinese redemptive societies from a cultural and religious perspective. As part of his research, he joined the Yiguandao and carried out fieldwork, providing insights into beliefs and rituals largely inaccessible to nonmembers. He ultimately came to defend the Yiguandao and other redemptive societies as having defended traditional Chinese culture against the aggressive campaigns of westernization which have marked much of Chinese politics during the twentieth century. In the excerpts from his book The Heavenly Way Transmits the Light, Song reflects on the origin of his scholarly quest and provides an overview of his neotraditional reinterpretation of modern Chinese culture. (Source: journal)


Song Guangyu. “Religious Propagation, Commercial Activities, and Cultural Identity: The Spread and Development of the Yiguandao in Singapore.” Chinese Studies in History 44.1-2 (2010/11): 91-120.

Abstract: This article uses the example of the growth of the Yiguandao in Singapore to explore the mutual relationships between religion, commercial activity, and the cultural identity of local Chinese society. There has been much dispute over the nature of the Yiguandao, and both the Nationalist and Communist governments have outlawed its activities. Consequently, the Yiguandao sought out opportunities for development in the Chinese diaspora. After thirty years of efforts they have made impressive gains. The Yiguandao is established in thirty-eight countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. All branches of the Yiguandao are active in Singapore, the Baoguang-Jiande branch being the most successful. This branch set up a factory in Singapore some twenty years ago [in the mid-1970s], as part of a long-term development plan. After encountering all sorts of difficulties, an unexpected rise in the price of the commodity the fac- tory produced reversed their declining fortunes and also launched the religion on a rapid upward course. At the same time, the Singapore government was promot- ing traditional Chinese culture in an effort to strengthen the spiritual life of the Singapore people. The activities of the Yiguandao fit in perfectly with the govern- ment campaign. Consequently, religious development, commercial activities, and cultural identity all came together, providing a case study of the development of Chinese popular religion. (Source: journal)

Soo Khin Wah, "A Study of the Yiguan Dao (Unity Sect) and Its Development in Peninsular Malaysia." Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 1997.


Soo Khin Wah. "The Recent Development of the Yiguan Dao Fayi Chongde Sub-Branch in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 109-125.


Spence, Jonathan, God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.


Sun, Jiang; Wu, Guo, tr. “The Predicament of a Redemptive Religion: the Red Swastika Society under the Rule of Manchukuo.” Journal of Modern Chinese History 7.1 (2013): 108-126.


Swinnen, Jo, "Yiguan Dao: Aspecten van een moderne Chinese religie." Diss. lic. soc. en cult. antropol., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 2003. (This thesis can be downloaded at http://www.student.kuleuven.ac.be/~m9510469/)


Szabo de Bucs, Daniel, "Die Lehre Li Hongzhis und deren Kritik in den Medien der VR China." Berliner China-Hefte: Beiträge zur Gesellschaft und Geschichte Chinas 19(2000): 86-96.


Takacs, Jeffrey Lee. "All Heroes Think Alike: Kinship and Ritual in Baguazhang." Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2001.


Takacs, Jeff, "A Case of Contagious Legitimacy: Kinship, Ritual and Manipulation in Chinese Martial Arts Societies." Modern Asian Studies 37(2003)4: 885-917.


Tam, Wai Lun, "The Transformative Power of Chinese Culture as Seen in Buddhism in China and True Buddha School." Ching Feng 40 (1997) 3-4: 233-254.


Tam, Wai Lun. "Integration of the Magical and Cultivational Discourses: a Study on a New Religious Movement called the True Buddha School." Monumenta Serica 49(2001): 141-169.


Tam, Wai-lun, "Enlightenment as Hope According to the True Buddha School." In: Overmyer, Daniel L. and Chi-tim Lai [eds.], Interpretations of Hope in Chinese Religions & Christianity. Hong Kong: Christian Study Centre on Chinese Religion and Culture, 2002. Pp. 155-179.


Tertitski, Konstantin. "Zailijiao in Russia: A Chinese Syncretic Religion in Diaspora." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 414-443.


Thornton, Patricia M. "Manufacturing Dissent in Transnational China." In: Popular Protest in China, ed. by Kevin J. O'Brien. Cambridge, Mass.; Harvard University Press, 2008. Pp. 179-204.


