China’s Religious Revival
Mr. Ian Johnson (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer & Journalist)
November 6, 2017
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
MWT4, 1/F, Meng Wah Complex, The University of Hong Kong
Ian Johnson’s newest book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, describes China’s religions revival and its implications for politics and society. China is now filled with new temples, churches and mosques — as well as cults, sects and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty — over what it means to be Chinese, and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality a century ago and is still searching for new guideposts. Johnson’s six-year project focuses on several case studies, including a Protestant church, Daoist musicians, folk Buddhist believers and internal alchemy practitioners, as well as the government and its effort to offer new moral systems.
Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer focusing on society, religion, and history. He works out of Beijing, where he also teaches. Johnson has spent over half of the past 30 years in the Greater China region, first as a student in Beijing from 1984 to 1985, and then in Taipei from 1986 to 1988. He later worked as a newspaper correspondent in China, from 1994 to 1996 with Baltimore’s The Sun, and from 1997 to 2001 with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered macroeconomics, China’s WTO accession, and social issues. In 2009, Johnson returned to China, where he writes features and essays for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, as well as other publications, such as The New Yorker and National Geographic. He teaches undergraduates at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, where he also runs a fellowship programme. In addition, he formally advises a variety of academic journals and think tanks on China, such as the Journal of Asian Studies, the Berlin-based think tank Merics, and New York University’s Center for Religion and Media. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won in 2001 for his coverage of China. He also won two awards from the Overseas Press Club and an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2017, he won Stanford University’s Shorenstein Journalism Award for his body of work covering Asia.
This is an event jointly organized by the “Rethinking Spirituality and Religion in Asia” Cluster and Journalism and Media Studies Centre, The University of Hong Kong.