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1 Managing Chinese Religious Pluralism in Nineteenth-Century City God Temples

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is about the Chinese socio-political system that was exposed to the modern process of globalization and how it was equipped to deal with increasingly numerous and diverging systems of value and religious practices in particular. Late imperial China was obviously home to a plurality of religious beliefs, practices, and organizations. However, there is a difference between observable difference and the explicit social and legal acceptance of such difference - pluralism. Scholars interested in the religious policies of the late imperial state have mostly taken a top-down approach, reading the empire-wide code and laws, and looked at the most violent conflicts, around Christianity as well as the so-called 'sectarian' traditions. The chapter explores religious pluralism and the grey area in nineteenth-century China by looking closely at how different social groups participated in a same cult, that of the City God, and how local officials attempted to regulate their participation.

Keywords: Chinese socio-political system; Christianity; City God temple; globalization; religious pluralism



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