Tuesday, May 25, 2010

China, religion and money

“The Cultural Revolution clearly did not eliminate all those practices that Chinese communist ideology defines as ‘feudal superstition’. In fact, whereas communist theory suggests that superstition would decline along with material improvement and rising literacy, paradoxically many such practices have become increasingly popular as peasant incomes have risen. There is now more money available to pay fengshui experts (geomancers) and fortune-tellers, to burn incense and spirit-money, and to hold local festivities that the state had tried to suppress as uncivilized and wasteful.
As Siu puts it, cultural practices such as village rituals are not ‘revived’ but ‘recycled’ for new purposes in new circumstances.”

From “Understanding Chinese Society”, by Norman Stockman