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Religious Reconfigurations in the People's Republic of China

Raising the Quality of Belief

Suzhi and the Production of an Elite Protestantism
Cao Nanlai


The paper addresses the changing dynamics of Protestantism in contemporary urban China through the lens of the Christian discourse of quality ( suzhi). Linking suzhiwith processes of identity and subject formation in the Chinese Protestant community, the paper shows that the religiosity of today’s Chinese Protestants is not so much related to acts of spiritual seeking in a state-centred political framework as it is shaped by desires and practices of self-making among neoliberal individuals under rapid marketisation. It also demonstrates that Chinese Protestantism has undergone not just a quantitative increase but also a qualitative change that counters the one-dimensional representation of Christian religiosity in the post-Mao era.

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Electronic reference

Cao Nanlai, « Raising the Quality of Belief », China Perspectives [Online], 2009/4 | 2009, Online since 01 December 2012, connection on 19 December 2018. URL :

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About the author

Cao Nanlai

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