Gospel-leafleting, Three-Self-Affiliated Congregations and Rule of Law in the PRC

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Although a minority religion in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Christianity in its various forms arguably ‘punches above its weight’ in its contributions to the increase of freedom at a range of levels within Chinese society. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in a group of urban Three-Self-affiliated congregations located in ‘Huanghaicheng’ since 2009, this chapter explores not so much ‘Christian perceptions of rule of law,’ but the lack of perception and discourse on this concept in this particular Protestant context. This chapter focuses on the legislation relating to and practices of proselytizing through ‘gospel leaflets’ (fuyindan) distributed in Huanghaicheng, and analyses the interactions between local state organs and church leaders. I argue that the implementation of existing legislation on proselytization in Huanghaicheng revolves around personalized relationships between officials and church leaders and much less on institutions and legal principles based on rule of law. Church leaders often skillfully negotiate with local officials to expand the space for religious activities. However, this chapter argues that the actions of church leaders to enlarge the space for their own congregations reinforces this personalized approach to the implementation of existing regulations and does not contribute to the establishment of rule of law principles. This chapter furthers our understanding of local-level practices of the implementation of regulations on religion and suggests that the calls for a law on religion in the PRC may be premature due to the lack of a legal framework which could support such a law and the absence of an identifiable grassroots rule-of-law culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChristian Social Activism and the Rule of Law in China
EditorsFenggang Yang, Chris White
Publisher Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN (Electronic)9781611463248
ISBN (Print)9781611463231
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021

Publication series

NameStudies in Christianity in China
PublisherRowman & Littlefield

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Christianity
  • Three-Self-affiliated
  • church
  • gospel leafleting
  • rule of law
  • regulations
  • clientelism


Dive into the research topics of 'Gospel-leafleting, Three-Self-Affiliated Congregations and Rule of Law in the PRC'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this