Making Christianity More Chinese? Pastoral perspectives

Issue 1805

14 May 2018

For around the last three years, the Chinese leadership has been repeatedly calling religions present on Chinese soil to “sinicize” (zhongguohua).[1] What is meant by this word? Translators of official documents experience difficulties when trying to convey the meaning of a term like zhongguohua. For instance, the translation of Xi Jinping’s report at the start of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, in October 2017, reads as follows: “We will fully implement the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society.”[2] Here, zhongguohua is translated as “to be Chinese in orientation.”

This article is restricted to paid subscribers