Taoism and Folk Religion
35 years after the Cultural Revolution, another revolution is sweeping across China. As the Communist Party seeks to address the effects on Chinese society of becoming manufacturer to the world, combined with rampant consumerism and its own one child policy, it is turning to religion to fill the void.
China is set to be the most powerful country on earth in the 21st century. In two generations, from the Maoist Red Guards of the 1960s, through Tiananmen Square, to the Beijing Olympics, those alive in China today have lived through one of the greatest revolutions in the history of the world. From the outside, China appears as a nation reborn.
But what has been the effect on the inner lives of individuals who have seen the worship of a human idol in Mao Zedong, give way to the assertion that to be rich is good, as the most closed society on earth has become manufacturer to the world? Has this nation of aspiring capitalists and consumers sown the seeds for the creation of a supremely selfish society, which is rapidly losing any sense of its Chinese identity? Communist Party internal documents speak of disillusionment and ideological emptiness post the Cultural Revolution. Now the Communist Party itself is turning to religion to fill that vacuum.
In this 3 part series, Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford, travels through this vast nation of 1.4 billion people, to explore the role of "God in China".
Producer: Liz Leonard.