In the 1950s, Shanghai witnessed a conflict between the Chinese Communist Party (ccp) and the Shanghai Catholic community. The ccp wanted this community to break ties with the pope and form an “independent” Catholic Church that would fall under the authority of the Chinese government. Many Catholics in Shanghai soon resisted what they perceived to be the unjust religious policies of the ccp. One of the “backbone elements” of Catholic resistance in Shanghai was young women. This study investigates how three young Catholic women dealt with the ccp’s encroaching religious policies. All three came from similar backgrounds and they all initially formed part of the Catholic resistance to ccp religious policies during the early 1950s. Afterward their trajectories differed dramatically due to the particular way in which the Communist revolution intervened in the life of each woman. This study thus illuminates the contested area of religious faith, state power, and gender in the early years of the People’s Republic of China.
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