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Youth And Religion In Modern China: A Sketch Of Social And Political Developments

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Chapter Summary

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Chinese youth are in the forefront of the great spiritual awakening that seems to be sweeping the vast land of China. This chapter offers a sketch of the major historical developments of youth and religion in modern China. Confucianism functioned like an established religion in the old imperial China, sanctioned by the state examination system and the patriarchal structure of society. The "new youth" of the May-Fourth Movement generations not only viewed Confucianism as the culprit of China's backwardness, not only regarded Christianity as the means of Western imperialism and colonialism, in fact they believed that all religions were obstacles to the democratic and scientific progress. The gradual spiritual awakening in the 1980s and 1990s has become a great religious awakening by the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Chinese youth; cultural revolution; May-Fourth movement; spiritual seekers; twenty-first century



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