Religion

Members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group take part in a military parade during a condolences ceremony for the movement's former leader Ramadan Shalah in Gaza city, on 8 June 2020, two days after his death in neighbouring Lebanon. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Battling atheist China: US highlights Xinjiang issue and religious freedom in Indo-Pacific region

Ma Haiyun says that the US and China’s relations with the Muslim world have been a sticking point — for very different reasons. Yet as the US turns its focus to the Indo-Pacific region, Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East may feel increasingly marginalised by geopolitical shifts and feel even more compelled to use their views on the Palestinian and Uighur issue as a vote of allegiance for the US or China. In Southeast Asia, the Muslim-majority countries face even more pressure as US-China competition intensifies in their own backyard. Whichever side they are on, all parties are gearing up for the next phase of US-China competition to be fought in the arena of global religious freedom.
A woman wears a face mask as she burns incense and prays at the Wong Tai Sin Temple to mark the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Hong Kong on 24 January 2020. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Chinese spirituality [Part two]: The sacred is in the mundane

Spirituality helps individuals cope with severe trauma and aids their growth and psychological well-being in the aftermath of a crisis. Such ballast is something humanity badly needs in the face of a pandemic. Dr Chang Weining, visiting psychologist of the Institute of Mental Health, ponders China’s search for spirituality in times of distress. In part two of her article, she toggles between past and present as she takes a look at how the Chinese quest for solace has evolved.
Seeking spirituality is a universal human need. In this photo taken on 25 January 2020, people wearing face masks visit Wong Tai Sin temple on the first day of the Lunar New Year of the Rat in Hong Kong, as a preventative measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Dale De La Rey/AFP)

Chinese spirituality [Part one]: Reawakening of the heart after trauma

Spirituality helps individuals cope with severe trauma and aids their growth and psychological well-being in the aftermath of a crisis. Such ballast is something humanity badly needs in the face of a pandemic. Dr Chang Weining, visiting psychologist of the Institute of Mental Health, ponders China’s search for spirituality in times of distress. In part one of her article, she recalls her visits to China in 1984 and 2008 — both different periods in China’s reform and opening up — where she got a sense of China’s budding need and search for spirituality.
A man wearing a face mask crosses a road in Wuhan. China has not handled the Covid-19 epidemic well, and its shortcomings are showing. (Reuters)

Covid-19 epidemic exposes China’s shortcomings

Researcher and commentator Wei Da says the recent coronavirus situation serves to remind China that self-reflection and finding the right balance between four key variables — democracy, scientific thinking, rule of law and religion — are greatly needed.
A man wearing a protective facemask stands in front of a movie poster in Shanghai. - China on February 19, 2020 ordered three reporters from American newspaper the Wall Street Journal to leave the country over what Beijing deemed a racist headline, in one of the harshest moves against foreign media in years. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Where multiple 'gods' co-exist: Countering the racism complex in Western diplomacy

Political analyst Zheng Yongnian says that in the current panic of the Covid-19 outbreak and against the backdrop of already fractured US-China relations, the US and the West’s racism complex is bubbling to the surface and could taint their foreign policy approaches to China even more. He looks forward to a future where multiple “gods” co-exist.
Is there life after death? In this photo, people walk past a picture of Mao Zedong in Beijing on 14 December 2019. (Noel Celis/AFP)

A matter of life and death in the US, China and Japan

Views on the afterlife interestingly shed light on one’s approach to life, says Gordon Mathews of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He and his team find out what American, Chinese and Japanese views on death say about their lives. As the Covid-19 epidemic rages across the world, an understanding of different countries' philosophies on mortality may even be more apt.
Although one might not have the experience of seeing a twenty feet tall black ghost that flies, one could have in mind all the concepts that could construct such an image. (iStock)

The Chinese ghost stories we tell ourselves

The word "ghost" (gui) is commonly found in the Chinese lexicon. Professor Poo Mu-chou draws links between history, culture and one’s personal experience to interpret the way humans conjure ghosts up in their own image and likeness in a bid to understand the inexplicable.
Visitors getting a look at the Bibles churned out by Amity Printing Co. in Jiangsu. (United Bible Societies)

World’s largest Bible printer hails from atheist China

China's Amity Printing Co. (APC) produces an average of 70 Bibles per minute. This month, Jiangsu-based APC celebrates the printing of its 200 millionth Bible. Yang Danxu observes that its monopoly over the Bible economy helps to ensure that Christianity in China adapts to the context in China, as desired by the Chinese government.