Faith and Politics: (New) Confucianism as Civil Religion


  • Bart DESSEIN Ghent University



Confucianism, New Confucianism, civil religion, political rhetoric


This paper discusses how, in contemporary China, politico-religious narratives that reiterate the country’s Confucian tradition serve to create a sense of belonging and sharedness in a community, and provide a way to interpret this community and the contemporary Chinese nation as having a divine mission. As these Chinese foundational myths combine elements of Confucianism with patriotism and nationalism, they can be interpreted as a constitutive element of a “civil religion with Chinese characteristics”, and as providing arguments for a “religious” legitimation of the CCP as organization that has to lead the nation on this mission.



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Author Biography

  • Bart DESSEIN, Ghent University
    Professor Chinese language and culture


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30. 05. 2014



Modern Confucianism as a New Chinese Ideology

How to Cite

DESSEIN, Bart. 2014. “Faith and Politics: (New) Confucianism As Civil Religion”. Asian Studies 2 (1): 39-64.

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