Since the traumas of the Cultural Revolution ended in the 1970s, Chinese religion has been on the upswing and the country is now dotted with new temples, mosques and churches, much of it built and organized outside government control. But over the past few years the state has become more involved in religious life, seeking to support some groups while casting a more skeptical eye on other groups, with especially Muslims and Christians coming in for at times stricter control. What does this portend for China--is the country heading toward more sectarian conflict along religious lines, or is it part of an effort to reassert the Chinese state's traditional role as an arbiter of faith and values?
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent for
The New York Review of Books,
The New York Times, and other publications. He is also associate editor of the
Journal of Asian Studies, a senior policy fellow at Merics, a Berlin foundation specializing in China, and teaches courses on Chinese society and religion.
In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for his coverage of China, and has also won awards from the Overseas Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. He has been a Nieman fellow at Harvard and received grants from the Open Society Foundation and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. In 2017 he was awarded Stanford University's Shorenstein Journalism Award for lifetime achievement in covering Asia.
Johnson has published three books, one on civil society and grassroots protest in China (Wild Grass, 2004) and another on Islamism and the Cold War in Europe (A Mosque in Munich, 2010). His most recent is
The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao (2017), which explores China's search for values in the reform era. He has also contributed chapters to three other books and written peer-reviewed academic articles on religion in China.
Organizer: UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, UCLA School of Law
Co-sponsor: UCLA International and Comparative Law Program