The article “The Religious Life of Ethnic Minority Communities,” written by Philip L. Wickeri in the volume Chinese Religious Life (Oxford University Press, 2011), discusses the wide range of religious beliefs and practices among the minority communities of China. Although non-Han ethnic minorities make up less than 3% of China’s population, they are the majority in borderland areas and provinces in China’s Northeast, North, West and Southwest which cover over 50% of China’s land mass. The article begins by considering the problematic nature of ethnic categorizations in China and the role of politics and economic changes in shaping ethnic identity and religious revivals.  The author also presents the examples of the indigenous Dongba shamanism of the Naxi, the Buddhism of the Tibetans, Islam among the Uyghur, and the Christianity of the Miao. For more information, please read the full article.

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Philip L. Wickeri: Ethnic minorities in China – an introduction

Philip L. Wickeri, the author of the above article, introduces the complex picture of ethnic minorities in China. Some of them inherited their traditional religions; some of them were converted to Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam; some of them had assimilated totally in Han Chinese societies. The government of China has implemented preferential policies to ethnic minorities. But meanwhile, as Wickeri comments, “the whole policy for the minorities interacts with religious policy that it makes a very difficult situation for some of the groups, especially in sensitive areas around the Chinese border.” What does he mean? Please watch.

Philip L. Wickeri: The Muslim minorities in China

Philip L. Wickeri presents the two ends of the continuum of Muslim minorities in China. Among the ten Muslim groups, Hui people are largely integrated into Chinese society, whereas the Uighur people are the most separate ones. The Muslim minorities nominally share the same religion – they don’t eat pork and they don’t drink alcohol – however, their languages, cultures, and religious practices differ significantly. Please check Wickeri’s interview for more information.

Philip L. Wickeri: The religion of the Zhuang in China

The Zhuang is the largest ethnic group (16 million population) in China. Most of them lived in the mountainous areas of Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, and practiced their exclusive form of Daoism. For a brief account of the Zhuang people, please watch the clip.

Philip L. Wickeri: The religion of the Korean minority in China

The Korean is a very special ethnic group. Though it only has a small population of 1.9 million, the Korean people are considered to be the richest and most educated ethnic minority. Their religion was traditionally Korean Shamanism or Buddhism, but throughout the past hundred years, they have been converted to something else. What’s that? Please watch.

Philip L. Wickeri: Christianity among the ethnic minorities in South China

Why are there churches in the deep mountains of southwest China? In fact, Christianity, seemingly unfit for Chinese ethnic groups, is now growing tremendously in communities of Miao, Yi, and Mosuo. Philip L. Wickeri worked in China for more than 20 years and was ordained pastor by the Christian Council in China. Let’s see how he explains the development of Christianity among the ethnic minorities in South China.