Thornton, Patricia M. “The New Cybersects: Popular Religion, Repression and Resistance.” In: Elizabeth J. Perry & Mark Selden [eds.], Chinese Society: Change, Conflict and Resistance. Third edition. London; New York: Routledge, 2010. Pp. 215-238.


Tiedemann, R.G., "Christianity and Chinese 'Heterodox Sects'. Mass Conversion and Syncretism in Shandong Province in the Early Eighteenth Century." Monumenta Serica 44(1996):339-382.


Ting Jen-chieh. “The Construction of Fundamentalism in I-Kuan Tao.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 135-166. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.


Tong, James, "An Organizational Analysis of the Falun Gong: Structure, Communications, Financing." The China Quarterly 171(2002): 636-660.


Tong, James. "Anatomy of Regime Repression in China: Timing, Enforcement Institutions, and Target Selection in Banning the Falungong, July 1999." Asian Survey 42(2002)6: 795-820.


Tong, James W. "Publish to Perish: Regime Choices and Propaganda Impact in the Anti-Falungong Publications Campaign, July 1999-April 2000." Journal of Contemporary China 14, no.44 (2005): 507-523.


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

Tsai, Yen-zen. “Canon Made and Canon Revealed: An Interpretation of Luo Qing’s Wubu liuce.” Huaren zongjiao yanjiu/Studies in Chinese Religions 5 (2015): 1-36.


Vanni, Elena, "Il Falun Gong: aspetti sociali, politici e religiosi del nuovo movimento spirituale cinese." Mondo Cinese, no.105 (2000): 3-31.


Vermander, Benoît, "Religions in Taiwan Today." China News Analysis, no.1538-1539 (1995):1-15.


Vermander, Benoît, "Le Paysage religieux de Taïwan et ses évolutions récentes." L'Ethnographie 91(1995)2:9-59.


Vermander, Benoît, "Religions in Taiwan: Between Mercantilism and Millenarianism." Inter-Religio 32 (1997): 63-75. Also in Japanese Religions


Vermander, Benoît, "Religions in Taiwan: Between Mercantilism and Millenarianism." Japanese Religions 23 (1998)1/2: 111-123.


Vermander, Benoît, "Law and the Wheel: The Sudden Emergence of the Falungong Prophets of Spiritual Civilisation." China Perspectives no.24(1999): 14-21.


Vermander, Benoît, "Looking at China Through the Mirror of Falun Gong." China Perspectives, no.35(2001): 4-13.


Vermander, Benoît. "The Law and the Wheel: The Narrative of Falungong." In: Elise Anne DeVido and Benoît Vermander [eds.], Creeds, Rites and Videotapes: Narrating Religious Experience in East Asia. Taipei: Taipei Ricci Institute, 2004. Pp.151-183.


Vladimirov, Dimitriy & Eugeniy Pozdnyakov, "Chinese Non-Traditional Sectarianism in the Second Half of the 1990s in the Far East of the Russian Federation." China Study Journal 17(2002)1: 11-14.


Wang Chien-chuan. “Morality Book Publishing and Popular Religion in Modern China: A Discussion Centered on Morality Book Publishers in Shanghai.” Translated by Gregory Adam Scott. In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 233-264. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Wang Chien-ch’uan. “Spirit-Writing Groups in Modern China (1840-1937): Textual Production, Public Teachings, and Charity.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 651-684. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)

Wang Chien-chuan (trsl. by David Ownby). “The Composition and Distribution of the Scriptures of the Tongshanshe 同善社, with a Focus on the Ten Thousand Buddha Scripture (1917–1949).” In Text and Context in the Modern History of Chinese Religions: Redemptive Societies and Their Sacred Texts, edited by Philip Clart, David Ownby, and Wang Chien-chuan, 55–81. Leiden: Brill, 2020.


Wang, Jianchuan. “An Exploration of the Early History of the Tongshanshe (1912-1945).” Chinese Studies in History 44.1-2 (2010/11): 121-131.

Abstract: In this article, Wang Jianchuan examines the early history of the Tongshanshe, one of the major redemptive societies of the Republican period, using newly discovered archival documents and other historical data. (Source: journal)


Wang, Wensheng. “White Lotus Rebels and South China Pirates: Social Crises and Political Changes in the Qing Empire, 1796—1810.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Irvine, 2008.

