The State and ‘Religious Diversity’ in Chinese Dissertations

Tao, Yu and Griffith, Edward orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8297-2900 (2018) The State and ‘Religious Diversity’ in Chinese Dissertations. Religions, 9 (12). p. 402.

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Religious diversity in China has attracted considerable scholarly attention in both Anglophone and Sino-phone academia. Based on the quantitative and qualitative evidence in a representative sample of doctoral and master’s dissertations successfully defended in reputable Chinese academic institutions, this article identifies two characteristics associated with the usage of ‘religious diversity’ in contemporary Chinese scholarship. Firstly, ‘religious diversity’ is prominently applied to depict inter-religious rather than intra-religious relations. Secondly, ‘religious diversity’ is often discussed along with ethnic diversity. These patterns confirm, and further illustrate, a notable theme in the China-focused English scholarly works on religious diversity, namely, that the Chinese state plays a predominant role in the making and shaping of the country’s religious diversity. Moreover, the meaning, implication, and usage of the very concept of ‘religious diversity’ in contemporary Chinese scholarly discourse are also likely to have been directly influenced by the policies and rhetoric of the Chinese state.

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