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Author: Nanlai Cao

Abstract

This chapter explores the rise of Protestant Christianity in the Chinese diaspora in Europe as both a case of sinicization of Christianity and a unique religious product of China’s reform-era globalization. While lack of Christianity was once constructed as a moral argument to ban Chinese migration to the Christian West, in the current context of China’s aggressive business outreach and mass emigration Christianity has become a vital social force and moral resource in binding Chinese merchants in diaspora. Drawing on multisited fieldwork in France and Italy, my analysis links the rise of a sinicized Christianity in secular Europe with China’s business globalization by focusing on the cultural identity, agency, and moral imagination of Chinese Christians in a merchant diaspora.

In: Chinese Religions Going Global
As China is being increasingly integrated into the global economy, more and more Chinese people live transnational lives and practice religion globally. So far scholarship of the relationship between religion and globalization in the Chinese religious field has primarily been set in the historical context of the encounter between Western Christian missionaries and local Chinese agents, and little is known about a global Chinese religious field that is in the making. The Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion volume 11: Chinese Religions Going Global seeks to challenge the dichotomous ordering of the western global and the Chinese local, and to add a new perspective for understanding religious modernity globally. Contributors from four continents who represent a range of specialisms apply social scientific methods in order to systematically research the globalization of Chinese religions.