Mutual Accommodation in the Church-State Relationship in China?

A Case Study of the Sanjiang Church Demolition in Zhejiang


In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Zhidong Hao University of Macau,

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Yan Liu School of Theology and Religious Study, The Catholic University of America,

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The campaign of church demolitions and cross removals in Zhejiang from 2013 to 2016 has revealed some uneasiness in the religion-state relationship in China. The party-state has had a policy of “mutual accommodation” since the 1990s, and the official churches are good examples of such accommodation. But the demolition of Sanjiang Church shows the limits of the policy. In this case study, we argue that mutual accommodation between the two sides is still possible but constrained by two factors: the broad political and policy structure, and the individuals involved in the interaction between church and state. This case study helps to shed some light on an issue that has a far-reaching effect on sociopolitical change in China.

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