Abstract: This dissertation is a multi-case, multi-region study of two concomitant crises--the White Lotus rebellion in central China (1796-1805) and outbursts of piracy across the South China Sea (1790s-1810)--during the Jiaqing reign (1796-1820) of the Qing dynasty. Conventional scholarship tends to examine both upheavals from a bottom-up perspective of societal change and to look at them in isolation from each other as clear evidence of state decay. On a broader level, the Jiaqing reign--bounded by the splendid eighteenth century and the tragic post-Opium War era (1839-1911)--has often been depicted as a dead middle era with no meaningful changes, or as the crisis-ridden beginning of dynastic decline. To challenge such an overly simple interpretation, this project takes an in-depth look at the process of crisis management, examining how the emperors, bureaucrats, literati, and local people understood and responded to this extraordinary combination of disturbances (and to each other). This dissertation argues that the two catastrophic events propelled the Qing regime to reorganize itself and thus produced a path-shaping conjuncture in the interlocking structural transformation of state, society, and culture. The resulting changes included a reform of the central bureaucratic establishment, local mobilization under gentry leadership, and a more flexible approach to popular religion, the maritime world, and foreign diplomacy. These adjustments did not represent the acceptance of inevitable dynastic decline as older treatments of the Jiaqing reign suggest, but a pragmatic retreat that sought to pull Qing state making away from a vicious cycle of aggressive overextension that bred resistance back onto a sustainable track of political development. Once we take the creative reform initiatives of this period seriously, we see many of them laid the foundation for long-term successful strategies of late Qing empire building. This dissertation also appropriates recent theoretical insights developed in political science and sociology and, moreover, combines them in a systematic manner. It seeks to advance a broader, more comprehensive approach around the concept of what I term "encompassing contentious crisis" for studying clustering, many-sided upheavals and their role in historical development.


Wang Yuanyuan & Lin Wushu. “Discovery of an Incantation of St. George in Ritual Manuscripts of a Chinese Folk Society.” Monumenta Serica 66, no.1 (2018): 115-130.

Abstract: In recent years, many ritual manuscripts have been discovered in Xiapu 霞浦 County of Fujian Province. They are probably the religious documents of Lingyuanjiao 靈源教, a polytheistic folk religion that prevailed in the Ming and Qing dynasties, which absorbed various elements of Buddhism, Daoism, Brahmanism, Manichaeism (Mingjiao 明教), Christianity, Zoroastrianism and other local beliefs. The paper discusses specifically an incantation Jisi zhou 吉思呪 in the Xiapu manuscripts. Yishuhe 夷數和 mentioned in the incantation refers to Jesus Christ, while Yihuo Jisi dasheng 移活吉思大聖 should be the early Christian martyr St. George. The incantation, identified as being associated with Nestorianism, depicts the historical background of his martyrdom. From the authors’ point of view, the incantation Jisi zhou from Xiapu is not only meaningful to the studies of Manichaeism, but also to Christian studies in traditional China. (Source: journal)


Weggel, Oskar, "Sektenunruhen in Beijing: Symptome einer heraufziehenden Bürgergesellschaft?" China aktuell, vol.28, April 1999, pp.369-377.


Weller, Robert P., "Divided Market Cultures in China: Gender, Enterprise, and Religion." In: Robert W. Hefner [ed.], Market Cultures: Society and Morality in the New Asian Capitalism. Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1998. Pp.78-103.


Wessinger, Catherine, "Falun Gong Symposium: Introduction and Glossary." Nova religio 6(2003)2: 215-222.


Weyrauch, Thomas. Yiguan Dao: Chinas Volksreligion im Untergrund. Heuchelheim: Longtai Verlag, 2006.


Wong, John, The Mystery of Falun Gong: Its Rise and Fall in China. Singapore: East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, 1999. (EAI Background Brief, no. 39)


Wu Junqing. "Words and Concepts in Chinese Religious Denunciation: A Study of the Genealogy of xiejiao." Chinese Historical Review 23, no.1 (2016): 1-22 .

