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Superstitious regimes : religion and the politics of Chinese modernity
 9780674035997, 1684174953

Table of contents :
Introduction: religion, modernity, nationalism --
Part I: Of legislation and ling --
Inventing religion --
Temples and the redefinition of public life --
Part II: Material motives --
Jiangsu temples as target and tactic --
Idealized communities and the religious remainder --
Part III: Transactional modernity --
Embodying superstition --
Affective regimes --
Conclusion: superstition's legacy.

Citation preview

Superstitious Regimes Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity

Harvard East Asian Monographs 322

Superstitious Regimes Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity

Rebecca Nedostup

Published by the Harvard University Asia Center and Distributed by Harvard University Press Cambridge (Massachusetts) and London 2009

© 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College Printed in the United States of America The Harvard University Asia Center publishes a monograph series and, in coordination with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Korea Institute, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, and other faculties and institutes, administers research projects designed to further scholarly understanding of China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, and other Asian countries. The Center also sponsors projects addressing multidisciplinary and regional issues in Asia. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nedostup, Rebecca, 1966– Superstitious regimes : religion and the politics of Chinese modernity / Rebecca Nedostup. p. cm. -- (Harvard East Asian monographs ; 322) Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-0-674-03599-7 (hardback : acid-free paper) 1. China--History--1928–1937. 2. China--Politics and government-1928–1937. 3. Religion and politics--China--History--20th century. 4. Church and state--China--History--20th century. 5. Secularism--China-History--20th century. I. Title. ds777.48.n43 2009 951.04 '2--dc22 2009038806 Index by Bruce Tindall Printed on acid-free paper Last figure below indicates year of this printing 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10

For my parents


I thank my family first. My brother Mark, sister-in-law Sally Bregman, and especially my sister Lisa have been my educators, interlocutors, and mainstays from the beginning, and they helped shape this book both in the long term and in very practical ways at the finish line. They deserve more appreciation than I can articulate. I dedicate the book to my parents, George and Anita, and to the memory of my mother, Theresa; by early example they demonstrated how to seek beauty and erudition in every corner. The research and writing of this book were generously funded by grants from the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China; the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies; the Charlotte M. Newcombe Foundation, Columbia University; the Stanford East Asia National Resource Center; the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University; Purdue University; and Boston College. In China, Luo Ling and her family—Luo Zongzhen, Bai Ying, and Luo Lan—have made Nanjing a warm scholarly and everyday home. When Nanjing University graciously hosted me as a graduate student, Cai Shaoqing guided me as he has so many scholars from around the world. Gao Hua, Li Liangyu, Shen Xiaoyun, and Zhang Xianwen were also generous with time and advice. I appreciate the assistance of the



staffs at the Second Historical Archives; the Nanjing, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Yangzhou Municipal and Jiangsu Provincial Archives; the Nanjing, Suzhou, Yangzhou and Shanghai Municipal Libraries; the National Library in Beijing; and the libraries at Nanjing and Yangzhou Normal Universities. In Jurong, Wen Dezhong of the Cultural Affairs Bureau and Zhai Zhonghua of the History Museum helped me accomplish an enormous amount in a short visit, as did members of the temple committee of the present-day Jile Monastery in Suqian. In Taiwan, I greatly appreciate the generosity of Chen Sanjing and the Institute of Modern History at Academia Sinica for hosting me during my initial period of research. The staff at the Academia Historica has been uniformly helpful over repeat visits. I am grateful as well for access over the years to the Kuomintang Commission on Party History, a process initiated by Lin Zongjie; I also appreciate the assistance of the Center for Chinese Studies, the National Central Library, and the National Taiwan Library. C. Julia Huang, Lee Fong-mao, Yu-chen Li, and Wei-ping Lin have been extremely generous and intellectually stimulating hosts and colleagues. Liang Hong-ming taught me just about everything I know about the KMT, and I am grateful to have had the friendship of him and his family. This seems like an appropriate place to thank Hugh Shapiro for many years ago suggesting that academia was something to consider, and before him May Lee for placing me on the right intellectual path in the first place. Madeleine Zelin, Robert Hymes, Carol Gluck, and Richard Wortman gave me ideas, advice, and critiques on the original dissertation that I found myself returning to years after the fact. Prasenjit Duara generously discussed this project with me from early on. Audiences and commentators provided searching questions and helpful criticisms at Bard College; Dartmouth College; the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies; the Harvard-Yenching Institute; Indiana University; National Tsing Hua University; National University of Singapore; Oberlin College; Princeton University; Purdue University; Stanford University; Southern Methodist University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, San Diego; and the University of Chicago—I thank them and



my hosts in each case. My year as an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard altered the course of the book for the better, and I thank Wilt Idema, Ron Suleski and Wen-Hao Tien for making that possible; I especially appreciate the readings of my work that I received from Adam Yuet Chau, Henrietta Harrison, Eugenia Lean, and Elizabeth Perry during that time. My students at Purdue University and Boston College—especially those in the two graduate colloquia, “Nation, Religion and the Meaning of the Modern”—shaped my thinking more than they may realize. I have accumulated too many additional scholarly and personal debts to enumerate them all successfully here; so the colleagues who know these scholars will understand if I simply single these few out to thank for their exemplary intellectual and moral support: Christina Gilmartin, Vincent Goossaert, Sally Hastings, TJ Hinrichs, Ya-pei Kuo, Michael Puett, Virginia Reinburg, Stephen Schloesser, Sarah Schneewind, and Robert Weller. Robin Fleming, Paul Katz, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Franziska Seraphim, and above all Eugenio Menegon deserve deep thanks for reading and commenting on parts or all of the manuscript with fruitful care. The two thoughtful anonymous readers for the Harvard University Asia Center helped me make critical improvements. Displaying similar expertise, Bruce Tindall created the index, and Mark Nedostup drew the maps. Warm thanks to Chih-ting Chang, Courtney Condaxis, and Erik George for research assistance, and to Boston College for providing the funds to hire them. Parts of the book have appeared in preliminary form in other venues. Elements of Chapters 1 and 7 appeared in “Civic Faith and Hybrid Ritual in Nationalist China,” in Dennis Washburn and A. Kevin Reinhart, ed., Converting Cultures: Religion, Ideology, and Transformations of Modernity (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 27–56. Part of Chapter 7 has been published as “Ritual Competition and the Modernizing Nation-State,” in Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, ed., Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 87–112. Sections of Chapters 2 and 6 appeared in “ ‘Begging the Sages of the Party-State’: Citizenship and Government in Transition in Nationalist China 1927–1937,” Rebecca Nedostup and Liang Hong-Ming, International Review of Social History, Volume 46, Supplement S9, Dec. 2001,



pp. 185–207, copyright © 2001 Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis; reprinted with the permission of Cambridge University Press. The cover image, from 1929, of a Maryknoll priest regarding the ruins of a temple in Dongan, Guangdong, destroyed by government orders comes from the Maryknoll Mission Archives in New York and is used with their permission. R.N.


Tables, Maps, and Figures Note on Romanization and Measurements 1

Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

xiii xv 1

Part i: Of Legislation and ling 靈 2 3

Inventing Religion Temples and the Redefinition of Public Life

27 67

Part ii: Material Motives 4 5

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder

111 150

Part iii: Transactional Modernity 6 7 8

Embodying Superstition Affective Regimes Conclusion: Superstition’s Legacy

191 227 279

Appendix Three Major KMT Laws on Temples




Reference Matter Notes


Works Cited




Tables, Maps, and Figures

Tables 1 2 3 4

Monastic and temple landholdings in selected Jiangsu counties, 1930s Landholdings of individual Jiangsu monasteries according to Amano, 1930s Buddhist monastic population in the sixty-one counties of Jiangsu, 1930 Ritual expenses in household budgets

121 121 122 199

Maps 1 2 3 4

Jiangsu during the Nanjing Decade Nanjing and its outskirts Nanjing city Suqian city

112 154 155 176

Figures 1 2

Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, ca. 1935 New Linggu Monastery in the Dragon King Shrine, ca. 1935

166 169


Tables, Maps, and Figures

Tiles with KMT insignia on the main gate, Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers 4 Pailou, Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers 5 Number One Cemetery ca. 1935, with new pagoda and museum in background 6 Memorial to the 19th Route Army, Number One Cemetery 7 “Urging you to take your donation funds and help build the nation instead!” 8 The Mr. K. Papers, cartoon 9 “Calling on all masses under the white sun and blue sky to use the national calendar!” 10 “We’ve got to flip through a tattered piece of Republican history once again!” 11 The Wang family at worship, cartoon 3

170 171 172 173 200 226 234 235 289

Note on Romanization and Measurements

I use the pinyin system to romanize Chinese terms, with two important exceptions. When a different romanization of personal names is more familiar to English-language readers (e.g., Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek), I have retained that term. Second, when an organization or person has an official English name or rendering, I defer to that version (e.g., Kuomintang, KMT, Taipei). The city of Beijing was called Beiping during the time period of this book; for readers’ convenience, I use the more familiar name, institutional titles excepted. Land and currency are given in the local units of the time (respectively, mu [equivalent to 2.47 acres] and yuan).

Superstitious Regimes Religion and the Politics of Chinese Modernity

one Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

Auspicious Omens of the Blue-and-White In early 1929, a young official sat in his modest offices in the civil service examination branch of the new Nationalist government and put together an ambitious book. It addressed what he thought was the most pressing issue confronting China, the ongoing clash between revolutionary secularists and religious patriots. Zhang Zhenzhi 張振之 had spoken out on the side of secularism during one of the biggest cultural debates of the 1920s, the dispute about the proper place of Christianity in nationalism and modern civilization. Since then, Zhang admitted, the battle of the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang 國民黨; KMT) to unify the country had exacted a high military and political price. The party had defeated or assimilated local militarists only to launch a new battle against its erstwhile Communist comrades and other domestic enemies. Thus Zhang saw massing before him forces of “terroristic political partisanship” on one side and “mystical and heterodox religious ideation” on the other. As a result, the choices for thinking persons were hopelessly muddled. In order to bring clarity to the situation, he assembled a compendium documenting the recent history of the relationship between numinous and political power. He gave this work the title 1


Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

Revolution and Religion (Geming yu zongjiao 革命與宗教) in order to make sure that readers understood their alternatives.1 Zhang named one of his most intriguing chapters “Auspicious Omens of the Blue-and-White” (“Qingbai de xiangrui” 青白的祥瑞), referring to the KMT’s colors. During the spring and summer of 1928, Zhang related, as Nationalist armies reached the climax of the Northern Expedition military unification drive, local newspapers reported the appearance of propitious signs. For instance, a chicken belonging to a Henan family had laid a miraculous egg. Observing raised markings on the egg’s surface, townspeople concluded that, far from being random, they in fact reproduced the twelve-pointed shining sun of the Nationalist flag. Following the mode of the time, they put the remarkable portent on display in the local social club to await “scientific inspection.” Not long after this discovery, an opiumsuppression official in the southern province of Guangdong, the KMT’s previous base, brought home an apparently unremarkable crab. Upon cooking it, he discovered red markings on the shell tracing the characters tongyi tianxia 統一天下, “unite all under heaven.” He concluded that the animal was a supernatural affirmation of the KMT’s destiny.2 These stories disturbed Zhang Zhenzhi on secularist principles. “Auspicious omens of the blue-and-white” was a phrase meant to spark cognitive dissonance in the vernacular of the day. “Blue-and-white” symbolized not just revolution but popular sovereignty, and therefore the agency of the individual subject. But “auspicious omens,” as Zhang explained, formed part of the origin myth of each new dynastic founder, staple features of the twenty-four Standard Histories that chronicled China’s dynasties. They therefore rested on the idea of the Mandate of Heaven and the cosmological power of ruler as pivot between heaven and earth. The omens appeared, then, as if travelers from a distant age surrounded by the trappings of modernity—resting in a social club, with townspeople eager to have the wonder inspected by scientists. Zhang dealt with this problem by applying his own scientific skepticism. Noting that the newspaper stories tended to cite hearsay rather than eyewitness accounts, he remarked, “we dare not grit our teeth and call these reports ‘the truth.’ ” But he added a thought-provoking suggestion. “We also have to consider,” he cautioned, “that many good omens are manifestations of the peoples’ psyche and reflections of their hopes.”3 If we say that the people are spreading superstition (mixin 迷信), he asked, could we not also say that they are full of hopes and expectations for the future? Zhang had in mind political hopes—to be free of warlord control and live under the new

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Nationalist regime—but his reference to the “psyches” (xinli 心理) of average people also revealed the new intellectual orthodoxy on religion in China, influenced by European and American sociological thought, that ascribed religious belief to psychological or social needs. He was thus able to reconcile the appearance of atavistic omens in the revolutionary world by rationalizing them as instrumental manifestations of desires that to him were more concrete and practical. In many ways, we still live in Zhang Zhenzhi’s world. It is one shaped by the proposition that political authority should be separated from numinous power, a core idea of secularism.4 The less than universal acceptance of this proposition—and indeed it is continually tested and contested— does not undercut its extraordinary influence. Thus, for instance, many may sympathize with Zhang Zhenzhi’s determination to find a “rational” and theoretical explanation for the appearance of the numinous in the public arena of actions associated with the politics of the nation-state: parties, representation, social reform. At its most basic, secularism proposes the division of religion from the political, social, and economic realms of public activity, as well as an inherent intellectual division between the numinous and the philosophical. When this book refers to “secularism” and “the proposition of secularization,” this is what I mean. This is a point worth clarifying, because the separation of the realms of power historically came with a corollary: that progress toward modernity entails progress toward the secular (which is what many people mean by “secularization,” whether they think it a good thing or bad). But there is an important subsidiary step in this process. If modernity is allowed to admit religion, it will be religion in a rationalized form—not tales of magical crabs and mystical eggs. In other words, religion can be distinguished from superstition. These two separations lie at the heart of this book, though as an empty center and a perpetual question rather than as established facts. This study investigates the role of religion in the construction of modernity and political power during the Nanjing Decade (1927–37) of Nationalist rule in China. It explores the modern recategorization of religious practices and people according to the assumptions of secular nationalism, as well as the impact of this recategorization on their social organization, political clout, and sheer ability to survive under hostile conditions. It examines how state power affected the religious lives and physical order of local communities, particularly in the Nationalist stronghold of Jiangsu province. It also looks at how politicians conceived of their own ritual role in an era when government was


Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

stripped of its cosmological underpinnings and meant to stem instead from popular sovereignty. The claims of secular nationalism and mobilizational politics prompted KMT leaders and cadres to conceive of the world of religious affiliations and ties as a dangerous realm of superstition that would lead the nation to ruin—the first “superstitious regime” of this book’s title. At the same time, it convinced them that national feeling and faith in the party-state would replace those ties. This was the second “superstitious regime.”

Why Is China Important to the History of Nationalist Secularism? The combination of iconoclasm, categorization, and nationalist mobilization that constituted the KMT campaign against superstition suggests comparison to various world historical precedents and contemporary movements. Where does the Nationalist example fit into the anthropology of “the secular as practical experience” that Talal Asad called for some years ago, and what insights can it offer?5 To begin with, this is a case of “nationalist secularism,” or secularism of the nation-state. Thus we have a double move: to shift the unit of power from the empire to the nation (and transfer sovereignty from the monarch to the people), and to separate religion from the realm of politics and public life more generally. The nearsimultaneity of these attempted transitions in China—one by political revolution, the other by various stages of social reform and revolutionary action—allows us to examine at close range the proposition that secularism, nationalism, and the category of “religion” as a discrete entity are inextricably linked in historical development. As in revolutionary France and Russia, overthrowing the monarch and constructing a nation-state required the invention of new ceremonial and symbolic forms. But the semicolonial status in which Chinese political elites saw themselves meant that they would not discard emblems of the past entirely. Thus, like Hindu nationalists who constructed a cultural past under colonial conditions in India, Chinese revolutionaries began to reclaim mythic heroes and other elements of the imperial past to place alongside their own martyrs and warriors in an array of civic symbols. What the revolutionaries would not countenance, however, was establishing a state religion that was nationalist in flavor. This distinguished China from its fierce cultural rival at the turn of the century, Japan (and,

Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism


indeed, distinguished the Nationalists from some of their reformist forebears of the previous generation). Not only did the Chinese revolution decline to maintain the emperor, as the transformative Meiji Restoration had, but “national essence” (guocui 國粹) in culture would never amount to endorsement of a “national religion” (guojiao 國教) on the order of state Shinto. As a result, the Nationalists were placed in a difficult position between total iconoclasm and cultural restorationism. Their endorsement of the symbolic past would therefore always be “traditionaleseque” rather than “traditionalist.” Their attacks on religious institutions, however, were very material and very damaging. In one important respect, however, they were substantially different in nature from similar attacks in France, Russia, and Kemalist Turkey, all of which Nationalist cadres studied and emulated. (They also studied Japan, but they mentioned only Turkey after 1927.) That is, there was no single overriding ecclesiastical structure in China that supported the numinous and political ancien régime—no single “church” to overturn with the “state.”6 The imperial system included a vast ritual network, much of which ended with the overthrow of Qing, but this was only a minor part of the overall Chinese religious experience. Attacking religion thus meant attacking a dispersed and eclectic agglomeration of institutions among various traditions, all of which in the revolutionaries’ view encouraged a mindset that impeded the construction of the nation and the development of modernity. This was a characteristic that the Nationalists—and their Communist counterparts—shared with modernizing elites throughout the colonized and semi-colonized world. It was an important link to contemporary Turkey, for example, where revolutionaries wrote that the “tyranny of tradition, customs, and rooted ideas” posed as serious a threat as the tyranny of governments.7 It shows a commonality between modernizing elites in China and those in Mexico, who attacked a much broader and more overarching church structure during the 1920s but in the course of the backlash dealt with a similar mix of local religious expressions, popular political response, and social friction created by an expanding and intrusive state, as is described in this book.8 Finally, like Meiji Japan, late Qing and Republican China developed what Gerald Figal calls an “elite caste” who constructed new systems of knowledge and saw them enacted into law.9 Among such knowledge systems was a distinction among “science,” “religion,” and “superstition,” legally enforced though both behavioral prohibitions and promotions. Chinese officials would adopt from Japan both the linguistic


Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

innovation and the legal framework and meld them with longstanding local cultural prejudices and new revolutionary politics to create a modernizing middle ground. That middle ground would, however, prove quite difficult to hold.

Categories The bifurcation of “religion” and “superstition” is less frequently acknowledged as a mainstay of the idea of modernity than is secularism overall, but it is in fact its natural corollary. Both result from the emergence of the concept of religion as a discrete category of human endeavor, separable from science and politics—as Asad notes, from the “domain of power.”10 Although originating in post-Reformation Europe, this conception would reverberate in what might be termed the “translingual world of colonial reach”—the places that perforce dealt with the cultural as well as the economic and political effects of colonialism. This world included countries, such as Japan, that were not directly colonized (and that themselves became colonial powers), as well as in-between cases such as China. This is the world in which translation, terminology, and categorization became powerful currency, traded not only among the arbiters of cultural modernity but among those who sought political and economic power.11 Within the capacious realm of translated and translingual terms, few words carry as much disguised legal and political capacity as “religion.” The disguise stems from the putative separation of religion from politics under modernity. Asad has described the essence of the post-Reformation definition of religion as “a set of propositions to which believers gave assent, and which could therefore be judged and compared as between different religions and as against natural science.”12 This theoretically placed different religions in mutual competition in the free market of ideas; potential believers need only assess a faith’s truth or falsity. Yet the coupling of the expansion of empire with the humanistic but ultimately self-regarding European concession that other faiths besides Christianity might be admitted into the ranks of “world religions” provided many opportunities for cultural notions of religion to mesh with institutional power.13 Among the myriad encounters that resulted, two recurrent themes hold the most relevance for this study. One is the notion that, even in an age of religious pluralism and secular nationalism, the civilizational qualities of incipient nations could be represented by their “true faiths”: a concept made flesh in the arrayed representatives at the World’s Parliament of Religions

Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism


in Chicago in 1893. The parliament permitted representatives of Asian religions in particular to speak in their own voices, and some offered antiimperialist critiques as well as arguments for their religions as a source of spiritual nourishment for a depleted world. Yet many of the “traditions” thus presented were in fact under construction at that precise moment as part of religious reform movements, which were, in turn, largely occasioned by the upheaval brought about by the missionary encounter, colonial law, and, above all, the modern redefinition of religion. What the official representatives of Japanese and Sri Lankan Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and so on offered, then, were religious portraits tailored to meet not only fractious home environments but also the Protestant sensibilities of the parliament’s organizers. Surely longstanding Chinese official sensibilities might account for the Qing Confucian delegate Peng Guangyu’s 彭光譽 (aka Pung Kwang Yu) denunciation of Buddhism and Daoism as prone to engendering dangerous heterodox groups. But the organizers had him present his paper in tandem with one critiquing these religions from a Chinese Christian perspective, which won a prize offered by Reverend John Henry Barrows, who had made it a point to seek out work for the parliament criticizing Daoism, the “Demon in the Triad of Chinese Religion,” in particular.14 Hence the second theme: whether religion could be permitted a role in modernity. Again, the answer depended on the definition of religion, which, although increasingly subject to both law and custom in constitutional states of all types, became a matter of considerable national and international anxiety in the translingual world of colonial reach. Such anxiety was understandable since the matter originated not only in cultural debates but in international law itself. On one hand, the law itself proved imbued with value, since diplomats and translators such as W. A. P. Martin freely admitted to bringing international law to the Chinese government with missionary intent.15 On the other hand, terms such as “religion” became a matter of treaty negotiation and politically laden translation as the European and American powers demanded proselytizing rights for missionaries. In Japan, shortly after the Meiji Restoration, political thinkers and translators cast about for a technical and conceptual translation that would both satisfy treaty demands and somehow emphasize religion’s—specifically, Christianity’s—distinctiveness and hence noncompetitive nature with imperial ritual. Out of many possibilities, they chose a term from classical Chinese, zongjiao 宗教 ( J. shūkyō). In so doing, they sought to acknowledge a special category, discrete from other realms of human endeavor and


Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

authority, and one that came attached with a sense of Christianity as the norm.16 The upshot of this act of triangulated translation was that the Japanese reintroduced to China an already familiar term, zongjiao, but in a newly unfamiliar sense—a “return graphic loan,” in Lydia Liu’s phrase. The prior existence of zongjiao as a compound referring to Buddhism, Anthony C. Yu writes, may well have influenced Japanese translators (and the Chinese officials and scholars of subsequent decades who followed them), but the discourse in which shūkyō/zongjiao applied was now much broader.17 In fact, even before the redefined term zongjiao was popularized in China, the modern sense of religion as national characteristic and evangelistic instrument of social Darwinian competition had crept into the thought of politicians such as Kang Youwei; in essence, then, jiao 教 (teaching) had taken on the characteristics of zongjiao avant le nom.18 It was these qualities— as well as the notion of separating religion from politics, education, science, and so on—that distinguished the realm of modern religion, zong jiao, from the categorization jiao that had preceded it, much in the way the post-Reformation secularist calculus of religion had created that category anew on the bed of earlier conceptions of European religious life. Earlier prejudices—such as anticlericalist or fundamentalist stances among the Confucian elite—were folded into the new formulation (although the stance of the Confucian elite would also be rendered suspect under the new vocabulary). Elite anti-Buddhist and anti-Daoist rhetoric, for instance, had proved compatible with the formulations of first Catholic, and later Protestant, missionaries in China, who critiqued the idolatry and excessive ritualism into which Chinese traditions had fallen, sometimes as a stand-in for intra-Christian disputes.19 The introduction of another neologism via Japan, mixin 迷信 ( J. meishin), enabled the final melding of these two strands of critique into something new, as “superstition” replaced “heterodoxy” as the weighty pejorative.20 The writings of Liang Qichao 梁啟超 (1873–1929) offer evidence of a suggestive shift in opinion on the relationship of zongjiao to mixin: in February 1902 he declared that “what Westerners call religion” consisted of “superstition and faith,” but by October he had changed his mind, deciding that “although the superstition in religion can be destroyed, the morality in it cannot.”21 It was this idea—that religion could be stripped of harmful superstition—that formed the key to the cultural reform of the century to come.

Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism


Although the religion/superstition formulation bore some trace of linkages with imperial-era categories such as “orthodoxy” (zhengjiao 正教) versus “heterodoxy” (xiejiao 邪教) or “improper cults” ( yinci 淫祠; often interchanged with “improper sacrifices,” yinsi 淫祀), the dichotomy discarded the Confucian righteousness and moral emperorship upon which these earlier concepts stood. Its claims rested on a declaration of universal scientific truth. As Steve Smith argues, it is rationality rather than a sense of impurity or violation that drives the post-Enlightenment conception of superstition.22 Zheng and xie, by contrast, operated within a closed system of mutual opposition and, therefore, mutual need. The editors of a late Ming Zhejiang gazetteer who condemned the teachings of Buddhists and Daoists as fabrications, for instance, continued, “But since there is yang, there must also be yin. Since there is orthodoxy, there must be heterodoxy.”23 Heterodoxy cannot be eradicated, the authors conceded, only warned against. This is more than simply a concession to social forces and local conditions; it is an unusually frank statement of a common underlying attitude. Moreover, as Kwang-ching Liu and Richard Shek point out, the heterodox also existed as a religious concept outside the state (within Buddhism, Daoism, Eternal Mother religion, etc.).24 By contrast, although they made handy foils, mixin and zongjiao did not exist in the same kind of eternal combat as zheng and xie—perhaps because secularism stood by to undermine them both, but more inherently because the perfectibility of the modern self-conscious subject demanded that he be able to overcome superstition once and for all. With the rise of revolution and republicanism and the fall of the Qing, the link between cosmos and ruler was severed. Sovereignty was meant to originate not from the balance of Heaven, Earth, and Man but from human agency alone. But in essence, even before the events of 1911, the rise of the concept of religion had already initiated the break between political and numinous power. Although zongjiao laid claim to a universal definition, it actually carried the shadow of Protestant Christianity with it as the ultimate model of religion—as Hsi-yuan Chen has noted, much as jiao, ostensibly neutral, often retained the assumption of Confucianism as primus inter pares among all possible teachings.25 To have zongjiao—or reforming whatever went on in the country’s temples, monasteries, and shrines to look more like zongjiao—meant to become modern. The anarchist, atheist, and later KMT elder Wu Zhihui 吳稚暉 (1865–1953) complained about this in 1908, muttering that, in contrast to France, “in China the average person


Introduction: Religion, Modernity, Nationalism

claims that everyone needs a belief, whether it is Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Islam, frog religion, or snake religion. If not, he will be an uncivilized person.”26 Part of this was due to the example set by missionaries and Chinese Christian converts as they modeled new technological expertise, educational methods, and habits of patriotism and brought the issue of conversion and religious identity to the fore.27 Such quotidian models found reinforcement in the realm of state-building and national competition. The burgeoning constitutional movement brought with it the idea that freedom of religion was a requisite of the modern nation-state.28 The point for modernizers, stung by the regard of the world, was precisely that religious liberty ought not extend to “snake religion” if China was to be accorded a place in the realm of nation-states. From the late Qing reform movement on, then, fixing the boundaries of zongjiao became an essential task of state-sponsored modernization. Terms such as yinci and xiejiao did not disappear by any means; not only did people find it necessary to take refuge in their more familiar confines while struggling to visualize the foggy limits of mixin, as we will see in this book, but to this day Chinese governments continue to apply these two terms against religious societies that organize contrary to state wishes.29 Mixin, meanwhile, has developed a broader life as a term that can in various contexts connote danger or lack of knowledge and education but also exists more generally as a category of customary and religious behavior (“doing mixin”). Its rise indicates the wide transformation of the idea of what proper “religion” should look like in the modern age, which in turn affects standards of personal and community behavior. Such a shift was hardly limited to China. Webb Keane has observed that Protestant missions became key vehicles of a “representational economy” of modernity for non-elites and elites around the world, prominent characteristics of which include a suspicion of elaborate liturgical display and a concern for the correspondence of speech, act, and intention—in other words, “sincerity.”30 Although Keane derives his observations from the interactions of converts and non-converts on the Indonesian island of Sumba, the resemblance to the language of liberation and agency that the Nationalists would use to justify their campaigns against superstition is striking. Keane identifies authentic speech, freedom of the subject, and a rejection of the ritual value of objects (in favor of entering the world of productive capitalism) as the keys to becoming modern in this iteration. Similarly, KMT propagandists cast Chinese popular religion as a realm of fatalism that impeded individual agency, national unity, and material

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progress: “If only we can rescue the masses from the bitter sea of superstition in which so many have sunk so deep, then we might regain our lost ability for enterprise and dedication to progress and make the Chinese people independent, equal, free, and forever capable of surviving in the world!”31 But as Keane notes, it is not that an emphasis on inwardness and sincerity did not exist earlier in religions (perhaps, in the Chinese case, “mindfulness” serves as a useful historical synonym as well). It is rather that in response to globalizing Protestantism and the spread of nation-state, these qualities have increasingly become the primary defining factors both of religion and of modernity. As a friend of Keane’s states, “we are all Protestants now.”32

A Brief Evolutionary History of the Anti-Superstition Campaign The idea that religions, now with their own evolutionary existence as a natural category, competed for hearts and minds, much as political systems and nation-states did, gave rise to an extremely fertile cultural and political scene in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century China.33 The full extent of the repercussions is only just beginning to be explored by scholars, and description lies beyond the scope of this introduction. Within that history, however, four important developments influence the story that I tell in this book, and so are worth highlighting and summarizing here. The first is the growing competition for resources between an expanding, modernizing government and local religious institutions. This competition, and more specifically the government appropriation of religious resources, was increasingly justified in terms of cultural modernization and religious reform. Often, however, it originated in the costly demands of the newly expansive nation-state. One early manifestation can be found in the calls during the 1898 reform movement to use temples and temple property for new-style education, which coalesced around the catchphrase miaochan xingxue 廟產興學, “temple property for schools.” Although in some ways reminiscent of earlier efforts by officials to convert heterodox temples into community and other types of schools, most notably during the Ming (some 1898 reformers took specific aim at Buddhist and Daoist sites, for example), miaochan xingxue soon became a much wider concept, based on the secular separation of government and religion. For most proponents, the purpose was not to promote the orthodoxy of the imperial state, which by the late Qing was increasingly beside the point. Indeed, the temples in


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question sometimes included those in the roster of official sacrifices as well (such as ones to Wenchang), and by 1904–5 the central government was itself dismissing or reconceiving its ritual duties in a radical way.34 Some reformers saw their main purpose as promoting the new-style education above all, and this meant some were glad to share temple space so as to take advantage of the site’s role as a social gathering place (schools sharing space with temples also had long precedent in some communities).35 As Li Hsiao-t’i comments, “Despite the fact that superstition was one of the targets the late Qing enlightenment movement attacked most relentlessly, what is interesting is that religion was intimately connected to the intellectual trend of enlightenment.”36 Thus Buddhist and Daoist clergy also participated in the new educational reform movement by setting up reading rooms and lecture halls of their own. Although this relationship was to grow considerably more adversarial in coming decades, it points to the second important context, and that is the religious “revival” that began in the late nineteenth century, to adapt Holmes Welch’s phrase. Perhaps a better way to put it, though, is simply that beginning around the 1870s China experienced a flourishing in both new religious organizations and the intellectual examination of religious thought and practice.37 This included, in Buddhism, Daoism, and Islam, the growth of study societies and lay groups (especially in urban centers); efforts to rethink the monastic and education system, revive temples, mosques, and ordination centers, and cultivate international contacts; the creation of publication programs encompassing popular magazines as well as canonical studies and reprint projects; and eventually the formation of national religious organizations. This period also saw the rise of “redemptive societies,” groups that drew from both sectarian religion and the syncretic sanjiao heyi 三教和一 tradition, which linked Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist threads. Many of the new societies, however, addressed universal salvation and the condition of world civilization, adding other faiths, teachers, and spiritual technologies to their eclectic visions. Indeed, a strong argument can be made for redemptive societies as a major site of Chinese modernity—and a rare one that linked urban and rural developments.38 The political and cultural elites of the late Qing and Republic were heavily involved in these new iterations of religious culture, which featured Christian and Buddhist support for the Nationalists and their precursor organizations; strong links between lay Buddhists and the anarchist movement; substantial contributions to Buddhist and Daoist study groups and charities from members of the Shanghai and Beijing business class; and the

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involvement of a wide spectrum of political and social leaders in various redemptive societies. Moreover, it was not unusual for individuals to take part in several of these activities at once or consecutively. More broadly, the generation that came of age politically in the 1910s and 1920s felt the cultural impact of Christian secondary and higher education, where Protestant modernity was most overtly modeled, as well as the resurgence of Buddhist studies in intellectual currents.39 In this context, then, the third development—the doubts about the place of religion in the Chinese nation and world civilization that boiled over during the New Culture Movement and the anti-imperialist movement of the mid-1920s—looks less like simple antitraditionalist critiques and more like one proposition among many for the shape of Chinese modernity to come. These debates built on the broader cultural antisuperstition rhetoric of the late Qing and early Republic, which had spread through three main routes. In addition to the political-philosophical essays of figures such as Liang Qichao and Zhang Binglin 章炳麟 (1869–1936), a broad swath of social reform literature emerged, ranging from late Qing political novels (most famously Saomi zhou 掃迷帚 [The broom to sweep away superstition]; 1905) to popular education lectures and press editorials.40 Related to this was an intra-religious antisuperstition discourse. Naturally, Christian publications contributed heavily to the identification and cataloguing of superstitious practices, but articles and separate pamphlets on the subject increasingly appeared in the Buddhist and Daoist press, where new ideas about religious reform merged with older lines of antiheterodox analysis within particular traditions. Most significantly, what initially had been a haphazard development of ideas about what in Chinese religion might be termed “superstition” (mostly local cults, but perhaps elite practices like the planchette as well) now felt the influence of the world religions theology of Ernst Renan and Max Müller, as well as functionalist theories of religion’s social and cultural roles. These last found their greatest popularization in China via evolutionary-minded theologians such as the now largely forgotten Allan Menzies, who explored the histories of “primitive” religions—including those of China—so as to create a scale of progress ending at Christianity.41 This intention of explaining the natural origins and progress of religion found literal expression in the English title of Li Ganchen and Luo Yuanyen’s influential 1924 Pochu mixin quanshu 破除迷信全書 (Eradicating superstition compendia), rendered as Superstitions: Their Origins and Fallacy.42 Designing their book as a weapon for evangelism, the Methodists Li and Luo


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collected evidence from church members’ research on prognostication and geomancy, millenarian cults, and rival religious organizations, categorizing it according to broad types, such as river and ocean gods, Buddhist deities, or “miscellaneous.” Broader theological-cum-sociological classifications filtered over into reformist Buddhist discourse as well. A 1928 lecture by the Xi’an Buddhist Kang Jiyao 康寄遙 (1880–1969), reprinted and distributed by the important Shanghai lay publishing house Foxue shuju, described superstitious belief in deities under the rubrics of nature worship, monotheism, and polytheism.43 Thus Zhang Zhenzhi’s Religion and Revolution fit into this realm of works of religious classification as cultural argument, except with added political valence. The 1911 Revolution had broken the link between state and cosmic power. When this failed to produce a strong Chinese nation-state, unified and able to negotiate its interests on the world stage, critics blamed lingering elements of the cultural past. These now gained even greater political significance. During the relative expansiveness of the early Republic, politicians could debate the limits of the separation of religion and the nascent representative state on an abstract level. As provisional president, the everpolitic Sun Yat-sen was conscious of the support the international Christian community had shown him and his revolutionary endeavors, and he was careful not to alienate this constituency. Perhaps revealing the origin of his oft-repeated rallying phrase, “to make revolution, we must uproot hearts-and-minds” (geming xian gexin 革命先革心)—the future slogan of the KMT government and indeed, the antisuperstition campaign—Sun claimed that activists had adapted the concept of revolution (geming 革命) from the way church groups sought personal and social change.44 New Culture critics, however, began to absorb other influences, ranging from the atheism of the late Qing anarchist movement to the writings of Friedrich Engels, and linked religion to autocracy and imperialism in accounting for the failures of the Qing and Republican governments. Intellectual debates posited that aesthetics, philosophy, or science would replace religion in modern civilization.45 The most important development for politics, though, was the emergence of the term shenquan 神權 (divine authority) as a description of both an evolutionary era and a social pathology. Chen Duxiu 陳獨秀 (1879–1942) set the tone in his iconic 1918 essay “The Von Ketteler Monument.” In Chen’s estimation, the commemorative arch, which the German government forced the Qing to erect as a memorial for their minister killed during the Boxer uprising, stood not only for China’s humiliation by foreign pow-

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ers but for the motley culture of mysticism, reverence for monarchy, xenophobia, and warrior mythology that had created the Boxers in the first place. “Now there are two possible roads in the world,” Chen wrote. “One is the bright road of republicanism, science, and atheism, and the other is the dark one of autocracy, superstition, and divine authority.”46 It was a short route from this to shenquan as one of the “four thick ropes” binding the Chinese peasantry, as Mao Zedong famously wrote in his 1927 “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan.”47 Shenquan lay the rhetorical groundwork for political agitation against religion as part of the new politics of mass mobilization of the 1920s, whether in the anti-Christian movement of 1922–27 or in the antisuperstition movement that partially overlapped with and eventually supplanted it. But as Michael Murdock demonstrates for the anti-Christian movement, such rhetoric in fact could disguise a combination of populist activism in the trenches with pragmatic accommodation on the part of institutionbuilding political leaders.48 Thus the fourth element becomes significant: the application of the resources of the modern nation-state to government planning and religious classification. Such a process began fitfully in the early Republic, with plans to register temples and organize China’s major religions into national associations. The mass politics of the United Front of the KMT, the Chinese Communist Party, and other allied parties, however, coupled with the demands of state-building, made delineating targets of activism from targets of appropriation, assimilation, and accommodation an absolute necessity. These were the conditions that created the campaigns of 1927–37. In the narrowest possible sense, the “campaign to destroy superstition” refers to a specific movement for social and customs reform, launched from within the Nationalist Party and meant to extend through both KMT and government organs into every realm of society during the early years of the Nanjing regime. Like concurrent campaigns to eradicate opium-smoking, gambling, prostitution, illiteracy, and other social ills, this movement was meant to facilitate both the creation of a nation ( jianguo 建國) and the governance of the party ( yidang zhiguo 以黨治國) by cleansing society of its deleterious aspects and fundamentally reordering it. In this case, social harm allegedly emanated from wealth-gathering temples, wasteful rituals, and parasitic clergy, fortunetellers, mediums, and the like. Temple seizures and conversions constituted the campaign’s most notorious aspect, but it also extended to prohibitions on temple festivals and bans on some ritual specialists. The government resuscitated these prohibitions during the


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mid-1930s, especially after the start of the party’s effort at directed mass cultural revival, the New Life Movement (Xin shenghuo yundong 新生活 運動). In the broader view of this book, however, the antisuperstition campaigns of necessity also include the government’s delineation of the limits of religious freedom and its legitimation and banning of certain religious groups; the broader effects of temple policy and social prohibitions on local society throughout the 1930s; and the KMT’s own civic ceremony and customs reform, which was meant to take the place of popular religion in the spiritual life of the nation. Each of these topics is explored in the succeeding chapters.

