Uneasy Encounters: Christian Churches in Greater China

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The book examines the dynamic processes of the various social, political, and cultural negotiations that representatives of Christian groups engage in within authoritarian societies in Greater China, where Christianity is deemed a foreign religious system brought to China by colonial rulers. The book explores the political and social cooperation and negotiations of two particular Christian groups in their respective and distinct settings: the open sector of the Catholic Church in the communist People’s Republic on mainland China from 1945 to the present day, and the Presbyterian church of Taiwan in the Republic of China in Taiwan during the period of martial law from 1949 to 1987. Rather than simply confirm the ‘domination-resistance’ model of church–state relations, the book focuses on the various approaches adopted by religious groups during the process of negotiation. In an authoritative Chinese environment, religious specialists face two related pressures: the demands of their authoritarian rulers and social pressure requiring them to assimilate to the local culture. The book uses two case studies to support a wider theory of economic approach to religion.


Editorial Reviews


“This book adopts the economic approach to religion to study the development of Christianity in China from the perspective of the relationship between Church and state. … This book is a catalyst for advancing the study of Christianity in China and will be much appreciated by both specialists and students of Chinese Christianity.” (Wei Xiong, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 49 (1), March, 2023)
“Uneasy Encounters, the author’s first book, is a laudable effort at marshalling an extensive review of church publications and scholarly literature … . Rychetská is to be commended for bridging scholarly conversations that have not always been in dialogue with each other. In particular, Rychetská’s review of published church documents and government policy documents relating to the church will interest scholars and teachers seeking to illustrate particular aspects of church-state relations in either context.” (Joshua Tan, Review of Religion and Chinese Society, February 20, 2023)


“This fascinating study illuminates the survival, development and negotiation strategies of Christian churches operating under authoritarian conditions in China and Taiwan across time. Extensive fieldwork and a raft of empirical data is effectively marshalled in the service of a sophisticated conceptual argument that goes beyond simplistic ‘domination-resistance’ models to establish how Christian groups respond to constraints imposed by authoritarian regimes and distinct local cultures. The book complicates traditional depictions of the role and behaviours of both the Presbyterian church in Taiwan and Catholic groups in the PRC, making a substantial contribution to our understanding of organized Christianity in Greater China.” (Dr Jonathan Sullivan, Associate Professor, School of Politics and IR, University of Nottingham, UK)

“This book successfully fulfils its mission in dealing with relations between the powerful totalitarian regimes, the Nationalist government in Taiwan under Chiang Kai Shek administration, and in the People’s Republic of China since 1949. For Taiwan, the author was able to have a very exhaustive archival and library research on the historical development of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. However, the distinguished scholarship of the author was manifested on her capacity in grasping the difficult Catholic issues in the PRC whose political system with its policy making are operating in a black box, with complicated “guanxi” 關係. Researchers both Chinese and foreigner regard it as the “heavenly book with no words” 無字天書. However, the author was able to read the official documents between lines and listen to the voiceless by personal contacts. Among all kinds of restriction, although she was unable to contact the clandestine section of the Chinese Catholics, yet she was able to infiltrate into the depth of Catholic life in the government sanctioned section of the Catholic Church and to paint a very comprehensive picture on the problem of the Church-State conflict in the PRC.” (Sr. Beatrice Leung, Ph.D., Honorary Research Fellow, National Chengchi University, Taiwan)

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2022 edition (August 27, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 215 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9811918899
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-9811918896



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