Religious groups in China are subject to restrictions and, at times, severe oppression, as witnessed in the treatment of the Muslims of Xinjiang. Less severe forms of repression include controls over authorized religious activities and restrictions on leaders among groups as diverse as the Falun Gong and the Catholic Church. Can these actions be attributed to the proclaimed atheism of the Chinese regime, or are there more complex factors in the religious and political history of China that have contributed to this trend?
This panel discussion will feature three scholars reflecting on this question. Based on her recent research on religion and the nation, Berkley Center Senior Fellow Jocelyne Cesari will argue that the current situation is the outcome of the specific status of religion in the nation-building of China: Since the early twentieth century, the state has taken control of religious institutions and required allegiance to the Chinese nation over religious loyalty. James Millward, professor at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service, will discuss the importance of the Chinese state’s colonial and ethnic policies and their overlap with religion in Xinjiang. Haiyung Ma (G’07), associate professor of history at Frostburg State University, will address the “de-Arabization” campaign of the Chinese state as well as the international repercussions of Chinese religious policies.
This event is co-sponsored by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University.
Jocelyne Cesari holds the Chair of Religion and Politics and is director of research at the Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; at Georgetown University she is a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and an associate professor of the practice of religion, peace, and conflict resolution in the Department of Government.
Haiyun Ma (G’07) is an associate professor of history at Frostburg State University. His work focuses on the history of Islam in China. Before starting at Frostburg State University, Dr. Ma taught at the University of North Carolina, Georgetown University, and Fort Lewis College.
James A. Millward is Professor of Inter-societal History at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, teaching Chinese, Central Asian and world history. He is series editor for the "Silk Roads" book series published by Chicago University Press.