Religion in Modern China: Understanding Today’s Great Spiritual Revival

Over the past generation, the nation of China has experienced “one of the world’s great spiritual revivals,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Johnson. China is filled with new temples, churches, and mosques—as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Headlines appear almost daily of religious tensions that take on outsized cultural and political significance. What are we to make of the growth of religion in China? How will this revival reshape one of the world’s growing superpowers?

Join us at Upper House to hear from Ian Johnson about the contemporary dynamics of religion in China. Drawing on decades of reporting, Johnson is one of the world’s most acute observers of religion in East Asia. He has lived for extended periods with underground church members, rural Daoists, and Buddhist pilgrims. He has distilled these and many other experiences into a popular account, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao (2017), and will offer us an even more up-to-date exploration of the Chinese religious scene.