The ecological discourses in China include the government’s political propaganda and the voices based on the traditional Chinese culture, especially Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism. Furthermore, there are also public discourses on ecological issues from the environmental scientists and/or activists, who may adhere to neither the political party line nor any traditional Chinese religious/philosophical perspectives. As such, when Chinese Christians attempt to address ecological issues, they have to respond to these divergent voices in the public sphere. This article reviews the Chinese Christian ecological discourses from the perspective of a public theology. It will examine whether, and how, they respond to the non-Christian voices, and analyze how they exhibit different approaches to public theology. It will further explore whether, and how, Chinese Christian ecological discourses could benefit from Christian discourses in other contexts, and may in return contribute to the global development of an ecological theology as a public discourse.
Pan-chiu Lai and Zhibin Xie
Lap Yan Kung
Seeking for true-ness is the core concern of the people of Hong Kong during the Umbrella Movement. That search starts from the political structure (true universal suffrage), and continues through into the formation of identity (true Hongkongese). This article illustrates how the Umbrella Movement has provided the people of Hong Kong with an experience of a truthful politics which is different from the current realpolitik. It sets out to see Hong Kong as their homeland, while developing a new language in terms of political localism. Nevertheless, there is a tendency for such political localism to become too narrow, exclusive and sentimental. The ecumenicity of the church interpreted in the light of Wolfhart Pannenberg’s theology is a different social imaginary. It can challenge both the inclination to narrowness and exclusivism of political localism, and the authoritarianism of the Chinese authorities. It possesses the potential to enrich the people of Hong Kong by allowing them to see that the unity of humankind (creation) is the ground of politics.
Over the past three decades political relationships between mainland China and Taiwan have fluctuated precariously between warm peace and cold war. Instead of playing the role of the biblical peacemaker, Christian theologians on both sides have developed irreconcilable nationalist theologies in order to sanctify their respective nationalist programs: Chinese unification versus Taiwanese independence. For the purpose of constructing peace across the Taiwan Strait, a new political theology needs to be built on the centrality of religious freedom to be found in the Bible, democratic values, and the actual politics of both China and Taiwan. The second section of this article analyzes the biblical sources of a Chinese unification theology and a Taiwanese independence theology. The third and fourth sections introduce the historical development of nationalism and nationalist theology in both societies. The fifth section concludes by proposing a democratic union theology that builds on the centrality of religious freedom in the Bible, democratic values, and actual politics.
It has been nearly four decades since China initiated its economic reform in 1978. In spite of the fact that this reform has brought unprecedented economic growth to China, it is viewed by many (including myself) as problematic and has recently been caught in a tension between recession and inequity. This article explores the structural flaws of China’s economic reforms in the light of modern Catholic social teaching, with particular reference to the basic theological principles it applies within the political-economic spheres. On the basis of the Catholic understanding of economic liberty, market, government, and equity, this article furnishes a public theological agenda for China’s economic reforms, in order to help resolve the problems they are facing. Meanwhile, based on the same theological standpoint, it also provides a critical assessment of the New Left’s negation of the liberal economy.
This article reviews the discourses on public theology in the Chinese context and examines the traditional Chinese understanding of the term ‘public’, the tradition of public theology in China, and the specific issues facing a public theology in the Chinese context. It highlights the problems that surround a governmental-dominated public, the identity of social organizations, and the theological character of political entanglement when Christianity seeks to engage in public life in China. These problems shape the development of public theology in the Chinese setting as well as its prospective contribution to the global discourse on public theology. It also examines the tension that sometimes arises surrounding the relationship between the two substantive terms—public and theological. It seeks to demonstrate how to be public and theological at one and the same time—and, do so, with special reference to its implications in the Chinese context.