God In China [World Service]

Episodes

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01Episode 1 - Heart And Soul20111001

How the Communist Party is reconnecting with China's heritage of Taoism and folk religion.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Taoism is China's only indigenous, formalised religion and is closely linked with Chinese traditional folk religion.

Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford, explores how the Communist Party is actively promoting the country's Taoist and folk religious heritage in the form of tourism.

He visits one of Taoism's key sacred sites, Maoshan, which boasts the tallest statue of the founder of Taoism, Laotze, in China and he meets a Communist Party member, now turned Taoist patron.

01Episode 1 - Heart And Soul20111002
01Episode 1 - Heart And Soul20111003
02Episode 2 - Heart And Soul20111008

Female Imams and a tweeting abbot - Islam and Buddhism Chinese style.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Buddhism and Islam are two of China's five official religions.

They are both very integrated into Chinese society, but for different reasons.

In this programme, Tim Gardam considers the role these two religions play in the Communist Party's appropriation of religion to support the drive towards President Hu Jintao's "harmonious society".

He meets female imams and visits Longchen Monastery, whose Abbot's tweets are translated daily into eight different languages.

02Episode 2 - Heart And Soul20111009
02Episode 2 - Heart And Soul20111010
03Episode 3 - Heart And Soul20111015

The explosion of Christianity in this vast country of 1.4 billion people.

Personal approaches to spirituality from around the world.

Christianity and Catholicism are seen as separate religions in China.

They are also treated differently to the other three official religions, partly because they are both still seen as Western.

However, Chinese Christianity is exploding: China will soon become the largest Christian country on earth.

The authorities are nervous.

In this programme, Tim Gardam explores why and meets members of both the official and underground churches.

03Episode 3 - Heart And Soul20111016
03Episode 3 - Heart And Soul20111017