The Scope of the Book Having described the historical context that defined the relationship between government and religion in China during the twentieth century, I should clarify the empirical approach I take in this book by focusing on a few key areas. This study takes as its starting point the Nationalists’ definition of the religion of the Chinese people as a problem of modernity and of governance during the Nanjing Decade. Their main concern was how to place the religious inheritance of the majority—Buddhism, Daoism, what is often rendered as “popular religion” but might better be termed “local religion,” and remnants of the state cult and other aspects of Confucianism—into the new rubric of religion and superstition, and what that meant for government policy and the nation’s fate. Their field of activity might therefore be rendered in crude shorthand as “Chinese religion,” to contrast the KMT’s post-1927 programs with the atheist or specifically antiChristian tone of the antireligious movements that directly preceded them. This is not to suggest, however, that Christianity, Islam, and Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism (which the Nationalists regarded as an entity separate from Buddhism in Han China) are not “Chinese religions.” That is certainly incorrect in both the long-term historical frame and the immediate Republican context. Scholars such as Gray Tuttle and Ryan Dunch have shown very effectively how seriously Tibetan Buddhists and Protestants viewed their roles in the communities of the new nation. As we will see, from time to time Christian KMT leaders such as Niu Yongjian 鈕永建 (1870–1965) emerged to defend the interests of formalized religion and their particular co-religionists. Two extremely important distinctions must nonetheless be made. First, Nanjing Decade policy effectively rendered these three religions ideologi-

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cally and, often, administratively separate from the others. All three received special status from their perception as cultural issues that impinged on international relations and the “border problem”—the term of the day for the Republic’s dealings with non-Han neighbors and territories. This both largely removed them from the political discussion of superstition after 1927 and placed a great deal of the responsibility for administering them outside the Ministry of the Interior—despite its technical purview over all official religious associations—and gave it to organs such as the Commission on Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs or, in the case of Christianity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (for dealing with missionaries) and the Ministry of Education (for overseeing curricula in church-run schools, which became the biggest Christian-related problem of Nationalist governance). Although Islam sometimes appeared in Nationalist eyes as a version of the “border problem,” Muslim leaders claimed a broader place in the intellectual and cultural discourse of the 1920s and 1930s, challenging the nationalist and ethnic inclusiveness of both the KMT government and leftist intellectuals alike during the course of several notorious slander cases.49 Yet even when attacked as an ethnic index, Islam enjoyed a position comfortably apart from the realm of “superstition.” The second distinction that is important here is that the personal affiliations of high-ranking government officials prove to be an extremely unreliable gauge of their willingness to defend the interests of local religion in particular, or even religion in general.50 As has already been argued, religiosity along modern lines did not preclude the disparaging of superstition. For example, the prominent Buddhists within the party, such as Dai Jitao 戴季陶 (1891–1949), Lin Sen 林森 (1868–1943), and Ju Zheng 局正 (1876– 1951), showed little overt opposition to the reform of popular customs and more often publicly extolled the virtues of modern science than those of religion.51 Only during the national crises of the mid-1930s did they begin to engineer the protection of certain temples from government incursions. During this time, they emerged as part of a “customs coalition” of elder former radicals, military men, and young conservatives in the party, such as Chiang Kai-shek’s secretary Shao Yuanchong 邵元沖 (1890–1936).52 This loose alliance extolled the virtues of reviving heroic figures from China’s past to rally a fractious and disunited public. In fact, the call to eradicate superstition made for strange bedfellows indeed. The most virulent antisuperstition writing from the central party organization emanated from the KMT Department of Propaganda (Zhongyang xuanchuan bu 中央宣傳部) run by Ye Chucang 葉楚傖 (1887–1946),


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the former longtime editor of the Republican Daily, a classical stylist who advocated vernacular writing and a man who had flirted with several party factions but appeared to swear fealty to none of them. He thus defies the dictum that antireligious activism came out of leftist impulses only.53 Another prominent party voice on customs and superstition was Chen Guofu 陳果夫 (1892–1951), like Ye, a governor of Jiangsu during the 1930s, and one half of the leadership of the notoriously conservative, Chiang Kai-shek– allied “CC clique.” Although Chen proclaimed more sympathy for finding the inherent strengths in a Chinese cultural essence, during his term as governor the techniques of stigmatizing superstition as a mechanism of local power settled into Jiangsu communities. Although the language was less radical and the actions less violent, then, the inherent goal remained much the same. Thus, one result of making the antisuperstition campaigns a tale of modernity is to lift them out of the limiting context of leftist and rightist politics that has weighed down modern Chinese historiography for so long. To be sure, political ideology and contestation for factional advantage played their parts, but in the long view, two things emerge about the modern redefinition of religion in China. First, self-styled modernizers from an astonishingly broad range of the political, cultural, and religious spectra agreed that superstition was an obstacle to China’s progress. Second, the commonality of this metaphor combined with the vagueness of “superstition” as a referent meant that combating superstition became a means in Chinese society, rather than an end. So it remains to this day.

Bringing the State Back In In describing the role of religion in the construction of Nationalist modernity and political power, I work from the state out, simply because it was the state (more accurately here, the party and the state) that made religion a problem. To assess the results, I have relied on sources produced outside the state (newspapers, religious periodicals, memoirs and wenshi ziliao, local histories, travel books) as well as those produced by and in interaction with the state (archives, petitions, legal cases, customs surveys and temple registrations, government gazettes and party publications, propaganda pamphlets). I do not wish to be apologetic, however, about creating a tale that is about modernity, but that is also about the state—for however much the nation-state may be overdetermined as an abstract force in the modern historiography, and the state overall dominant in the written history of

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China, its qualities as everyday experience remain vague and elusive.54 It is worth clarifying the direction in which I hope such an exploration will lead. One problem with telling the tale of a nation-state stems from the very term “state.” This may be a necessary evil of linguistic variation (one can only say “government” so many times), but “state” also implies a univocality and a degree of overwhelming power and influence that, however much desired by the architects of modern governments, were rarely achieved. Certainly such univocality was far from the case during the Nanjing Decade. Nonetheless, the purpose of this book is not simply to provide further evidence of the limitations of the Nationalist government in Nanjing, although that element is present in the narrative. A much more interesting story, I think, is to be discovered in the details of the difficulty the Nationalists encountered sorting out their role vis-à-vis religion, modernity, and the public, and the public’s sometimes sympathetic, sometimes radically different, view on the matter. This narrates, in effect, a tale of the state, but one somewhat different from that which we are used to seeing. “States” (meaning the people who put states together) lie to themselves; they struggle under the weight of mutual disagreements; their goals shift as often as their tactics. States, it is not new to point out but salient to remember here, may act in the name of nations but need not be consonant with them. One of the central concerns of this book is the modern state’s obsession with surveying, categorizing, and planning—with, as Timothy Mitchell says of colonial modernity, “organizing the world endlessly to represent it.”55 In the case of the republican nation-state, that representation became imbued with an even heavier layer of political significance (“representing” the will of the people) even as it resembled the colonial state in its organizational mentality (“representing” society and nation in legible and comprehensible bits).56 Moreover, modern statecraft, James Scott has argued, depends on an ever-increasing level of abstraction and typification; as states grow larger in scope and more ambitious in their schemes, officials grow increasingly “removed from the society they are charged with governing.”57 This necessitates the creation of standardized categories, languages, and literal and figurative maps to render people, landscapes, and social practices legible to the state. Although this is sometimes taken to be a liberating process in modern politics—as with the equality of citizenship—Scott points out that much of social reality can elude this process of categorization, a theme explored at some length in this book. Becoming legible, he notes, enables access to state resources (such as medicine, disaster relief, education),


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but it can also open populations up to the predations of state expansion and social engineering. Nonetheless, the architects of modern nation-states should not be conceived solely as agents enacting governmental experiments on a subjected population. Not only did governance involve negotiation and resistance, but state officials themselves self-consciously imagined and reimagined their roles as nation-builders, giving rise to mutual disagreements and multiple subject positions among political actors. As Partha Chatterjee remarks, the rational state’s emphasis on planning is ultimately undermined by the fact that the state also exists “as a site where subjects of power in society interact, ally, and contend with one another in the political process.”58 By taking upon themselves ever-expanding mandates of cultural and social reform, the architects of mobilizational and revolutionary governments like the Nationalist regime in fact expose themselves to further political contestation, from inside as well as out. Thus the tale of modernity and of the state can usefully be narrated by examining both the articulation of ideas about religion at the central level and their effects on local communities. Would-be KMT modernizers saw the “old” world of superstitious associations—full of danger, unscrupulous behavior, and irrational fervor—and the “new” arena of attachment to the nation as opposing regimes. In many ways, however, this was a false distinction. Chinese religious practice admitted wide variety and relied on an array of social organizations—indeed, hence the threat to state authority. On the other side of the equation, regulated civic ceremony and government-authored rituals drew on a recent past of mass mobilization and revolutionary fervor and continuing promises of political representation and social rights. Thus both religious practice and civic ceremony constitute complex, contested, and potentially unstable areas in their own right, “affective regimes” with their own histories that can be hidden or flattened by the secularization narrative. Therefore, linking the histories of the KMT antisuperstition campaign and the party-state’s proposed civic replacements for religion provides opportunities to examine the propositions of secularization and nationalism at their very core. Although the intellectual arguments put forth by KMT leaders about the rational superiority of nationalism over religion hold some interest in themselves, framing them in the proposed and actual movements of bodies, property, and communities reveals rather more about how the conflict actually took shape and which elements proved influential over the long run.

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Local and National This book examines the major permutations of the problem of religion and superstition as matters of national policy during the Nanjing Decade and then explores how that policy interacted with local history in what I have dubbed the “Nationalist heartland”—Jiangsu province, the capital of Nanjing, and, very occasionally here, parts of Anhui and Zhejiang. This is where the Nanjing party-and-government established its power base and conducted its experiments in governance. Furthermore, Jiangsu offers a widely varied religious and social landscape in which to investigate the arrival of new forms of cultural and political categorization and regulation. The south both boasted powerful old-line Buddhist and Daoist institutions and served as the epicenter of China’s religious modernization movements. Many communities in the north were experiencing economic and military upheaval, but also bore the brunt of both the reformist zeal and the cultural disdain of outsiders. Although Jiangsu therefore makes an ideal laboratory for studying the place of religion in modernity and governance, its story is certainly not the only possible one. Indeed, the Nationalist obsession with superstition began not there but in Guangzhou, during the time of the KMT central administration (1923–27). Poon Shuk Wah’s study of the antisuperstition campaign in Guangzhou not only describes the intellectual and political antecedents of this movement but also demonstrates the importance of local history to understanding the effects of activism against religion.59 Local circumstances shaped religious formations as well as political developments. In Guangzhou, for instance, we see the social and political importance of religiously active charities and merchant organizations and namh-mouh “hearthdwelling” Daoist masters in negotiating antisuperstition activity. There were counterparts in Jiangnan—especially in Shanghai and Suzhou—but in different concentrations, types, and degrees of organization. Guangzhou religious adherents also bore the first brunt of KMT antireligious experimentation under the 1923–27 regime and, after 1929, felt the force of a local party entity, the Customs Reform Committee (Fengsu gaige weiyuan hui 風俗改革委員會), which took combating superstition as one of its main purposes.60 In the post-1927 KMT heartland, by contrast, it was the general party branches of Jiangsu province and the special municipalities of Nanjing and Shanghai that not only spearheaded antisuperstition activism in their localities but generated national policy on customs reform overall. Although the


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central government and party were concerned with religion and customs as a problem of social control and cultural improvement around the nation— including in places, like Guangzhou and Guangdong province, that perpetually seemed on the brink of slipping out of its grasp—the unrest generated by activist temple seizures and social prohibitions right on its doorstep in Jiangsu was the matter of first concern. This is what spurred the struggles with local communities and the continual process of readjusting religious policy explored in this book. There can be no doubt that being in the Nationalist heartland created special conditions for religious practitioners during the Nanjing Decade. Yet there is equally little doubt that although some temples and religious groups in parts of China more loosely in central KMT hands may have had a much easier time of it, others suffered under the rule of persons who shared the Nationalists’ antisuperstition goals.61

Overview This book is organized into three thematic parts. The reader will detect a gradual chronological advancement from Part I (which mainly covers the first three years of the Nanjing regime) to Part III (which deals more with events of the mid-1930s as well as with earlier precedents), but because this study is designed to investigate the social, cultural, and political effects of the antisuperstition campaign as it sprawled outward, some looping back in time is necessary. In Part I, “Of Legislation and ling,” I explore the immediate policy implications of the KMT’s adoption of the keywords “religion” and “superstition” into an administrative framework. This section lays out the governmental structure for handling religion during the Nanjing Decade, which spelled out the break from the cosmological imperial state much more clearly and ambitiously than previous attempts during the early Republic and late Qing. Chapter 2 explores how the issue of freedom of religion quickly shifted away from the matter of Christianity and imperialism after 1927 and instead focused on targeting groups, such as redemptive societies, that posed organizational threats to the nascent state. In a hostile climate religious leaders scrambled to find safety in the corporate hierarchy of state-legitimized religious associations but in the process reified a restricted definition of what “religion” ought to look like under the modern nation-state. In Chapter 3 I investigate how Nationalist activists and government officials attempted to redefine public space, power, and activism by usurping the authority of City God and other temples as they spread through local communities. This generated protests at a level that

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forced the central government to author a broader and seemingly more legalistic temple policy. Such regulations nonetheless instituted a “gray zone” where the state could still claim temple property under various quasi-legal and even illegal circumstances without much repercussion. Thus the Nationalists attempted to redefine public life on terms favorable to the state in several ways. Part II, “Material Motives,” explores the ramifications in Jiangsu province of this attempt to redefine the relationship of temples and their communities. In Chapter 4, a variety of temple managers, Daoist priests, warring lineages, and elderly female temple attendants deal with the new institutions and lines of rhetoric offered by the KMT. Jiangsu social actors adopted new legal and political tactics to different degrees depending on local conditions but also demonstrated their grasp of the system and their public roles in ways that the Nationalists did not anticipate. Chapter 5 looks more closely at the spatial, economic, and ritual changes effected by temple confiscations and festival bans in the Nationalist regime’s ideal community of its capital, Nanjing, and its effective opposite in their eyes, the troubled and troublesome northern Jiangsu county of Suqian. Contestation could take place at the level of overt rhetorical opposition, ritual routes overwritten and rewritten, and the formal and informal use of property in the community. Even the most ambitious plans for Nationalist reauthorship of religious sites, however, often had to deal with a nagging “religious remainder” that lingered on. Part III, “Transactional Modernity,” looks more closely at the idea of ritual competition and multiple declarations of modernity. Chapter 6 focuses on the ritual specialists who the Nationalists perceived as the living embodiments of superstition: fortune-tellers, geomancers, spirit mediums, and the makers of spirit money. Although the state claimed such persons to be unproductive and able to undermine the ability of others to achieve agency as modern, self-conscious subjects, many ritual specialists laid a strong claim to a place not only in the economy and society but also in the politically represented nation as well. The question of the role of the religious in the nation-state comes to a head in Chapter 7, in which I examine the Nationalists’ attempt to create their own secularist “affective regime” to replace religion, centered on revised senses of the calendar, community ritual, death ritual and burial, and the commemoration of national heroes. The KMT viewed this as a zero-sum game, wherein the dangerous, centrifugal forces of superstition would be succeeded by the unifying faith in nationalism and the party-state. Circumstances continually undermined


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this assertion, however: not just the shortcomings of Nationalist ceremonial called it into question, but more important the actions of people— sometimes even within the KMT party and government—who sought ways to merge patriotic expression with religious observance. Thus the religious remainder emerged here as well. I argue that the results of this putative competition reveal the weaknesses at the core of the secular nationalist proposition. In a similar vein, Talal Asad has pinpointed that the problem of the secularization thesis lies in the fact that “the categories of politics and religion turn out to implicate each other more profoundly than we thought.”62 Although many have flocked to agree with his critique, ample room remains for understanding just how secularism and nationalism have lived with religion on a quotidian basis. In other words, what has secularism meant for the construction of nationalist politics, and what has it meant for the development of religious life in the modern age? This book constitutes one attempt toward such a history.

part i Of Legislation and ling 靈

two Inventing Religion

Legibility or liberty: this was the choice behind Nationalist conceptions of religion and religious freedom. What about a religion made it legible to the state? Should a person’s liberty to follow a religion rest on that quality? If so, was concrete service to the nation now a necessary condition for a religion’s legitimation? Such distinctions had consequences, because even at the height of politically driven iconoclasm, KMT leaders never discarded the principle of religious freedom. To do so would have divided China from the rest of the world—precisely the fate that the project of cultural reform was designed to avert. As the defenders of religion argued, disallowing a freedom basic to the constitutions of leading nations would diminish China’s chances of entering modernity. All the same, few Nationalists saw religious freedom as an unmitigated right. As with the freedoms of assembly and press, the KMT preferred that citizens’ rights be exercised “in accordance with law.” This meant that the regime reserved the authority to outlaw organizations it felt either challenged state power or damaged the national image. Yet the line demarcating legitimate from illegitimate religious groups was to be determined neither by doctrine nor law. The Nationalists refused to defend orthodoxy in the same way as the imperial government had. That lay beyond the bounds of a secular republican government, which now represented not the cosmic order but society and nation. Observers’ confusion is understandable, however, since many KMT actions had the same result as the imperial condemnation of 27


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heterodox cults because the Nationalists also refused to countenance the liberal alternative of religious freedom, which would be to allow all worship except when it interfered with other laws. The result was an uncomfortable and arbitrary middle ground. During the Nanjing Decade, the limits of religious freedom as a constitutional right ended up being described ad hoc by administrative bureaucrats and party cadres more than by jurists. The highest court of the Republic of China did not issue a ruling dealing with freedom of religion until 1939, and that case dealt only incidentally with the right. Matters of religious property and related questions of defining temples and clerics, by contrast, came before local courts frequently as the subject of civil lawsuits and criminal actions. But the general category of “religion” (zongjiao) was still new and unusual enough that the theoretical legal issues of how it was to be practiced freely would not be adjudicated— and thus affirmed and protected—for some decades to come. This had great significance for religious practitioners. The new regime began in an atmosphere of volatility that potentially cast all social collectives under a cloud of political suspicion. At the same time, the KMT’s antireligious movement took a decidedly inward turn, as assaults on Christianity gave way to a more forthright attack on Chinese “superstition” alone. Although the first target was the “new” religion Tongshanshe 同善社 (Fellowship of goodness), members of a wide variety of translocal religious groups quickly detected the mutual peril and sought cover in some form of official state legitimation. For Buddhists, this meant refashioning a dormant national organization from the early Republic. The result became a model that the Nationalists hoped other religions would adopt. For adherents of redemptive societies such as Zailijiao 在理教 (Li sect) and Daoyuan 道院 (School of the Way), it meant treading a fine line between a religion and a charitable organization devoted to the needs of citizens and the state. The overall result was a decided shift in the conception of what religious organizations ought to look like and therefore in the notion of what could pass as a legitimate “religion” in modern culture. Chinese religion did not lack native institutions and organizations, from lay devotional societies and community temple committees to shrines linked by “incense division” ( fenxiang 分香) relationships and systems of ordination-granting monasteries. But the new scheme replaced the local with the national, the sectarian with the generic, and the horizontal with the vertical. In this formulation, religious adherents could be a potential component of society, a “sector” ( jie 界) akin to, among others, laborers, farmers, women, merchants, and students.1 Under the tutelary regime, they fell under the same watchful eye

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of the party-state as these other social groups, to be organized in the same hierarchical fashion. However, the religious always remained more suspect than even the most restive of these sectors. This was because it was not quite clear why religion needed to continue to exist as an occupation, a pursuit, and a constituency under modernity, rather than simply as an abstract concept. Therefore religious groups struggled to achieve the safety of government recognition while arguing for their place as patriots and moderns. As a result, the definition of what constituted a “religion” narrowed substantially from late imperial times and even from the early Republic. This chapter analyzes the evolution during the beginning of the Nanjing Decade of the meaning of “religion” on the governmental plane. First exploring the concept of freedom of religion, I argue that a crucial decision in 1927 to deny that freedom to members of Tongshanshe and certain other redemptive societies launched a policy of arbitrary denial of free exercise of religious rights to particular groups based more on the needs of the developmental state than on any sense of heterodoxy and orthodoxy. The constitutional caveat that religious freedom could be curtailed “in accordance with law” developed into a governmental gray zone wherein distasteful groups could ex post facto be deemed threats to public order or superstitious and therefore unworthy of protection. Thus, clergy and laypeople responded to threats to religion from party and state activism by attempting to shape their membership into one of the available Nationalist frameworks for mass organizations. Buddhists were galvanized by proposals to nationalize monastic property into forming the Buddhist Association of China (Zhongguo fojiao hui 中國佛教會). This set a precedent for a scheme of religious associations under state corporatism, which operated only partly according to the Nationalists’ expectations. Zailijiao, a sectarian religion that had come to resemble a redemptive society in many respects, survived by arguing for its patriotism and social service in combating the scourge of opium. Lastly, the outlawed Daoyuan played a trickier game by continuing to operate semi-underground while presenting to the government its charitable face, the Red Swastika Society.

Tongshanshe and a Freedom Denied The first official discussion of freedom of religion during the Nanjing Decade took place in the middle of one of the worst political crises of 1927, a year admittedly crammed with such moments. In the late fall, the KMT Special Central Committee (Zhongyang tebie weiyuan hui 中央特別


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委員會) convened in an attempt to reconcile the bitter rivalry between Chiang Kai-shek’s government in Nanjing and its counterpart in Wuhan, which grew out of Chiang’s violent purge of Communist activists in April. Members of a third faction, the so-called Western Hills group, who had originally opposed cooperation with the Communists, now seized the opportunity to gain power by playing peacemaker. Chiang, ostentatiously gathering his forces in self-imposed “exile,” absented himself from overt committee membership. It was not until early November, after abandoning military maneuvers against Nanjing, that members of Wang Jingwei’s 汪精衛 (1883–1944) Wuhan government formally joined the table.2 The intended reconciliation, therefore, barely existed. It was at precisely this moment of high tension that a subgroup of the Special Central Committee raised the matter of whether the central party should “continue to grant freedom to the religious beliefs of the people,” as pledged in the 1924 party platform.3 Their colleagues agreed that the question was worth discussing, however, and eventually concluded that the freedom could be honored, with one exception: “the eradication of Tongshanshe and its ilk must be stepped up.” They sent this instruction to the Nanjing National Government, which, after further internal debate, instructed all political units to carry out the ban.4 The singling out of this redemptive society, heretofore a religious organization recognized by the Beiyang government, signaled a decisive turn in KMT thinking about the problems posed by religion. Anti-Christian agitation, already on the wane, now disappeared as official policy. In fact, Protestantism had appeared in the original party discussion along with Tongshanshe as the referents (or possible contrastive cases?) for religious freedom, but it was only the redemptive society that was named for exclusion.5 From there on, the importance of religion’s relationship to modernity hinged not so much on the question of imperialism and foreign control as on the party’s capacity to maintain social order and on the ordinary person’s capacity to become modern. Tongshanshe was one of the more prominent of the late Qing / Republican iterations of the Chinese sectarian tradition that Prasenjit Duara has termed “redemptive societies.” David Ownby has argued that groups such as Tongshanshe, Daoyuan, Wushanshe 悟善社 (Fellowship of awaking to goodness), and Yiguandao 一貫道 (Way of pervading unity), as well as the qigong movement that followed, should be placed in a lineage that traces back to the White Lotus sectarian tradition arising in the midMing. They share certain basic characteristics centered on discourses of bodily transformation and salvation and renewal, or, as Ownby terms it

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more generally, exile and return.6 Most of the redemptive societies became broadly public during the early years of the Republic, although some dated their establishment to the last third of the nineteenth century or even earlier. Their specific articulation of bodily cultivation and cosmic renewal tended to center on religious eclecticism stemming from the tradition of the “unity of the three teachings” (sanjiao heyi 三教合一), in which Confucius, Laozi, and Buddha are revered equally as masters, but in many cases the societies further broadened their approach by welcoming Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and even modern seekers such as Tolstoy as teachers. Like their counterparts in the Japanese “new religions,” with whom some Republican redemptive societies shared ties and personnel, early twentiethcentury groups drew from popular religious practices such as spirit writing and divination by planchette ( fuji 扶乩) to contact these ancestral teachers and pursued a dual course of moral improvement through personal cultivation via meditation and scripture recitation and external works. Many developed extensive networks of charitable enterprises. Prasenjit Duara argues that the Republican redemptive societies’ expansion of the divine and soteriological repertoire of native sectarian religion to include the world faiths allowed them to incorporate a linear historical narrative and a civilizational discourse in which the spiritual East could heal the ills of the materialist West, an aggrandizement that made their claims truly universal.7 In this, the redemptive societies could be said to resemble the great wave of spiritualism and occultism that washed over Europe, the United States, India, and Japan from roughly the 1870s to the 1920s, movements that have persuasively been shown to be part of the construction of the modern.8 Nonetheless, it is critical to keep in mind that such broad characterizations also conceal a considerable amount of diversity. Groups sharing the same affiliation could manifest very different demographic makeups in various regions of China, especially during the politically fragmented 1910s and 1920s. This proved to be the undoing of groups such as Tongshanshe, since negative perceptions formed by political activists based on interactions in rural south China gained ground as general assessments of the group. Fears that particular redemptive societies had the power to undermine Nationalist authority then accrued new influence in the environment of double-dealing, paranoia, and military chaos that surrounded the establishment of the Nanjing regime. The demonization of Tongshanshe thus represented the convergence of several influences. First, the group may have suffered by receiving legitimation from the wrong sort of government. In 1917 it had been one of the


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first redemptive societies to receive official state approval under the early Republican system. Although in endorsing the application the Beijing Police Department concluded that the society was “organized to exhort virtue and urge reform, to right the heart and cultivate the body,” it was not long until New Culture critics spread contrary opinions.9 This stemmed in part from its apparent political ties, especially in the Sichuanese and northern urban branches, which included a large number of military men and former Qing officials now in the Beiyang government, some with close ties to Duan Qirui 段祺瑞 and the Anfu clique.10 Perceptions of great wealth added to the negative image. Tongshanshe practice included charity work (classified as waigong 外功) as well as quiet-sitting and other forms of internal cultivation (neigong 內功). The large sums amassed to run Englishlanguage night schools and medical clinics—55,550 yuan in major contributions to the Beijing home office for 1920, for example—only enhanced the suspicion aroused in the minds of opponents of religion such as Chen Duxiu.11 Chen was instrumental in adding the element of class conflict to opinion on Tongshanshe. In a widely reprinted 1921 essay commenting on an anti-Tongshanshe article from the Hunan Xiangtan Daily, he reviled the group as consisting mainly of “rotten elements from the political and military worlds. People from the laboring and student realms who believe these heresies,” he claimed, “are relatively few.” Returning to a familiar theme, he added that the use of the planchette linked Tongshanshe to the ignorance and national humiliation of the Boxer Rebellion. By exempting the working classes and students from this kind of mysticism, Chen marked Tongshanshe as a symbol of the political oppression and social degeneration that was crippling China.12 The problem, however, was precisely that Tongshanshe was not the sole province of “warlord” elites. As it spread rapidly during the late 1910s and early 1920s throughout Sichuan, Hunan, and Guangdong as well as northern cities, it attracted not only members of the armed forces but also villagers of both sexes, in great numbers. When the founder’s son Peng Ruzun 彭汝尊 (b. 1873) set up a new general headquarters in Hankou in 1925, he claimed Tongshanshe had over one million members. At times it even seemed as if “Tongshanshe” was in danger of becoming a free-floating signifier: in Jiangxi someone used the moniker to organize a divine “Army to Save the World.” Wang Jianchuan surmises that the Hunan group on whose description Chen based his critique may have been another Tongshanshe imitator.13 Such offshoots notwithstanding, the combination of Tongshanshe’s popularity

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and style of cultivation fit uncomfortably with burgeoning ideas about evangelism and openness in religion. The 1930s Christian historian of religion Wang Zhixin remarked that the society “had many secrets that were not allowed to be leaked to outsiders,” but he also noted that it proselytized openly. Indeed, some Tongshanshe members modeled their closely held cultivation styles on Daoist internal alchemy (neidan 內丹) techniques; in the political and social context of the late 1920s, however, this became a cause for suspicion.14 Another influence on the Special Committee’s attitude came from party organizers. United Front political activists encountered “Tongshanshe” groups while working in the Guangdong countryside on the eve of the Northern Expedition. Like Chen, they viewed them as an instrument of class warfare, complaining that they served as mechanisms through which local elites attempted to gain control of peasant associations. The situation seems analogous to that in other Guangdong counties, where the party had targeted charitable societies, ostensibly for promoting superstition but mainly for interfering with the new KMT government in Guangzhou.15 Units of the National Revolutionary Army (Guomin geming jun 國民革 命軍) pursued the society during the Northern Expedition, carrying out notable eradication campaigns in Fujian and Hunan. Wang Jingwei’s Wuhan government, finding Tongshanshe headquartered in its capital, issued an order interdicting the society. Importantly, however, it was not only CCP organizers and the KMT “left” who displayed an antipathy toward this particular group. Feng Yuxiang’s 馮玉祥 (1882–1948) militarist government in the northwest had also exerted pressure on Tongshanshe branches there. During the summer of 1927, party-directed mass organizations establishing themselves in the Chiang Kai-shek stronghold of Nanjing requested use of Tongshanshe offices for their headquarters, only to find them already completely occupied by KMT branches and troops.16 Thus even as all these elements (Communists excepted) came together for the contested formation of the new government, so too did forces converge for the limitation of religious freedom. Over the coming year, as political differences calmed into a modus vivendi and the Nanjing bureaucracy came into being, Tongshanshe members reacted to their singling out with creative measures. Party branches in several provinces complained that the society was operating under different charities’ names—Assisting Benevolence Hall (Furen tang 扶仁堂) in Shanghai, for instance, or even the Red Cross in Yancheng in northern Jiangsu. In other places, it simply went underground. This in turn only fueled


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perceptions of Tongshanshe underhandedness—KMT armchair religious critic Zhang Zhenzhi joked that Tongshanshe (society for mutual good) should really be called Dushanshe 獨善社 (society for selfish good).17 The continuing objections of the party branches make it clear that it was not the group’s ideas but its level of organization that the nascent regime perceived as a threat. The Zhejiang party branch, chaired by General He Yingqin 何應欽 (1890–1987), submitted the most detailed argument. He Yingqin himself belonged to a redemptive group, the Confuciancentered Society for the Study of Morality (Daode xueshe 道德學社), the legitimacy of which never came into question.18 Tongshanshe, by contrast, had “used the opportunity afforded by the party purge [of suspected leftists] to grab power in a clandestine fashion, [while] local bullies and evil gentry gleefully consolidate feudal authority and dupe ignorant people.” He Yingqin and his comrades mentioned only briefly that the society “talked heterodoxy and promoted superstition” and focused instead on its secret organization, impenetrability to outsiders, and inherent restorationism.19 Such a message received eager attention during a summer when the party was plagued by concerns about secret societies in the lower Yangzi region opposing the new regime.20 Consequently, another order went out demanding that police and provincial governments eradicate Tongshanshe once and for all. In the fall a broader proscription included Wushanshe and Daoyuan, two similar groups with an even broader appeal and level of social engagement—Wushanshe’s charitable activities focused on burial assistance, and Daoyuan pursued an ambitious program of disaster relief. Thus the KMT created a trio of once legitimate, now illicit societies.21

Exempting Christianity Because the government transformed these redemptive societies from legitimized to stigmatized—and did so under the rubric of freedom of religion—their banning may usefully be distinguished from the ad hoc targeting by party armies of sectarian religion that also occurred in the 1920s, or indeed from earlier imperial state attacks on heresy.22 Contrast the ready affirmation of Christianity, now singled out as deserving protection and rights. In February 1928 two members of the newly restored KMT Central Political Council (Zhongyang zhengzhi huiyi 中央政治會議) raised another proposal to “definitively put freedom of religion into practice.” Although both Niu Yongjian and Zhang Zhijiang 張之江 (1882–1966) had served on the now-defunct Special Committee, they used the opportunity

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of a newly reorganized central apparatus to press their particular interest, “the abolition of anti-Christian and anti-religious slogans.”23 Citing examples of religious freedom in revolutions and democracies around the world, Niu and Zhang blamed antireligious agitation in China solely on the Communist Party. Perhaps Christianity deserved to be criticized in the Soviet Union, they allowed, since the Russian Orthodox Church had served as an instrument of the aristocracy to oppress the masses. But this was not the case in China. In fact, their (native Chinese) Christianity, far from accommodating imperialism, appreciated the suffering of the lower levels of society the most. Not only did it preach equality, universal love, and freedom, it in fact “contained an element of revolutionary spirit”—here they were quoting from an address Sun Yat-sen gave before a Christian audience in 1912. Sun—Niu and Zhang reminded the committee—shared a Christian background with many other “revolutionary comrades,” unlike the Communists, who were “out to destroy morality.” By drawing the debate over religion in such starkly partisan terms, Niu and Zhang made intelligent use of the political climate. During the same month, the KMT Central Executive Committee (Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui 中 央 執 行 委 員 會 ) issued an order for the wholesale reregistration of party members, a weapon in the continuing battle to diminish the power of the left wing and other dissenters. They also reflected a concurrent debate between cultural iconoclasts in the lower levels of the left-wing KMT, who published in the Juewu supplement to the Republican Daily, and Christian intellectuals writing for Wenshe yuekan 文社月刊 (Chinese Christian Literary Society monthly).24 Many on the Christian side, such as the scholar Wang Zhixin, were also party members. Niu and Zhang alluded to some of the items of debate in their proposal: the relationship between Christianity and imperialism, the religious beliefs of Sun, and the revolutionary nature of Christianity. They omitted a point raised by the Juewu essayists, particularly Zhang Zhenzhen (AKA Zhang Zhenzhi, critic of Tongshanshe)—that religion in general should be replaced with the promotion of the Three Principles of the People.25 In short, the debate could advance past the cultural wars of the early 1920s, because now the pro-religionists had the weapon of the party purge on their side. If areligious sentiment and activism could be equated with communism, they arguably had no place in the post-purge Kuomintang. Although Niu Yongjian and Zhang Zhijiang broadened their appeal to include freedom for “various teachings” (ge jiao 各教), Christianity was clearly the main concern.


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In fact, party leaders had already indicated that Christianity would be protected, albeit under terms favorable to the needs of the state. As the Kuomintang transformed itself from a revolutionary to a state-building party, its primary interest in Christianity in China turned to regulating mission schools and “partifying” (danghua 黨化) their curricula. Missionaries had complained when the Guangzhou regime began this process in the mid-1920s on the grounds that such demands in themselves contradicted freedom of religion. After the Nationalist revolution and especially the March 1927 Nanjing Incident, which showed that KMT forces were not above using force against missionaries, government oversight of education seemed like a small price to pay for security and guarantees of continued religious practice.26 That tense spring, YMCA head Yu Rizhang 余日章 (David Z. T. Yui, 1882–1936) successfully asked the party to help Christians; the party instructed the central government “to order the people that they ought not to mistake opposing religion for combating imperialism. Nor should they use any kind of force to restrict or attack the freedom of belief of any Chinese or foreigner.” Now, one year later, Niu and Zhang’s colleagues reminded them of this order, “a clear party statement regarding freedom of religion.”27 They did, however, promise to circulate the Christians’ proposal to party branches as a reminder of the principles at stake. The argument that Niu and Zhang had put forth was nonetheless an important one, for it represented the Kuomintang’s dilemma from this point forward. On one hand, it could not be seen as the party of atheism, for that position smelled of now-discarded Bolshevism. It must support freedom of religion to gain entry to the world democratic club. This was not simply a theoretical matter; rather, it impinged on the topic of China’s sovereignty in the face of the unequal treaties and residual extraterritoriality enjoyed by foreign powers. On the other hand, religious groups posed a potential destabilizing threat. Freedom, therefore, had to be parceled out according to the perception of the threat and the evaluation of national needs. Christianity was quite literally separated out from other religions: bureaucratically speaking, matters pertaining to Christians were handled by the Nationalist Ministries of Education ( Jiaoyu bu 教育部) and Foreign Affairs (Waijiao bu 外交部), whereas Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Confucianism, and the remainder fell to the Ministry of the Interior (Neizheng bu 內政部), especially the Office of Ritual and Customs (Lisu si 禮俗司). In essence, Christianity’s identity as a “religion” was so automatic that this no longer held as its most pertinent identifying factor in an administrative sense. Rather, schools (and raising the profile of the party and Chinese

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Christians therein) and diplomacy (with missionaries and their sponsor countries) came to be the important state concerns regarding Christianity during the Nanjing Decade. To be sure, not everyone in the party relinquished the political and cultural battles of the 1920s so readily, and there were isolated incidents in which some questioned the political loyalty of Christians. In 1930, for instance, a district party branch in Ji’nan proposed that Christian KMT members throughout the country be asked to relinquish their religious ties or lose party membership. The Central Executive Committee swiftly turned down the suggestion, citing freedom of religion, and remarked that religious belief need not counteract loyalty.28 Notably, however, the Christians’ status as adherents of zongjiao never came into question. Other groups, by contrast, had to argue first for status as a religion and then for the freedom to enjoy it. Significantly, the nation’s highest legal authority, the Judicial Yuan, did not make a ruling concerning the extent of religious freedom and its associated rights until 1939, although the general public and community of religious practitioners were greatly attuned to the concept nonetheless.29 Prior to that ruling, high court cases addressed such thorny problems as the definition of religious properties and persons (clergy and temple managers). These cases, discussed in Chapter 3, arose in response to party activism and attempts to clarify Nationalist temple regulations; they concentrated on matters of property rights rather than worship. Although to religious practitioners and communities the two matters were intimately connected, in fact many government officials actively strove to disconnect the abstract freedom from materialized religion. Judicially neglected during this period, the freedom of religion thus seemed inherently suitable to administrative restriction.

