'God' is back in China
For the first time in nearly 900 years, the Chinese government has asked Daoists scholars for advice in how to manage the country, Martin Palmer was telling me. This follows the previous destruction or reappropriation of 98% of Daoist temples and 97% of Daoist texts and other paraphernalia. The last time this happened was in 1219 when Genghis Khan summoned Daoist Master Qiu Chuji to come to his war camp in the Himalayas and advise him on his plans to conquer China.
Speaking of the revival of religion in China, three recent BBC World Service programmes were fantastic. A couple of factoids that surprised me.
- The Chinese have been speaking with the Alpha Marriage Course, as in the Alpha Course of Christian evangelicalism. Apparently, the authorities were so impressed by it, and are so worried about the rise of divorce in China, that they are considering adopting a version of it for nationwide roll-out.
- The Hui Muslims of China, numbering about 10 million, have women imams and women mosques. It's an ancient tradition, though being threatened now by globalisation, which means that Hui go on the Hajj, sometimes to return with more conservative codes of dress and gender.