China's New Civil Religion
In this piece for the NYT Sunday Review, I look at how the Chinese government, for the first time since the fall of the imperial system over 100 years ago, is constructing a new civil religion based on traditional faiths--and by explicitly rejecting Christianity and Islam.
This trend has the potential to solidify party support--see Putin, Vladimir--but comes at the expense of national unity and by targeting the so-called foreign faiths of Christianity and Islam. And of course it's a huge turnaround for a party that once derided many of these ideas as "feudal supersitition."
This piece ran at 1200 words in the Sunday print edition and 1400 words online. The link is obviously to the online version which has a bit more background. The Chinese version is here.