J. (Jifeng) Liu
- PhD student
Negotiating Christian Ideology in China Today
Despite the Communist regime’s atheistic ideology and restrictive regulations, Christianity has survived Mao’s movements and gained remarkable development in the past decades. Recently, there has been a burgeoning movement in Xiamen, Fujian province, to reinvent the Christian past. The local people, within or outside churches, devote themselves to reinterpret church legacy and publicly celebrate their connections to the past. Even the local state makes use of church heritage for pragmatic purposes. Christianity has been long in the center of official narrative, i.e., “national humiliation,” which closely related to the Communist regime’s legitimacy. As the Chinese society has become more liberal and plural due to three decades reform and opening up policy, it is not easy for the state to monopolize social memory of Christianity. However, it would be overly optimistic to exaggerate Christians’ negotiating ability with the dominant power structures. Around the Christian past, there must be a negotiating mechanism spontaneously formed.
This research aims to reveal a negotiating mechanism for dealing with the tension. To address Christianity’s relevance to the ideological negotiations with the officially established authority, this research will be conducted by asking how local people reinvent the Christian past and reproduce church histories that redefine forms of local power structures in today’s Xiamen.
Prof.dr. Heleen Murre-van den Berg (History of world Christianity)
Prof.dr. Frank Pieke (Social anthropology, modern China studies)