Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang
Chapter 5: Heritage and religion in China
Religious sites and festivals, particularly those associated with the three oldest spiritual traditions of China, are often officially recognized and promoted for income from tourism, for the spectacles of their buildings, landscapes and ceremonies. But this is a recognition of religion and ritual as culture. It increases the commercialization of religious institutions. Often it is a destructive recognition, turning sites of pilgrimage into theme parks. In any case it creates tensions and negotiations between economic stakeholders and religious communities. A number of brief case studies illustrate these tensions. Turning religion into cultural heritage can aid preservation, even as it turns it into an eternal inheritance, but in many cases it destroys or replaces religious devotion.
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