Religious Freedom: Defining the Obligation Freedom of religion came part and parcel with constitutional government. From the various provincial assembly constitutions of the New Policies period through the Provisional Constitution of 1912 and subsequent temporary and final drafts, each version of this new form of universal law in the late Qing and Republic included religion as a protected right and forbade discrimination on the basis of creed.30 Starting with the 1913 Temple of Heaven draft, however, constitutional framers added the caveat that freedom of belief existed only “within the scope of the law” or that it was


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granted “except in accordance with law.” Of the Nationalist versions, only the Provisional Constitution for the Tutelary Era, promulgated on June 1, 1931, omitted the caveat, and only after considerable argument. The Draft Constitution of 1936 replaced the exception. It remained in the Republic of China Constitution adopted in 1946.31 This stipulation appears to derive from Japan, the same source as the peculiar locution used to render “freedom of religion”—literally, “freedom to believe in religion.” The Meiji Constitution served as a legal and linguistic model for many Chinese constitutions, including its phrase shinkyō no jiyū (信教の自由, literally “freedom to believe in a teaching”), a term originally popularized during the 1860s by the ubiquitous Fukuzawa Yukichi. James Ketelaar argues that shinkyō could connote belief in “an inadequate, or subversive, form of knowledge,” which in turn created an opening for restricting the freedom according to law.32 In this reading, a suspicion that the religious contained the heterodox tainted the freedom from its translingual inception. That may have been the origins of the idiom and its attached legal restrictions in Japan, but on its arrival in China it received a rather different spin. Whereas the key cases of religious freedom in the Meiji era concerned whether Christians would pay reverence to the emperor and then whether the activity of Buddhists could be restricted by the state, in late Qing and early Republican China the most intense debates revolved around the issue of whether Confucianism should be defined as “religion.” If so, religious freedom could serve as both a blessing and a curse. It could save Confucianism from iconoclastic attacks but also prevent it from being enshrined as a state religion as some defenders wished.33 This confluence of linguistics and taxonomy is typified by a discussion in committee during the writing of the Temple of Heaven Draft, when debate over the state religion issue raged strongest. Confucians quashed a move to emend the obviously Japanese-derived idiom xinjiao zhi ziyou 信教之自由 for clarity’s sake into xinyang zongjiao zhi ziyou 信仰宗教之自由, because that way Confucianism would be included whether it was deemed a teaching ( jiao) or a religion (zongjiao.)34 The 1923 constitution did adopt the more fluid revised version of the phrase, and subsequent constitutions and drafts followed suit. Debate shifted from the boundaries of “teaching” and “religion” to the scope of the words “belief” (xinyang) and “freedom” (ziyou), and what they meant in tandem. For even if skeptical critics were forced to allow that there were some proper religions which could be afforded freedom, they took full

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advantage of the idiomatic phrasing to make hay with religious rights.35 The official government stance, as articulated by the Legislative Yuan in 1940, held that “in the event that religious ceremonies or proselytizing harms national interest, public security, good customs, and habits and so on, [freedom of religion] may be limited by law.”36 All too often, however, more activist party members claimed that ceremonies, churches, and clergy were alike superfluous to xinyang zongjiao zhi ziyou, because the only freedom guaranteed—indeed the only thing required of religion in the modern era—was to believe. In other words, the combination of idiom and cultural predilection created a gray zone in governance: freedom might be one of intellect and possibly assembly, but not necessarily one of property and permanent community. The looming crisis that such a distinction posed drove China’s Buddhist leaders to seek protection in unity and government legitimacy.

Faith, Nation, Temple: Religious Identity Under the Nationalist State In the spring of 1928, fear rippled through the community of monastic Buddhists in China. Their worries arose from threats to temple property emanating from the marquee National Conference on Education (Quanguo jiaoyu huiyi 全國教育會議). Even before the conference convened in May, it built anticipation that it would bring a revival of the “temple property for schools” campaign on a grand scale. The new development that distinguished this plan from its late Qing forebears was the principle of religious freedom. As the Buddhists discovered, this newly bruited freedom might not so much protect them as threaten their property rights. At this moment when the Nationalist infrastructure was coming into being, fiscal matters loomed large. Above all stood the question of how to pay for ambitious education plans. Officials sought alternatives or supplements to the main land-tax revenue base.37 As in the late Qing, temple property—buildings, artifacts, and farmland and its yield—seemed a tempting solution. Amid this environment of need, local party branches and military units continued to smash images of deities and seize temples. Soon reports circulated in the Shanghai press that the new minister of interior planned to nationalize temple lands for education.38 Minister Xue Dubi 薛篤弼 (1892–1973) had gained his position by virtue of his close association with the militarist Feng Yuxiang, and in turn Feng’s alliance with Nanjing. Although some Buddhist historians later


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assumed that he shared his patron’s Christianity as well as disdain for other religions, there is little information on Xue’s religious background.39 What does emerge from his unusually personal early official documents is an attitude tinged with both Confucian anticlericalism and Protestant modernism. Proper religion, in his description, was stripped of ritual and edifying to the nation. The nationalization rumors likely stemmed from a ministry meeting in early April in which Xue briefed a representative to “deliver the minister’s opinions” at the Education Conference on using temples, the buildings of native-place associations, and ancestral shrines as schools, and on funding education with income from temple fields and other corporate property. His idea, as reported in the ministry gazette, was to preserve only those places associated with “the former sages and saints of old . . . and concentrate the people’s belief there.”40 As word of the plan spread, Buddhist clergy and laypeople alike sprang into action. Monks Dixian 諦閑 (1858–1932) and Yuanying 圓瑛 (1878–1953) had been organizing in Zhejiang during the previous year in a simultaneous effort to support the Nationalist cause and to protect local temples from advancing armies and the “anti-Buddhism rallies” held by some county party branches.41 Their newly founded Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation ( Jiang-Zhe fojiao lianhe hui 江浙佛教聯合會) joined forces with a well-connected lay group, the Shanghai Association for the Preservation of Buddhism (Shanghai fojiao weichi hui 上海佛教維持會). This organization counted among its number Wang Yiting 王一亭 (1867–1938), a KMT elder who was extremely well known in Shanghai as a businessman, painter, a philanthropic networker, and the city’s most eminent Buddhist layperson. He had already been at work petitioning Feng Yuxiang to rein in monastic seizures in north China. Together these groups approached Xue Dubi to withdraw his plan. Yuanying traveled to Nanjing to deliver the petition in person, which had the signatures of the generals and political appointees Chen Mingshu 陳銘樞 (1889–1965), Li Jishen 李濟深 (1886–1959), and Wang Zhixiang 王芝祥 (1858–1930), all secured with Wang Yiting’s assistance.42 Faced with protests from such powerful quarters, Xue Dubi worked in several directions to control the damage. First, he gave an interview to the party newspaper Central Daily News (Zhongyang ribao 中央日報) in which he attempted to distinguish between “ignorant” superstition in “the God of Wealth, City Gods, earth gods and worshipping wood, stone, foxes, and snakes,” which should be destroyed, and the country’s ancient sages and

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“formal religions,” protected under the party platform’s freedoms. He denied proposing any plan to convert temples, a claim he repeated a few days later to the Secretariat of the National Government, calling the news items “rumors without foundation.”43 His own published meeting minutes, however, testified to the contrary. Xue also needed to address Buddhist leaders directly. In a letter to the Buddhist groups, he repeated much the same distinction between religion and superstition and tried to explain his original motivation. He claimed the utmost respect for the original spirit of Buddhism but believed this had been sadly corrupted by utilitarian rituals of incense burning and prayer. Faithful Buddhists should abandon such practices and instead emulate Christians, who had used their resources to promote all manner of social welfare projects. Xue called for Buddhists to “contribute” a larger portion of temple buildings and lands for use as schools, libraries, hospitals, and factories. Finally, they must reform their religion so that it would promote world progress, prevent war in East Asia, and help China assert its sovereign rights.44 Xue followed up his idea that “proper” religion should provide material service to the nation by cosponsoring, with the erstwhile defender of religious freedom Niu Yongjian, a proposal before the National Government that temples should be used for a variety of charitable ventures. The Buddhists themselves were not entirely averse to the idea but naturally wanted to exercise their own initiative and control. Wang Yiting sat down with Chiang Kai-shek and emerged with a three-point agreement that reinforced the importance of the “high” tradition of the great monasteries while adding a degree of social engagement in the modern style. Only those monks, nuns, and disciples who “strictly behaved according to the principles of Buddhism” and who “had received education and thus possessed a level of knowledge” deserved protection. Furthermore, only “placid and serious” monasteries might be protected. They could not be managed by “persons who were neither monk nor layman”—presumably a reference to corrupt clergy and temple managers who had taken no vows—and they must be engaged in enterprises of benefit to the public good.45 Any sigh of relief Wang Yiting and his clerical colleagues may have breathed at this apparently effective use of political connections dissipated almost immediately when the Education Conference actually met. Nanjing educator Tai Shuangqiu 邰爽秋 (1896–1976) put forth a modest proposal that, although never implemented, quickly became notorious as the epitome of anticlerical justification for a new age. Although the conference


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agenda included proposals ranging from taxation of temple lands to converting village temples to “mass education” schools, Tai’s plan to confiscate nearly all temple property nationwide and put the proceeds toward education caused the greatest stir. Much of this seems to have stemmed from Tai’s talent for self-promotion; although at the end of the conference the assembly adopted his idea only “for reference,” Tai became the KMT poster boy for temple nationalization and his proposal a cause célèbre among Buddhists.46 Tai Shuangqiu, a Columbia Teachers College Ph.D. who later taught education at National Central and Daxia universities, submitted the proposal in the name of the Nanjing Education Bureau. His proposal derived in equal measures from practicality, historical materialism, anticlericalism, and a modern sense of religion as faith. He began by claiming that the value of temple property in Zhenjiang, only 40 miles from the capital, totaled over 50 million yuan. Tai extrapolated that “the worth of temple property throughout the country must be 10 billion at least. How is it not regrettable that such a large amount of assets should have fallen into the hands of monks and nuns?”47 He recommended leaving only one or two of those clergy at each temple, along with a room or two and maybe twenty mu of land to support them. The remaining clerics would essentially be defrocked, with the young and the elderly sent to local “peoples’ factories” ( pingmin gongchang 平民工廠) or vocational schools to learn a livelihood. For those who might have hoped to argue that such a confiscation was illegal, Tai preempted them by asking if the law was not a living thing that could be amended when appropriate. Moreover, he pointed out that the Nationalists had as yet drafted only the penal and not the civil code, thus implying that the KMT should strike at temples while the iron was hot. Tai was also careful to take note of the guaranteed right to religious freedom. It simply did not apply to the issue of property, he wrote, since no freedom could supersede the ruling ideology of a nation. China’s present ideology, the Three Principles of the People, called for equal distribution of land. In violating this, he argued, landholding monasteries differed little from any other big landlord or powerful capitalist. Furthermore—and this is where he betrays his modernist orientation—people could continue to believe in Buddhism without great swaths of land, or even without the clergy. Tai’s remarks received wide coverage first in local and national newspapers and then in Haichaoyin 海潮音, a monthly Buddhist journal published by the reformist Buddhist leader Taixu 太虛 (1890–1947). Taixu took the proposal as evidence of a larger movement to “beat down the

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clergy overlords, liberate the monks, redistribute temple property, and promote education.”48 Such accusations pained the reformer, who had devoted his career to fostering a diversely educated and socially engaged sangha. In an editorial response, Taixu disputed the accuracy of Tai’s picture of wealthy “abbot overlords.” Never one to shrink from his own criticisms of contemporary Chinese Buddhism, however, Taixu provided a four-part reform plan of his own that recapitulated many of his previous ideas about reacquainting monks with their Mahayana duties to help and enlighten others and thereby serve the nation. His significant addition was a proposal that temple property be administered jointly by the clergy of each county and used for “agriculture, industry, education, and charity.” This was because such holdings “are not the private property of an individual or a clan, nor [are they] the public property (gongchan 公產) of a locality or the nation. Rather, they are assets belonging to a kind of ‘corporate body’ (caituan faren 財團法人).”49 Taixu’s argument thus took the traditional notion of collective monastic property under the “public monastic” system (shifang conglin 十方叢林) and translated it into the language of first customary and then modern law. In doing so, he effectively claimed that the sangha did not differ from any other civic association or body of citizenry and enjoyed the same legal rights. He placed Buddhists and their property firmly inside an everyday social and civic framework.

Fitting into the National Body The Nationalists, however, were reluctant to accept the idea of clergy as ordinary citizens. It would be another year before state regulations on temple property addressed the questions raised by Xue and Tai during the spring of 1928. Since clerics and laypeople realized that falling on the correct side of the limits of religious freedom ensured survival, ad hoc appeals via political connections did not offer a consistently reliable path to future protection. Religious practitioners had to find a means of achieving permanent membership in the “national body” (guoti 國體.) The question was to what degree a skittish state would permit them space. The problem stemmed in part from the difficult position in which the KMT placed itself by deciding to permit freedom of religion as determined by the needs of the administrative state. Some religious adherents understandably wished that the government would encourage greater clarity by establishing a council to deal exclusively with matters of religion. This would do more than the tiny Office of Ritual and Customs, which oversaw


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most religious policy, but would not simply additionally regulate clergy in the manner of the Qing Buddhist and Daoist registries (Senglu si 僧錄司 and Daolu si 道錄司). In this era of zongjiao, national construction, and civilizational peril, such a council could connect religion and ethics to national ideology. Party authorities, however, feared that this would cross the line dividing church from state in the modern secularist framework—even though their policies in effect crossed that line all the time. Two examples from 1927–28 can demonstrate this struggle. The Yangzhou monk Keduan 可端 had managed to win early KMT accreditation of his Huayan Chinese Buddhist Academy (Zhonghua fojiao Huayan daxue 中華佛教華嚴大學) by meeting the new requirements for “partified education.” He wrote that his “seminary for the citizen-monk” had been “created by the union of the various monasteries and temples of [Jiangsu] province to unite Buddhist peoples and [to allow] Chinese monks to realize the Three People’s Principles and promote Buddhism.”50 His proposed revised curriculum featured courses teaching the Three Principles, the KMT charter, the Five-Yuan Constitution, and the party platform. The two-year history curriculum taught as much on the party as it did on Buddhism, China, and the world.51 Education officials rewarded Keduan for his efforts. One noted in his evaluation that the curriculum contained nothing but “the promotion of science . . . and the tenets of pure, orthodox Buddhism”; moreover, he added, the school’s steering committee propagated only Buddhist doctrine, “unlike those groups that can be employed for so many purposes, like Tongshanshe.” Therefore, the academy could receive protection, since “freedom of religion is [indeed] a principle under the law.”52 But when an energized Keduan sent a more ambitious proposal a year later, he encountered a different reception. This time he asked that monks be allowed “to participate in the revolution” through the creation of a national Office for Temple Management. Such an office could collect fees for permits that would replace ordination certificates, he pointed out, which might make a small contribution toward the reported two million yuan bill for support of Northern Expedition veterans. In reply, officials of the Education and Interior ministries lauded Keduan’s enthusiastic support of revolutionary goals. But they concluded that in creating a national office of this sort “one could not avoid the mixing of church and state,” which “we fear could lead to religious disputes.” They declined to execute Keduan’s proposal.53 The following year the central government received a proposal on a grander scale, from a more illustrious quarter. It was just prior to the Third

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Party Congress, the first full-scale meeting of party members since 1926, a time when KMT members at all levels hoped to see their ideas realized. One of them was Xiong Xiling 熊希齡 (1867–1937), a well-respected former government minister who had played an important role in the formation of a short-lived national Buddhist group at the beginning of the Republic. After retiring from Yuan Shikai’s cabinet Xiong had devoted most of his time to charitable organizations, flood relief, and education reform.54 It was as a member of the Nanjing government’s Relief Funds Commission that he wrote directly to Chiang Kai-shek to argue for the creation of a national religious council. Xiong Xiling’s case was part ethical—the new nation needed the moral content of religion—and part practical. Religion, he argued, must be managed to maintain national sovereignty and social order. The group he envisioned would thus serve both to promote religious movements and to organize and control them. Among other tasks, it would generally champion the core principles of all religions: freedom, equality, and universal love. The councils would work to promote science and combat cultish mysticism, eradicate superstition, and settle disagreements among sects. Although Xiong wrote eloquently on the historical and ethical value of various religious traditions, he was careful to note the starker political import of his arguments.55 By fostering an antireligious atmosphere, he noted, the Nationalist government risked alienating the Buddhist borderland that Japan was so eagerly cultivating. Meanwhile in China proper, the Nationalists were creating social chaos by smashing temples and persecuting or murdering religious adherents. Finally, they were eliminating an ethical system that might cure some of the present social ills, such as an increasing suicide rate. “With the national, social, and personal consequences so great,” Xiong wrote, “and moreover when one third of the nation’s territory is occupied by religious ethnicities and two thirds of the population are religious believers, can we really be overeager for success?”56 Notably, Xiong suggested a council composed not for the most part of clerical leaders but of politically connected laymen of his own generation. His proposed Buddhist representative, for instance, was Zhuang Yunkuan 莊蘊寬 (1866–1932), former chief justice of the Beiyang Administrative Court now serving on the board of directors of the National Palace Museum. The group also included the Muslim militarist Ma Fuxiang 馬福祥 (1876–1932), the Jesuit Ma Liang 馬良 (1840–1939; 字 Xiangbo 相伯, the sole clerical representative), Yan Xiu 嚴修 (1860–1929) and Wang Renwen 王人文 (1863–1941) as the Confucian and Daoist representatives, respectively, and


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as the Protestant delegate, Niu Yongjian’s comrade in the plea for religious freedom, Zhang Zhijiang.57 Chiang Kai-shek turned the proposal over to the Executive Yuan, which spent some months in discussing it with the Ministry of the Interior. In the end it recommended against the idea. In response to Xiong’s candid assessment of the current social and political chaos, officials became defensive and took refuge in party doctrine. Since its founding, Interior officials explained, the National Government had done its best to follow Sun Yat-sen’s instruction to allow the people freedom of religion. There was no need for a council: if the Nationalists properly executed Sun’s ideas on destroying superstition, researching theology, and reforming organizations, the desired result for society and the nation would be achieved.58 So on one hand the Nationalists rejected monastic calls for a government office to manage clerical affairs as violating the separation of church and state, and on the other they advised patriotically inclined religious civic leaders that there was no need for their services, since the KMT could take care of religious matters. Shortly after Xiong Xiling sent his letter, the Buddhist clerical leadership likewise requested the establishment of a national religious council, consisting of the ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs, the chair and vice chair of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (Meng Zang weiyuan hui 蒙藏委員會), and “representatives of the various religions.”59 This proposal too was rejected, as were various other petitions submitted to the Ministry of Interior during the 1930s, all of which sought civic councils that would restore moral values to government. But when a layman applied to create a “Buddhist Committee” himself, he received the terse reply that “the management of Buddhism is a matter of national administration; by no means can a private individual set up an association to handle it.”60 Thus the Nationalist government refused to embrace anything that approached a state sponsorship of religious principle or practice on an official and regular basis. Vague endorsements of ethics—such as Xue Dubi’s pronouncements about “concentrating the people’s belief on the saints and sages of old”—were as far as it would go. Yet it remained both suspicious and resource-hungry enough that it would not relinquish ultimate control over institutional mechanisms either. Defenders of religion were thus driven to fit into a model that lay somewhere in the realm between government and private.

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Religious Patriotism to Religious Corporatism: Reviving the Buddhist Association of China Rather than a government council that would protect the common welfare of all religious observers, the model for state-legitimized religion harkened back to the early Republic, when various “proper” religions set up national organizations to guard their particular interests. But the Nationalist era brought important deviations from the early Republic. The orientation and internal dynamics of the religious groups themselves had shifted. More broadly, in the aftermath of the rise and fall of Nationalist mass politics, the state now managed popular organizations more firmly via the “state corporatist model.” Immediately following the establishment of Sun Yat-sen’s Nanjing government, two rival Buddhist groups established national profiles. The first was Ouyang Jingwu’s (歐陽景無, b. Ouyang Jian 歐陽漸, 1871–1943) Buddhist Association (Fojiao hui 佛教會), which applied for approval while Sun was still in office. Shortly after he relinquished the presidency in 1912, Sun wrote Ouyang’s group a letter of endorsement and protection that would become an article of faith for religious nationalists in China. Instructing public servants to respect religious freedom, Sun remarked that he saw no reason to keep religion out of the business of nation-building: “In recent times various countries have divided church and state most stringently. The faithful, however, practice a diligent self-cultivation that has nothing to do with politics, and they are by no means stingy in lending their energy to the protection of the nation. This kind of felicitous tendency really serves as a model to all.”61 Later that year Sun would reiterate this belief in speeches before various Christian organizations, most famously in his talk “Using Religious Morality to Supplement the Shortcomings of Politics,” when he traced his concept of revolution to the example of Christian activism.62 Nonetheless, shortly thereafter the group disbanded in the face of opposition from Yuan Shikai’s government and from other Buddhists. Some of the pressure came from the Shanghai-based General Buddhist Association of China (Zhonghua fojiao zonghui 中華佛教總會), founded on April 1, 1912. Its leader, Jing’an 敬安 (1852–1912, popularly known as Bazhi toutuo 八指頭托, “Eight Fingers”), had been protecting monastic


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Buddhism for years, agitating against “temples to schools” in the New Policies era and founding the Society for the Education of Monks (Seng jiaoyu hui 僧教育會).63 But as Vincent Goossaert points out, the charter of the association also contained startling innovations, some of which revealed the influence of the Christian normative model. These included the idea of a missionary corps and, contrary to all customary practice, a role for the association in approving candidates for the novitiate.64 Jing’an suffered an untimely death, and although the association disbanded under government pressure in 1918, it did achieve a substantial success negotiating against the plan of Yuan’s head of the Office of Customs, Du Guan, to “return temple lands to the public.” This was achieved with the help of lay member and Yuan official Xiong Xiling. Daoist, Confucian, and Muslim associations also formed during the first years of the Republic. For the most part, these were even more narrowly sectarian in composition than the Shanghai Buddhists, and also less effective. They shared a distinct intellectual and ethical orientation, promoting research, education, and social welfare efforts. In the case of the Daoists and Confucians, they also jostled for naming rights as the country’s “state religion.” With the exception of the Muslims, they also shared a propensity for adopting Christian characteristics, even to the extent of proposing Daoist “church” on Sundays.65 By the late 1920s, the Christian influence was no longer much in evidence; not only had the anti-Christian campaign undercut the desirability of such pretensions, but the variety of intellectual, ritual, and social pursuits in the religious world had blossomed. Buddhists met the mass politics of the 1920s with their own projects of social engagement and nation-minded education, both inside and outside the monastic framework. Jing’an’s disciple and Taixu’s former brother-instudy Yuanying revived a Ningbo monastery, setting up a lecture hall, school, and orphanage. In Shanghai, the monk Dixian—once assistant to Yang Wenhui 楊文會 (1837–1911), the Nanjing official and publisher credited with jumpstarting the “Buddhist revival”—transformed the former Liuyun Temple into a Tiantai research center.66 Once the Northern Expedition began, however, advocates were forced to take more defensive measures. The two monks joined forces to resist the incursions of party radicals in Zhejiang. In 1927 the provincial revolutionary government threatened to laicize clergy as well as confiscate property; Dixian and Yuanying quickly mobilized an Association of Ningbo-Area Buddhist Comrades in order to show that they had the religious situation under control. Each aspect of their three-point plan countermanded the scheme proposed by the Zhejiang

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KMT. For instance, setting a minimum age of twenty for ordination countered the charge that Buddhism was a tool that the oppressive clan system used to manipulate children, which had prompted a provincial order forbidding all new ordinations at any age. Dixian and Yuanying also proposed a state-assessed “superstition tax” on rites for the dead; they argued this would gradually discourage a corrupt practice. The third point was the most important. Frightened by reports that the Zhejiang KMT had resolved to forbid monks and Daoist priests to organize, Dixian and his group petitioned for the right to form groups “with a pure and unadulterated [religious] purpose.” The monks argued that not only did Buddhists enjoy the same right of association as, say, merchants, but their particular reformist stance especially suited the needs of the partystate. Buddhist groups would reject all political ties—or rather, it was implied, all counterrevolutionary ones. National needs, the monks could meet: local monasteries had contributed 1,000 yuan apiece to the armies of the Northern Expedition, the two pointed out, and their group’s branch in Chiang Kai-shek’s hometown, Fenghua, had sent 5,000 yuan to the national treasury. “We ask ourselves,” Dixian and Yuanying insinuated, “this isn’t completely without advantage to the party-state, is it?”67 Thus, “pure purpose” did not preclude loyalty to the regime, whether material or ideological. Dixian and Yuanying managed to win some friends with these kinds of arguments, although they would continued to struggle against antiBuddhist activism in Zhejiang during the coming months. Their Ningbo group became the core of progressively larger organizations mobilized to combat what soon emerged as more than a regional problem.68 After the Education Conference threats, they asked permission to make national a “committee for reorganizing the sangha” that would ensure that clergy maintained control of the social welfare and education work that people like Xue Dubi advocated. The Ministries of Interior and Education (at that time, still the University Council, Daxueyuan 大學院) gave notice that this would take place under the close watch of the party-state. As “people’s groups of a local nature,” any such committees would have to allow members of local government, party branches, and educational organizations into their ranks, as well as receive the approval first of party authorities and then of the local government. Similarly, local officials were to oversee management of any assets used for charities or schools, and neither “sangha committees” nor any monasteries would be allowed to “propagate superstition or counterrevolutionary thought.”69


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Meanwhile, Taixu received a different piece of advice, one that encouraged him to remove Buddhism from the monastic realm entirely. Seeking to create his own new national Buddhist organization, he heeded the urging of central government officials, including Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868– 1940), who told him to drop his proposed name Chinese Buddhist Association (Zhongguo fojiao hui 中國佛教會) in favor of Chinese Buddhist Study Association (Zhongguo foxue hui 中國佛學會). Their grounds were that this was not a suitable time to be promoting religion. Thus nomenclature that had been acceptable for predecessor organizations in 1912 became politically suspect in 1928. Even Chiang Kai-shek agreed that a foxue hui could be approved and protected, but not a fojiao hui. As the Venerable Dongchu 東初 later remarked, the episode relegated Buddhism to the position of a “little daughter-in-law,” unable to show her face to the outside world.70 Although both these episodes proved to be way stations to the formation of the more permanent Buddhist Association to come, the attitudes government officials expressed to the clerical leaders persisted and grew into overt threats to the Buddhist way of life in China. The potential legalization of such threats became clear with the promulgation of the controversial “Rules for Temple Management” (“Simiao guanli tiaoli” 寺廟管理條例) in January 1929. The rules inserted government into religious life and threatened punishment for noncompliance with the new public order. Not only did the Rules subject temples and clergy to a political litmus test, for example, but they enabled local governments and “public groups” (gonggong tuanti 公共團體) to take charge of temple property in the event that test was failed.71 The majority strands of Buddhist organization—the Yuanying/ Dixian monastic axis, Wang Yiting’s Shanghai laypeople, and Taixu’s “study group”—put aside their differences in order to face what had definitively transitioned from an ad hoc threat to a legally sanctioned one.72 They met in April in Shanghai, founding the Buddhist Association of China (Zhongguo fojiao hui 中國佛教會), a group that would, in the words of its charter, “represent the united believers of the whole country.”73 This was the forerunner of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China (BAROC) still extant on Taiwan. It also became the regime’s favored model for overseeing religion. The party-government apparatus was initially unsure of where to place the new group in its scheme for mass organizations. First, it was unclear who was to have jurisdiction over this new organization. Having gotten the go-ahead from the Ministry of Interior, the Buddhists were then told they

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had to start at the city in which they were headquartered and work their way up the bureaucracy—in the end they filed multiple applications with party and government organs on several levels just to be safe.74 This might seem like an insignificant bit of numbing bureaucratic detail if it had not been repeated so many times over the coming years for religious groups seeking legitimation, temple communities seeking redress, or religious professionals seeking livelihoods. To be sure, such people were not the only ones affected by the Byzantine nature of the Chinese party-state bureaucracy during the twentieth century, especially in its particularly opaque Nationalist form. But they were especially vulnerable to arbitrary government actions because of the gray zone of limitations on religious freedom that had already been suggested in national law. Second, just because political leaders had assented to the principle of religious freedom did not mean that everyone in politics agreed on how religion was supposed to function in society. Religion as a personal affiliation constituted information worth knowing—in a census, for instance—but religion as a collective pursuit did not fit into a KMT social design that still bore the traces of class schema. During the United Front years, social organization was based in the “five bureaus” (labor, farmers, merchants, youth, women). This underlying structure remained operative in mass movement policy even after the party formally abolished the bureaus in early 1928. That year’s Program for Mass Movements notably disassembled labor and farmers as unified constituencies, organizing them instead by specialty, but it retained the other three divisions.75 The difficult problem of where to fit charities and religious associations in all this was recognized at the Third Party Congress, where the category “social organizations” (shehui tuanti 社會團體) was added. This included an ill-defined class of “cultural groups” (wenhua tuanti 文化團體) into which religious associations could conceivably fit.76 This broadened the umbrella of state corporatism, wherein social organizations born independently of the state must trade management of their respective constituencies for state sufferance of their continued existence. The tradeoff for both sides was particularly clear in the case of cultural organizations. Voluntary associations of all types were required to obtain political approval from local KMT branches before proceeding to government offices for permission to organize on an official basis. Thereafter they had to submit to occasional inspections. In addition, they were sometimes forced to relinquish customary legal identities as associations in favor of an identity defined by the hierarchy of state corporatism.77 Local


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religious stakeholders, for instance, were increasingly pushed under the umbrella of the Buddhist associations, whether or not they were Buddhist. But the party-state also conceded it needed help to realize its ambitions of reforming the nation. A Department of Propaganda pamphlet publicizing the rules for cultural organizations summed up this bitter realization: Although the responsibility of improving [customs] originally depended on the efforts of government, it is better to rely on the active moral leadership and discipline of cultural organizations. Since all kinds of unfortunate practices have long ago settled deep in the people’s hearts and minds, changing popular habits cannot be achieved simply with one government order. It is better to rely on the cooperation and the example of cultural groups to subtly change [these habits] and rectify them one by one. Then they will begin to disappear, and we can realize a new revolutionary society under the Three Principles of the People.78

It was expected that cultural groups would manifest patriotic and modernizing desires uniform with those of the KMT. Sometimes this needed reinforcing. In 1935 and 1936 the KMT Mass Training Department (Minzhong xunlian weiyuan hui 民眾訓練委員會) set out to “review and reorder” the organization and activities of religious groups. The re-registration process, which required the national groups to insert loyalty pledges into their charters, laid bare the KMT’s expectations of allegiance. Now, under the New Life Movement, the party ceded a role to religion’s moral capacity: the Buddhist notion of karmic retribution had fostered a sense of moral responsibility, the department wrote, and that played a part in the religion’s historical contribution to China. Nonetheless religious groups were always in need of “essential reform” and “a firm reorientation”—hence supervision and re-registration.79 The members of the Buddhist Association thus took on responsibility for improving the conduct of the country’s Buddhists in exchange for an authoritative position over their co-religionists; they also relinquished a certain measure of autonomy and freedom from politics as a means of escaping the most dangerous threats of state-sponsored secularization. Corporatism required a difficult balancing act: half a year after the association’s formation, the Ministry of Interior rebuked it for “acting as if it was an organ of the national government.”80 Nor was the association internally quiet: Taixu walked out of the group in 1931 after a leadership struggle between factions affiliated with himself and with Yuanying. But by 1936, the Buddhist Association of China, with a reported membership of 10,500, was one of six national religious organizations under the immediate “direction” of

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the party. The central government listed 24 provincial and municipal branch associations, all of which oversaw local chapters.81 Although some of these branch “Buddhist associations” turned out to have little relation to the central organization, by and large the nested hierarchy of the association system meant that Buddhists came to employ direct petitions to central government and party organs as their preferred battle strategy, rather than subject themselves to the vagaries of local administration. This use of the petition did not guarantee favorable results, but it certainly rewrote the Nationalist script for the interaction of citizens and their party in the era of political tutelage. In granting a place in the social schematic to formal, government-approved religious groups, KMT leaders hardly envisioned that their offices would be inundated with angry, moralistic, and politically astute pleas as a result. Such petitions, however, almost entirely centered on the problems of temple property and seizures—the very crisis that had united Buddhists in the first place. Thus the practical issues of Chinese religion continually spilled over the circumscribed boundaries of “religion” in the preferred government view, a topic explored in detail in subsequent chapters. The expanding Nationalist state still posed enough threat for other religious leaders to consider the benefits of the corporate model as well.

The Limits of the Corporatist Model If Christianity had been the ideal of modern religion as socially engaged faith, as so pointedly described by Interior Minister Xue, then the Buddhist Association quickly became the model for Chinese religion yoked in the framework of state corporatism. Corporate associations became the preferred mechanism for state oversight of religion in both the Republic of China (with varying degrees of success on Taiwan) and the PRC. During the Nanjing Decade, though, its implementation still had mixed results outside Buddhism. National associations formed to represent religions on a broader scale than ever before, but sometimes external political and cultural factors directed the relationships between religious leaders and the government. Muslims, for example, enjoyed greater organizational continuity with the early Republic. The Chinese Muslim Progress Association, founded in 1912, claimed 3,000 branches by 1923.82 In 1929 this group was replaced by the General Muslim Association of China (Zhongguo huijiao gonghui 中國 回教公會), which merged with another national group five years later.83


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The Islamic organizations frequently came to the defense of Muslims under attack throughout the country; for example, they successfully requested government and party resources in reducing persecution in Yunnan in 1929 (arguing, as the Buddhists had, that Muslims had volunteered in the revolutionary armies). Most famously, the Muslim Association launched a protest against the folklore journal Nanhua wenyi 南華文藝 that resulted in the government’s closure of the publication, arrest of the publisher, and a nationwide order forbidding the public to cast aspersions on Muslims.84 Mongolians and Tibetans likewise pursued and received government proclamations that they should not be insulted or molested.85 All three groups benefited from technically falling under the rubric of the “border problem,” although, of course, many Muslims lived in China proper. Nationalist leaders such as Dai Jitao were mindful of warnings about the importance of Islam and lamaist Buddhism to matters of national unity and foreign relations, as Xiong Xiling had argued. Thus the KMT did not incorporate Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhists into the domestic mass association scheme, but turned them over to the jurisdiction of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, or allowed figures such as the Panchen Lama to establish their own political administrations. As a result, Tibetan Buddhists in particular won far more overt protection and even patronage from the state than did their Chinese counterparts.86 There were other exceptions. Christian mission groups were considered matters of foreign affairs. Thus they did not fall under the purview of the Ministry of Interior and the party apparatus, although the KMT did approve several native Christian organizations, including Zhang Zhijiang’s Chinese Christian Independence Association. Several groups also formed using scholarly rather than religious affiliations; these included several Buddhist and Islamic research associations and at least three Confucian groups. In this way the Nanjing Decade witnessed a marked departure from the early Republic, when formulating Confucianism as national religion stood at the top of the religious organizational agenda.87 It was Daoists who truly stood apart from the pack, however, in eschewing the neat Nationalist state corporatist hierarchy. This was not because of a lack of an organization along modernist lines, but rather from an overabundance of them. In 1912 Quanzhen leaders had established the Daoist Association (Daojiao hui 道教會, also called Zhongyang Daojiaohui 中央道教會) at the Baiyun Temple in Beijing, and applied for and received national government approval. Although the association established

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branches as far away as Sichuan, its activity on the national level was sporadic. Later that year at Longhuashan, Jiangxi, the sixty-second Heavenly Master founded the Zhengyi-focused General Daoist Association of the Republic of China (Zhonghua minguo Daojiao zonghui 中華民國道教會); his group did not seek a government stamp, however, until 1922. Its influence was largely limited to Shanghai, along with the nine other Daoist associations established in that city during the Republic.88 In 1928 an unaffiliated cleric named Yan Hongqing 嚴洪清 founded a new Chinese Daoist Association (Zhonghua Daojiao hui 中華道教會) in Shanghai. The group was to unite Zhengyi and Quanzhen clerics and laypeople. Despite receiving government approval, as well as advice from Wang Yiting and YMCA leaders in its efforts to set up local branches and social welfare institutions, it kept a low profile—so low that the organization does not appear in most central government listings. It was forced to reorganize in 1936 due to financial difficulties.89 Thus, no single organization served to funnel “Daoist interests” in the way that the Buddhist and Muslim associations were capable of doing—or, ideally from the government point of view, controlling member activities. Still, during the Nanjing Decade, Daoist organizations proved extremely capable of agitating for their members’ interests on a local level. The Beijing branch Daoist Association in particular was consulted by the municipal Social Affairs Bureau (Shehui ju 社會局) in matters concerning temple property and managers, which was exactly how the system was supposed to work.90 Yet in other cities (and even occasionally in Beijing), some Daoists refused to join the local association out of an unwillingness to submit to the governance of other clerics. Nationalist activism also sometimes created or exacerbated competition within the Daoist community, as clerics took the opportunity to distinguish themselves as free of superstition, unlike their ritual specialist rivals.91 In some cases in Jiangsu, it appears that the arrival of the Nationalists even discouraged the operation of Daoist associations: the group in Taizhou, the Subei region’s earliest with a founding date of 1917, disbanded in 1927.92 For some Daoists this did not pose much of a problem—the study and cultivation movement led by Chen Yingning in Shanghai operated quite comfortably outside this entire framework for much of the 1920s and 1930s. Others were more vulnerable. Feeling the pressure of temple seizures, Daoists in some areas of Shandong unsuccessfully tried to found their own organization in 1933, citing the Buddhist Association of China as their inspiration.93 By 1936, Chen Yingning himself


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had become sufficiently concerned by world and local events to take charge of the reorganization of the Chinese Daoist Association, arguing that it was only in Daoism that China could find salvation.94 Chen Yingning was not alone in writing of a sense of looming disaster in the mid-1930s, nor in positing that the nation could find succor in Chinese religion, defined along antisuperstitious lines. The pseudoConfucianism of the New Life Movement and the increasing openness of KMT Buddhists like Dai Jitao and Lin Sen about their religious affiliations attested to a general environment in which the stresses of Japanese incursions and domestic worries suggested a moral solution to the nation’s crisis. This was the kind of situation in which even redemptive societies might find a legitimate place in the KMT nation, provided they could convince the party-state that they were contributing to the new China.

