Religion in China

Ties That Bind

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Adam Yuet Chau
China Today Series
  • Maiden, MA: 
    Polity Press
    , May
     200 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Daniel Murray forthcoming.


In recent years, there has been an astonishing revival of religious practices in China. Rather than counting the number of religious practitioners or measuing the growth in the number of temples and churches, anthropologist Adam Yuet Chau's vivid study explores how religion is embedded in contemporary Chinese lives and society, from personal devotion to community-wide festivals.

Covering Buddhism, Daoism and folk religion, as well as Christianity and Islam, this ethnographically rich book provides crucial insights into the contemporary relevance of religious traditions in Chinese societies. By considering the ways in which Chinese people ‘do’ religion on the ground, Chau reveals how religious practice plays a critical role in establishing and maintaining a wide range of relationships: between people, spirits, and places; ritual service providers and their customers; the state and religious groups. Chau argues that relationality is the key anchor of religious lifeworlds in China, and this insight demands an entirely new way of approaching religion in China.

This lively account will appeal to those studying or curious about Chinese or East Asian religions. Accessibly written, it serves as a perfect gateway to understanding the vibrant religious practices in China today.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Adam Yuet Chau is Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge.

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