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China, Post-Mao, Resistance, Catholic, Church Resistance


The Catholic Bishop of Shanghai, Gong Pinmei, who was imprisoned from 1955-1985 for being a "counter-revolutionary," once said: "If we renounce our faith, we will disappear and there will not be a resurrection. If we are faithful, we will disappear, but there will be a resurrection." For China's Catholic Community, the knotty problem of how to faithfully retain and practice religious belief has resulted in a highly complex system of resistance and accommodation. Two communities have emerged in China's Catholic landscape, the "underground" church that navigates precariously outside of party sanction, and the "aboveground" church that operates under the watchful scrutiny of party-appointed officials. My talk will discuss the contours of Catholic resistance to China's present state ideology, and the methods of accommodation employed to keep churches and sacraments available to the rising number of faithful. In recent years the lines between "underground" and "aboveground" have become increasingly dim as these two communities begin to collaborate more often in a new, collective resistance to party control in post-Maoist China.


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