Finding Redemption in the Kuomintang World Although the KMT state clearly considered redemptive societies suspect, in fact some were more palatable than others. Whereas it harassed Tongshanshe, Wushanshe, and Daoyuan, favored societies of KMT leaders such as the Society for the Study of Morality went untouched. One, the Universal Morality Society (Wanguo daodehui 萬國道德會), even won a unique approval as a religious organization in September 1929, possibly due to political patronage.95 There was another path available to redemptive societies unsure of the reliability of their connections. Some sought to carve a niche in the new sociopolitical order by emphasizing their social contributions through charity and relief work. Their own arguments made clear that such efforts could not be separated out from their religious beliefs—in fact, as Prasenjit Duara has noted, charity formed as much a part of self-cultivation as selfdiscipline.96 It suited the interests of the state to focus only on the moral and patriotic content, however. To justify recognizing the charitable work of two previously banned groups, the Nationalists performed governmental calisthenics. They created a new nomenclature for charitable organizations and used that label to countenance the continued survival of Zailijiao, a sectarian religion of late imperial origin. In the case of Daoyuan, they chose to overlook its quite public existence in favor of receiving the benefits of its charitable arm, the Red Swastika Society.

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Zailijiao Saves the Nation Zailijiao arose in north China at the end of the Ming dynasty but gained particular influence during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Spread via semi-cloistered specialists and lay devotees, the teaching centered on a combination of Guanyin devotion and Zaili’s characteristic Eight Abstentions, which forbade not only drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco and opium but burning spirit money offerings and other staples of ritual activity.97 During the 1910s, the teaching moved south, and branches appeared in Shanghai, Nanjing, and other parts of Jiangsu. When KMT branches began their attacks on Tongshanshe and Daoyuan in central China, they included Zailijiao for good measure, even though the teaching was not named in the original party ban. In early 1928, the Jiangsu provincial party and government heeded the advice of one of these local party branches and refused to offer the group protection. Jiangyin county KMT head Xue Tongzeng charged that the sect was really a secret society operating under the false identity of a temperance association, whose members “promote divine authority (shenquan 神權) and engage in supernatural rituals.”98 The following year, the province issued an outright ban, noting that although at first glance the Chinese Lijiao Association (Zhonghua Lijiao hui 中華理教會) found in the region seemed like a moral organization devoted to combating drugs, it really “advocated heresy.” “In spite of religious freedom,” the officials remarked, “erecting idols [the way it does] is awfully close to superstition”; in any case, in the revolutionary era Zailijiao was outmoded.99 Well-organized urban Zailijiao leaders reacted quickly and won an astonishingly rapid retraction of the ban, faster than anything the Buddhists ever managed, by playing up their orthodox and temperance credentials. In the end, however, the KMT recognized only their temperance efforts. In order for Zailijiao to survive in the official realm, its religious identity had to be erased entirely. The result was an astonishing act of sudden official amnesia. In their petitions to the central government, Zailijiao leaders themselves sought to defend their teaching as a legitimate religion. The only saintly figure they honored, they explained, was the bodhisattva Guanyin, who surely constituted a “standard spirit” whose reverence ought to be covered under the same freedom of religion guaranteed to Buddhism, Daoism, or Christianity. Members also pointed out that the religion’s “Eight Abstentions”


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included prohibitions against the burning of incense and spirit money, the worship of idols, the chanting of prayers, and the writing of charms.100 In fact, Zailijiao’s wide geographic distribution admitted varied practice. This could include the veneration of Guanyin and the Zaili patriarch in rural homes, and even fox spirit worship in some north China village Zaili sects—something urban branches tried to discourage. It also included the writing of protective charms—which scriptures distributed by the urban branches conversely approved.101 The portrait of Zailijiao that reached the Nationalists, however, was one of utter orthodoxy and extreme patriotism. The head of the Shanghai Lijiao Union (Shanghai Lijiao lianhe hui 上海理教聯合會), Zhang Yichen, claimed that Zailijiao adherents had opposed Manchu rule in the teaching’s earliest years, and ever since followers had sought “to revive the fortunes of the Han people.”102 Most recently they had done so by joining the May Thirtieth protests—“taking as their goal the Principle of Nationalism” (one of the Three Principles of the People)—and helping the National Revolutionary Army pacify Jiangnan during the Northern Expedition. Zaili adherents strove to realize Sun Yat-sen’s teachings, Zhang noted, not least by providing a moral example to the people. Abstinence did not apply to followers only: the sect had worked for decades to help the general public rehabilitate themselves, setting up over 3,000 opium treatment stations around the country. Shrewdly commenting that Zailijiao had cured many of its adherents of the poisonous effects of alcohol, drugs, and wild behavior, he played on the party’s fears by asking what would become of these people if the Jiangsu government’s prohibition were carried out.103 In 1884 Zailijiao had won over a suspicious Li Hongzhang 李鴻章 (1823–1901), who, finding an overwhelming number of Zaili followers in Beijing, concluded that the teaching not only represented orthodoxy but might provide a useful bulwark against Christianity.104 Now they achieved a similar feat with the Nationalists by appealing to the politics of the moment. The “Chinese National Lijiao Anti-Drug Association” had been approved by the Yuan Shikai government as a relief organization in 1913, and now Zailijiao’s experience and institutions might prove highly useful during the heavily promoted KMT anti-opium campaign. Certainly it would have been impolitic to ban a society well known for its temperance work at just such a time. Zailijiao rendered other practical charitable services, including burial-aid societies, firefighting brigades, wintertime food distribution outlets, and smallpox inoculation stations.105

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In late 1929, the Ministry of the Interior remarked that “the tenets of Lijiao do not appear to harm the public good”—a stark contrast to its assessment of Tongshanshe, Wushanshe, and Daoyuan. More astonishing, ministry officials judged that, after reviewing the group’s rules and charter, they had found “no spiritual content, and thus it was difficult to judge [the group] a religion.”106 Sect leaders obviously had learned something about proper presentation from the comments of Xue Dubi, who a year earlier had told the group in no uncertain terms that it could not win recognition as a religious association.107 Even the Standing Committee of the KMT Central Executive Committee agreed that Zailijiao did not seem like a religion, that its tenets “urged people toward goodness,” and, finally, that banning it would violate the right to freedom of association.108 This last was a freedom scarcely mentioned in relation to any other religious group during the Nanjing Decade. Zailijiao had become an outstanding exception. Thus the society was free to organize, but only as a “public welfare group.” Applying this term, gongyi tuanti 公益團體, departed from the standard classification of “charitable organization” (cishan tuanti 慈善團體) used for relief groups; in its rare appearances in party and state documents, gongyi tuanti applies to firefighters and the like.109 Under this rubric, the KMT approved a national Zaili association whose name emphasized its anti-opium work in the manner of its 1913 predecessor. The group’s claim of headquarters in Nanjing reflected how the governmental life of religions now diverged from their social existence, which in this case was most certainly not weighted toward the capital. Despite the Zailijiao’s friends at high levels in the party and government, it took another step or two to bring local party activists around: the Jiangsu provincial party refused to fall in line with its superiors and with the government and assented to the new arrangement only after several months of protests from the Shanghai Lijiao Union. This had the unexpected consequence, however, of giving the Shanghai Lijiao leaders effective control of the national association. Thus, a religion with its most extensive base in the north became transformed into a temperance organization run from the south—at least in the eyes of the state.110 Zailijiao members held a different view and later claimed that the government had recognized them as a “legal religious group,” and thereby elevated the teaching to the status of “one of the national religions.”111 By contrast, Nationalist declarations about the nature of Zailijiao relegated the group’s religious background to its earliest origins, where it could be safely


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disinfected and the moral lessons of the teaching extracted. The party Department of Training (Xunlian bu 訓練部) could thus laud Zailijiao followers for participating in the “great undertaking of national revival” and for their “construction of a foundation for a strong nation.”112 This resulted in a public political endorsement of Zailijiao that heightened as KMT nationalist symbolism ramped up during the war and after. When the teaching’s history was printed years later on Taiwan, one of the pieces of dedicatory calligraphy came from He Yingqin, enemy of “superstitious” redemptive societies. Reprinted in an accompanying collection was a calligraphic offering that Chiang Kai-shek had provided to the group on Tomb-Sweeping Day, 1943.113 Chiang joined a roster of Beiyang presidents and late Qing imperial figures who had provided inscriptions to Zaili followers; the list included several embarrassments from the point of view of revolutionary nationalism, such as the Empress Dowager Cixi, the ignoble Li Yuanhong 黎元洪 (1864–1928), and Duan Qirui, “warlord” president ne plus ultra. That hardly mattered, however, for in typical fashion Chiang simply rewrote the situation to his own agenda, offering the sentiment “Understand civility and encourage what is right” (mingli shangyi 明禮 尚義 , a stock phrase in the KMT Cultural Reconstruction Movement (Wenhua jianshe yundong 文化建設運動) and a favorite inscription of Chiang’s).114 Whatever Zailijiao followers may have been in actuality, in his rendering they simply became good Confucians and moral Nationalists.

Daoyuan Above- and Underground In legitimating Zailijiao, the Nationalist government chose to acknowledge one aspect of its activities and ignore the rest. In the case of Daoyuan, the selective amnesia was even more overt, for it required banning the religious form of the society while fostering the activities of a separately named, ostensibly independent charitable group. Both in fact were connected at the deepest levels in terms of personnel and funding, and the ban did little to discourage “superstitious” activities in the Nationalist heartland. Daoyuan shared some similarities with Tongshanshe, including a north China origin and practice that mixed quiet-sitting and communications with a range of world spirits and past teachers. Daoyuan’s origins were more firmly in the Republican era, however; it arose in Shandong around 1916. Its embrace of world civilization was also broader. Daoyuan members sought instruction from Daoist deities and figures such as Laozu 老祖, the Primeval Ancestor (one Daoyuan text renders it for English readers as

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“God”), and Zhuangzi; the Chan master Fahai; cultural heroes Yue Fei, Guandi, and the beatified Song official Shang Zhenghe; and Jesus and Mohammed. In addition to using the planchette, they incorporated newer technologies such as spirit photography.115 Like Tongshanshe, Zailijiao, and other redemptive societies, Daoyuan members also engaged in charity work. Their activities, however, far exceeded those of the other societies. In 1922 the group began operating relief programs out of Shanghai under the name Red Swastika Society (Hong wanzi hui 紅卍字會), in emulation of the Red Cross. The society won government accreditation the same year. The Red Swastika Society’s labors eventually encompassed providing aid and assistance to victims of natural disasters, wars, and famines and running schools, banks, and hospitals. The Red Swastika group did not discard Daoyuan’s spiritual pursuits, however; for instance, it sought guidance from Laozu via planchette on the decision to apply for the government permit.116 Still, the Nationalists accepted the assistance of Red Swastika Society branches in treating wounded soldiers and refugees during the Northern Expedition. Such aid proved so valuable that various military authorities, including the National Government’s Military Affairs Commission ( Junshi weiyuan hui 軍事委員會), issued orders for the Red Swastika Society’s protection in 1927 and early 1928.117 During the summer of 1928, the Ministry of Interior followed suit, clamping down on local officials who seized Red Swastika halls in Shandong.118 But these same officials treated Daoyuan itself quite differently. As with other activism against redemptive societies, bans first emerged locally in places like Shanghai. Then in October 1928 the Ministry of the Interior instructed all provincial governments to close Daoyuan branches and appropriate their property for charitable uses—standard policy in dealing with banned societies and seized temples but ironic in light of the fact that Daoyuan branches were already running their own charities. This was no mere paper announcement. Soon, the Ji’nan party branch secretly sent police to raid a Daoyuan gathering and arrested members and closed halls around the city.119 The administrative division of Daoyuan and the Red Swastika Society continued: within a month, the ministry received instructions from the Executive Yuan to issue renewed accreditation for the charity, now operating as the World Red Swastika Society. It was an order that was doubtless confusing to execute, since it also instructed provincial governments to safeguard the charity’s 150-plus branches.120 Some Red Swastika members certainly did all they could to cultivate the impression that the two groups were separate entities. In a January 1928


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petition for government protection, for instance, the Changzhou Red Swastika branch emphasized that “relief was its only goal.” Its members argued that the organization may have had its origins in Daoyuan, but that meant only that it had retained the lesson to be “moral in substance and charitable in action.”121 Even antisuperstition critics were inclined to give the group leeway that they denied Tongshanshe. Whereas Tongshanshe’s charity was assumed to be a cover for venality, suspicions its mystical practices only reinforced, Red Swastika’s actions were appreciated to the point that people were almost willing to overlook its religious origins. Zhang Zhenzhi did not include the group in his survey of contemporary religious developments on the political scene, for example. A Tianjin newspaper editorial writer summed up the prevailing utilitarian attitude when she suggested, “Let’s get rid of the superstition and leave the charity.” The relief work certainly benefited society, she noted, “as long as they say it was people and not ghosts who did it!”122 Such sarcasm aside, private citizens and government officials alike found much to respect in the relief organization, not least of which was that it provided an entirely indigenous alternative to the Red Cross. The group emphasized this distinction in their literature, but added that, although a Chinese organization, the Red Swastika Society nonetheless took the peace and happiness of the entire world as its mission, seeking to work around the globe. As Duara observes, this combination of local and universal claims characterized redemptive society visions of the time.123 Having secured shelter for the charity, Red Swastika leaders hoped to parlay the government’s gratitude into recognition of Daoyuan itself. Once again Xiong Xiling appeared on the scene: he signed the 1928 application for Red Swastika accreditation and shortly thereafter assumed the post of society president.124 In January 1929 he and fourteen others submitted a petition requesting that Daoyuan be restored to legitimacy. The accompanying charter and pamphlet describes a group devoted to “the promotion of morality, the carrying out of charitable works, research on the principles of world religions, and scholarship in spirituality and philosophy.” The authors emphasized the universal nature of the group’s interests, avowing that “holy truth resides in the Way, not in a teaching.” Using language that would appear almost verbatim in Xiong’s letter advocating the national religious council, they disavowed superstition as a product of religious war and misunderstanding. They described Daoyuan members’ interest in spirituality in the most general terms, comparing them to the philosophical and scientific pursuits of such Western figures as Emanuel Swedenborg and Henri Bergson; they omitted mention of spirit-writing, although in fact

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that was an interest they shared with Swedenborg. Moreover, the petitioners pointed out, one of the ten sworn principles of Daoyuan was “Thou shalt not be superstitious.”125 In spite of these arguments, the Ministry of Interior rejected the application, and the name “Daoyuan” diminished from public view for several years.126 The Red Swastika Society, however, continued to grow. Its activities expanded during the aftermath of the 1931 floods and the Japanese attack on Shanghai the following year, when it received a permanent license to operate under the central government’s new rules for charitable enterprises.127 A small example of the kind of resources the group could muster can be found in the 15,500 yuan of soybeans the group distributed in Hubei during 1935 floods; during the war with Japan, the society’s yearly operational budget reached 2.5 million yuan.128 The Nationalists certainly warmed to the aid of religious charities in general during the 1930s. With the founding of the New Life Movement in 1934, the values of groups like the YMCA received the public approval of Chiang Kai-shek and Song Meiling.129 Meanwhile, natural and manmade disasters followed one upon the other, and national revenues were increasingly diverted to military concerns. The Red Swastika Society provided welcome relief, then, in more ways than one. Although Daoyuan temporarily disappeared from official view, it by no means dissolved. Membership in the two organizations did not coincide completely, but there was considerable overlap. The rosters of eleven Jiangsu and Anhui Daoyuan branches during the 1930s, for instance, reveal that an average of two-thirds of members belonged to the Red Swastika Society as well. The greatest rate of coincidence, in fact, came in the branch in the Xiaguan district of Nanjing, where nearly 90 percent of the Daoyuan members took part in the charity.130 There is also some indication that many branches did not separate the two “sides” of their work. For instance, Red Swastika branches recorded contributions for ritual expenses, such as “incense money” for halls and fees for establishing spirit tablets for ancestors of Daoyuan members, and regularly communicated regarding the progress of their members in self-cultivation. Sometimes they even submitted these transactions on KMT party stationery.131 Authorities caught on soon enough, and a geographically divergent attitude developed toward the continued existence of Daoyuan—or more accurately, toward the realization that Daoyuan and the Red Swastika Society had been one all along. In the north, the local party was more tolerant. The Ji’nan Daoyuan successfully won approval as a local cultural organization in 1935, with a


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representative of the Shandong party branch present to make a speech at the celebratory meeting. The following year Xiong Xiling was able to achieve the same in Beijing.132 In the Nationalist strongholds of Jiangsu and Anhui, however, things were very different. Party branches in several northern Jiangsu and Anhui counties complained that Red Swastika branches cloaked Daoyuan ritual and proselytizing.133 Consequently in early 1937 the KMT central Mass Training Department wrote to Xiong Xiling to comment on the resulting conflicts, noting that “the activities of the [Red Swastika] Society are not entirely devoid of superstitious behavior.” In what was really quite a gentle warning, considering historical precedent, party officials instructed the society to “concentrate its strength on charity work” and re-register each branch.134 It is unclear whether the re-registration was carried out before the war made the Red Swastika Society’s immediate assistance vital (among other services, they buried several thousand victims of the Nanjing Massacre). Even so, the Chongqing government found it necessary to remind the society once more to separate its activities from those of Daoyuan.135

Conclusion Although a moment of triumph for Daoyuan in Ji’nan, the speech of Shandong KMT representative Ru Hao at the branch’s official 1935 “founding” summed up the impossible demands “religion” faced in the Nationalist era. First, religion had to subordinate itself to the nation’s premier faith, the political ideology of nationalism and Nationalism: “In order to save the future of our country’s people,” Ru remarked, “Mr. [Sun] Yat-sen created the Three Principles of the People to be the citizen’s belief (xinyang); if you have faith, then you have strength, and if you have strength, then that is enough to save China.” But belief must inspire something more among the country’s 400 million—organization and law. Thus religion, in the view of a defender such as Ru Hao, would be one kind of popular organization comprising the “big group” of the Chinese people, serving under the party’s direction. He congratulated Daoyuan for helping to save China by “emphasizing spiritual unity and the search for morality” through research on the principles of the five world religions. Yet, in keeping with the party’s political agenda of 1935, he just as quickly downplayed the universal aspects of Daoyuan by lauding the group’s contributions to keeping alive “China’s moral base of benevolence and love” and “the native spirit of the nationrace.”136 Thus religion was expected to foster nationalism as well.

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There were in fact many sincere religious patriots in Republican China, people who believed that religion should make a contribution to the nation, whether in ethics, diplomacy, or material service. Many also supported the Nationalist cause: it is difficult to imagine that the Zhejiang monks or the Red Swastika volunteers helped the Northern Expedition armies to the extent they did out of cynical calculation. But the deal the Nationalists offered them in return was cynical: a circumscribed freedom, enjoyed with security only under the watchful eye of the state. To refuse to fall in with the scheme of religious associations under state corporatism was to risk being deemed “secretive” and therefore potentially subversive. In fact to castigate groups as “secret” was to overlay the old imperial state’s fears of disorder and heterodoxy with two modern expectations. First, real “religion” ought to look like a church: regular meetings, obvious demarcation of membership, open transmission of clearly marked religious texts available to all, and a set of readily articulated beliefs. Second, society overall was composed of distinct sectors, each of which had hierarchical representatives in the party and state. Religious practices that deviated from these expectations, such as redemptive societies, were naturally the first to be excluded from freedom of religion. This emergent vision of “religion” as legible to the state did not, of course, immediately negate alternative ideas on the part religious engagement could play in the construction of nationalism, society, and modernity. The careers of figures such as Xiong Xiling and Wang Yiting, simultaneously involved in lay Buddhism, redemptive societies, philanthropy, and Republican government, demonstrate otherwise. But even the efforts of influential individuals and their considerable social impact could not avert an elemental shift in governmental logic about what religion should look like and where it belonged in public life. In some ways the religious groups described in this chapter made considerable strides. Given the hostility of the intellectual and political climate toward all religion earlier in the 1920s, it was not at all clear that any religious group would have an official place under a Nationalist state. Buddhists and Muslims won substantial policy victories on the national level as a result of their organizational achievements, and Daoists maintained the integrity of their institutions in cities such as Beijing. Zailijiao and Daoyuan emerged remarkably strong from the attacks on redemptive societies. All this was achieved, however, by inventing an institutional existence for the benefit of the state that diverged from the religious existence in all its variety. In some cases this created a state-sanctioned organization that


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promoted certain interests above others—as with the Buddhist Association, which came to be dominated by Jiangnan monastic leaders. In others this meant having to deny a group’s actual religious identity, as occurred with Zailijiao and Daoyuan. The Nationalists would never achieve a strong enough state to demand a total correspondence between “religion”-aslegible-to-the-state and religion-on-the-ground. But their model of patriotic religious associations under state corporatism carried over to the People’s Republic, which did, for a time, achieve that goal. Religion as a governmental category had serious consequences.

three Temples and the Redefinition of Public Life

As 1927 turned to 1928, the advancing forces of the Northern Expedition swept through south-central China, bringing iconoclasm with them. One October morning in Shangshui in eastern Henan, the party frontline organized a Rally for Deity-Smashing Activists. Gu Mingshan, a young man at the time, later recalled the day in detail. A crowd of more than one thousand people gathered at the city athletic field, including government workers, teachers, students, and sundry passersby. They watched didactic plays on the evils of superstition, capped by a chanting rhyme delivered by local fifth-grade student Ren Baoshan: Smash the Gods I’ll tell you, Shangshui, this absurd town Too many temples all around [which are then named . . .] The shrines’ gods are of stone and clay They cannot eat and they cannot shout. Nor can they speak or even laugh. So many people believe in them Burn incense, light firecrackers Bow their heads and utter a prayer. The money they waste—who knows how much?



Temples and the Redefinition of Public Life Today it’s better to knock them down Upturn the gods and clean the shrines Make some factories and build some schools. We’ll see which one is profound in the end!

With that call to action, the real day’s work began. The county party cadre, Zhang Buhua, and a local Christian convert, Zhao Guoyin, gathered a group of teachers and students. First they went over to the City God Temple. They used a large rope to lasso the ten-foot-high City God by the statue’s neck. Outside the main hall forty or fifty people yelled out encouragement. They yanked and yanked, and at last the City God that had awed the entire county, that had received incense offerings and prostrations for so long, that was called the most efficacious, was pulled to pieces, ass to the sky, and ground into dust. Next [the crowd] took more than three hundred images from the rest of the temple and from the neighboring Kitchen God temple, crushed them, and tossed them into the ditch outside. Later they formed squads to go to every temple in the city and smash idols.1

The events of this dramatic day illustrate the essential elements of the Nationalist attack on temples and illicit “superstition” in the public community. Ren Baoshan’s recitation struck the common notes of KMT antireligious propaganda—the first, core element: using rationalism to undercut religion, the inherent wastefulness of deity worship, and the need to marshal the country’s temple infrastructure for national productivity. The “fact” that deities possessed no divine power was demonstrated in the inert and helpless nature of the wood and clay idols that represented them. Iconoclasm thus constituted an argument as well as an act and made up the second element in the program. This re-enacted a Nationalist founding myth in which a youthful Sun Yat-sen irreverently broke off the finger of a statue of the Northern Emperor (Beidi 北帝) in his family’s home village of Cuiheng and demanded, “Who says the gods have ling ( 靈 ‘divine power’)?” Authors of political tracts for adults and textbooks for all ages loved to replay this scene as the proof that rationalism inhered in the party’s deepest roots.2 What these texts did not mention was that both Sun’s vandalism and the party-guided mob actions recalled demonstrations of community iconoclasm carried out by missionaries and Chinese Christians in earlier centuries. Now, the idol-smashing rallies, led by Christian converts and other agents of the new modern order—cadres and schoolteachers—became public, forcible acts of conversion to a secularized nationalism and to the Nationalist revolution.3

Temples and the Redefinition of Public Life


Third, Shangshui’s agents sought to dispel the authority of the City God, first and foremost, and assert the power of the party and nation in his place. The City God and local tutelary spirits constituted a form of public that had in part been shaped by agents of the imperial state but were also much more extensively linked to territory, local economy, justice, and habitus. In defining these cults as the essence of superstition, attacking them upon entering cities and towns and—the critical fourth element of state action—converting the emptied temples to schools, government offices, and other symbols of the new civic order, the KMT also sought to revise the meanings of “public” and “community” on the local level. The assault on temples, however, unleashed a number of forces that rendered the situation far more complex that a simple exchange of old types of power for new. Shangshui’s agents of attack may have been the prototypically ideal symbols of the new—party cadre, student, progressive Christian—but the party leadership quickly found that many of the frontline troops against superstition lay beyond their direct control. Moreover, communities did not take iconoclastic acts passively; they responded with everything from civil disobedience to outright violence. As the party of revolution attempted to transform itself into a party of governance, the frenzied energy generated by temple smashing began to turn from an asset in establishing public authority to a liability. Thus, Nationalist officials needed to create a legal structure to usher China’s local temples and their property into a new era, just as they were doing in attempting to shape the roles of translocal religious organizations. The very fact that temples simultaneously existed as cultural, economic, and legal institutions not only commanded attention but also complicated the task. Because the religion/superstition distinction forced the issue that some temples might in fact be worthy of preservation, the temple problem commanded nearly every aspect of Republican governance: historical analysis and the preservation movement; surveys and social engineering; property laws and the language of rights; and political education and the incursion of the party-state into local social life. These mechanisms often contradicted one another. The cultural imperative to exterminate superstition ran up against both the limits of freedom of religion and the party’s attempt to codify property rights in its Civil Code (1929–30) and Land Law (1930).4 Not only did the “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Temples” attempt to enumerate which shrines might be destroyed, but subsequent laws effectively normalized mechanisms by which the state could absorb the property of even legitimate temples. Consequently, the government’s modernist


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desires to formulate public policy based on the results of temple censuses and customs surveys were continually outstripped by the disruption initiated by political activism. Eventually, local elites themselves caught on to the possibilities that the new laws offered and began to deploy both the cultural structure of religion/superstition and the sociopolitical structure of Nationalist regulations as weapons in their own power plays. A further difficulty stemmed from the imposition of a new and illfitting state-centered framework of public and private behavior and property onto the variety of temple relationships to the community. Deity temples, their endowments (usually in the form of fields generating income via grain or rent), and their festivals are supported by what Vincent Goossaert describes as “ascriptive communities.” These include lineages, corporate associations (such as guilds, native-place associations, and merchant groups), and, above all, territorial communities. Such communities can range from the shopkeepers of a demarcated urban neighborhood who underwrite local festivals to village leaders chosen for committee membership by divine lot to complex nested hierarchies of cult festivals and liturgical networks expanding over marketing areas.5 Clergy as well as lay temple managers and workers were often essentially hired employees of donor committees, but they might also play key roles in fundraising for temple building and renovation. The temples were then generally considered to be the collective property of the donors, as commonly recorded on stelae in larger temples. This did not, however, exclude shifts in ownership; as Goossaert explains, ownership rights could change with each new renovation. Resident clerics, Buddhist or Daoist, could stake ownership claims on deity temples for their lineages as well. Buddhist and Daoist temples sustained by donor communities sometimes exercised control of the property, which was then transmitted “hereditarily” as part of the position of temple manager, as in some Buddhist zisun miao 子孫廟 handed from master to disciple or in corporate temples held within certain Zhengyi Daoist families. But other of these temples ultimately remained under the control of donors. Finally, there were the small number of major ordination centers, which were collectively held as Buddhist and Daoist corporate monastic property: the Buddhist “public monasteries,” or shifang conglin 十方叢林; and Quanzhen Daoist guan 觀. The main distinction here might be described as one of style as well as substance: monastic rules did constrain the managers of large ordination centers from disposing of temple holdings as freely as did their counterparts in hereditary temples, but it was also their relative prestige and the

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lofty social circles from which they drew their donor pool that prompted them to distinguish themselves.6 Thus, temple property could be measured in terms of the social capital and merit accumulation of the donor as well as the economy of the temple itself.7 This principle extended to a surprising portion of the official cult as well, particularly in the late imperial era. Some portions of the official cult were clearly established by the central state and their ritual activity involved only government officials in the course of their duties or members of the literati as a mark of their cultural and political as well as community standing. These included open-air altars on the outskirts of administrative centers (such as sheji 社稷, altars to soil and grain), and temples to Confucius built on the grounds of state-sponsored schools.8 But beyond the most obvious examples of shrines established solely for official use or located within the precincts of government offices or in the capital, the measure of what constituted “official religious property” had become fuzzy by late imperial times. Local elites sought to acquire social capital and merit by donating to the construction or repair of Confucius (Wen miao 文廟) or Guandi temples (Wu miao 武廟). Moments when the state attempted to extend the official cult reveal this process in particularly striking fashion: Michael Szonyi describes how Fujian lineages adapted early Ming orders to perform sacrifices at the sheji and litan (癘壇, an official altar for hungry ghosts) by instead constructing a variety of enclosed temples for local cults.9 But the duties of local officials also included performing rites for deities included in the register of sacrifices, at temples constructed and maintained either by a mixture of donations from locals, individual magistrates, and occasionally state coffers or by the community alone. Such temples—City God, Eastern Peak, Dragon King—formed key elements in what Prasenjit Duara has termed “the cultural nexus of power,” in which symbolic and ritual authority was built along with claims to material goods.10 This combination of cultural, political, and economic authority was what attracted the attention of the Nationalists to these sites. By the same token, however, it was the property of these sorts of temples that would be the most difficult to sort out under the much more rigid twentieth-century definitions of “public” and “private.” The Nationalists attacked temples because of their social underpinnings and the judicial-political function some of them carried. But they also attacked them because of their religious character and because of the nationalist mentality they wished to instill in its stead. In early 1929 a Central Daily News essayist explained that although he understood the appeal of burning


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down City God temples completely, as so many crowds seemed intent on doing, he thought that it would be better to make them into partypromoting “halls of brotherly love” (boai ting 博愛廳.) This would help with the dearth of entertainment in so many of these places, he claimed, for villagers deliberately mistook temple festivals and processions as religious in nature rather than recognizing them for the popular amusements that they were.11 Temples also occupied a special place in Nationalist social policy. At the end of 1928, as temple seizures and deity-smashing raids reached their height, the Ministry of Interior issued an interesting order to all levels of government. They were to protect all native-place associations (huiguan 會館), since, the ministry concluded, most were legally constituted for a valid purpose.12 Although the two issues sometimes overlapped—many huiguan had temples, and in fact at least three disputes would occur in Nanjing between huiguan and the government over temple property—the Nationalists were making a choice on just where they wanted to focus their rewriting of the public landscape. As Bryna Goodman has shown, not only were native-place ties not seen as incompatible with constructions of nationalism, but the KMT went on to grant the associations considerable political privilege in the 1930s.13 The social ties of huiguan members were acceptable and even useful. The ethical or charitable nature of those belonging to legitimated religious groups was safely established according to the boundaries set by secularism. But temple religion appeared to have no meaning to the modern Nationalist state except insofar as its material resources could further national development.

Establishing Secular Authority: The Early Stages of Temple Confiscation The Nationalist program of confiscating temple property began with the revolutionary government in Guangzhou. Sun Ke’s 孫科 (1891–1973) mayoralty set an important precedent for perceiving temples as simultaneous cash cows for a needy regime and competitors to politicized modernity. His most ambitious plan called not only for converting temples—including community temples as well as Buddhist monasteries—to schools but also for the wholesale selling of temple lands, with proceeds going to education funds. As Poon Shuk Wah shows, this resulted in a decided shift in the place of temples in the community. They certainly did not disappear, for

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even though at this stage conversion did not require them to cease their religious function, many were diminished in size or placed under economic pressure, with clergy sometimes forced to buy back their land under finicky government rules that prohibited temple managers from accepting aid from nonclerical donors. This had the unexpected effect of driving temples into new alliances that only worsened their political standing with the KMT. For instance, many beleaguered clergy and managers sought the help of the Guangzhou Merchant Corps in retaining their property, which factored into the eventual conflict between that organization and the KMT government.14 Even before this clash developed, however, the government used community support of temples as one of its retroactive justifications for property seizure, claiming that appropriations of properties collectively owned by lineages or associations “should not really be considered oppressive” in the way that confiscations of individual property might be.15 During the Northern Expedition, the fates of temples depended on the nature of the armies and commanders they encountered. As in previous conflicts, officers commandeered temples to quarter troops, but often more from necessity than hostility. This aspect is evident in the diary of Ou Zhenhua 歐振華, who fought under Zheng Yanhua in the Seventeenth Division of the National Revolutionary Army. Ou often wrote in the manner of a travel diarist, recording details about the histories and customs of temples in which his unit was bivouacked; in Yangzhou, he even received orders to take his unit on a tour of local monasteries and historic sites.16 By contrast, in areas occupied by activist party branches, opponents of religion began to take aim at local religious institutions. In Jiangxi, for example, the newly established KMT seized land deeds, ritual implements, and imperial insignia belonging to Zhang Enpu 張恩溥 (1894–1969), the sixty-third Heavenly Master, and incarcerated him for a time in the Nanchang offices of the provincial peasant association. The party branch in the county in which Longhushan 龍虎山, the seat of the Heavenly Masters, was located declared that Daoism was outmoded and that Zhang Enpu ought to “get a job.” They also advocated turning the temples of Longhushan over to industry. The situation was not fully resolved until 1930, when Chiang Kai-shek’s first encirclement campaign against the Communists in Jiangxi led to a reversal of official attitudes toward the Heavenly Master.17 The pro-religion reformers among the KMT’s militarist allies often proved no friend to temples either. This was most vividly exemplified by Tang Shengzhi 唐生智 (1890–1970) and Feng Yuxiang. Each was famous


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for providing religious and moral instruction to his troops, Tang hiring a Tantric master for the purpose and Feng regularly haranguing the ranks with his own Christian-tinged views against superstition. Tang, who won a National Revolutionary Army command in June 1926, ordered his troops to cease pilfering religious memorabilia from the shrines they occupied, but his seizures of a number of temples in Hunan in the name of “religious reform” prompted protests in which a number of clergy were killed. At roughly the same time, Feng Yuxiang undercut his pledge to honor religious freedom by launching a program of destruction of Buddhist and Daoist monasteries, City God temples, and other properties. In Henan he defrocked clerics.18 The party’s contrasting responses to these actions revealed not only the relative strength of Tang and Feng in the alliances of 1927–28 but also KMT cultural preferences overall. Tang Shengzhi’s plans to militarize Buddhist monks and bring the dharma to soldiers created as much distrust in Nationalist circles as in clerical ones, and after the collapse of Tang’s alliance with Wang Jingwei, the party removed his “Buddhification troops” ( fohua jundui 佛化軍隊) from the front lines.19 By contrast, although the KMT leadership could not countenance Feng Yuxiang’s extremes of laicization, they rather sympathized with his belief in the utility of replacing the social influence of temples with that of the state. Feng’s antisuperstition policy melded with the party’s in the person of Xue Dubi, who served as Feng’s minister of civil affairs in Henan and became national minister of interior in August 1927. At the same time that Xue was engaged in the debates over temple property and its uses, he authorized the nationwide distribution of a Henan propaganda pamphlet that he had likely penned himself, Twelve Principles for the People of the Nation (Quanguo renmin shi’er yao 全國 人民十二要). The essay on Principle Three, “Destroy Superstition,” included a description of how the Henan provincial government “has ordered every county to overturn all the idols in the improper shrines and make the temples into schools, libraries, Sun Yat-sen Parks, and Sun Yatsen Markets.”20 Xue reinforced the message a month later: in a lengthy directive outlining the first steps for local governments under the new regime, he listed eradicating superstition as a priority for mass governance. Thus in early 1928, iconoclasm in party and military converged, and orders went out from the new government to its subordinates to attack temples in the popular pantheon. The effects were felt immediately in the Nationalist stronghold of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Zhejiang, above all at City God temples.

