Handbook on Religion in China
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Handbook on Religion in China

Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang

Informative and eye-opening, the Handbook on Religion in China provides a uniquely broad insight into the contemporary Chinese variations of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. In turn, China's own religions and transmissions of rites and systems of divination have spread beyond China, a progression that is explored in detail across 19 chapters, written by leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 5: Heritage and religion in China

Yujie Zhu

Abstract

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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