The concept of social justice in the periodicals of foreign religions in China, 1911-1949: Protestant Christianity and Islam

Project: Research project

Project Details


In modern society, religion has been widely conceived as one of the sources for social conflicts. But it is interesting that almost every religion teaches its believers to seek a just and peaceful personal life through their religious quest. Against this background, a better understanding of the concepts of social justice in religious thought and their social implications occupy an important place in the well-being of humankind.

This research aims to study the concept of social justice of two foreign religions in China—Protestant Christianity and Islam in the first half of the twentieth century. Through studying their publications, this research investigates how they understood social justice, and the social implications of this understanding. Four important periodicals, Association Progress, The True Light Review, Qingzhen Duobao, and YueHua, will be used as the basic research materials.

The key research questions are: 1. How do Chinese Christians and Hui Muslims understand and articulate social justice with their religious resources? 2. What are the characteristics of these discourses compared with the general understanding of social justice in the respective religious tradition and contemporary non-religious Chinese? 3. How do these discourses establish a contemporary relevance between religious and social life? Finally, this research critically assesses the differences and similarities, and the merits and shortcomings of these discourses in helping these two foreign religions to develop reciprocal adaptations between themselves and China.

The methodology of this research is textual-hermeneutical analysis. An understanding of the concept of social justice among Chinese Christians and Muslims will be achieved by the following steps: 1. Identify important public issues and religious practices related to social justice that were addressed by the periodicals. 2. Analyze the religious texts and concepts have been employed in their discourses. The analysis will cross-examine the similarities and differences in interpretations and hermeneutical steps of the texts and concepts between the mainstream religious traditions and Chinese believers. 3. Compare the convergence and divergence between the religious and general public understanding, and Christian and Muslim understanding of the social justice. The interactions between religions and the society will be studied. 4. Critically investigate the social implications of the understanding and practice of social justice among the Chinese Christians and Muslims. 5. Finally, proposals for promoting reciprocal adaptations between Chinese public and her foreign religions will be suggested.

Three articles and one monograph will be generated for promoting the mutual understanding and positive interaction between religions and society.
Effective start/end date1/01/1530/06/18

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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