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Toppling the City God In one sense attacking a local City God offered a way of wiping away any lingering remnants of the imperial cosmo-political order. The process of Republican assimilation and conversion of temples belonging to the state cult began in 1912—arguably even during the late Qing reform period. After all, magistrates and local literati had borne important responsibilities for maintaining ritual relationships to City Gods, relationships recognized in imperial honors for individual deities. There was much more to the role of the City God in the life of a community, however, and these additional layers also account for the Nationalists’ attention. The City God’s presence ranged in periodicity from the cyclical to the quotidian and cut across social lines even as it defined territory. Prominent families vied for the honor of sponsoring celebrations of the birthday of a City God and his wife, but the temples played a central role in life-cycle ritual for a wider cross-section of society as well. In Baoying county in northern Jiangsu, for instance, the custom after a death in the family was to burn incense at the “three temples”—Earth God (Tudi miao 土地廟), City God (Chenghuang miao 城隍廟), and Eastern Peak (Dongyue miao 東嶽 廟)—to establish a “household registration” (hukou 戶口) for the deceased so that he or she would have a proper domicile in the underworld.21 The City God’s ritual administrative authority extended more pervasively as well. Paul Katz has demonstrated the importance of judicial rituals carried out at City God, Eastern Peak, and also Dizang (Dizangwang pusa 地藏王 菩薩) temples to the functioning of society and the “thisworldly” judicial system with which they went hand in hand. Moreover, he shows that such practices have continued in Taiwan to the present day, suggesting that they satisfy an inherent need for justice and fairness.22 In an environment in which the party, as self-appointed representative of the Chinese people, asserted sole judicial, administrative, and moral authority, how could it not unseat the City God upon entering a town? To do so also offered practical advantages. City God temples by definition marked the county seat or an important market. Their central locations within towns made them ideal sites for civic ventures, and the fact that they often occupied valuable real estate only added to their attractiveness as a source of income for the cash-strapped regime. At the time the KMT branch in Jiangyin, an important Yangzi river town between Wuxi and Changzhou, took over the large and longstanding City God Temple for its own use, the market value of the 41-room structure stood at 30,000 yuan,


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making it the most valuable temple property in the county by a factor of three.23 Even less magnificent City God structures served as focal points of periodic or permanent markets, the economic nerve centers of their communities. Shanghai’s temple was merely the most famous Republican example: during the 1920s its environs contained a bird market, booksellers, a teahouse, a wine shop, and a variety of other merchants. For this very reason, reform-minded commentators also viewed City God temples as dens of iniquity, associating them with social chaos and clusters of opium addicts whose exhaled smoke rivaled the incense clouds inside the temple walls.24 Yet although social reform—including anti-opium efforts and bans on fortunetellers and other ritual specialists—soon became part of the Nationalist program, at this early stage City God and Eastern Peak temples garnered attention primarily because of their political, religious, and social roles in the community. Attacking a City God temple could initiate a highly charged emotional process. Overwriting sites of divine justice and death ritual with party or government offices made the theoretical proposition of the Nationalist republic material. Ideally, this would result in a utopic communion between party and public. In September 1928, for example, the army’s Twenty-fifth Division was dispatched to quell unrest in northern Jiangsu province. The division chose the Haizhou City God Temple as the site for a “communal celebration for the army and the people” ( jun-min tongle hui 軍民同樂會), an updated temple festival for the political era, with a costume parade, plays, entertainments, and the inevitable speeches. The ultimate purpose was to forge a new kind of civic relation: in the words of the division, “to get in touch with the opinions and feelings of the locals.”25 The official KMT press applauded such efforts and urged more. A breathless op-ed piece in the Central Daily News called for every City God Temple to be transformed into a “hall of brotherly love,” a new place of healthy recreation based on the principles of Sun Yat-sen. “Except for a few people deeply mired in idolatry,” the author boasted, “it is as if everybody’s eyes have been pierced by a ray of light!”26 Despite such literal images of sudden enlightenment, temple conversion was no quick transformation. As the memoir of the Shangshui witness shows, the smashing of a temple generated a feeling of collective energy and superiority in numbers among those who carried it—many of whom were quite young, like the student whose chant became the rallying point of that day. Youthful energy was necessary to rope the tall City God and pull it down. The putative new community leaders were in effect sell-

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ing a vision of a new locality based on youth and upended social rankings as well, even if young and old alike often participated in community religious rituals.27 Smashing a temple was no mere carnivalesque testing of the power structure, however: it was meant to result in permanent change, not to be a release valve for pent-up energies, and the violent consequences could last quite a while. Overturning the gods sometimes meant not simply smashing them but executing them: Feng Yuxiang’s soldiers lopped off deities’ heads with halberds and, in a bit of public theater, rolled them through the temple doors.28 Temple attacks could swiftly change from gleeful smashups to vicious brawls: sometimes clergy stood by sobbing or were chased away, but just as quickly crowds could rally to oppose the iconoclasts and have to be repelled with force. In Shangshui, some worshippers stood up to the after-school idol smashers, and others hid the images from smaller earth god temples as the squads went down the line. Part of the community took grim satisfaction when, following the smashing of the gods, a county town was hit by bandits on the Lunar New Year, which they claimed was proof of divine punishment. Indeed, in some places, in the hope of escaping divine retribution, soldiers offered incense to the deities before following their orders to smash them, or people pledged to “blame our big brother Feng Yuxiang” and not one another for the consequences.29 Elsewhere temple committees played cat-and-mouse games with party authorities to replace destroyed images.30 And in some places the confrontation was more direct. In Fuyang in Anhui, a large crowd attacked the local party director as he was making an anti–City God speech. Angry that deity images had been broken and tossed in ponds, the crowd dragged the unfortunate man to the offices of the merchant association, where they proceeded to beat him.31 In the end several merchants were arrested for the act, which was a rather placid outcome compared to a similar struggle in the county seat of Yancheng in northern Jiangsu. This occurred less than a month after the “communal celebration” in Haizhou. The problem emanated in large part from Yancheng county officials siding with locals against KMT cadres. The county magistrate allegedly conspired with the head priest of the desecrated City God Temple to set it ablaze, hoping to cast further blame on the activists. The ensuing riots destroyed the Yancheng party headquarters, the county Education Bureau ( Jiaoyu ju 教育局), a number of schools, and some private houses. Party members and some government officials fled. Worst of all, a middle-school student was killed in the melee.


Temples and the Redefinition of Public Life

This was all the press and the government needed to turn the Yancheng incident, already a regular feature in the news, into the “Yancheng Massacre” (Yancheng can’an 鹽城慘案). Under that name it dominated the papers for weeks.32 The Jiangsu party and government blamed the incident on corrupt local officials, but their superiors in the central government could not help but notice that the event hardly stood alone as a violent clash over temple confiscation. The Yancheng “Massacre” tested the conviction of central government planners such as Xue Dubi that China’s religious history could be examined scientifically, and the good excised from the bad through the clear application of scholarly and rational principles. They published the fruits of such labors just as the crowd was turning ugly in Yancheng.

Standardizing Chinese Religion The Nationalist government’s efforts to regularize an approach toward temples—a project centered in the Ministry of Interior and its eventual Office of Rites and Customs—reflected both a warm embrace of the rationalist methods of modern governance and a rich impatience to get on with the business of reshaping community power. Officials claimed that they would apply methods of social survey and historical analysis to temples and their cults in order to understand China’s religions more clearly before sanctioning their destruction or preservation. In fact wielding the survey pen and the wrecking ball derived from the same overriding conviction, of government superiority to and sovereignty over society. Thus regulation frequently lapped investigation. The two imperatives were combined in the Ministry’s first effort, the “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Temples,” an unsuccessful yet highly influential document. The “Standards” clouded rather than clarified the matter of temple seizures. The Ministry of Interior thereafter retreated to a strategy of charging local officials with counting and registering temples in their jurisdictions. Eventually it handed responsibility to the courts and to local officials to define the legal parameters under which temples and their managers could operate in Nationalist society. This spared the ministry from becoming ensnared in a potentially endless process of deciding which cults were permissible. Instead, new temple regulations provided a framework that could sanction local party and government temple seizures on the basis of political, legal, or financial infractions—a gray zone of quasi-legal or sub-legal action. In truth, local activists were savvy enough to

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take to heart the lessons already imparted by the “Standards,” the early attacks on City God and other key local temples, and the instruction that the party apparatus continued to offer on the evils of clergy and temple-based religion. Thus the legal framework simply provided a more legitimatelooking cover for ongoing conversions of already stigmatized temples.

The “Standards” and Modern Religion During the spring 1928 debate with prominent Buddhists, Xue Dubi had issued vague statements about preserving temples to “the saints and sages of old.” In June he made good on his word, forming a committee to research how to accomplish that goal while abolishing all improper temples, monasteries, nunneries, and shrines.33 Five months later the minister submitted the resulting “Study of the Temple Problem” (“Shenci wenti zhi yanjiu” 神祠問題之研究) to the National Government; this led to the promulgation of the lengthy and complex “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Temples” (“Shenci cunfei biaozhun” 神祠存廢標準) in November. What is remarkable about the Standards is not just that they name the specific religions the state could easily control, and therefore accept.34 That process had already been under way for more than a year, since the quelling of the anti-Christian campaigns. The document was neither succinct nor comprehensive, running to more than 7,500 characters. Yet the “Standards” still omitted wide swaths of the Chinese religious experience, more from lack of understanding than enumeration. What they did offer, however, was a new definition of religion itself, one that emphasized symbolic value and nationalist content and rejected ritualism. The narrative of Chinese moral decay grafted old antisectarian language onto a social-science understanding of the origins of religion. None of it was particularly original; rather, the “Standards” is remarkable for simply being a strip of flypaper for critical attitudes toward popular religion around China in 1928: it collected these diverse strands of thought and presented them for the use of officials of the Nationalist government, at all levels. Thus it acted as a statement of purpose for a revised view of religion in the service of the nation, one more widely distributed than any number of earlier intellectual and political debates on the subject. The keyword “science” pervades the document as both method and goal. China’s survival in the world rested on the scientific delineation of


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modern from outmoded beliefs—according to a measure now universal, not internal. The persistent belief in supernatural authority, Xue Dubi wrote in his introduction, had tarnished China’s claim as the world’s earliest civilization. Due to a lack of universal education, whether in the mountain wilds or in the villages, customs of the supernatural still persist. Even in big cities, there are many improper and heterodox sacrifices. In this era of constantly changing culture and advanced science, we must reform these sorts of vulgar customs. If we do not, not only will it obstruct the knowledge of the people, but it really will provoke laughter in other countries.35

Here lies the key to the rather complex psychology of the document, and by extension the Nationalist approach to religion in the Chinese landscape. Xue begins in the realm of the classical critique of heterodoxy, grounded in the ideal of a lost golden age, but proceeds to the current-day concerns of science, advancement, and international competition. Underneath it all lies the psychological humiliation of the Chinese nation, a favorite theme of Xue’s. He returns to it in the conclusion, calling on the “most magnificent descendants of Shennong” to reclaim the intelligence they had imprisoned by “begging for help day after day in front of wood and clay,” thus bringing the mockery of the world upon themselves.36 Perhaps Xue and his subordinates’ desire to clear a proud and distinct national path out of this morass explains the odd tonality of the document, in which lofty citations of history meet vague claims to science. For example, the result was meant to “uphold the freedom of religion by honoring saints and sages and exterminate the calamity that seduces peoples’ hearts and prevents progress.” This was an even more constrained view of religious freedom than espoused in other laws, but it could be explained by a combination of evolutionary theory, Golden Age classicism, and sociological views of religion’s function. A preamble explained that cults and temples had originated in response to the mysteries of nature. In furthest antiquity the knowledge of the people was still constrained. They feared the supreme power of the wind, rain, thunder, and lightning, and the greatness of the mountains, rivers, sun, and moon. Lacking a way to avoid the calamities [these forces generated] or to gauge their significance, their suspicions led them to believe there must be masters hidden behind the obscurity. Thus myth came to flourish.

This moment was understandable and ideologically pure, but eventually corrupted by worship filled with charms and spells: “although it is said [in the Yijing] that [the ancients] ‘created teachings to explain the mysterious’ ( yi shen dao she jiao 以神道社教) . . . they did establish a definite order of

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things. It was not at all like the later trend of improper cults.” Indeed all systems of thought in China—Daoism and Buddhism included—met with such an eventual decline.37 This kind of decline narrative had a long history within Confucianism (and other Chinese religious traditions as well), but it had been received warmly among Protestant missionaries and Orientalist scholars of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who found in it a congenial explanation for why China both deserved Christian salvation and desperately needed it.38 Some of the explanations of religion’s natural origins seemed to derive from Sun Yat-sen’s “Three Principles of the People” and its focus on sociopolitical evolution. In his introduction, Xue cited Sun’s division of history into the three eras of supernatural authority (shenquan), aristocratic authority ( junquan 君權—sometimes translated as “feudalism” but most often linked by Sun to monarchy), and popular authority (minquan 民權). Combating untoward worship of gods and ghosts would dispel the remnants of the first age (“now only a historical term”) sadly lingering in China as well as those of the second (“which the world does not tolerate”).39 In fact, it could also serve, somewhat contradictorily, as an act of historical remembering. The “Standards” authors also pointed out that China’s early development meant that enlightened sages had once “destroyed superstition” as it occurred. They listed ten historical examples, from Ximen Bao’s effort to end human sacrifice during the Warring States period to Qing Jiangnan intendant Tang Bin’s attack on the Wutong cult. Such examples “proved that the sages of our country understood early on how supernatural authority damaged the progress of humankind.” This not only lent authority to the party’s own efforts but put a polish of science and popular sovereignty on a select vision of China’s past. Creating such a sanitized lineage was essential to the existence of the two legitimized categories of shrines in the “Standards”—those to “former worthies” and “religion”—and helped explain the two kinds that could be destroyed—“improper cults” and “ancient gods.” Although the term “former worthies” (xianzhe 先哲) may have alluded to the tradition that arose during the Song of building shrines to honor exemplary local men, the “Standards” rewrote the category entirely in terms of national and racial history, cleansing it of the taint of autocracy. Shrines to the worthies of old could be maintained providing their subjects met one of four criteria: a proven contribution to the development of the Chinese nation-race; a scholarly discovery that benefited the masses; a defense of the country, society, or the people that had left visible traces; or exhibiting loyalty, bravery,


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filiality, or righteousness that would serve as an example to others. The ministry’s list of twelve worthies included the mythical progenitors of the Chinese people—Fuxi, Shennong, Huangdi, and Leizu among them—as well as more recognizably historical figures such as Confucius, Mencius, and Yue Fei. The descriptions discussed the achievements of all the worthies in equally straightforward language. This continued a thread of revolutionary discourse originating in the late Qing that adopted figures such as Huangdi as emblems of Han nationalism. It also represented a willful ignoring of contemporary debates on the historical existence of such figures.40 The “Standards” category of “former worthies” thus represents an early emergence of a tendency to favor myth-history and imperial symbolism that would become more pronounced during the mid-1930s. In contrast to the emphasis on political authority and Han nativism to come, however, the “Standards” selection of former worthies emphasized scientific innovation as well as blood lineage. The authors explained the merit of Shennong, Fuxi, Leizu, and Huangdi in terms of their inventions and military accomplishments and, under the same criteria, included figures such as Yu the Great for his flood-prevention skills and Gongshu Ban (Lu Ban) for his skills in carpentry. The emphasis on science reinforced the message of simultaneous universalism and nationalism. The role that the cult of former worthies once played in cementing ties between local elites and the imperial government disappeared.41 The examples of “former worthies” ended in the Song dynasty, with Yue Fei (d. 1142). Similarly, the “religion” category existed more in text and antiquity than in practice. On one hand, this reflected an effort to treat “religion” as an abstract concept. Religion was a creation, the authors explained, putting a sociological spin on the construct. They also borrowed Judeo-Christian language when they added that the unnamed creators “established commandments and testaments.” Religion thus boiled down to “a theism (shenjiao 神教, ‘deity teaching’) whose aims are pure, thus causing people to revere and worship.” The document divided religions into monotheistic and polytheistic, approving of the former with quick dispatch. Islam and Christianity were “great world religions” that “emphasized community” and were marked by “equality, freedom, and universal love,” respectively. The authors stumbled over the representative polytheisms, Buddhism and Daoism, however, creating long narratives of textual authority and its corruption in order to find some redeeming elements to extract from cur-

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rent distasteful practice. Thus Buddhism’s “principal deities” Sakyamuni, Dizang (Kshitigarbha), Mile (Maitreya), Wenshu (Manjusri), Guanyin, and Bodhidharma all could be found in the Buddhist canon. Yet “worldly custom” had violated Buddhist principle by venerating Buddhas as idols and employing monks for funeral rites. Daoism had been similarly violated, although here the historical interpretation is more eccentric. Daoism is described as “a Chinese religion; it venerates Yuanshi Tianzun 元始天尊 [Universal Lord of the Primordial Beginning] and Taishang Laozun 太上老尊 [Elder Lord of the Ultimate Supreme] as its ancestors, and was founded by Zhang Daoling.” This statement encapsulates everything about the document’s approach to Daoism: a selective focus on identifiable historical figures (to the exclusion of significant traditions and deities), and—in stark contrast to the treatment of other “religions”—an omission of the Daoist textual tradition so complete it could only have been deliberate.42 Taishang Laozun is comfortably historicized as Laozi, who, in another Judeo-Christian turn of phrase, is described as “the author of the Daoist Bible, the Daodejing.” The described origins and attributes of Yuanshi Tianzun, by contrast, end with a terse assessment: “These are all sayings of later generations of Daoists; in reality there was no such person.” The section mentions neither the Daoist canon nor the main schools of Daoist cultivation. Notably, however, several sentences are devoted to a historical exegesis and critique of the Zhang Heavenly Master tradition. This is painted as from its origins “using charmwater and taboo spells to delude people” and fomenting rebellion. Though unstated, this created a textual basis for the party’s ongoing battle against the current Heavenly Master. Ministry officials further denied the legitimate existence (and prior state support) of a Daoist clergy by concluding that “although Daoism is China’s native religion, it has had no advocates, which has led to it getting mixed up with sorcery.” Thus its descendants were the White Lotus sectarians, the Boxers, and various secret societies that “leached poison.” True Daoists, the “Standards” proclaimed, should devote themselves to the course of self-improvement outlined in the Daodejing, censor anyone who dealt in incantations and charms, and reject the employment of priests at funerals.43 The two illegitimate categories also exhibited the corrupting influence of ritual and, moreover, exuded irrationality from their very roots. The unusual category of “ancient gods” (gushen 故神) seems to have derived from the evolutionary theory of religion. These were deities “worshipped in


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ancient times, most of which are now wrong, have gotten confused with Buddhism and Daoism and lost their original meaning, or whose reason for worship has been disproved by scientific discoveries.” The list that followed dutifully traced elemental spirits to various common texts, especially classical writings such as the Chuci and the Huainanzi, or in the absence of ancient textual evidence, provincial gazetteers. Since textual authority and the “high” tradition were valued over local practice even in establishing what was to be demolished, earth god customs warranted a description of barely a line, and Huainanzi stories linking the Stove God to Huangdi were cited with less disdain than “false sayings” about the spirit’s wife and daughters. City Gods warranted a long paragraph, not only because of the complex history of their cults but also because of the conundrum they posed if they honored men who might qualify as national heroes. Noting that in a scientific age there was no need to worship such people as gods, the “Standards” authors added that might be honored as “former worthies” instead. Determined to make sure that no argument would stop the Kuomintang from its project of assaulting City God and Eastern Peak temples (which also fell in the “ancient gods” category), the authors added that the frightening depictions of hell and divine justice often found in their “Yan Luo [King Yama] halls” stirred up the people. Moreover, “we looked in various Buddhist sutras and found no evidence of the name [Yan Luo]. Therefore these must be eliminated entirely.” As in the case of the limited definition of the Daoist canon, this cursory consultation of textual evidence seemed to point to a predetermined result driving the “research.”44 The “ancient gods” category also made clear that the days of the statesponsored cult were gone. The “Standards” rejected literati mainstay Wenchang, while noting his importance to scholars as well as to “Daoists.”45 And although many of the “ancient gods” had been entered on the register of sacrifices during the Ming and Qing, “modern methods” showed them to be valueless. This conscious reference to modernity, however superficial, was the element that separated Xue Dubi and his colleagues from the many imperial officials who at one time or another had disagreed with the official register and combated “impropriety” or “heterodoxy” out of a maverick sense of duty. It removed the KMT regime from the system of Heaven and Earth, cosmic justice, propriety, and efficacy on which such distinctions relied. History was important for its symbolic value, as a demarcation of national continuity. This, in turn, needed further validation

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through connection to the larger world scene via the universal categories of “religion” and “science.” Thus when the ministry resorted to the old standby of “improper cults” ( yinci 淫祠) to explain what did not fit under “ancient gods,” its understanding of the term differed from that of its imperial predecessors. Improper cults were evidence of decay, having “grown in number since the Qin and Han.” This was not an entirely new gloss. But during imperial times the capacious category “improper cults” could include not just worship outside the official register but also that which the labeler concluded was inefficacious or disrupted his particular definition of ritual order. Even antagonistic definitions functioned, as it were, in the same discursive universe.46 Now the Nationalists sought to define improper cults according to the terms of “religion” and the evidentiary standard as “those that have gotten mixed up with religion but really have no value; those that plot to use deities to make money, or which gather secretly and stir up the masses; animistic or outlandish cults; [and] those depending on hearsay, historical fiction, or common tales, without any reliable evidence to back them up.” In addition to naming eleven specific improper objects of worship that fell under these criteria, the ministry officials took care to include spiritmediums whose rapacious schemes “extended to founding halls and taking disciples,” which harmed society around the country. The potential disruption of social order had been a common defining feature of yinci during imperial times, particularly for Confucian officials. Now, that familiar element was placed in the context of the party-state and further augmented with the promotion of textual authority and the dismissal of local practice. In fact, “improper cults” were defined by their lack of textual evidence; oral transmission and popular habit confirmed their disrepute. The brief entries elided complex histories wherein cults were diffused through both writing and practice and went through cycles of official patronage and illegitimacy. The Marshal Wen cult and fox-spirit shrines, for example, were described solely as spread through “custom” (su 俗), a characterization that removed them from elite and official discourse even on a historical plane.47 Although Xue and his colleagues drew on past terminology in constructing the “Standards,” they strove to convince users that it was for a new age and a new purpose. In a concluding section they emphasized the necessity of reforming ritual as well as eradicating outmoded cults as the way to accomplish this definitively. Even “former worthies” must not


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receive sacrifices, they pointed out; rather, they should only be “admired” and have their accomplishments publicized. Pilgrimages, auguries, and prayer meetings must be stopped. The days of sacrificing to heaven and earth were over.

Enforcing Reason In the political and intellectual context of the early twentieth century and the concurrent rise of modern religion and nationalism in China, the “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Temples” made a certain amount of sense. They even seemed to offer welcome relief to those who fell within the legitimized categories. Dixian and Yuanying’s JiangsuZhejiang Buddhist Federation, for instance, urgently cabled the Executive Yuan in December 1928 requesting that the document be distributed even more broadly since, they complained, “ignorant people are destroying shrines at will” in various counties and needed proper instruction on which ones to preserve (and, presumably, which ones to target).48 Nonetheless, the shortcomings of the “Standards” soon became apparent, both as a statement of cultural principle and as an administrative directive. First, it did not stop the violence. Some county officials took the instructions as an endorsement of their antisuperstition predilections and ramped up seizures, timing them especially for the New Year.49 Indeed, local administrators found the convoluted text impractical and quickly modified it: the Guangdong provincial government excised the lengthy textual justifications when distributing the “Standards” for official and public consumption, inadvertently doing away with the document’s raison d’être.50 The unwieldiness of the “Standards” would receive unintentional confirmation several years later when substantial portions of it were transposed in the 1933 national compilation of government regulations, garbling the approved and the revoked categories.51 Most important, however, the theoretical divisions posed by Xue and his colleagues made little sense on the ground. Although some local officials began to submit candidates for “local worthy” status, many more raised examples of shrines in which worship was much more ambiguous, and the “Standards” therefore provided little clarity.52 Simply put, the presentation of religion in the “Standards” did not provide instructions for handling the eclectic nature of much of Chinese religious practice. What to do about the common combination, for example, of worship of Songzi Niangniang (“improper cult”) and Guanyin (“religion”) in the same temple?

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Were local officials expected to distinguish between Guandi in the preferred image of loyal hero and his other, less palatable guises, which included god of wealth and plague protector?53 For all the admonitions to wipe away the age of supernatural authority and end outmoded ritual, the “Standards” in fact lacked any clear directive on what to do with temples and their contents. This was not a matter of replacing local practice with a centralized state version, momentarily “superscribing” one on the other, or dealing with a variegated intermediate realm mixing local official authority, competing ritual specialists, and so on.54 Such subtleties might develop over time, but now was a moment of stark choice, with violent consequences. To gather the crowd, or not? To raise the sledgehammer, or not? To seize the temple, or not? By the end of 1928, it was clear to the central government that Xue Dubi’s efforts had done little to settle the chaos of idol smashings and temple confiscations and had in fact only made it worse. Xue was shunted to other posts and replaced with Zhao Daiwen, who immediately issued a call to “maintain the status quo” on temples. People who were taking the KMT antisuperstition policy as a license for destruction or disposal of shrines at will were now seen as a threat to public order.55 What Zhao did not mention was the considerable influence of Nationalist opinion on religion emanating from outside his ministry. A pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Education’s Popular Education Office (Shehui jiaoyu chu 社會教育處) shortly after the “Standards,” for example, divided the whole of Chinese religion into two categories: gods and ghosts. From their position of thoroughgoing iconoclasm and scientism, the educators dismissed both, condemning the entirety of China’s temples as “recyclable waste material” better put to use as schools or libraries.56 Such arguments had practical consequences for the educational system, and as they spread not only to students, teachers, and administrators but to party cadres and local officials, documents of finicky distinction must have seemed all the less useful by comparison. By March 1929, the Ministry of Interior finally informed provincial governments that the “Standards” were “intended for temporary reference only” and that they should discontinue their use. Demonstrating the disjuncture between government and party, KMT officials continued to circulate the document to their branches for some months thereafter.57 The central government, however, set about crafting a new set of guidelines that would govern the treatment of temple property and the persons who managed it, rather than the rites and worship enacted within.


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Placing Temples in the Nation As Xue Dubi had realized, a principle of modern governance was to investigate society in order to perpetually reconstruct it. Thus his office drew up the “Rules for Temple Registration” (“Simiao dengji tiaoli” 寺廟登記 條例), promulgated just before the “Standards,” and meant, along with the census, to form the core of Nationalist knowledge and control of the religious infrastructure of the country. To count and register temples, however, officials had to understand what they were and why they were to be measured. This was not such an obvious matter, and it became more difficult when joined with the simultaneous and contradictory duty of assaulting outmoded shrines. Defining what constituted a temple and how to conceive of the civic duties and property rights of temple managers thus underpinned temple registration as well as the temple regulations that would govern the majority of the country’s religious institutions.

Counting Temples and Clergy Temple registration and regulation fit into the larger plans for the tutelary regime, in which the census constituted the first step. More specifically, the goal of the census was to help refine custom into religion. In a communiqué to the National Government, Xue Dubi argued that statistical compilation would allow the government to “record temples on one hand and direct a true reform of the sangha in all locales on the other. It would greatly benefit the nation and society.”58 Thus from its inception, Nationalist temple governance contained material as well as behavioral elements. The general census already provided a limited means of counting the religious population. Census takers were to make note of the religious beliefs of both Chinese citizens and foreigners and fill out special forms that recorded temple populations (the permanent residents of all temples, monasteries, mosques, and churches). Besides the usual demographic and personal information, investigators recorded the numbers in every religious establishment of party members, convicts, and people showing “untoward behavior” or “suspicious conduct.”59 Although the KMT state rejected the religious administrative role of the Qing clerical offices, it still insisted on collecting and retaining information such as ordination dates and the movement of monastic populations. As in imperial times, much of this was done with an eye toward social control—preventing underage ordination and, especially, monitoring subversive activity at temples. Now, however,

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elements of political mobilization and social modernization were added to the mandate. The census was an ambitious and unwieldy undertaking, and it was unclear how soon and how comprehensively results would arrive in a country only partly under Nationalist control.60 Meanwhile, Xue’s plan for temple registration offered a means to concentrate on the most worrisome religious institutions—temples in the nexus of Buddhism, Daoism, and the popular pantheon—and not only oversee the population but control physical property as well. The “Rules for Temple Registration” required reports from temple managers (zhuchi 主持) of “all altars and temples, [Buddhist] monasteries and nunneries and [Daoist] abbeys built publicly, by contributions or privately constructed by families, where monks or priests reside or serve as the temple head.” These included figures on the temple’s resident population, its physical condition, and all of its real estate and religious articles. The ultimate punishment for failure to register was the removal of the temple manager.61 The Nationalist temple registration brought government into new corners of religious life. The Qing state took no interest in maintaining records of individual temples at this level, as Vincent Goossaert has remarked, and although the Yuan Shikai government ordered a temple survey that resembled the KMT program in some respects, it did not get far.62 Furthermore, although the 1913 plan also meant to count property and persons, it placed this responsibility on officials. The Nationalists, by contrast, shifted the burden to the temples themselves by making the process one of registration, with police follow-ups to check for accuracy and punishment for noncompliance. Perhaps most significant, the 1928 “Rules for Temple Registration” claimed jurisdiction over all temples, including family shrines. This departed from the early Republican regulations on temple oversight, which focused primarily on public monasteries and exempted private shrines.63 The Nationalist temple registration—like the census—rendered clerical populations distinct from their surrounding communities. Temple managers not only had to list demographic information for monks and nuns but keep the authorities apprised of any moves, laicizations, deaths, or disappearances. Especially important were data on their residence status (permanent or temporary), administrative responsibilities, or criminal record. Although such information potentially affected a person’s right to manage temple property, the depth of detail required made it clear that the government was singling the clergy out as a surveilled population.64


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The most significant utility of temple registration, however, lay in establishing property holdings and ownership rights. Surveying land and clearing up the tax registers formed among the most urgent and most controversial of the early tasks of the Nanjing government. Beyond that general problem, temples made appealing targets in two ways. First, in communities that still relied on tax registers dating back to the Qing, it was possible that some temple lands might be absent from the official record due to imperial exemption.65 Second, and much more pervasively, the Republican recasting of property ownership and government, community, and private status placed temples in a new light, one that might work to the Nationalists’ favor. Registration classified temples as publicly constructed (gongjian 公建), constructed by contribution (mujian 募建), or independently built by a private family (sijia dujian 私家獨建).66 This provision, little noticed at first amid the welter of regulatory revisions, in fact constituted a major change in understanding. As further laws and court cases would make clear, gong (公) in this context no longer meant the commonplace sense of “collective”— such as temple property owned by a corporate entity such as a monastic community or temple committee. Rather, it denoted former “official” (guan 官) property, which now came under the control of the government or the government’s designated proxies. On the level of ideas, this fostered a definition of “public” identified by the confines of party and state. On a practical level, it created a basis on which the government might dispose of temples registered as publicly constructed temples with greater impunity. Given that the boundaries between “official” temples and temples by contribution could be fluid in practice, the particulars of this bureaucratic distinction would become quite important. During the National Conference on Education controversy earlier that year, Taixu had correctly perceived the importance of keeping Buddhist property in the corporate realm, where property rights could be settled according to customary or contract law rather than being exposed to such governmental sleights of hand. Although it would be a few years before the full legal ramifications of guan/gong shift would manifest themselves, the broader implication that the majority of temples should submit to government oversight quickly received reinforcement in the “Temple Management Rules,” promulgated at the end of January 1929. These inserted the party-state not only into the property management of the country’s temples but into their spiritual life as well. Thus, rather than quell the unrest that the “Standards” had only exacerbated, the “Management Rules” worsened it by infuriating the Buddhist establishment and generating even more local struggles over temple

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sites. The ministry was forced to suspend the regulations within a mere four months, but their eventual moderate replacement still allowed plenty of leeway for the insertion of the party-state into the religious community.

The “Temple Management Rules” and the Politicization of Temple Space The “Temple Management Rules” began from the premise that all religious institutions should render material aid to society and the nation. Although many religious leaders supported such an idea in general, they parted company with the Nationalists in the extraordinary control the “Rules” gave the party-state over how this was to happen—and over many other aspects of temple life as well. For instance, the Ministry of Interior proposed to undercut the autonomy of temple managers by establishing local “temple property oversight committees” to supervise any disposition of assets that went beyond meeting a temple’s operational expenses. Only if a civic organization ran a temple would it control the oversight committee. Otherwise, temples with managers would be forced to endure committees composed half of local government and civic representatives and half of clergy. Even the latter were to comprise “a variety of sects.” The rules granted government and civic organizations complete control of temples without clerical managers.67 Thus the “Rules” bolstered the government’s narrow construction of religion. They defined temple managers as clerics only and left vague the definition of “civic organizations” that could control temple property—did that mean only properly registered mass organizations, as political direction at the time seemed to indicate, or would temple committees also be allowed to play this role?68 Even prominent clerics were disturbed by their potential loss of autonomy. The “Rules” compelled temples to operate public welfare enterprises: schools, libraries, exercise grounds, clinics, welfare houses, and even factories and cooperatives. Not only were the schools to teach party ideology and common scientific knowledge in addition to religious doctrine, but clergy were warned to restrict their lecturing to theology, matters of social improvement, and revolutionary and patriotic ideas. With temples thus politicized and monitored, the consequences for violating individual parameters of permitted speech stretched beyond the individual monk, priest, or nun. If any cleric was found to break his religious vows, harm morals, or contravene party rule, his temple would be subject


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to seizure by the local government. This proved to be the spark for Buddhist anger. Clergy from all over the country took up the cry that the new regime was reneging on its promises of fair treatment and rights for all. Dixian and his colleagues in the Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation led the way, decrying the seizure provision in particular as dividing clergy from their fellow citizens. “When an official commits a crime,” the monks acidly remarked, “one doesn’t hear of his office being abolished, or his entire household punished.”69 The Beiping [Beijing] Buddhist Popular Education Federation similarly claimed that clergy had become second-class citizens. They drew some highly charged analogies from the anti-imperialist struggle: How is this different from the way the English have treated the Indians and the Japanese the Koreans during the past twenty or thirty years, or from how the Americans treated black slaves for more than a century? In the same fashion, descendants of the Yellow Emperor are being treated as if they were conquered foreigners. It is truly reprehensible.70

The Buddhist protest thus encompassed both more conservative clerics and modernizers at the forefront of Buddhist social reform, who defended religious autonomy and demanded parity with other mass organizations.71 The newly formed Buddhist Association of China asked the most perceptive question of all: Why did the government choose to regulate only certain types of religious property and exempt faiths such as Islam and Christianity from the equation?72 That question never received a reply, although the people who posed it mobilized enough power to give the government pause about the “Rules.” At the same time, more frightening events occurred to compound those doubts. Lunar New Year’s Day of 1929, occurring in mid-February on the new calendar, launched a tumultuous spring. Many local cadres and officials had chosen that day to attack temples and ban holiday celebrations, usually with little advance notice. Already chafing under the new extension of the KMT into political and economic life, and now deprived of community activities that they had been preparing for some time, populations in the Nationalist heartland exploded in unrest. Two of the largest and most worrisome incidents involved secret society members leading irate crowds: Red Spears in Huaiyuan, Anhui, and Small Sword Society members in Suqian in northern Jiangsu. In both places protesters attacked party cadres and other symbols of the new order; in Suqian, they eventually threatened to march on the capital itself.73

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Such events called into question the feasibility of rapidly revising community relations, as well as the wisdom of antagonizing the Buddhist establishment. Thus, in a rather stunning rebuke of the Ministry of the Interior for the mess it had made of temple policy, in May the National Government put the whole matter into the hands of the Legislative Yuan. Local action on temples was theoretically suspended until new regulations were drafted, a decision that chafed edgy party cadres and local officials. Nonetheless, the legislators stated that the ultimate goal of the new rules would still be for local governments to eradicate superstitious and baseless cults and shrines while preserving true religions and sites of historical or artistic merit.74 The question was whether a different means could be found to reach that end.

“Regulations for Temple Oversight” and Reinforcing “Religion” While a special committee of the Legislative Yuan took half a year to come up with a replacement for the “Temple Management Rules,” Buddhists around the nation did not shrink from offering their opinions. Some used the opportunity to try to bolster their own position within the Chinese Buddhist reform debates—suggesting, for example, regulations that allowed the prominent “public monasteries” (shifang conglin) to absorb the property of large “hereditary temples” (zisun miao). Others, such as the abbot of Puyuan Monastery in Putuoshan, held that the historic retreats inherently differed from “ordinary” temples in cities and deserved complete autonomy. Although his argument may have betrayed self-interest, it reflected an attitude that was by no means unique. The Jiangsu-Zhejiang group had already suggested, for instance, that property of abolished “improper cults” be handed over to either local governments or Buddhist or Daoist associations to manage. Now it and its successor Buddhist Association also argued that local shrines (shemiao 社廟) differed from “religious property” (zongjiao caichan 宗教財產); it was logical that shrines would come under the purview of civic organizations, but religious property should be managed only by religious adherents.75 The Legislative Yuan committee seemed to agree with this last point, and a set of regulations aimed at more loosely governing temples with clerical managers alone emerged. Committee chair Jiao Yitang 焦易堂 (1880–1950) remarked that the new guidelines were aimed primarily at “great public monasteries” and exempted private household temples, “so


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as to avoid stirring up social strife.”76 His idea of religion promoted China’s monasteries as its cultural patrimony, which “ought to be preserved, so that [others] may see them and be moved” by their historical value. Therefore both their physical plants and their art and antiquities must be protected from plunder. Neither religious content nor social service entered much into Jiao’s conception of the significance of temples. In this he embodied the logical Kuomintang extension of Cultural Essence (guocui 國粹) modernism.77 Fortunately for the clerics, such an attitude led to the stripping out of the political demands of the “Temple Management Rules.” Temples were no longer described as outlets for party doctrine, and although they were still instructed to provide for the public welfare as finances permitted, the guidelines were looser.78 Most important, the committee deleted the offensive “Management” provision allowing the alienation of all temple property for the offenses of a single member. It was still quite concerned with potential fiscal malfeasance on the part of temple managers, but it used the new structure of religious associations as a means of dealing with it. “Religious organizations” (jiaohui 教會) now had the right to oversee the sale or mortgaging of temple property. Still, all holdings and transactions required government registry and approval. Local officials could also strip managers of their offices if they failed to register or to undertake charitable work, as well as criminally prosecute them for using temple income for other than “legitimate purposes.” This opened a loophole that allowed government, party, and other local interests to appropriate temple property. Exempting temples administered by government organs and civic organizations from the regulations widened that loophole, as did a provision that handed temples deemed to be “abandoned” over to local self-government groups. Together these regulations created numerous methods for outsiders to confiscate temple property even as they prevented managers from disposing of it. They also did little to settle jurisdictional struggles among county magistrates, boards of education, and party branches for the use of “government” or “civic” temple property. Indeed, by focusing on the temple problem as one of cultural heritage and by eschewing temples outside the monastic system, Jiao Yitang and his colleagues sidestepped the thorniest problem—the complexities of temples in the popular pantheon and their fate under the superstition/religion distinction. Thus in the end the “Oversight” regulations provided no fundamental solution to the problem of defining the new public role of temples. Bud-

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dhists may have heaved a collective sigh of relief at having evaded the predations of the “Temple Management Rules.” It was not long, however, before they expressed disgust at the inconsistent enforcement of the new regulations and came to realize that, in the words of the Buddhist historian Dongchu, although the law seemed more “high-minded” than its predecessor, it was created not to protect temples but only to “oversee” them.79 In fact the regulations presumed the smooth operation of a network of civic organizations and government offices, which would assume ultimate authority over temple property in place of traditional relationships of donors, temple managers, and local and monastic communities. Such a network hardly existed, and instead the insertion of the Kuomintang and its rules fostered an environment of competition for temple property. The problem would be increasingly left to the courts and to local officials to sort out.