Abstract: This paper is devoted to the genealogy of the term “evil teaching” (xiejiao), a Qing label for heretical lay religious groups who were stereotyped as practising black magic, spreading messianic messages and as inherently rebellious. Our modern understanding of the term xiejiao is based on its late imperial use, but in fact its meaning changed greatly over time, in ways that reflect the changing state perception of lay religion. This evolution has been overlooked by many late imperial and modern scholars. As a result they project their contemporary perception of lay religion onto the earlier periods. Here I would like to correct this anachronism, uncovering a more complex and varying history. (Source: journal)


Wu, Junqing. Mandarins and Heretics: The Construction of “Heresy” in Chinese State Discourse. Leiden: Brill, 2017.

Abstract: In Mandarins and Heretics, Wu Junqing explores the denunciation and persecution of lay religious groups in late imperial (14th to 20th century) China. These groups varied greatly in their organisation and teaching, yet in official state records they are routinely portrayed as belonging to the same esoteric tradition, stigmatised under generic labels such as “White Lotus” and “evil teaching”, and accused of black magic, sedition and messianic agitation. Wu Junqing convincingly demonstrates that this “heresy construct” was not a reflection of historical reality but a product of the Chinese historiographical tradition, with its uncritical reliance on official sources. The imperial heresy construct remains influential in modern China, where it contributes to shaping policy towards unlicensed religious groups. (Source: publisher's website)


Wu, Junqing. "The Fang La Rebellion and the Song Anti-Heresy Discourse." Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no.1 (2017): 19-37.

Abstract: Students of Chinese history are familiar with the fact that during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) lay religious groups outside of clerical control were denounced under a number of labels including “evil teaching” (xiejiao) and “White Lotus teaching” (bailianjiao). Regardless of their actual origins and teachings, these groups were assimilated to one and the same esoteric tradition and assumed, often on little evidence, to practice black magic, propagate messianic teachings, and to be a potential focus of rebellion. They were punished under certain laws created specifically for this purpose. I term this set of perceptions and practices the “heresy construct” to designate the fact that it was an expression of official mentality rather than a reflection of socio-religious realities. Less well-known is the fact that the heresy construct had already assumed its immature but still recognizable shape in the Song (960–1279). The Fang La rebellion of 1121–1122 marks one of its earliest appearances in the historical records. This article focuses on narratives of the Fang La event. The Fang La rebellion was portrayed as a prototypical “heretic rebellion” in later historiography. But this was not the case in the eyes of contemporaries. I reconstruct the transmission of narratives about the Fang La rebellion to show that its heretical status and magical overtones were a later accretion, due largely to literati embroidery. The same is true of many other reputedly “heretical” rebellions in Chinese history. The literati writing was later incorporated in the “grand narrative” of state history, steering official attitudes in the direction of greater intolerance towards heretics. (Source: journal)


Xiao, Gongqin; Yow, Cheun Hoe, tr., "The Falun Gong and Its Conflicts with the Chinese Government: A Perspective of Social Transformation." In: Wang Gungwu & Zheng Yongnian [eds.], Damage Control: The Chinese Communist Party in the Jiang Zemin Era. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 2003. Pp. 64-80.


Xiao, Hongyan. "Falun Gong and the Ideological Crisis of the Chinese Communist Party: Marxist Atheism vs. Vulgar Theism." East Asia: An International Quarterly 19(2001)1-2: 123-143.


Xie, Frank Tian & Tracey Zhu, "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Predicaments: the Truth, Deceit, and Issues Surrounding Falun Gong." Cultic Studies Review (Online) 3(2004)1. http://www.culticstudiesreview.org/


Yang, Hung-Jen. "Between Cultural Reproduction and Cultural Translation: A Case Study of Yiguandao in London and Manchester." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 157–173. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.


Yau Chi-on. “The Xiantiandao and Publishing in the Guangzhou-Hong Kong Area from the Late Qing to the 1930s: The Case of the Morality Book Publisher Wenzaizi.” Translated by Philip Clart. In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 187-231. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Yeung, Kwok-keung (1996), "Insufficiencies of Reductionist Reading of Religion. The Past Interpretations of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom." Ching Feng 39(1996)3:201-236.


Yu, Haiqing, "The New Living-room War: Media Campaigns and Falun Gong." In: Robert Cribb [ed.], Asia Examined: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2004, Canberra, Australia. http://coombs.anu.edu.au/ASAA/conference/proceedings/Yu-H-ASAA2004.pdf