The Limits of the Law: Temple Regulations in Practice While the Legislative Yuan was drafting the “Regulations for Temple Oversight,” Nanjing learned of a northern hoax that demonstrated the extremes to which their antisuperstition program could lead. In Liaoning, only just ceded to nominal KMT authority by Zhang Xueliang 張學良 (1901–2001), a bold group posted notices announcing that the “Temple Property Preparatory Office of the Nanjing Revolutionary Republican Government” would begin a widespread auction of temple property on July 1. Only one percent of the nation’s temple holdings would be spared (a limited number of Guandi, Yue Fei, and Confucius temples), and the rest would be appropriated by the government to help build factories. Defrocked clergy would either learn skills or return home.80 The real government reprinted the forged document and circulated it as a warning to all officials of a “plot to disrupt public order.” Their alarm might have been less had the hoax not been plausible. Despite their notquite-perfect grasp of Nationalist government specifics, the imposters mentioned such key ideological points as the necessity of destroying superstition and the importance of the economic survival of the nation; they were not all that far from reality when they claimed that the dispossession plan was the dearest personal wish of “Government Chairmen” Chiang Kai-shek, Feng Yuxiang, and Yan Xishan. The truth was that the forces for temple seizure, once unleashed, proved difficult to contain—both because


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the program had advocates in so many quarters and because it was enticing to canny opportunists. To be sure, part of the problem stemmed from the variety of policies that came to reside under the Nationalist name. During 1929, Yan Xishan, for example, claimed that he was reining in idol-smashing raids in accordance with the government’s instructions, but he nonetheless enacted plans to seize clan shrines on a wide scale. Feng Yuxiang’s attacks on Buddhist institutions as well as local shrines in Henan were more protracted. KMT politician Chen Guofu later wrote that people he interviewed during a 1932 tour of Luoyang named Feng as the worst politician of recent decades, “not because he had forced conscription or seized food, but because he had taken the local City God temple and made it into a school.”81 A more fundamental problem was the message continuing to emanate from the party’s innermost ranks. Even as the government was attempting to rein in the effects of the “Standards” and the “Temple Management Rules,” the KMT’s Department of Propaganda (Xuanchuan bu 宣傳部) was putting the final touches on its major directive against religion. The “Propaganda Outline for Eradicating Superstition” encouraged party cadres to seize monasteries and shrines just when their government counterparts were supposed to be showing restraint. The pamphlet described superstition as the refuge of the uneducated and psychologically weak and explained at length why all “baseless” temples should be converted to better uses: Many monks, nuns, and religious charlatans take advantage of some unjustified myth to delude the people, who thereupon build shrines and make sacrifices. . . . The way to put a stop to it is to investigate carefully the baseless aspects [of these cults], inform the people, and take the relevant temples and turn them into enterprises for public welfare, such as “peoples’ schools,” factories, welfare homes, etc. On one hand, we can turn temples into places to improve the peoples’ knowledge and care for old and young. On the other, we will round up the idle and unproductive, clear away a source of disorder, and set up a basis for self-government in the villages.82

Although the notion of investigating false cults somewhat resembled the pseudoscientific principle behind the “Standards,” the overriding theme of the party critique was the economic wastefulness of temples. Clergy were the rapacious charlatans of traditional anticlerical discourse now become unproductive citizens in modern economic terms. There was little room for them in the new society, even as examples of legitimate “religion.” Investigation seemed warranted only insofar as it was useful to enlighten the

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people about the various ways in which they were being deceived. The pamphlet’s concluding slogan was thus comprehensive in its scope: “Erase the improper cults, the monasteries, the gods, and the idols!”83 Little wonder, then, that power struggles ensued between party and government authorities in the counties, reflected in a Ministry of Interior warning to Jiangsu provincial officials that shrines could not be “randomly torn down by the people or by any organizations other than the county government” and that county heads must take charge “to calm people’s hearts.”84 The Department of Propaganda nonetheless heavily promoted the antisuperstition campaign with written materials and posters well into the spring of 1930. The effort faded only when the War of the Central Plains broke out and monopolized nearly all party propaganda energies for the next half year.85 The destabilizing effect that this massive civil conflict and Japan’s attack of the following year had on Nationalist politics pushed most social reform programs from the top of the agenda. They would return prominently only with the 1934 New Life Movement. The assault on temples continued to percolate at the local level, however, and the effects can be seen in the administrative and legal queries on temple policy. Between 1930 and 1948, the Judicial Yuan ruled 22 times on the “Oversight” regulations. The 1936 Ministry of Interior Yearbook lists 42 “amplifications,” which included additional administrative clarifications. The most persistent problems lay in distinguishing government property from collectively and privately held temples and in deciding precisely when a temple became “abandoned.” Both circumstances could grant officials or pseudoofficials continued legal sanction to confiscate temples and temple lands.

Public, Private, Government The new terms for classifying temples generated two types of problems. The first lay in translating what the imperial government had designated “official property” (guanchan 官產) into “republican” terms and in consequently transferring rights to the property. During the Qing, guanchan referred to everything from government offices to city walls and roads, garrisons, lands granted to bannermen and military colonists, and school fields and temples in the official cult. Therefore some guanchan—which was taxed at a lower rate than other productive land—supported the nexus of stateelite relations that formed the late imperial gong 公. A good example is the Dongguan Hall for the Understanding of Proprieties described by David Faure, a county academy and Confucian hall that was supported with


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grants of reclaimed land (classified as guantian) and became an important medium for lineage authority.86 The founding of the Republic did not clarify which, if any, of this type of property would necessarily pass to the new government, despite some state efforts to regulate the transfer.87 The reform efforts of local elites during the New Policies era had in fact only muddied the waters—Keith Schoppa points out that during the first decades of the twentieth century, the terms “public,” “private,” and “official” not only came to exist in a state of legal flux but gained new importance as political weapons in and of themselves.88 By the Nanjing Decade, consequently, the term guanchan had faded as a political and legal indicator except in reference to the banner and Qing military land that the Nationalists sought to bring onto the tax rolls.89 The Land Law of 1930 provided for only two types of landed property: “publicly owned” (gongyou 公有) and “privately owned” (siyou 私有). These were defined vaguely: the land within China’s borders technically “belong[ed] collectively to the citizens of the Republic of China” but became private when property rights were “legally obtained.” Public property was defined in negative terms as “land whose rights had not been legally obtained by the people.”90 The Land Law is commonly recognized as a political compromise that melded a small concession to Sun Yat-sen’s ideas on land redistribution to a defense of individual ownership.91 The by-product of this deal was a broad gap between “public” and private,” into which the state could readily insert itself. Government could exercise eminent domain in several instances—not only for infrastructure projects but—more relevant to temples—for factories, relief enterprises, education, and “for the execution of national economic policy.”92 Yet the Nationalists were in no position to exercise eminent domain on a large scale. What Nationalist land law and its Republican predecessors did instead was to foster an environment of competition over property resources, in which government and party organs were among the combatants. Such was the case even with temples built or sustained through imperial patronage; income from Beijing’s Yonghegong, for instance, bounced between the temple’s clergy and local government for decades before the problem was resolved.93 The Nationalist temple regulations pressed the matter of property definition, for the “Oversight” rules did not apply to temples technically administered by government organs or by civic organizations. The temptation for local authorities to declare temples de facto public (i.e., government) property was therefore great. The Judicial Yuan encouraged such acts by ruling in 1930 that government and civic group

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ownership was determined “by custom or by government order.”94 Since custom often consisted of mutually beneficial relationships between local officials and local temples—which might include magistrates acting as temple donors—it fit poorly into the new ownership categories. Such situations were ripe for exploitation. For example, county governments could take over City God temples by arguing that they were government property. In one Zhejiang case, the government cited the flimsy pretext that local custom referred to the shrine as the “county temple” (in fact this was common parlance across China). When the temple committee sued, a local court supported the seizure, despite the lack of further documentary evidence.95 Local civic groups also got into the game, as shown by a three-way struggle over a God of Wealth shrine in Hunan. Some eighty years earlier the Qing county magistrate had ordered three of his officers to collect funds, renovate the temple, and set up a committee of locals to run it. Now the status of the temple was in flux: the government apparatus that had originally sponsored the temple was gone, and by coincidence the temple manager’s power had weakened. Claiming managerial incompetence, the county merchants’ association tried to assume control. Meanwhile the county government wanted to put the property to use for “public welfare” on the principle that it really belonged to the state.96 The temple committee, which included descendants of the original donors, objected to both schemes. The case eventually reached the Judicial Yuan, which handed the temple committee a limited victory. Temple property, the court ruled, could not be construed as continuing to belong to the donors. Nonetheless, misconduct by a minority of the managing committee did not constitute grounds for redirecting the flow of income. The court ruled that the temple committee’s only way to seek restitution, however, was to lodge administrative appeals and civil suits. When the local government itself had an interest in the outcome, appealing through the executive branch offered little hope. Indeed, in a pattern that was to repeat with temple cases throughout the Nationalist system, various levels of government simply backed the county’s decision, until the committee members finally gave up.97 The high court also found it necessary to define the boundaries of “private” temples. The Beijing municipal government, run by the Peking University graduate Hu Ruoyu 胡若愚 (1895–?), wondered whether “private” could be reduced to mean constructed by a single individual. As Hu pointed out, the vast majority of temples in the city had been built by more than one person, including family temples. Thus a narrow interpretation of


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“private” meant far fewer of these would be exempt from the “Oversight” rules.98 This was no small matter. According to statistics compiled the previous year, the number of private temples in Beijing ran to 1,251—almost three-quarters of the total; although public temples tended to hold more land, the private shrines comprised a greater number of buildings altogether and were managed by fewer clergy.99 This could produce a great resource for the government—or, seen another way, a heavy administrative burden. Surprisingly, the functionary in the Executive Yuan who reviewed the query agreed with the narrow construction that having more than one patron meant the temple was built by subscription and was thus fit for regulation.100 Luckily for the clergy and temple patrons of Beijing, the central court disagreed with this generous interpretation. The Judicial Yuan ruled that the distinguishing factor was that the temple sponsors, regardless of their number, “not have gathering contributions as their goal.”101 Once this activity was pursued, a temple ceased to be private in the eyes of the law. Drawing on these earlier rulings, in 1935 the central government finally issued a statement that cleared up some of these issues of definitions and property rights, coming closer to customary usage and illuminating what had been so problematic in the preceding years. The Judicial Yuan’s Administrative Court (Xingzheng fayuan 行政法院) wrote: As for temple property, aside from those private shrines that can be proved to have been constructed by one household or one surname, all that have been contributed by the faithful are simply designated “collective religious property.” Ownership of such does not reside with the donors or their descendants, nor with the temple manager, but rather with the temple itself. However, those who wish to alter the property beyond the original intent of the contributions may not do so except with the approval of the presiding government office and with the consent of the original donors or their descendants.102

Government economic planners themselves eventually adopted more flexible definitions of property ownership when carrying out land surveys during the 1930s.103 Nonetheless, the legal boundaries between public, private, and government ownership of temples continued to cause problems, especially since proof of ownership was frequently lacking with family shrines. These sorts of difficulties prompted three more Judicial Yuan rulings during and immediately after the war, as well as a fruitless attempt to revise the “Oversight” rules that began in 1944. During that effort Interior officials particularly criticized the lack of promised regulations governing

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privately owned temples and sought to expand the purview of the new rules.104 The new system was predicated on the state’s assuming a regulatory role once held by religious and local communities, with occasional support from officials. Many localities lacked the necessary components of this system, however, such as new-style religious associations and functional government offices in close touch with the center. Thus the regulations instead offered opportunities for might to make right. This particularly became apparent in the case of “abandoned” temples.

The Abandonment Loophole In late 1930 the Buddhist Association of China protested that local party and government organs were taking copious advantage of the “Oversight” regulation that allowed abandoned temples to be administered by local self-government organizations. When the manager of a temple died or otherwise withdrew, the association complained, authorities precipitously declared the temples abandoned and seized the property, without allowing local monks or religious organizations to find a replacement. Such cases were happening “in the thousands” because of the vagueness of the “Oversight” rules. The central government agreed that the matter remained dangerously ambiguous. The unsolved caseload was beginning to weigh on it as well, but officials still expressed reluctance to transfer authority to the Buddhist associations. Finally, the Judicial Yuan stepped in to rule that local religious organizations or gatherings of clergy had to be allowed time to find replacement managers. Other organizations could take control only as a last resort.105 The loophole remained open in practice nonetheless. Most localities lacked Buddhist or Daoist associations. In some cases monks or even temple donors fought to claim the mantle of a county Buddhist association.106 More pertinently, such associations may have had little relevance to the temples in question. But neither did these localities necessarily possess new-style “self-government organizations” in the manner outlined by the scheme of tutelary government. As a result, either local KMT authorities or just as often players in longstanding temple and lineage disputes sought to take advantage of the abandonment loophole. In the capital, for instance, it was the party branch that pressured the municipal government to assess the city’s abandoned temple property for educational use.107 The usefulness of abandonment as a means to cover outright seizure is apparent from the pressure on the central government to declare a legal


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definition of the term. The Judicial Yuan deliberately avoided setting a time limit after which a property would be considered abandoned, in part to assure that temples “temporarily lacking managers due to accident” were not appropriated. One ruling simply deemed as abandoned temples that “had been without managers for a long period.” But while the court held back, local governments and organizations wanted to remake temples into libraries, welfare stations, and schools. They pushed the provinces, and the provinces pushed the center. Finally in late 1933 the Ministry of Interior stepped in and ruled that a minimum of three months without a manager, confirmed by an outside observer, would mark abandonment.108 In the meantime, cases arose in which local authorities elided the difference between confiscation for a temple manager’s alleged malfeasance (permitted under the 1928 “Rules,” unacceptable now) and absorption of “abandoned” temples (allowed now.) They did so by claiming temples had been abandoned by monks fleeing crimes, usually the breaking of vows. The resident monk of the Shengquan Monastery in a rural area of Hebei, for example, stood accused of assaulting local women, selling off temple property, and destroying evidence by smashing temple stelae. One man even reported to the Public Security Bureau that the monk had stolen his wife. Faced with a 300-yuan fine for that last crime, the monk allegedly fled. He left behind three servants and two visiting monks, none of whom possessed the legal or ecclesiastical right to manage the temple’s rental income. The district and county heads wished to deem the place abandoned and use the proceeds for education, arguing that no religious organization existed in the area to settle the matter. They won only temporary custody of the temple until a replacement was found, although given the infrequency with which higher-level government followed up most temple cases, it is quite possible that this temporary arrangement became permanent.109 Declaring abandonment thus became a way to try to insert the state into the commonplace social arrangement of replacing a temple manager or clergy gone bad. It also played on longstanding stereotypes of lustful or corrupt monks, which had found new expression both in the popular press and in antisuperstition propaganda.110 In the Hebei case, the authorities had an actual conviction and punishment in their favor. In other instances, temple neighbors and local officials resorted to claims of sexual impropriety when other methods of wresting property from temple managers failed.111 More generally, temple registration was supposed to smooth out the issue of abandonment, by providing government with regular records of

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ownership and managerial personnel. Much rested, then, on the effective implementation of this system. It yielded results, however, mainly in cities in which the Nationalist regime was strong (Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou) or which had a well-developed urban administration preceding the arrival of the KMT (Beijing.) Registration in towns and villages presented more obstacles. Holmes Welch points out that such notable, wealthy, and centrally located monasteries as Tianning in Changzhou and Jinshan in Zhenjiang did not submit their accounts as required by the “Management” regulations. This did not mean that large institutions could universally escape the system—only that they might, depending on the local balance of power. The wealthy Lingyan Monastery near Suzhou, for example, expanded in the presence of an activist local government and thus did register its financial transactions.112 Although the central government kept weakly reminding provinces to enforce voluntary registration, compliance often occurred only when local authorities sent out teams for religious surveys or when a dispute arose. Even the comparatively well-organized Jiangsu provincial government issued a rather plaintive request in 1932 for local authorities to somehow “make” temple guardians register land held by “longstanding custom.”113 The Ministry of Interior’s renewed focus on religion and customs in 1936 included a revival of national temple registration, but the best results once again came from the coastal cities.114 Registration made it clear where the resources of the ambitiously expanding state were stretched thin. The Beijing municipal government could draw on a long administrative experience of overseeing temples, as well as a central government apparatus set up to manage the city’s imperial sites in the name of preserving the nation’s architectural heritage. Thus it is not surprising to learn that its police kept some of the most sensitive temple registers, delineating Buddhist monasteries from nunneries, distinguishing lay-managed temples (minmiao 民廟), and refining definitions of types of Daoist institutions.115 By contrast, Nanjing authorities, endeavoring to keep watch over a rapidly expanding capital, struggled to manage the city’s religious infrastructure. Although the Capital Public Security Bureau (Shoudu jingcha ting 首度警察 廳) recorded more than 300 temples citywide as part of the 1928 registration drive, a check the following year found that only 52 of these had actually submitted paperwork. Worse, just two were registered with the municipal government—others had listed their records with such sundry offices as the Buddhist Association, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Office, and even the Ministry of Interior itself. It eventually emerged that there


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were 52 offices in the capital where a temple might register. At last, a reorganized survey was carried out in 1931.116 Obtaining prior approval to dispose of temple property—the cornerstone of the temple regulations, in the view of Jiao Yitang—turned out to be a rare occurrence. In Nanjing, for instance, a worker for the municipal Social Bureau (Shehui ju 社會局) interviewed the abbot of the Jiuhuashan Monastery about his land transactions. The abbot had sold a total of eighteen mu (about two and three-quarters acres) to the Air Force General Command and used the proceeds to buy another tract of land almost as large and to make repairs to several of the temple’s halls. Despite the prominence of both temple and buyer, when the surveyor asked the abbot whether he had consulted either Buddhist or city authorities for permission, he confessed, “No.”117 Part of the difficulty stemmed from resources. The central government admitted that the system depended on the police to investigate unregistered properties.118 Yet even the special municipalities’ forces stood at around five per 1,000 civilians, and Jiangsu province’s at one per 2,000.119 As time progressed, deficit-running local governments cut public security budgets, shifting policing priorities from social reform to other tasks of law enforcement. In places like Nanjing, urban districting overlapped with previous village organization, creating conflicting jurisdictions.120 The more comprehensive problem traced back to the overreaching ambitions of government planning. In addition to enforcing registration, local social affairs bureaus and county governments received instructions to survey “religion” in 1928, 1929, and 1936, “improper shrines” in 1929, and “customs” in 1932 and 1935. Some of this work (such as the religion surveys) could draw on temple registrations, but more often it tended to replicate tasks, eventually running into dead ends and creating piles of halfcompleted survey forms. One case in point was the first religious survey, which took place prior to the promulgation of the “Standards.” The Nanjing police pursued it with a mind to counting up temples and spirit images for potential eradication. The survey was half completed when the “Standards” rendered it useless.121 Ordered to conduct a through investigation of all religions the following year, Mayor Liu Jiwen 劉紀文 (1890–1937) replied bitterly that he lacked staff members with sufficient expertise to parse the sectarian differences in the city.122 Outside the capital, few localities bothered to reply to the improper shrines survey, except largely to state that their county had none—in effect, an administrative brush-off.123 The Ministry of Interior reacted to such

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early failures by asking more questions: Office of Rites and Customs officials gave the 1936 religion survey a thorough redesign to generate more detailed results. Replies still came only from a small portion of the country. Only 10 out of the 61 Jiangsu counties sent replies.124 Clearly weariness and overextension had taken their toll. Furthermore, officials had to contend with competing regulations for different types of religious institutions. Not only were churches and mosques set apart from temples, but specific subsets of temples received separate treatment as well.125 The category of “cultural relic” (wenwu 文物, or “antiquities,” guji 古蹟) included ritual places associated with the imperial regime and no longer accorded cosmological significance. Former imperial shrines were governed by separate sets of regulations that put them under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Interior and relegated them to the anodyne realm of culture and national patrimony.126 Although this focused attention on temples in Beijing, elsewhere in the country it became obvious that local authorities could as easily use the pretext of “protecting” antiquities as they could the cover of combating superstition for their particular ends. In 1932, for example, monks in Kunming reported that not only had members of the provincial and city KMT branches destroyed clay images of Guandi, Wenchang, and the City God, but they had made off with a Tang dynasty bronze Guanyin, pearls, silver, and other valuables. Antiquities became a particular issue in places attractive for tourist development. Even after the establishment of the Central Committee for the Protection of Antiquities (Zhongyang guwu baoguan weiyuan hui 中央 古物保管委員會) in 1936, monks and local authorities clashed at prominent pilgrimage-cum-tourist sites such as Emeishan.127 In one telling case, however, the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission successfully defended the right of the Guangtian Monastery in Xi’an to keep valuable Sino-Tibetan sutras that the Shaanxi provincial government had removed. This was despite the Executive Yuan’s opinion that the confiscation might count as “protection” of the treasures.128 The temples of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism, or “lama temples,” constituted the most exceptional category of religious institution under the Nationalists. Gray Tuttle has shown how for strategic and cultural reasons Tibetan Buddhism came to occupy a special place in both KMT politics and Chinese religious life during the 1930s.129 Tibetan Buddhists, because their religion occupied an administrative and even ritual place in Nanjing denied to Chinese Buddhism and other religions, were able to push for protection of monasteries with better results than their contemporaries in the Buddhist Association of


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China. In this they had the occasional aid of leaders like Dai Jitao. During 1932 the National Government placed Mongolian Tibetan-Buddhist temples under the supervision of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, but gave oversight to local authorities.130 By 1935, however, the government handed full authority on matters dealing with all “lama temples” to the committee. The following year, the Panchen Lama’s influence helped prompt a government order to protect monastic property that was especially aimed at border regions.131 Thus select types of temples could receive protection, and at times religion’s defenders mobilized in efforts that resulted in broad pronouncements to shield the nation’s cultural patrimony. None of this undermined the original premise that illegitimate temples had no place in the national life of the Republic or in the local public life of its citizens. Even the turmoil temple seizures had caused did little to shake that conviction.

Conclusion Although the “Standards” counted as a failed document on its own terms, it continued to have an administrative life of its own long after its bureaucratic authors had repudiated it. This was because it disseminated the idea that in the modern age religion ought to be confined to the realm of the ideal, whereas the public realm—including valuable real estate and the centers of power in local communities—should be given over to the state and the secularly civic. It was not simply that some forms of worship were more manageable than others in the governmental purview, and thus could be maintained; it was that undercutting local religion opened up a material and emotional realm into which the party-state could expand. Yet the baseline along which the new regime made its distinctions—“public” increasingly connected to the government, versus private; “ancient gods” and “improper shrines” versus “religion” and “former worthies”—created confusion as they edged far away enough from familiar referents and tempted all manner of clever utilization of the new rules for purposes for which they were not intended. Thus a “gray zone” was born. One such gray zone consisted of the distinction between rites and property. In 1932—three years after the “Standards” were revoked—the Anhui provincial government declined to enter into a dispute between a welfare center and a monk from the Wutai county City God Temple on the grounds that, according to the “Standards,” the temple should be abolished.132 The premise of the document lived on. Another City God shrine

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case later that year finally prompted a belated Judicial Yuan ruling on the legal status of the “Standards.” Although the ruling concerned primarily property questions, buried in parentheses lay the crucial distinction that Xue Dubi and his colleagues had failed to make four years before: “The ‘Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Shrines’ concern themselves with the problem of abolishing rites of worship in temples. They do not relate to [matters of ] temple property.”133 By returning to the matter of improper worship—a problem that could be corrected without handing over the temple to the state—the interpretation threatened to undermine Nationalist policy at its very heart. Officials at the Ministry of Interior recognized the danger. When they reprinted the decision for administrative reference in the Ministry’s 1936 Yearbook, they omitted the court’s crucial parenthetical statement.134 By then the New Life Movement had revived the cause of combating superstition and thus stigmatizing “improper cults,” the clergy that spread them, and the infrastructure that supported it all. Reminding administrators that they should employ the “narrow definition” of temples given by the “Oversight” rules (i.e., Buddhist and Daoist properties), the ministry pointed out that this definition has a restriction. Most “improper cults and heterodox sacrifices” may have monks or priests, or be called “temples,” and in outer appearance they are no different from [real] temples. But their existence is based on nothing but perverse and false myths. Their temples cannot be recognized as “religious structures”—thus they are basically different from the temples in the above “narrow definition.”135

The argument recalled the KMT Department of Propaganda’s earlier justification for confiscating temples based on the fallacy of their claims. And yet, the caveat in effect continued to function as an empty instruction, for ministry officials could not muster a complete and working definition of “improper cults” and admitted that no relevant laws or statutes existed to help.136 Temple policy was supposed to be the means to reach an end of perfected, modernized Chinese culture and a heightened communion of government and citizen in public life. What happened, however, was that the means became the end itself. By leaving substantial loopholes in temple regulations, by allowing government to usurp the authority of collective ownership, and by linking a party, governmental, and legal apparatus to the application of the capacious labels of “superstition” and “improper cults,”


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the regime created a new arena of contestation for temples and temple property. The gray zone of regulations, religious freedom, and institutional frameworks offered tools in the battle to gain control of temples or, more ambitiously, to reshape local landscapes, as the central government increasingly left the localities to their own devices. Indeed, the central government soon enough took advantage of the gray zone itself. Tai Shuangqiu, the old advocate of “temple property for schools,” lingered on the Nanjing scene after his initial proposal for nationalization of monastic property was defeated, making speeches and publishing essays in the Central Daily News. He was one instrument that kept the idea of confiscating temple property alive.137 Then, when in 1935 the KMT cultural pendulum swung back to reform, and plans for education and government involvement in society were once again expanding, the idea’s time seemed to have returned. A group led by Jiangsu Minister of Education Zhou Fohai 周佛海 (1897–1948) persuaded the Executive Yuan to order provinces and cities to survey their temple property in readiness for using them for school funding. Although KMT friends of religion such as Zhang Ji 張繼 (1882–1947) fretted and even proposed creating a Buddhist Affairs Council to avoid the looming mess, the plan went ahead.138 During the next year and a half, the Buddhist monthly Haichaoyin reported the struggles of monasteries to create their own schools to meet the new requirements and, more frequently, tales of illegal confiscation by schoolmasters and officials, police seizures and ousters of clergy, and even the suicide of one elderly monk in Yizheng county.139 Finally in June 1936, the cases in Jiangsu had piled up so significantly that Daxing, a Huaiyin monk and frequent contributor to Haichaoyin, wrote an open letter to the Judicial Yuan. He listed several examples of egregious confiscation, cited the relevant statute in the “Regulations for Temple Oversight,” and asked for an explanation. In this time of national crisis, he wrote, “we especially need to protect the integrity and utility of our country’s laws.”140 Daxing had discovered the gray zone. Thus the significance of the Nationalists’ temple policy—and their legacy for modern China— was not which cults they defined as superstitious but the fact that they simultaneously spread the keyword “superstition” and the instruments of political propaganda, government regulations, legal action, and institutions like schools and religious associations. Together, these created both the mechanism of the gray zone and its justification, and they affected the fates of temples in the Nationalist heartland enormously.

part ii Material Motives

four Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic Jiangsu’s customs are pure and beautiful, its learning advanced, its wealth abundant. The capital of the Republic is there. The center of transportation and communication for East Asia is there. The Premier’s [Sun Yatsen’s] tomb is there. Why shouldn’t rapid construction be easy? —Jiangsu Provincial Government, 1928 Jiangsu may be the cultural center of the entire nation, but popular superstition is still stubborn and hard to break. — Jiangsu Provincial Government, 1935

On the eleventh night of the new xinwei 辛未 year—27 February 1931, by the Western calendar—an angry crowd gathered at the Kuomintang branch office in Gaoyou town, along the Grand Canal in northern Jiangsu (see Map 1). One week earlier, the party branch had smashed the Gaoyou City God Temple; now a group of several hundred people attacked local party leaders, driving back the police who tried to quell the mob. The next day they attacked the party directors’ homes, beating one of them bloody and forcing his son to beg for mercy on bended knees for hours. Business in the city ground to a halt, where it remained for several days. So far, so familiar. And yet the events in Gaoyou departed from the established script of early Nanjing Decade antisuperstition repression and resistance in a 111


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

Map 1 Jiangsu during the Nanjing Decade

number of ways. Leading the angry protesters were not the irate gentry or the devious monks most often blamed for events such as the Yancheng Massacre, but a group of temple attendant “grandmas” (daopo nainai 道婆 奶奶), in common parlance.1 Chen Guofu, governor of the province in later years, marveled at the image of the “old grandmas (lao popo 老婆婆) more than 50–60 years of age” wreaking havoc on the party headquarters. From their ability to rise up in this way, he wrote, “we can see the truth that belief is strength.”2 Such a statement reveals more about Chen’s intellectualized view of religion than it does about the Gaoyou women, who over the subsequent days drew not so much on “miraculous” physical vigor than on a wide variety of social tactics. When the head of the county government finally made his way to the temple to investigate, far from instigating the violence of several days earlier, the women showed humility before authority, kneeling before him in supplication. This got results: the

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


county head urged them to send delegates to a formal meeting. In essence he had no other choice, for the daopo had also paralyzed the town. They did so first by utilizing their ritual communities. Within two days of the uprising, for instance, they had organized both the erection of paper images of the City God and other deities to replace the smashed statues and a steady stream of worshippers to venerate them. They followed this up by distributing leaflets, papering the town with slogans, and forcing businesses to close—in other words, by doing exactly what any self-respecting political or student protester of the time would have done.3 As Bradley Geisert notes, the daopo functioned as a political and social elite.4 Indeed, their victory was total, more than others in similar situations achieved. The county’s negotiations deployed the symbolic and institutional apparatus that the Nationalists had set up to deal with just such troublesome properties and persons, yet none of it stuck. The county head proposed that what seems to have been a hastily assembled county Buddhist Association should oversee the temple women, overlooking the matter of appropriate denomination in his haste to find someone to curb their behavior.5 His compromise proposal that the four halls and hundred-plus mu of endowed land belonging to the temple be divided between City God worship and that ubiquitous symbol of the new civic order, a Sun Yat-sen shrine, soon gave way to the reality of the temple ladies’ power, as in just over ten days they mobilized contributions from across the city and four neighboring villages to restore the temple to its original purpose. According to one source, over the subsequent year some ten thousand people contributed funds to refurbish the site.6 The Gaoyou episode illustrates a number of principles that underpin this chapter’s exploration of contested temples and temple lands in Jiangsu. One is that temple confiscations under the new Nationalist religion/ superstition framework insinuated themselves into the tactical repertoire of local politics. There they remained long after central party and government authorities issued orders to their subordinates to retreat from the most fervent activism. This may explain why the Gaoyou party branch was smashing up a City God temple as late as 1931, two years after provincial authorities ostensibly reined in such attacks; nor were they the last among Jiangsu Nationalists to do so. A second, related factor in the Gaoyou case (applicable elsewhere) is the collision between national policy and local social and cultural conditions. Gaoyou was one of a number of places where trouble developed precisely because the local KMT chose a significant point in the (technically


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

abolished) lunar calendar to destroy the temple.7 Temporarily satisfying though this may have been for the activists, this approach soon backfired, since it allowed clergy, ritual specialists, temple committees, and others with access to ritual networks—such as the daopo—to mobilize large numbers of protester-pilgrims rapidly. In large part this clearly accounted for the success in Gaoyou, since the substantial assembly spurred government fears of errant bandits slipping into the crowd, a perennial security concern in the county seat, which was an important land and water transportation hub.8 What the authorities failed to perceive was that public safety was a ritual concern as well as a police matter. Later that year, when the canal dikes in Gaoyou were broken by the traumatic September 1931 Yangzi flood, the result was not only an outpouring of relief efforts, troops, and government inspectors but an upsurge in ritual activity in communities throughout the county.9 This explains further the surge of labor and monetary contributions to rebuild the City God Temple. Last, and most important, the Gaoyou episode shows that the Nationalists held no monopoly on modernity. By converting temples, the KMT asserted that modernity was to be achieved via a single route, one that directed the Chinese people away from the centrifugal forces of local community ties and religious affiliations and toward the cohesiveness of the national body. Local actors in Jiangsu countered that claim by interweaving those ties and affiliations with the trappings of modern public and political life. Disputes over temple property during the Nanjing Decade brought a wide variety of people to the battle: resident and nonresident clergy, lay devotees, powerful and destitute lineages and their allies, tenant farmers and more, not to mention factional interests within the government and the party. Each of these could draw from a “toolbox of modernity” to make a case, an array of tactics and propositions that included street politics, appeals to the press, deployment of political rhetoric, petitioning, lawsuits, and appeals to or manipulation of civic and governmental organizations. Some of these methods were not new in and of themselves, but rather—as in the case of petitions and lawsuits—took on new forms or significance under Nationalist rule. And although public protests and circulated manifestos likewise did not originate with the KMT, it was in part the party’s incessant propaganda efforts before and after its rise to power that brought such tactics to the attention of residents of county towns and villages outside the major cities. Combatants in temple disputes drew from this “toolbox” in varying degrees, as well as from resources of longer standing, such as ritual, lineage, and donor networks.

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


The Nationalists’ campaign against superstition did not merely cause friction between the party-state and its local targets. It provided a set of weapons for local interests to use in power struggles that often stretched well beyond any mandate of state-sponsored cultural modernization. The conflicts over temple property in Jiangsu demonstrate the falseness of the original proposition of the antisuperstition campaign—that the religious of China were inherently un- or antimodern. Almost by the same token, however, they also demonstrate the campaign’s lasting significance—not on its own terms but as a tactic in local politics, a proposition that once floated never went away in China’s long twentieth century. Most significant, the intersection of the antisuperstition campaign, the new laws governing religious property, and the penetrative desires of the party-state meant not that temples would be governed more regularly but that they would be increasingly subject to the developmental whims of political authority. During the 1920s and 1930s, the exact nature of that authority, its whims, and the extent of its power still varied greatly by region. This chapter examines how temple seizures and conversions shifted the permutations of power in Jiangsu, focusing on Jiangnan and Subei in particular. Chapter 5 continues the story by focusing on how temple confiscations revised spatial and ritual communities in the contrasting environments of Nanjing and the Huaibei county of Suqian.

Knowing Jiangsu: Politics, Society, and Religion During the Nanjing Decade In Nanjing Decade Jiangsu, battles over temple buildings and land arose out of several overlapping circumstances. First, the province and the adjoining special municipalities of Nanjing and Shanghai occupied a special place as the heart of the regime. In the preface to the administrative memoirs of Chen Guofu, Jiangsu governor from 1933 to 1937, Cheng Tianfang 程天放 (1899–1967) wrote rather ingenuously that “the Jiangsu provincial government never engaged in any self-publicizing, but it naturally drew attention from every quarter.”10 He meant the statement as praise for his political ally, but he also struck at a home truth about the disproportionate amount of notice and resources the Nationalist power base drew. Jiangsu was to have the model counties, the innovative schools, and the government experiments in public health, agricultural training, and, not least of all, customs reform. In the course of all this improvement, Nationalist leaders came to see Jiangsu’s cultural heritage as a challenge as well as a gift and


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

lamented the devotion of its natives to festivals, fortunetellers, and temples: hence the distinct change in tone over the seven years that separates the epigraphs at the beginning of this chapter. Second, both the radical and the conservative stages of KMT politics in the province threatened temples. The environment of internecine political struggle within the provincial party and between party and government that took place during 1928 and 1929 ostensibly reined in social radicalism in favor of policies favoring local elites. In fact it had the long-term effect of simply normalizing all but the most drastic actions when it came to temple property. In other words, the property of lineages and other big landlords may have been declared off limits, but this made temple lands more vulnerable, not less. The third condition underlying temple disputes was the extremely varied geographic, social, and religious landscape of Jiangsu, a fact belied by general statements about the province’s “pure” or “stubborn” customs. The ripple effect that temple confiscations had on a community had less to do with its members’ “stubborn adherence to superstition,” as frustrated provincial reports so often put it, than with a variety of factors such as the strength of local lineages, the prior activity of Buddhist and other reformers, the overall economic prosperity of the area, and even the extent of local “temples to schools” movements in previous generations. These last two circumstances warrant a bit of further exploration as contexts for the temple disputes that follow.

Jiangsu Politics: A Conservative Trend for Whom? Temple confiscations and the general antisuperstition campaign initially reflected the political trajectory scholars have traced for the Nationalists in Jiangsu and the nation as a whole, but eventually they departed from it. Recognizing the point of departure is critical to understanding the place of religion in China’s modernity. The political rupture caused by the 1928–29 party re-registration and the subsequent edging out not just of the Kuomintang “left” but of most strong voices critical of Chiang Kai-shek had the perverse effect of making the party disappear as an independent entity. On a national level, as Wang Ke-wen has pointed out, Chiang’s 1930s consolidation of power, conducted with the aid of the Chen brothers, simply subordinated the party to the military and the government.11 Bradley Geisert argues for a similar effect in Jiangsu, where the Chens’ allies emerged

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


victorious among the various warring factions of the late 1920s. Even before the elder Chen took the governor’s seat, the provincial government and above all central party headquarters and the KMT Organization Department asserted control over the actions of wayward county cadres.12 Correspondingly, in the days when the KMT first claimed power in Jiangsu, the provincial party and government at first stood united at the vanguard of antireligious activism. In August 1928, for example, it was a joint party-government committee that requested the center’s permission “to organize temple property to undertake social work.”13 Then came the violence at Yancheng, which pitted KMT cadres against a county head. Party re-registration soon followed. By year’s end, provincial officials changed course, instructing county KMT branches to “first employ propaganda and training methods” to solve the problem of superstition and ordering authorities in several counties to avoid further disputes.14 Nonetheless, in the few months following the promulgation of the “Management” rules, seizures and protests continued to heat up, and the provincial party agitated for even more action. The Jiangsu delegation to the Third Party Congress again proposed that the nation’s temple property be absorbed “to develop local public works.”15 The following month, the Jiangsu Central Committee, together with the provincial congress, issued a proclamation declaring the building of temples and the worship of idols to be prime examples of the feudal thought impeding the growth of modern society.16 The idea of nationalizing temples and their land, then, still received a hearing even in an atmosphere of factional warfare at meetings at which conservative forces were pushing aside radical elements within the party.17 Nor did such sentiments disappear during the 1930s. Chen Guofu may have written placidly in his memoirs about using moral suasion (ganhua 感化) to solve disputes over temples and religious observances, stating genially that “in [his] opinion, except when the monks in charge wish it, making a temple into a school is not worth the cost to education and society.”18 The unstated context was that his provincial administration was intimately acquainted with the costs and benefits of temple seizures. In 1935 his education officer, Zhou Fohai, issued an impassioned demand to convert temple property to educational uses. The only difference between his request and the manifestos of the late 1920s was that he replaced the critiques of feudal superstition with a cold practicality. In every county, he claimed, temples had been undermining government regulations and causing misunderstandings and lawsuits right and left. The best solution for peace and prosperity, then, was further nationalization, not only of their


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

land and buildings but of all their property, so as fully to realize the “Oversight” regulations’ call to carry out charitable enterprises.19 Although Zhou did not receive the blanket license he desired, by this time the de facto situation amounted to tacit provincial approval of local initiative, particularly if the Education Department had any say in the matter. Rapid turnover in county personnel, the interference of county Education Bureau officials in local politics, continued budgetary shortfalls—these persistent problems created a climate in which government seizure of temple property was still fiscally attractive and ideologically acceptable.20 To a large extent, the formal attitudes of the provincial government and party ceased to matter, and when the province did intervene, it was to ensure local stability at all costs. Whether this worked in a temple manager’s favor depended largely on his or her place in the party-state’s perception of local politics and social order.

Temples in the Four Jiangsus Of the many possible ways to divide Jiangsu, a four-region scheme seems to suit its Nanjing Decade circumstances particularly well. Separating the province at the Yangzi is insufficient: as Antonia Finnane, among others, has pointed out, the dry region north of the Huai River linked to the North China Plain, whereas to the Huai’s south, central Jiangsu formed a drainage basin for the Grand Canal, Hongze Lake, and eventually the Yangzi River (Map 1). Culturally speaking, Finnane explains, Qing Yangzhou was frequently seen as “quintessentially southern,” even if during the Republic this changed to a Shanghai-influenced attitude of anti-Subei prejudice.21 G. William Skinner placed Yangzhou, Rugao, and Nantong in the Lower Yangzi macroregion, which in fact is in keeping with the religious organization and behavior of temple managers in these counties during the Nanjing Decade, more like those of their counterparts south of the river than those of their neighbors to the north.22 Helen Chauncey’s study of school reforms, in addition, has illustrated the distinctiveness of Republican Subei from both Huaibei and Jiangnan; although less economically and culturally favored than the south, she notes, central Jiangsu was “a world apart from the dire poverty of the far north” and did not lack institutional experimentation, albeit in unexpected patterns.23 Her observations are borne out by many of the examples in this chapter. The circumstances of Nationalist rule and the new focus on Nanjing, however, also prompt a consideration of the place of southwestern Jiangsu. There is much to suggest that more than political boundaries made this a

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


distinctive area in its own right. In his 1936 gazetteer of Jiangsu, Republican geographer Li Changfu 李長傅 (d. 1966) described a fourth provincial region, the “southwestern hills,” as geographically and economically linked to central and southern Anhui, as well as linguistically distinct from Jiangnan.24 Furthermore, during the Nanjing Decade the eponymous capital became a world apart, a high-pressure testing ground for Nationalist governmentality both urban (in the special municipality) and rural (in Jiangning county). In addition, religious institutions in Nanjing were considerably weaker than many of their counterparts in places such as Suzhou, for reasons not always attributable to the Nationalists. Each of these four areas contributed its own mix of temple-donor relations, relative strengths of monastic institutions and popular religion, and types of temple property ownership to the temple dispute scenario. Most of the fifty-odd cases underlying this and the next chapter are documented in court cases, government archives, official gazettes, and occasionally newspapers. That automatically makes them unusual for having been reported and contested. It is much more difficult to discover the confiscations and conversions that did not cause trouble—much less estimate the number of temples and amount of land that may have been involved overall—because of the imprecision of Republican records, including gazetteers and tax records but most especially land surveys. A great irony of the Nationalist period lies in the universality of the argument that temples should be put to the economic good of the nation and the paucity of comprehensive information on temple property from the ubiquitous economic surveys of the time. This can largely be attributed to the pervasiveness of class schemes in Republican economic research. With the issue of land reform dominating most discussions of landowning patterns in the country and in the province, both government and private investigators tended to classify statistics in categories such as “owner-cultivator,” “partial tenant,” “tenant,” and so on, or else following the Marxist-influenced “landlord / rich peasant / middle peasant / poor peasant” schema.25 Therefore, it is difficult to tell from most Republican land statistics how temples fit into the overall picture of tenancy. This is true of information collected by independent surveyors, such as that in Feng Hefa’s 馮和法 1935 Zhongguo nongcun jingji ziliao 中國農村 經濟資料 (Materials on the rural economy of China) or by John Lossing Buck, and of that published by central and provincial government organs.26 To take an example, Wuxi must have been one of the most surveyed counties in the nation, visited by teams from the Academia Sinica,


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

the nongovernmental Chinese Council for Research on Rural Economics, and the Shanghai research office of the Southern Manchurian Railway (Mantetsu).27 Only the Mantetsu study shows an awareness of temples as landlords, although it provides little detail. Jiangsu provincial and county bureaus of land management charged with organizing the taxation system received little encouragement or instruction to differentiate among types of landlords or renters.28 Temple registration fell instead to the public security apparatus, the shortcomings of which have already been explored. Thus by 1936 the Ministry of Interior had figures for temple landholdings in only 17 of the 61 Jiangsu counties (total: 261,704 mu) and for other temple property in only 21 counties (a total worth of 7,881,268 yuan). This did not account for much in a province where the total amount of taxed cultivated land exceeded 80,000,000 mu. 29 The best information available, then, is local, anecdotal, or impressionistic. The Rural Rehabilitation Commission (Xingzheng yuan, Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui 行政院農村 復興委員會), for example, noted in its 1934 survey of the province that although Jiangnan temples tended to be more powerful in their localities, it was in Subei, and particularly in Huaibei, that monasteries owned large tracts of land. Much of this difference was due to local economic conditions. Although most temples in Jiangnan were able to rent out their property, in Subei “because temple life is not flourishing at present, various monasteries and shrines have in effect become farming households. The majority [of clerics] work the land themselves (of course, hiring laborers), with the abbot as head farmer.”30 The commission provided general statistics on temple land for several counties (Table 1). These rudimentary figures suggest not only that a sharp difference existed between temples north and south of the Yangzi, but that coastal counties like Qidong and Haimen featured mostly local temples with small endowments, as opposed to largelandholding monasteries. It is further important to note, however, that the amount of temple land in a given county did not necessarily reflect the wealth of local religious institutions: Tai county’s total, for instance, included 1,400 mu owned by Jinshan (more precisely the Jiangtian Monastery on Jinshan in Zhenjiang, which conventionally went by the mountain name), some 100 km away.31 Amano Motonosuke’s research on the Chinese farm economy points to the wealth of some individual Buddhist monasteries (see Table 2). As the Rural Rehabilitation Commission remarked, however, a mu of land in the south of the province and a mu in its north meant very different

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


Table 1 Monastic and Temple Landholdings, Selected Jiangsu Counties, 1930s ____________________________________________________________________ Region County Land (mu) ____________________________________________________________________ Jiangnan

Wu 2,700 Wuxi 3,000 Kunshan 1,000+ Changshu 2,180 Subei Qidong 600 Haimen 200 Tai 40,000+ Xinghua 20,000+ Yancheng 30,000+ Huaibei Tongshan 10,000+ ____________________________________________________________________ source: Xingzheng yuan, Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui, Jiangsu sheng nongcun diaocha, 4–6.

Table 2 Landholdings of Individual Jiangsu Monasteries, 1930s ____________________________________________________________________ Region County Monastery Land (mu) ____________________________________________________________________ Southwestern Hills

Zhenjiang Nanjing city

Jinshan Pude; Xingguo


Wujin (Changzhou)



Jiangdu (Yangzhou)


“Tens of thousands” 1,000 13,000 3,ooo–4,000


Guanyun Faqi, Yuntaishan 800 Suqian Jile; Wuhuading 20,000 ____________________________________________________________________ source: Amano Motonosuke, Shina nōg yō keizai ron, 67–69.

things environmentally and economically; moreover, the reliability of even individual temple landholding numbers varied greatly.32 Monastic life in Republican Subei and Huaibei was certainly less financially stable than it was in Jiangnan. Although many Jiangnan and Nanjing monasteries had suffered during the Taiping Rebellion, ordination centers such as Jinshan were still thriving enterprises in the 1920s. Other temples, such as Lingyan in Suzhou and Qixiashan in Nanjing, were revived by the new generation of reformist monks. This happened to a few places in the north, but others faltered in their role as centers of learning as the surrounding economy weakened. Holmes Welch notes that between two-thirds and three-quarters of


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

Table 3 Buddhist Monastic Population in the Sixty-one Counties of Jiangsu, 1930 ____________________________________________________________________ Monks General Clergy / general Region and nuns population population ____________________________________________________________________ Southwestern Hills 4,926 2,128,776 1/432 Jiangnan 21,667 9,149,584 1/422 Subei 25,468 14,581,662 1/573 Huaibei 4,305 6,147,968 1/1,428 Total 56,366 32,007,990 1/568 ____________________________________________________________________ sources: Figures derived from JSSJ, 1: 29–34 and 8: 204–9. General population is from the 1932 census.

the Republican-era ordinands at three major monasteries south of the Yangzi—Qixiashan and Baohuashan in Nanjing, and the Longhua Monastery in Shanghai—came from a roughly 10,000 square kilometer area of Subei, bordered by the counties of Jiangdu (Yangzhou), Baoying, Yancheng, and Rugao. He dubbed this “the cradle of monks.”33 Welch asserts that local culture, with its high level of respect for Buddhist learning, had more to do with this phenomenon than local poverty, which might have driven families to offer up their sons to the clergy. Yet the two do not seem mutually exclusive choices, and in any case it is notable that these ordinands chose the southern monasteries. Their choice offers another indication of the weakness of Buddhist institutions north of Yangzhou, as well as the prestige of southern monasteries. The Henan native Zhenhua, describing why he traveled to Baohua Mountain in Jurong to study, wrote that the large public monasteries of Jiangnan “were giant refining furnaces where men were wrought into accomplished monks. No matter what sort of human scrap metal you were to begin with, you only had to stay several years in such a place, and your every movement and posture would convey that sort of impressive poise that makes people feel: ‘This is someone special.’ ”34 In effect, the northern ordinands were joining the wave of aspirational economic migration that brought Subei laborers to Shanghai. Population statistics bear the pattern out. Although the sheer number of monks and nuns was slightly greater north of the Yangzi than south of it— 29,773 in 1930 versus 26,593—the actual proportion of clergy to the general population was much lower, as shown in Table 3. These figures exclude the city of Nanjing. Perhaps the only thing such statistics can demonstrate,

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


however, is the relative strength of the monastic population. The Nationalist statistics ignore priests and attendants at popular shrines—a population the Beiyang-era government actually attempted to count—as well as Buddhist clergy who might be living in any of a number of conceivable extra-monastic situations: in homes, for instance, or as managers of non-Buddhist temples, an important category from the government’s point of view.35 The temple cases themselves make clear, however, that some Jiangsu religious institutions enjoyed a relative advantage over others during the Nationalist era. There was a substantial religious realm that escaped seizure and even flourished, especially during the 1930s. Venerable Buddhist monasteries deemed to be of historical value or associated with illustrious clergy underwent refurbishment in Suzhou and other Yangzi river cultural centers, frequently funded out of the private pockets of intellectuals and Nationalist politicians. By the same token, the Daoists at Maoshan, in Jurong county, went about their business undisturbed by the Nationalists, and Quanzhen Daoists were able to set up a highly successful nunnery in the Shanghai suburbs, funded by members of the city’s inner-alchemy intelligentsia, that attracted factory workers as members.36 Still, the clergy of even the most-admired historic properties found it prudent to monitor their economic activities and adapt to the Nationalists’ new religious state framework in order to ensure smooth survival. At Tianning, for instance, Holmes Welch discovered that abbots and managers found it increasingly difficult to conduct their business of renting land and extending loans of paddy fields and cash. They feared confiscation and were fully aware that even the aborted intimations of land reform during the 1920s had led some of their tenants to balk at paying rent. In response, the monastery’s managers stopped buying land and writing new loans after 1931.37 Caution was indeed warranted, for the Jiangsu temple cases highlight the difficulty of deciphering the new system of governmental religious management. It was quite clear that the courts still frowned on the alienation of temple property by temple managers. This had been the case since late imperial times. Now, instead of the courts guiding a community solution to the problem, Republican regulations raised the specter of government interference in temple manager succession as a consequence.38 Beyond that, the waters were murky. Zhou Fohai had a point about the multiple misunderstandings caused by the temple regulations; unfortunately, many of these were brought about by Jiangsu officials themselves. Some, such as in Suzhou, sought to apply temple rules selectively to boost favored projects and target troublesome properties by defining ad hoc what


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

constituted a proper “temple” and what did not. Others, like the Gaoyou county head, promoted the ostensible “Buddhification” of religion, since it was legible to the state, by adopting the Buddhist Association as the blanket mechanism of control for all local religion. The Buddhification of state-legible (an important distinction) Jiangsu religion was something of a reality. The 1936 Ministry of Interior Yearbook listed no new-style Daoist associations at the provincial level, and only one municipal one in Nanjing, which had seventy members.39 The number of Buddhist temples involved in petitions and court cases is highly disproportionate—particularly given the targeting of City God temples in Jiangsu. This suggests that the formal Buddhist Association framework as well as the network of monastic links in the province had some success in channeling protests toward the center. But once we dig a bit deeper into the local history of particular cases, we find a mixing of clerical and temple types—Buddhist clergy managing popular and Daoist temples and vice versa—that cloud this seeming religious legibility. More important, local actors (including people far outside the clergy or networks of Buddhist disciples) quickly learned that a “Buddhist association” was a mechanism that could be manipulated for personal gain, much as the Nationalist school system could be appropriated to gain control of temple lands. Local conditions determined how the new tools and resources might be used. In Jiangnan, litigiousness and idealistic party reformism seesawed with a strong sense that proper religion might be the basis of the new cultural China. But in areas of Subei where economic pressures were high, comfort with the legal system low, and penetration of the KMT state aggressive, temple managers and donors often adopted these new governmental systems to ends unanticipated by the Nationalists. Failing that, or in crisis situations, they took to the streets.

New Traditionalism and Old Pragmatism in Jiangnan If cliché portrayed Jiangsu as the repository of Chinese culture, it claimed places like Suzhou and Wuxi as the ultimate treasure-houses. “In Wu [the region including these cities],” Hu Pu’an wrote in 1922, “the old habits have stayed the same since the coming of the Republic. It is difficult to change customs in a short period of time, isn’t it?”40 Writing a gazetteer of Nationalist Jiangsu, Wang Peitang 王培棠 tried to account for the seemingly paradoxical fact that people in Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou—the

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


heart of civilization, after all—spent large amounts of money on ritual. The only explanation the Songjiang native could come up with was relative wealth. “Superstitious beliefs are relatively shallow in the Jiangnan belt,” he argued. “If the region’s annual expenditures on superstition are greater than those in Jiangbei, it is because the Jiangnan economy is stronger.”41 In fact temple property cases show a distinct correlation between southern wealth and the health of its religious life, but it was one that defied Wang’s assumptions about southern rationalism and northern religiosity rather than confirming it. Temples in Nationalist Jiangnan and in the northern Yangzi delta communities that effectively fit into the Jiangnan economic region fell on either side of a thin but perceptible line of historical and cultural legitimacy. On the favored plane, they survived and indeed often flourished. At times, however, they were called before the court of state legitimacy to determine their usefulness to national ends. On the other side of the line, temples became objects of contestation, frequently subject to the aims of new civic projects. These projects were by no means solely the work of urban reformist party members. Instead, in Jiangnan temple committees, local businessmen and even powerful clergy remained ascendant by their frequent recourse to lawsuits and close relations with county and district governments. In contrast to northern Jiangsu, where City God seizures and other dispossessions that disrupted broad communities continued long into the 1930s, in Jiangnan the most frequent losers in temple battles were individual ousted clergy and their local supporters. That the temple landscape in Jiangnan did not undergo the same attempted radical reconfiguration as it did in Subei should not be taken as immediate evidence, however, of an innate “conservatism” of local society. As Peter Carroll astutely points out in regard to efforts to preserve historical relics in Suzhou, “the past, of which guji were precious material traces, was thought to be the wellspring of transformative social dynamism.”42 Since the late Qing, Suzhou landmarks such as the Hanshan Temple had attracted attention from local gentry, high-ranking officials, National Essence scholars, and many foreign critics and observers, Japanese scholars in particular. The Nanjing Decade, Carroll notes, simply introduced a new and discordant note of material imperative into the debate over cultural preservation.43 The Nationalist administrators of Suzhou and its county, Wu—and to a large extent those in the neighboring Wuxi as well—were caught in a bind.44 They held in their hands some of the highest profile experiments in KMT governance outside the big cities: Suzhou was the seat


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

of the Jiangsu provincial court, for example, and Wuxi the home of the government’s mass education movement. Yet the preservation of Wu historical traces affected not only the region’s own identity but, by virtue of its place in the heart of Chinese civilization, the identity of the Chinese nation as well. Thus we arrive at a highly unusual occurrence in January 1929: an official city government pledge not to destroy the Suzhou City God Temple. This was elicited by one of the two antiquities preservation committees in the county, in light of the Three Kingdoms–era structure’s historical nature.45 Apparently the committee’s plea was merely prophylactic, since no demolition plan was in place. Given that, on the Nationalists’ arrival two years earlier, two thousand Daoist priests had taken to the streets protesting the closure of their temples, the concern was hardly unwarranted, however.46 It is instructive as well to compare the fate of the City God Temple in the county seat of nearby Wujin several months earlier. There the county government made part of the temple into a library; then it decided that the unabated stream of worshippers in the main hall was “impeding revolutionary work” and converted the rest into a Sun Yat-sen shrine. The City God Temple in Jiangyin county to the north met even more overt destruction.47 In Suzhou and Wu county, government surveillance of religion was extensive. This was one of the few areas to produce temple registration results as early as 1930, and by 1935, the county as a whole had recorded 1,537 Buddhist temples, 196 Daoist sites, and 437 “other” shrines, as well as 25 churches and mosques.48 Wu was also one place where officials seemed to have an innate sympathy for the “religion”/“superstition” distinction. Not only did the local KMT forbid spirit-writing and religious processions, especially in urban areas, but, according to one observer of local customs, the practice of burning water-borne “dharma-boats” at the Ghost Festival had been banned since at least the early 1920s.49 The party-state’s feelings toward cultivated Buddhism, however, were much warmer.

Suzhou Buddhism, Refined and Raw It was not merely that relics such as the Great Pagoda of the Baoen Monastery and the Twin Pagodas defined the city landscape. Suzhou also attracted many of China’s politically connected Buddhist reformers. A number of eminent laypersons called the city home, such as Zhang Binglin

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


章炳麟 (1869–1936), who lived out his final decade in the city; the party elder Li Genyuan 李根源 (1879–1965); and the medical educator Wang Shenxuan 王 慎 軒 (1899–1984), prominent in local Buddhist charities. Zhang and Li also played important roles in Suzhou cultural preservation.50 In 1928 a monk named Mingdao 明道, who as Qi Zezhou 戚則周 had been a Tongmenghui member and county magistrate, took over the expansion of the Baoguo Monastery. He was aided by the eminent monk Yinguang 印光 (1861–1940), who arrived from Shanghai in 1930, and a rapidly growing community of wealthy Pure Land lay acolytes.51 Yinguang also proved instrumental in what was to be the most prestigious new Buddhist project in Suzhou, the resurrected Lingyan Monastery. One of many historic temples in southern Jiangsu that had failed to recover from the depredations of the Taiping Rebellion, this former Chan center on Mt. Lingyan, twelve km west of the city, drew Yinguang’s attention in 1926. He was casting about for a location for a new center of intense Pure Land recitation practice, one that would be open to lay people and clergy alike but also imposed strict rules of conduct on its monks. He lit on Lingyan, struggling to expand under Abbot Zhenda since the waning years of the Qing; together the two of them revitalized the temple. Lingyan monks were to focus on recitation and little else: no ordinations, no sutra lectures, certainly no disciples, lineages, and personal inheritance of property, and very little performance of rituals for fees.52 Zhenda’s fundraising efforts brought in nearly 30,000 yuan (some of it rumored to have been gathered by a Zhejiang militarist-turned-monk from among his former comrades), expanding the site from ten to more than a hundred rooms and incorporating a primary school, clinic, and soup kitchen as well as a seminary.53 The imprimatur of Yinguang’s Pure Land revival reached far across the political and intellectual spectrum. When the fire-damaged main hall at the branch Baosheng Temple was repaired in 1927, the benefactors included Gu Jiegang 顧頡剛 (1893–1980), the rather conservative philosophy professor, Zhejiang provincial politician Ma Xulun 馬叙倫 (1884–1970), and even erstwhile critic of Buddhism Cai Yuanpei.54 Yinguang, it seemed, had hit on a winning formula: to lift up the demographically dominant but intellectually discredited Pure Land practice by refining it and placing it in a single-minded monastic setting, one that nonetheless met the requirements of social engagement that the times demanded. In the archives of Lingyan and its branch temples, we can see a sophisticated economic operation that had a cautious but overall smooth


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relationship with local government. The temples’ revenue base was diverse: although forbidden to seek fees, monks received unsolicited contributions for religious services and took in the standard rental income from temple land. The monastery also owned donated transportation stock.55 Temple managers cannily used the government resources available to them. In the waning months of the Sun Chuanfang 孫傳芳 (1884–1935) government, the abbot of one of Lingyan’s branches, Zhiping Temple, obtained police help to gain control of pilgrim donations that used to go directly to the local bao rather than the temple.56 After the establishment of the Nanjing government, the temples carefully registered financial transactions such as the purchase of burial plots and diligently paid the stamp tax on their ordination rosters.57 Thus although a reform-minded operation such as Lingyan had room to grow in Nationalist Suzhou, its managers nonetheless were well advised to operate fastidiously. The importance of observing the proprieties and conducting temple life by the books would have been driven home in 1929. In the early spring, Wu county head Wang Yincai led an assault on Zhiping Temple’s close mountain neighbor, Shangfang Temple, an extraordinarily popular site of Wutong worship. Wang re-created Suzhou prefect Tang Bin’s famous 1685 destruction of a Wutong shrine on the mountain by pitching the temple’s statues into nearby Stone Lake. A district party branch soon got into the act and ordered police to burn all the deity images in the entire village area.58 It appeared that the temples escaped wholesale confiscation, in spite of the destruction, doubtless painful in itself. When neighbors were covetous and empowered and when public coffers were involved, the scenario could change quite substantially. Elsewhere in the outskirts of Suzhou, the struggles of a young monk, Kuanlu, demonstrated the perils that could face a prosperous but ordinary temple under the new regime. Kuanlu was essentially a victim of his own success: in 1929, at the mere age of twenty, he clerically inherited the rundown Lianchi Priory on Wufengshan and its little plot of 1 mu 6 fen. Over the next seven years, he energetically gathered donations and expanded the temple to twenty-plus rooms supported by more than ten mu. In 1936, a sedan chair bearer fell and injured himself while carrying one of the many new pilgrims to the temple, and this set in motion a successful merchant petition to get the county to build a motor road leading to the mountain. The temple’s neighbors, led by the local bao head, Ding Shengqing, took great exception to the plan, which they claimed would “cause harm to

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farmers’ fields and sideline enterprises”—code for worries that their land would be expropriated with inadequate compensation. This replicated in a rural setting the objections urban Suzhou property owners had frequently voiced over street-widening projects.59 Here, however, the landowners did not protest against the government; rather, they struck back at the temple. When their suit was thrown out because the road project did not originate with Kuanlu, the neighbors turned to a more time-honored tactic: they sought to have the monk banished for keeping mistresses in the temple. The trope may have been a hoary one, but the new state mechanisms and the heightened antireligious mores of the time gave it extra muscle. Claiming that the young monk was hiding women in secret rooms within the temple, Ding Shengqing and his group lodged a complaint with the district authorities, and on 19 September 1936, they led the chief of the local town in a search of the priory.60 Turning up nothing, the accusers brooded until the evening of the 24th, when Ding’s brothers spied two women going up the mountain. Using this as a pretext, the next morning the group stormed the temple once more, this time resting only on the authority of their ire and Ding Shengqing’s status as bao head—the latter of which, it turned out, was legally sufficient. Wrecking the place in their quest for evidence, the farmers found two spaces underneath the floorboards, which they concluded must be hidey-holes for lovers. On the strength of this and other minor findings, Kuanlu’s neighbors finally succeeded in their vendetta, and the district police ejected the monk from the temple and from the county. The monk did not lack friends or savvy. The actions he took over the subsequent year and half demonstrate the more sophisticated social resources and legal/administrative knowledge a Jiangnan monk might possess (he apparently ran the priory on his own) compared to his counterparts in Subei, who were more likely simply to petition the government or local Buddhist association in a straightforward manner. First, Kuanlu sued the Wu county government to have his banishment overturned on the basis of good-conduct affidavits from senior monks at six other temples. Moreover, a group of merchant supporters persuaded the Wu County Chamber of Commerce to protest to the county government and party branch on his behalf.61 The beleaguered young monk also showed some political sensitivity. One additional piece of evidence against him was the discovery of fourinch embroidered shoes for “golden lotus” bound feet placed under the seat of the City God’s wife, which the Dings claimed to be concrete proof of


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women on the premises. These were offerings to the goddess from women pilgrims, Kuanlu explained, such as could be found in any temple; moreover, “only old gentlewomen in high-class city families” had such feet and those kinds of shoes, not women in the countryside—a bit disingenuous, perhaps, but also matching the rhetoric of the regime’s antifootbinding campaign. Most adeptly, in reply to the accusation that the existence of neatly folded quilts and varnished wood in one temple chamber must stem from a feminine touch, Kuanlu replied, “Now that we are carrying out the New Life Movement to its fullest, shouldn’t monks be neat and hygienic as well?”62 He made these arguments during the course of taking his administrative suit all the way to the province, and then to the Ministry of Interior. In the meantime, he also lodged criminal charges against Ding Shengqing and the farmers for unlawful search and seizure and theft. If the path of Kuanlu’s quest for restitution demonstrates the resources at the disposal of clergy in rural Wu county, then the results reveal that governmental authority ultimately mattered more in a somewhat gamed system. For instance, the baojia scheme, heavily promoted by the government at the time, worked in the farmers’ favor: Ding Shengqing’s status as bao head exempted the farmers from the illegal search charges. In fact, Kuanlu’s eagerness to see them punished for that crime cost him his one small legal victory: when the Jiangsu Superior Court rejected his final appeal, they also overturned the minor fines the Wu county court had imposed on the neighbors for theft and property damage. The monk could take solace only in the fact that the courts agreed that the spaces beneath the floor could not possibly have held people, “even if you forced them in,” as the Superior Court put it.63 Kuanlu never got his temple back, at least not before the Japanese arrived. Although his difficulty navigating the highly opaque administrative appeal system had something to do with his failure, in terms of local reasons the most telling evidence came in the form of a remark that Kuanlu found in the local paper. The head of Wu county was quoted as saying that this was not a “sincere temple” (xinshi simiao 心式寺廟) and therefore not subject to the “Regulations for Temple Oversight.”64 Those guidelines would indeed have not required Kuanlu’s banishment for sexual impropriety (although the controversial and short-lived “Management” rules would have)—only for fiscal malfeasance, which was never charged. The sole remaining solution for the county government to enforce order in the countryside and reinforce the line between legitimate and illegitimate culture, therefore, was to deny the Lianchi Priory’s religious nature.

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When Is a Xuanmiao guan Not a Temple? The question of the proper use of the “Regulations for Temple Oversight,” as well as the problem of where to fit religion and its sometimes messy economies into Suzhou’s broader culture, also figured in the city’s most notorious preservation scandal, the battle surrounding the Xuanmiao guan 玄妙觀. At first glance, matters of religion figured little in the major thrust of the debate that enveloped what was the most central and active Daoist temple in the county and one of the biggest in Jiangnan. The controversy sprang from city plans to widen Guanqian Street and the related demolition of a spirit wall along the southern part of the temple’s courtyard, which was decorated with a Song dynasty ceramic frieze. Peter Carroll deftly describes how the planned demolition and the decision of head priest Yan Juecang to sell the wall site to neighboring businessmen for development aroused intense opposition from different groups of cultural preservationists in a debate that pitted the demands of national civilization against those of national and local economy.65 Viewing the situation in comparison to the other temple property cases—especially that of Lianchi Priory—however, one also sees that the matter of the religious identity and duties of the Xuanmiao guan and its priests emerged at key rhetorical and tactical points. Furthermore, the reconstruction project, in addition to its other consequences, made a claim for how the private administration of religious properties could be made to work in the government’s interest. As far as the temple itself was concerned, the preservation issue stemmed from two problems of identity confusion. First, when is a working temple a historic relic (guji 古蹟)? More to the point, when the temple is neither government property nor abandoned, to what degree can the general public exercise control over its relics and its fate? This leads to the second bit of confusion: when is a temple an economic enterprise? More than any other temple involved in controversy during the Nanjing Decade, the Xuanmiao guan displayed such a complex and cacophonous physical presence in the city that critics could easily shape the temple’s social meaning to their own preferred ends. Clerics had established a Daoist temple in the center of Suzhou early on, in 276 ce; it flourished under the patronage of Song Huizong in the early twelfth century and acquired the name Xuanmiao guan during the Yuan dynasty.66 By late imperial and Republican times, the temple had come to


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dominate Suzhou society in a number of ways. It was, using Vincent Goossaert’s term, a “Zhengyi corporate temple,” owned and administered by a group of families of Qingwei Lingbao priests who practiced closed inheritance.67 At the beginning of the Republic, the temple tapped into a considerable donor network that included local merchants; when the magnificent Miluo Hall and its 380 golden images were destroyed in a 1912 fire, for instance, ten neighboring porcelain shops put up 10,000 yuan for the reconstruction (cash that allegedly was accidentally thrown out with the rubble, leading to a lawsuit and the resignation of the abbot).68 Xuanmiao guan’s pull on its charitable network declined somewhat thereafter: reprinting the temple gazetteer in 1927, merchant Jiang Bingzhang complained bitterly that donors had not stepped up during the intervening years to repair the hall.69 Jiang, incidentally, is proof of the close-knit nature of Suzhou’s Republican religious literary elite—he served as a member of the editorial committee of the 1933 Wu county gazetteer along with Buddhist donor Li Genyuan.70 It is quite possible that the 1912 donor neighbors were also Xuanmiao guan’s tenants, for the place was also “the most flourishing place of commerce in the city,”71 the central meeting point for the city, and the source of Guanqian (In front of the temple) Street’s name. It was a commonplace for writers to compare Xuanmiao guan to Shanghai’s City God Temple and Nanjing’s Fuzi miao, but in truth neither of these quite matched the remarkable extension of both numinous and thisworldly commerce within and without the Xuanmiao guan walls. In 1932 Gotō Asatarō described the temple as an “entertainment paradise” that received tens of thousands of visitors a year.72 First of all, the temple offered a sort of ritual one-stop shopping. Beside the main hall of the Xuanmiao guan “proper,” which was devoted to the Three Purities (San qing 三清), Republican visitors would have found a wide variety of side shrines inside the vast courtyard. Foreign travelers ranging from the intrepid Gotō to the American missionary Florence Rush Nance goggled at their heterodoxy, but indeed the range was utilitarian: among the thirteen additional temples the 1930 city survey counted at the address were ones devoted to Tianhou, Guanyin, Wenchang, the Three Officers (Sanguan dadi 三官大帝), the God of Wealth, the Fire and Thunder spirits, and the spirit of the Eastern Peak.73 Interspersed among the shrines stood a diverse array of shops and teahouses; in the open space of the courtyard were several rows of semipermanent market stalls. The teahouses—the Pinfang, Spring Garden, and Mao Garden—served not only as meeting places for merchants but as

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places where ritual business could be conducted. In the Suzhou Daoist marketplace, the Xuanmiao guan Zhengyi priests occupied the top rank; their authority was such that during the Republic they drew renowned clerics from around the country for ritual and musical training. As in other areas of China, however, not everyone in Suzhou had need for or could afford the services of a Xuanmiao guan Zhengyi cleric; hence priests from smaller temples and “house-dwelling” clerics also served the market. It was the latter who spent their time at the Pinfang and Spring and Mao Gardens hoping to find work.74 Thus Xuanmiao guan served as a Daoist labor market as well as a Daoist ritual site. The eastern corridor leading from the God of Wealth Temple to the front gate constituted another sort of staging area, the “Superstition Strip” (mixin xian 迷信綫) as the Suzhou mingbao put it. Here twenty or thirty different fortunetellers could be found on any given day. Consumers could also procure the services of geomancers, prostitutes, performers, and a wide assortment of swordsmen and other itinerant characters. Suzhou’s down-and-out literati hawked paintings on one side of the Hall of the Three Purities, rubbing shoulders with vendors of Shanghai girly calendars and nianhua, grocers, and snack sellers.75 One thing hardly explored by the many authors half-entranced, half-appalled by the color, verve, and variety of the Xuanmiao guan marketplace but strongly suggested by the events and aftermath of the preservation controversy is that quite a few of these entrepreneurs were likely paying rent to the Xuanmiao guan priests.76 The Suzhou government had long viewed the setting as ripe for urban reform. Since the late Qing, city fathers had used various locations within the temple grounds for civic and educational projects, including the first meeting of Suzhou’s popular assembly. In early 1929 internationally trained architect Liu Shiying, working at the time as city engineer, proposed turning the temple into a green and civilized city park.77 Even if this idea had not proven too costly, it is difficult to imagine the city tackling the physical and social complexity of the site in its entirety. Within a few months a long-planned program to widen the main commercial artery of Guanqian Street came to occupy the public mind instead. As with many streetwidening projects, the Guanqian plans caused distress for local shopkeepers forced to surrender stoops, frontage, and signs to public-works needs, but soon the bulk of attention turned to the southern temple wall and its frieze. Far from objecting to its demolition, Xuanmiao guan’s abbot devised a way to turn the situation to his profit. He agreed to rent the exposed land to a group of neighboring merchants whose businesses would


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be displaced by the road-building. Led by silk store owner Xu Xunru, these well-connected businessmen formed a real estate company, Deji, that proposed to build a three-story complex to house shops. It was this plan, in addition to the demolition, that sparked objections across literary Suzhou. Newspaper articles pointed out that erecting Western-style buildings, as originally proposed, to replace an artifact of Chinese culture constituted an especial affront to civilization. The municipal Public Works Bureau’s concern for the preservation of stelae and bronzes within the temple courtyard did little to assuage fears.78 Beneath the cultural objections ran a deep undercurrent of suspicion that the whole affair involved dark dealings among businessmen, local government, and greedy clergy.79 A group of eleven journalists and scholars led by Fan Junbo, a newspaper publisher and member of the Southern Society, rose as the most public and vocal opponents of the project.80 In a petition to the central government, they sprinkled their lengthy exegeses of the Song artifact’s value with conventional social scare-words, charging that “crafty brokers and evil Daoists are secretly plotting to destroy historical relics and occupy temple property.”81 Indeed, “traitorous businessmen and evil monks” soon developed into a meme of the opposition, emerging in dire warnings in the press and to the government about skyrocketing rents and usurious terms.82 In effect the phrase served as an urban reworking of the rural “wicked gentry and evil monks” and signified the collusion of the worst elements that local society had to offer. This was further reinforced by the consistent claim of the preservationists that the Xuanmiao guan abbot had no legal right to dispose of the temple property. Fan Junbo’s group warned the government that its authority was being usurped and that the agreement broke every single version of the temple management laws, from the Beiyang rules to the “Oversight” guidelines. They even threw in an appeal to religious freedom, claiming that the party’s pledge to protect this right was being endangered by “an illegal contract made by one or two private persons.”83 Unfortunately for the preservationists, they sought succor from the wrong source. As investigators in the Ministry of Interior pointed out, the “Oversight” guidelines simply stipulated that the local government must approve of any divestment of temple property.84 The temple may have been “collective property” (gongchan 公產), as some petitioners put it, but if they were not donors or somehow connected to the temple or the Zhengyi Daoists, they had no further say in the matter. Final approval of alienation of temple property rested with the religious community and the government, and

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with no dissenting voice from the former forthcoming (or even heard from), Nationalist officials on all levels showed little inclination to withhold approval of the transaction. The central government proved to be far less worried about the wall and its frieze than it was about the temple’s right to demolish the “temporary” structures used by vendors in and around the temple courtyard and rent out the land beneath.85 In August 1930, the Wu County Public Works Bureau nearly undercut its own cause by partially demolishing the wall in the dark of night, an act that caused the provincial government to come close to losing patience. The county recovered with a combination of rhetoric and practicality, defending their destruction by declaring that, in any event, “in the minds of Suzhou people, the Xuanmiao guan is a center of commerce, not a historic site.” They also agreed, however, to preserve the temple gates, particularly the Zhengshan Gate 正山門—which was in fact an important hall containing images of Marshal Wen and other deities—and restrict their demolition to portions of the wall deemed to be in disrepair. This included the frieze.86 The real estate arrangement was allowed to stand, with only minor alterations, and the street reconstruction went ahead. In a sense the preservationists were right: a conspiracy was afoot. It was less one between “crafty brokers and evil Daoists” to raze relics or raise rents, however, than it was among various levels of the Nationalist party and government to ensure social stability. A telling comment can be found in the notations of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Affairs Organization Committee on the post-demolition county Public Works Bureau report: “If we let a small minority impede construction in this way, from this moment on, clashes will only worsen as work proceeds. It seems that we ought to settle this now.”87 And so the tide turned: whereas in September 1930 the Central Daily News had printed notice of the Ministry of Interior’s order to “protect historic relics” and investigate the problem, quoting Fan Junbo’s petition about “crafty brokers and evil Daoists,” in November the paper announced the solution in terms of promoting the needs of commerce and transportation.88 The government’s view of “evil priest” Yan Juecang, therefore, was much more consistently that of an economic player than of a cleric or a guardian of historic culture. The result disrupted far more than the cause of cultural preservation. Quite a number of “temporary” and not so temporary structures next to the temple and in its courtyard were taken down or threatened during the course of the construction. Some tenants that thought they were safe with the temple received nasty surprises from the new real estate company. One


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of the neighboring porcelain sellers, for instance, managed to negotiate an extension from the temple during the height of the demolition controversy, only to have Deji attempt to back out of the lease a few months after the real estate deal was announced.89 Since neighboring businesses had been temple donors in the past, the corporatization of the real estate surrounding Xuanmiao guan may not necessarily have worked in the temple’s best financial interests. Abbot Yan Juecang’s difficult position became clear once the demolition-and-construction deal started to go forward. Concerned about the sorting out the complexities of a reported 10,000 yuan in mortgages on his own—and no doubt burned by the two years of public controversy and name-calling—he sought the help of the county in creating a committee to manage the deed transfers. But after a month of meetings of the enormous group that resulted—which included representatives of twelve government offices and civic organizations as well as three private citizens—Yan had had enough and demanded the restoration of his rights as temple manager.90 This kind of push and pull characterized the relationship of the Nationalist government and Xuanmiao guan overall. Gotō Asatarō reported that by 1932 police had stepped up their patrols and arrests in the neighborhood, removing some of the marketplace’s original “color.”91 Efforts to insert civic structures within the courtyard walls, however, were decidedly mixed. A mass education center next to the Hall of the Three Purities was ignored and was finally demolished in the summer of 1934. As the temple environment “pulled” that attempt down, however, came another push: almost literally out of the rubble of the failure rose the shining new Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, finally erected after some delay on the foundation of the destroyed Miluo Pavilion. It opened on the Qingming festival, 4 April 1934. An essayist in the Central Daily News praised it as “seeming to create its own little city amid the clamorous noise of this place,” a spot whose very architecture emanated dignity and strength.92 Although the hall was designed with a welcoming open park in front, it nonetheless constituted but one small element of the varied organism that was Xuanmiao guan.93 The Daoists remained a part of the city’s welfare, and vice versa. That very same summer a terrible drought hit the region, and so on 1 August the Xuanmiao guan clerics and the community began a massive jiao 醮, the scale of which elderly priests said they had not seen in their lifetimes. It centered on the Hall of the Three Purities and the Leizu Temple, but soon included neighboring temples and well over a hundred clerics and assistants, which must have necessitated hiring from Suzhou’s diverse ranks of Daoists. More

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than that, as the days passed and the temperature climbed past 100˚ F, the number of community members participating in rain-seeking processions expanded from dozens to over a thousand, including the fairly recent innovation of bicyclists. The city ban on religious festivals seemed a dead letter, as the rites did not conclude until a heavy rain finally fell on the 21st.94 The strength of local religious institutions, then, forced the Suzhou government continually to re-evaluate what it would publicly endorse or tolerate as religion. At first glance the Xuanmiao guan seemed exactly the sort of operation the new regime should wipe away and replace with a lovely park. During the course of the wall controversy, the social power of the Zhengyi clerics became apparent, as did the fact that such power could in fact be much more compatible with the development goals of the Suzhou KMT than the demands of the cultural preservationists.95 Recognizing the temple’s legitimacy by applying—in the government’s own interest—the “Regulations for the Oversight of Temples,” the county later tacitly acknowledged the priests’ numinous authority at a time of social crisis by allowing the jiao to proceed. Contrast the Lingchi Priory case: in order to achieve the desired local stability, the county had to delegitimate the temple as a way of eluding the regulations. At the top of the local religionand-modernity hierarchy stood the Lingyan Monastery, given room to breathe as it presented the ideal mix of ritual reform, social service, fiscal scrupulousness, and support from notables both local and national.

The Limits of the Law One other distinguishing characteristic of these Suzhou temples is their familiarity with the Republican courts, whether it be over large issues such as tenancy disputes or small problems such as a suit against the Zhiping Temple for an unpaid fabric bill of 20 yuan.96 Temple donors and managers did not discover the court system only at the coming of the Republic, of course. In fact the accumulated cases of the Jiangsu Superior Court suggest some strong continuities from earlier periods, since the preponderance of temple property cases are from Jiangnan and the nearby northern Yangzi delta. This suggests a greater comfort level in that region with the legal, rather than the administrative, system as a port of first resort—a comfort that likely sprang not only from experience with litigation under a late imperial bureaucracy that had not distinguished the two but also from greater proximity to late Qing and Republican efforts to create a new and independent judiciary.97 As the experience of Kuanlu and his antagonists suggests, however, the


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Nationalist regime often undercut the nascent judicial system in favor of administrative authority. In fact in Jiangsu, as late as 1934 the KMT continued to rely on county heads to provide judicial renderings in 52 of 61 counties.98 Moreover, the Nationalists swathed their administrative branch in layers of regulation and elaborate review processes, rendering the appeals process impenetrable and confusing to even the most sophisticated and well-connected. For example, although the 1933 establishment of the Judicial Yuan’s Administrative Court (Xingzheng fayuan 行政法院) seemed to promise an independent route to contest official decisions, in the near term it had the effect of thwarting protests like Kuanlu’s, which were already wending their way through a bureaucratic system that had been learned with great effort.99 Thus, although temple supporters in Jiangnan might have worked with a broader array of legal and political tools than did their counterparts in the north, the bureaucratic process sometimes reduced them to relying on timeworn instruments such as petitions. Nonetheless, the sequence of tactics is as instructive as their availability. A brief glance at exemplary court experiences of Jiangnan temple committees, managers, and clerics highlights their differences from their Subei counterparts, who eschewed the courts in favor of adapting the new KMT civic structures to their own ends or lodging more straightforward protests. A Wuxi monk named Minglai was put in charge of two temples, the Ouhua and Fulin priories; both of these, he claimed, were temples privately owned by the clergy, not by family or donor community leaders (shanzhu 山 主 ).100 Minglai nonetheless quickly ran into trouble in the different county districts to which each temple belonged, for the respective communities clearly believed they had an interest in the temple properties. First, Su Weisheng, the head of Wuxi district no. 6, accused him of selling off woodlands belonging to the Ouhua Priory and collaborating with local “evil gentry” to take over the temple proper. When Su and others asked the county for permission to turn the temple into a village normal school, they received the go-ahead. Then, in district no. 1, a consortium of local slaughterhouse owner Jin Rongxuan, his brother, and numerous other relatives and associates charged Minglai with selling Fulin’s fields and asked for and received control of that temple from the county. Despite the ready acquiescence of the county to charges of his malfeasance from assembled locals, Minglai did not take his ouster lying down. Although he contested both decisions, Fulin became the major issue. He first sought to regain control of the temple through a civil suit, which reached the Jiangsu Superior Court. Here he was not only following late

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imperial precedent of contesting internal temple management disputes but aping the more recent example of other Wuxi landlords who challenged the results of KMT land surveys in court.101 Like Kuanlu, however, he failed to achieve results from this reflex action because of the newly ascendant role of the administrative state, deemed by the court to be his appropriate plaintiff.102 Consequently Minglai petitioned the central government, which is when the case truly exploded. Not only did Minglai start printing up “protests of injustice” (shouyuan huyu 受冤呼籲), countered furiously by the butcher and his allies, but a slew of others got into the act. Farmer Zhang Jinyun and 48 others wrote the Executive Yuan charging that the usurping shanzhu were themselves up to no good at the temple, installing a married father as temple manager (certainly not a rare occurrence in China, but the farmers harrumphed that he was “neither monk nor lay”) and colluding to sell off over seventy ancient relics. This was despite the plan of the former county head and Buddhist Association representative to install a Chan master of impeccable morals as temple manager. The three-way battle became so fierce that the local press started reporting tales of the butcher brothers’ alleged misdoings, and rumors spread of both temples harboring everything from bandits to Communists.103 Despite all the ruckus, the central, provincial, and local government refused to budge from the original assessment: Minglai had improperly alienated temple property (arguments about gazetteer records showing a lack of shanzhu were ignored), and he was out. As far as government officials were concerned, whoever had been first to make that claim was good enough to run the places from now on. It is difficult to argue that this was because the claimants were “local gentry” or elites of any sort. Minglai may have been well enough off to decamp for Shanghai (his address in the lawsuit was a Zhabei one) and print his manifestos, but most of the signatories to Zhang Jinyun’s petition were illiterate. The butchers composed their own arguments in colorful local dialect: at one point they blamed all their problems on farmer Zhang “muddying [our] names and mulishly ( ying chai tou a 硬柴頭阿) pushing local bullies to oppose us and make all kinds of threats.”104 Rather, it seems that the county government, as in Kuanlu’s case, was happy enough to rule against a suspected clerical malefactor and dispose of a local irritant; having arrived at that decision, they were then loathe to stir up further problems by rescinding the order. The private sale of monastic property was a particular problem in Shanghai, where the potential for land speculation and jurisdictional conflicts


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

in the multiply-governed city fostered under-the-table deals.105 One such case, involving the pre-eminent Buddhist temple in the city—the Jing’an Monastery—spurred a gigantic and lengthy administrative and legal battle that enveloped the Jiangsu provincial and Shanghai municipal governments, the Buddhist Association of China, the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce, British businessmen, and the judicial, military, interior, and foreign affairs branches of the central government. The problem began in 1927, when then-abbot Zhiwen sold off temple land allegedly for the purpose of donating the proceeds to the Nationalist army. Later he was found to have offered up only 20 percent of the profits.106 His deception launched many lawsuits and an eight-year debate that covered such diverse topics as jurisdiction rights between the provincial and municipal governments; the power of the Buddhist Association of China to take over a monastery and convert it into a public institution in the event of managerial malfeasance; and what to do about the sensitive fact that the buyers of the temple property happened to be British. The whole mess made the central government so nervous that they discussed the final decision in a closed session of top officials of the Executive Yuan and the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary Administration (Sifa xingzheng bu 司法行政部). The resulting documents were labeled “secret.”107 Despite fears of alienating foreign interests—the International Settlement’s Shanghai Municipal Police was indeed keeping watch over the case—they decided that the interests of stability called for voiding the sale and rendering Jing’an into a public monastery. In the end, the central authorities decided that the case was of such importance that it warranted the possible danger of alienating the temple’s powerful donors, for the Ministry of Interior’s original decision to have the patron community elect a new manager was rejected in favor of handing over the temple to the Buddhist Association and making Yuanying the temple manager.108 Thus although southern Jiangsu temple managers and interested parties in the community felt at ease turning to the courts to solve property disputes that may have arisen with or without the party-state’s help, the Nationalist presence definitively changed the outcome. Litigation no longer yielded clear results, either because the government was now increasingly a plaintiff or because it chose to intervene in cases of especial importance and even selectively apply regulations and laws.109 Jiangnan temples may have had the opportunity of a cultural advantage, then, but it was a precarious one.

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


Subei: Perched at Modernity’s Edge If religious sites in Jiangnan stood a chance of survival in the Nationalist universe via elite patronage, social authority, or reconfiguration in the matrix of “national treasures” and “religion,” then their counterparts in the north of the province faced disadvantages that were both discursive and material in origin. In the Shanghai intellectual world, the perceived religiosity of Yangzhou residents could play into a gendered depiction of that city as the backward “other.” Antonia Finnane describes one vivid example of this: Idle Talk on Yangzhou, a 1934 book by Yi Junzuo 易君左 (1898–1972), a Jiangsu education official and friend of the novelist Yu Dafu, portrayed a historic city now mired in physical and moral decay. In the book, Yangzhou people’s rampant superstition was evidenced by the Earth God shrines found at every doorway.110 A literary contretemps broke out over the images in the book overall, but notably, even those who rallied to defend Yangzhou culture took the piety of Yangzhou residents—especially its women—as a given.111 Although this element of the Idle Talk controversy demonstrates how the perception of superstition played into the broader Shanghai discourse of Subei regional backwardness so ably described by Finnane and Emily Honig, it also unintentionally hints at the city of Yangzhou’s favored position in the religious battles of the Nanjing Decade. For indeed whereas other towns and counties in the region suffered religious upheaval stemming from the twin factors of regional prejudice and economic privation, Yangzhou religious institutions large and small stood relatively unmolested. Zhou Qiuru, later KMT intelligence chief for Jiangdu county, confirmed the prevalence of Earth God temples and small household Earth God shrines (Fude ci 福德祠) in his nostalgic recollections of Yangzhou penned from exile in Taiwan. Major pilgrimages such as that to Guanyin Mountain in the northwestern suburbs of the city also continued during the Nationalist period.112 Yangzhou may well have been spared due to political happenstance: Geisert notes that the county party branch was controlled from the beginning by members of the culturally conservative CC clique, a point that seems reinforced by Zhou’s carefully calibrated protestations that the Earth God shrines remained until his departure in 1948 because of “our government’s principle of the freedom of religion”—written two decades later, a not-so-subtle rebuke against the excesses of the Cultural Revolution launched from across the strait. If City God temples met


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

trouble elsewhere in Subei at the time of the Northern Expedition, Zhou added, it was due to “Communist bandits” in the ranks.113 Yangzhou thus served as a site of discursive political and cultural conservatism. Beyond factional fortunes, however, Yangzhou was also favored as a center of elite religious revival at the turn of the twentieth century, albeit one on a rather lower tier than Suzhou. It was the hometown of the famous lay Buddhist publisher Yang Wenhui, and indeed had its local counterpart in Zheng Xuechuan, who established the Jiangbei Sutra Press at roughly the same time as Yang’s Jinling publishing house. Clergy set up at least four monastic and private schools in Yangzhou from the New Policies period through the early Republic, including the Huayan Academy discussed in Chapter 2. In addition, Daoist associations were founded in Yangzhou city and Baoying county during the early Republic.114 During the Nanjing Decade, politically connected Yangzhou locals threw their support behind historicized institutional “religion,” but also fostered its links to the nation. In June 1929, Buddhist disciples held a prayer ceremony marking the interment of Sun Yat-sen in his Nanjing tomb. Five years later, the refurbishment of the fifth-century Daming Temple was underwritten by Yangzhou native Wang Boling 王柏齡 (zi Maoru 茂如, 1889–1942), a longstanding KMT Central Committee and Jiangsu provincial government member and an old Huangpu Academy (Huangpu junxiao 黃埔軍校) hand.115 Such activity points out that the long-term economic decline of Yangzhou, which indeed started in the Daoguang era and accelerated after the Taiping Rebellion, occurred in relative terms only. Although Yangzhou temples certainly underwent a commensurate decline from their glories during the High Qing—when imperial favor had spurred large-scale reconstruction projects—Republican urban life remained affluent enough to support new-style explorations of religiosity as well as old.116 This was not the case in other Subei counties. In some, like canal-threaded Gaoyou, strategic importance and hydraulic instability brought unwelcome Nationalist attention and attempted radical social change during the course of extended party-state control. In others, such as the four neighboring large counties of Baoying, Huaiyin, Huaian, and Funing, similar political circumstances met with the kind of economic decline that seriously challenged temple health. The fading salt trade sapped the wealth of families that may have once been temple donors, a problem exacerbated by the reclamation of salt marshes throughout Subei by commercial companies.117 The resulting land crunch, which fostered a number of rent strikes and uprisings in the late 1920s, only further propelled local actors to look to temple prop-

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


erty as a way to settle their economic problems and intramural political disputes. In the course of the ensuing struggles, the state mechanisms of the education system and the Buddhist Association network emerged as sites not of centralized control as the Nationalists had intended, but of local contestation and manipulation.

Is That Temple Really a School? Seven adjoining counties in the center of Jiangsu account for one-fourth of the temple property cases I found on record in the province during the Nanjing Decade: Baoying, Xinghua, Yancheng, Funing, Lianshui, Huaian, and Huaiyin. Part of this area comprised Welch’s “Cradle of Monks.” Huaiyin, Huaian, and Funing formed an important governmental and economic core within the region during late imperial times. Their subsequent decline worried the Nationalist administration. During the Ming and Qing, Huaian city had been a prefectural seat, a place where eighteenth-century merchants had built enough gardens for it to earn the sobriquet “Little Yangzhou.”118 At its west, Huaiyin’s main city, Qingliangpu, had been the seat of the Qing Jiangnan Directorate of River Conservancy, which managed the Grand Canal as far south as the Yangzi. The two were linked to Funing by the Northern Jiangsu Greater Irrigation Canal, which stretched from Hongze Lake on the Anhui border to the Yellow Sea and formed the main artery of an extensive irrigation system maintained by farmers on the Funing flats at the cost of a great deal of energy.119 During the early Qing, the Salt Yards Canal and the interior salt trade had linked Funing and Yancheng to Taizhou. In the nineteenth century, however, the growth of coastal shipping and the decay of the canal system gradually destroyed such links and caused the decline of Grand Canal towns like Baoying.120 During the Republic, landownership became increasingly concentrated in the hands of large salt-mining companies, who purchased former Qing government property and bought out small producers; local economies shifted to agriculture and away from commerce, with little in the way of mechanized production prior to the Sino-Japanese war.121 It is not surprising, therefore, to see such pressures expressed in tensions over schools and temples. In Yancheng in particular, the antagonism between KMT educators and local clergy continued beyond the City God Temple fracas: in 1930–31, two Chan monasteries struggled to regain their buildings and land after the principal of Yancheng Middle School summarily ousted them.122 But more commonly, locals sought to minimize the


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

pressures of the new system by utilizing the opportunities it provided. As Helen Chauncey notes, the Nationalist education land tax became the single largest county assessment even in those places where the local government did not choose to add permissible county surcharges. At the same time that education placed a weight on the shoulders of landowners—no matter how small their holdings, as the regressive tax was assessed per mu—it also offered an opening to the enterprising. Chauncey writes that especially when it came to the comparatively well-funded mass education program, local elites “interested in revenue and social status” took advantage of the new educational institutions as a means of keeping a hand in local affairs.123 Thus in some instances one might view the conversion of temples to schools not as the result of radical political activism or elite educational progressivism but as a rearguard action to maintain control of property in the face of dwindling donations, possible sale, and potential taxation or confiscation. Each in its own way represented an adaptation of elite strategies from earlier eras to the increasing reach of the state. The evolution of schools in the Huaiyin town of Wangjiaying, traced through its gazetteer, is a case in point. Public education in the town originated during the Yongzheng era, when a county magistrate established a charitable school in the Mamingwang Temple 馬明王廟, a shrine to the tutelary spirit of mule cart drivers. Townspeople obtained an official rank for the deity during the Qianlong reign, however, and the mule merchants gathered contributions to renovate the shrine. During the Guangxu and Xuantong periods, several primary schools sharing space in or near a variety of religious sites ranging from the City God Temple to the local mosque were gradually formalized under the auspices of local and central state reform, but worship always continued in each of the locales. It was the coming of the Nationalists that brought “requests” from locals within the newly established Education Bureau to expand the schools, a project that required appropriation of buildings inside (rather than adjoining) the City God Temple and the transfer of the images out of its western half. And in 1929 cartman Jiang Daoli reversed the path of his High Qing merchant-forebears and handed over the Mamingwang Temple and its four mu of fields for the Farmers’ Mass Education Center.124 Thus, a longstanding pattern of sharing was broken and reset into a pattern of takeover. Why did local elites part with property they controlled through temple committees or family inheritance? In fact, making temples into schools sometimes gave combatants on one side of a feud an edge, as a case from

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


Huaian illustrates. During the Jiajing era, two brothers named Gao gave 87 mu of wheat field to a village Dawang temple, but things turned bad for their descendants. According to the angry petitions of Gao Baiyun, aged 30, and monk Shengming, elder relative Gao Jiyun started his power play during the early Republic by accusing the monk of violating his vows. He then set up a primary school, which the younger Gao argued was merely a front that allowed him to claim the majority of the crop yield. Starting in 1931 Jiyun felt sufficiently emboldened to withhold the fraction of grain on which he had left the “naïve” monk to live. Efforts on the part of the cleric and the rest of the family to reclaim the property went unheeded by the local government for years.125

And Are Those Really Buddhists? Lineage members discovered that schools were not the only way to gain control over corporate temple property. During the 1930s, problems began to arise in the newly established branch Buddhist associations. The difficulties were particularly marked in Funing county, where, a visiting Central Political Institute (Zhongyang zhengzhi xuexiao 中央政治學校) student reported, “The people are truculent, and the tax revenue is hardly sufficient to carry out governance.”126 Nonetheless, a history of gentry reforms had undermined the power of local temples since the New Policies era. Local educators, inspired by Zhang Jian’s 張謇 (1853–1926) efforts in Nantong, set up education societies, athletic fields, and lecture halls, with the result, the 1934 county gazetteer commented, that “more and more gentry, under the banner of expanding education, borrowed temples for schools and dormitories, or else took over temple property to fill education coffers. The influence of monks greatly decreased.”127 With the coming of the Nationalists, more temples were converted to school buildings, party headquarters, and police stations or barracks: at least fifteen examples emerge in gazetteers, memoirs, and archives.128 The military situation in Nationalist Funing was so unstable, however, that, due to continued Communist Party activity and secret society unrest, even the new civic tenants were sometimes ousted in the favor of troops needing quarter. This occurred in the county seat’s City God Temple, where party members and the county head pitched the statues outdoors to make a union office, only to have the unionists in turn evicted by visiting armies.129 Unsurprisingly, after 1931 Funing’s county heads were distinguished by their shared background in the Nationalist military.130


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

The county’s Buddhist association shows the precise limits of the new government-approved religious corporatist structure. “Since the establishment of the party-state,” the 1934 gazetteer editors noted, “clergy have emphasized organizing into Buddhist associations. But in truth these are just empty shells and haven’t the strength of unity.”131 As in Gaoyou, part of the problem lay in whom a local “Buddhist” association was supposed to represent: “Within the county borders, some Daoist temples have Buddhist monks living in them, and there are also monasteries that have turned into residences for Daoist priests. Since for a long time now their names haven’t matched the real situation, how are we to categorize the worshippers?”132 Here the persistent conundrum of categorization of religion resurfaces in a local setting and shows itself not only to be a matter of pinning down slippery eclectic practitioners or distinguishing “institutional” from “diffuse” religion, but also to be a real problem within the realm of “institutional” religion itself. Moreover, clergy alone did not claim the authority of Buddhist associations. Lineage played a particularly important role in Funing social politics. The 1934 gazetteer editors lamented that clans exhibited power in nearly every village, listing 90 lineage shrines for 52 surnames in the county.133 A government customs survey of the following year confirmed the strength of the system, noting that lineages still held their spring and autumn sacrifices.134 Thus when county investigators followed up a cable from the Funing Buddhist Association and a man named Wu Renshan complaining that another local resident had destroyed a Buddhist hall and sold off a gilt image, they uncovered a lineage power struggle behind it all. The Wu clan had built a primary school from empty rooms in front of the hall, but others now controlled its board. With the arrival of the KMT, the arriviste board gained the imprimatur of the county Education Bureau and funded a new expansion project. Left out and humiliated, the Wus sought the help of a neighboring monk “to get back face for the Wu name” by complaining on behalf of the Buddhist association.135 In fact, the investigators discovered, “Wu Renshan” was long dead, and his younger relatives had simply borrowed the authority of his name and that of the Funing Buddhist Association as a means of getting their own back. If education bureaus and Buddhist associations provided new weapons in the arsenal for settling lineage disputes, then so did political language. Like clergy and ritual practitioners elsewhere, Subei lineage members and monks were capable of using Nationalist ideological terms in their defense. In another Funing case from the mid-1930s, two members of the Meng

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


family, well connected in the district education bureaucracy, sought to seize control of the lineage-sponsored Dizang temple and its income from 100 mu (15.13 acres) by engineering a coup, replacing the Buddhist Association– approved abbot with one of their own choosing. Backing up their move by bringing criminal charges against the Mengs who were the original overseers of the temple, they launched a series of suits and countersuits.136 In one of his follow-up petitions, the dispossessed monk Nengji complained that the behavior of the newly ascendant Mengs dishonored the original intent of using temple funds to aid education. It also countermanded national education policy, violated religious equality—which held that “monks’ property was [to be treated] the same as individual property”—and undid “revolutionary ideology.” “Willful seizures and arbitrary behavior are supposed to have been overthrown,” Nengji argued. “How is this theft different from imperialism?”137 The mechanisms of the state proved to cut both ways for local clergy in Subei, especially Buddhists. In 1937 three Huaian “citizens and Buddhist disciples” with prominent local surnames complained about the abbot of Huxin Monastery. He had inherited control of a renascent seminary that, although small by Jiangnan standards, was perhaps the most prominent such institution in the north, attracting a hundred students from around the province. It was also substantially funded, with a yearly income of 17,000–18,000 yuan from 1,200 shi of grain payments on rented paddy; 300 shi each of additional rice, wheat, and soybeans; and the proceeds from 1,200 mu of woodland and 2,100 mu of peanut fields in the next county. The concerned locals produced a petition from the seminary student body testifying that the present abbot, Songyan, had taken advantage of his superior’s lack of worldliness to usurp his position and keep the income for himself, shuttering the school and leaving the students adrift and the former abbot to starve but for the goodwill of his neighbors.138 When pressed to show the account books as required by law, Songyan stalled, claiming to have applied to the local Buddhist association to help sort out the issue and take it all the way to the Ministry of Interior. Thus monastic malefactors also learned the potential benefit of seeking the shelter of the associations, although in this case the tactic seems to have failed, or run out of time: as with so many other cases, central authorities forwarded the complaints to the province for investigation only two short months before the Japanese attacked Shanghai.139 This was not an isolated case: in neighboring Baoying, the head of the Buddhist association attempted to use the 1936 county temple registration to assess a


Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic

“supplementary assistance fee” of between 0.07 and 0.13 yuan per mu of cultivated land from every monastery in the county. Ten outraged officers resigned en masse, denounced their former colleague in an ad in the Baoying Minsheng, and successfully enlisted the Buddhist Association of China and central government on their side.140

Conclusion Thus, in northern Jiangsu the Buddhist associations provided little of the docile management of clergy and temples that the Nationalists desired. Neither did they necessarily offer the protective cover for respectable religious pursuits that monastic leaders had in mind in creating the national organization. Similarly, “temples to schools” created not only opportunities for edification but chances for the exercise of cupidity—exactly the sort of bad social habit that “temples to schools” was supposed to cure. Of course, the Nationalists availed themselves freely of loopholes as well, creating an ad hoc “gray zone” in the legal categories and administrative attitudes pertaining to temples and temple property that allowed them free rein according to local circumstances. It was this gray zone, in addition to the legal distinctions, that became an important legacy for Chinese governments to come. Even if the party-state thus retained an effectively invisible and therefore unplayable upper hand, the range with which local actors dealt with temple disputes in Jiangsu is impressive. Absorbing the new civic structures and language and deploying them in defense of temples or even for private gain, as was the prevalent pattern in Subei, showed as much sophistication as lodging court cases in Jiangnan—arguably more so. Without the same historical legal-minded framework on which to fall back, temple managers in the north were forced to adapt to the new circumstances more creatively. At times they even managed to pull the various parts of new system together in their favor: in a lone Superior Court case from Huaibei, a tenacious manager of a Tongshan county Fire Spirit temple used the branch Buddhist association as a base to launch a lawsuit against the locals who had persuaded the county to eject him from the temple. He won.141 In many places around the province, however, especially in the more activist north, the effects of confiscation are more difficult to trace. We see them when they burst forth into violence and grand gestures made by appealing and seemingly “powerless” subjects such as the Gaoyou daopo, who turn out to have rather something more to them. It is very likely that an

Jiangsu Temples as Target and Tactic


even more common circumstance, however, was this one, noted by a county official filling out a customs survey for the Huaibei county of Guanyun: “At present within county limits the bigger temples, such as the City God Temple, Tianqi Temple 天齊 (i.e., the Eastern Peak), Niangniang Temple, and so on are mostly abolished. Only the Earth God temples and the spirit shrines (xiantang 仙堂) remain in the countryside.”142 Or, more suggestive of push and pull, this, from Donghai: “The ignorant men and women of this county who sincerely believe in the earthen idols of the Earth and City Gods number quite a few. They put up another clay image of the Earth God after it had been knocked down and burn incense and offer prayers in the old temple.”143 No protests, no beatings, no lawsuits, no associations, no reform: simply going back to the old place and returning the deity to his rightful spot. To KMT officials, this constituted the antithesis of modernity. To local worshippers, it constituted community.

five Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder

In much of Jiangsu, the antisuperstition campaign altered the local power structure, primarily by adding another tool to the repertoire of political actors and by elevating local religion into a legitimate target of national politics as well as the state’s administrative and legal systems. The preceding chapter focused on political, social, and institutional analysis: which temples bore the brunt of the campaigns, and how their supporters sought redress, if at all—or, conversely, how local actors took advantage of the campaigns for other ends. As the cases of Suzhou’s Xuanmiao guan and the numerous City God temples suggest, however, confiscation not only threatened clergy and temple committees with the loss of property and worshippers with the deprivation of ritual space but also potentially reshaped the communities that surrounded these sites. What, then, transpired in those places targeted for wholesale revision of both landscape and society, either because they were slated to be showcases of the new regime or because they posed special threats to public order? In this respect, the Nationalists’ greatest hope—the new capital of Nanjing and its rural counterpart, the surrounding “model” county of Jiangning—and its greatest local fear—the rebellious northern Jiangsu county of Suqian—had much in common. In Nanjing and Jiangning, Nationalist ambitions required a reordering of space, leisure, commerce, nature, and ceremony. In the remoter Huaibei county of Suqian, they 150

Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder


demanded the deployment of the language of antisuperstition and the discourse of backwardness within the ongoing struggle to establish physical control over the region. Nonetheless, in both places Nationalist claims on economic and ceremonial power underpinned the story. This chapter analyzes annexations of temple property in the Nationalist’s cherished and feared communities not only as legal and administrative cases but as examples of the spatial and ritual disruptions the campaign unleashed. This permits us to view how the antisuperstition campaign intersected with proximity to power, community dynamics, and the discourses of modernity, class, and region. Temples in Nanjing, although possessed of a venerable history, did not automatically win preservation. Instead, their location at the nexus of nationalism made them subject to the utmost government planning, as their forests and buildings fell victim to the grand projects of education and commemoration party leaders desired for their gleaming modern capital. In service of that goal, rules on temple property were skirted, and even powerful friends of Buddhism did not always act in a timely fashion to protect institutions with impeccable pedigrees. The result shows just how selective and superficial KMT “traditionalism” could be. In Suqian, by contrast, the seizure of several temples and a ban on the celebration of Lunar New Year triggered the release of numerous social and political tensions in the county and led to a large-scale uprising eventually aimed at the capital and put down by military force. Repercussions included the punitive expropriation of several thousand acres of land belonging to two local Buddhist monasteries and the jailing of their clergy. In contrast to elsewhere in Jiangsu, here the intervention of national Buddhist leaders meant nothing. Rather, because of the peripheral nature of the place and its people, the KMT’s concerns about economy and security meant that the expropriations and punishment were allowed to stand. In both places, however, the extensive documentation that such scrutiny brought allows us to consider whether some “religious remainder” continued to haunt even the most scrupulous KMT efforts to rewrite ritual locales.

Contesting Space, Capital, and Power: Nanjing as Model Community The social architects of the new capital spent considerable energy on policing ritual behavior and reorienting citizens’ energies to the party-state. Municipal authorities banned fortunetelling, spirit possession, religious festivals, and the celebration of lunar holidays; they planned and built new-style


Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder

cemeteries and even moved graves to make way for new construction and in the hope of giving the dusty city a more hygienic air. Much of this did not go over well with the populace; as often happened, Nationalist projects to reorder Nanjing society caused great upheaval.1 In the capital, then, the reordering of the religious landscape rested even more on the alteration of ritual and ritual networks than it did on the appropriation of temple property. In part this was because many acts of temple appropriation in Nanjing involved not the dramatic taking of one or two major properties but the much quieter absorption of “abandoned” or small shrines without friends in higher places through the process of temple registration, as described in Chapter 3. Another reason was that the most appealing properties in the city—the largest and best located and, not coincidentally, those most endowed with cosmological attachment to the defunct imperial state—were, in fact, sites tied to Nanjing’s history as secondary capital during the Ming and Qing. Although the original plan for the Nationalist capital, drawn up under the guidance of the Yale-educated, American architect Henry Killam Murphy, called for a grand administrative district on the eastern edges of the city near Zijinshan (Purple Hills), the state soon abandoned this idea and began setting up offices at various sites throughout the city proper, often in preexisting structures.2 Designating sites such as the examination halls and civil shrine at Chaotian gong and the Military Temple in the north of the city as government property was easily done and rarely contested. In contrast to the situation in Beijing, the holistic preservation of Nanjing’s imperial relics never seems to have emerged as a matter of national importance. Beyond this, the construction of new roads and parks and the array of government offices, schools, civic organizations, and social services central to the building of the new capital demanded confiscation of private land around the city—including some belonging to shrines. Figures for government expropriations over two months in 1933, the midpoint of the Nanjing construction boom, hint at the urgency with which both the city and the central government pursued the task. During eight weeks at the height of the Nanjing summer, the municipal government and the Ministries of Commerce (Caizheng bu 財政部) and Military Affairs ( Junzheng bu 軍政 部) took over eleven plots around the city totaling nearly 4,000 mu.3 Rapid urban development and the growth of commerce made land prices soar. By 1932, rents for farmland in Nanjing were higher than in any of the special municipalities save Qingdao—on average a third more than even Shanghai.4 In this environment, temples shared the fate of numerous residences and businesses, whose owners rarely received adequate com-

Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder


pensation for their loss of property. A complex process governed payments for expropriated land, involving not only the builders but various municipal authorities and the Capital Planning Commission. A 1933 student-observer noted that the resulting compensations were irregular and often inconsistent with the standard prices set by the municipal Land Bureau (Tudi ju 土地局).5 Property owners seeking redress had to wend their way through local and central government offices and local, national, and administrative courts and only rarely received succor.6 Notorious cases accumulated. One of the first involved the building of the grand Zhongshan Road leading east to Sun Yat-sen’s mausoleum, a job rushed to completion in time for his interment, which caused intense debate at high levels in the party and government due to the number of people it displaced.7 Maryruth Coleman has revealed how the municipal government even had the gall to assess a new road tax from the meager compensation payments it made to residents and businesses near the linked new town square at Xinjiekou.8 As travel author Ni Xiying commented, “Thus, at the time, while there were citizens in Nanjing who did not know the name of the chairman of the National Government [Chiang Kai-shek], even the three-year-olds all knew who the mayor was who had had their houses torn down.”9 Of the ten religious property disputes in central Nanjing recorded in government archives and gazettes, four revolved around local officials seizing land or buildings for projects without permission or compensation. In some of these cases, the municipal Financial Bureau (Caizheng ju 財政局) treated resident clergy little better than it did shantytown dwellers, posting eviction notices without warning.10 In the other six cases, however, rather than complaining about the state’s action, the petitioners attempted to use the close proximity of the state in their favor, calling on the municipal authorities or even the central government to take sides in private property disputes—a heightened version of elite tactics in Jiangnan and Shanghai. The plaintiffs in these cases included prominent families, native-place associations, and eminent charitable groups such as a fire brigade founded in the early nineteenth century—in other words, the Nanjing powerful.11 In one notorious instance, a tussle over school funds at the venerable Taiping Road Mosque spilled over from the Muslim association to the city government, the press, and finally the courts.12 Various bureaucrats and courts cited a long list of technicalities as excuses to pass the matter along, failing to reach a resolution before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war. Under the circumstances, the desire of Nanjing’s elite to employ every conceivable strategy in their defense becomes quite understandable. Around the


Idealized Communities and the Religious Remainder

Map 2 Nanjing and its outskirts during the Nanjing Decade.

capital and in its environs, those residing in the underbelly of the new Nanjing doubtless wished they could do the same: Zwia Lipkin relates, for example, how similarly frustrated shantytown dwellers turned to mob violence and protest suicides in the aftermath of evictions.13 Government plans focused on more than constructing a built environment, however. First, the planning of Nanjing was heavily influenced by the City Beautiful movement, and the new conception of the city emphasized the enrichment of green space.14 Second, the Nationalist ideal centered on rural as well as urban reconstruction, and so Nanjing’s environs, especially the county of Jiangning that embraced the city, formed as much of a proving ground for social, spatial, and political experimentation as the city itself. Accordingly, the most notable temple disputes are found in the outer reaches of the city and its environs at three Buddhist sites prominent in the area’s religious history: the Linggu, Pujue, and Qixia monasteries (see Maps 2 and 3). In these suburban locations, ambitious central and local planners found the space for their ambitions. This was true, in part, because of the physical sense of ample open land and tempting greenery, but

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Map 3 Nanjing city during the Nanjing Decade.

it also stemmed from a distinct dearth in these areas of the kind of powerful social elites who made a bit more noise about temple appropriation in urban Nanjing. Buddhist monasteries in Nanjing possessed a curious identity by the late 1920s. The city boasted several institutions with venerable histories, but the Taiping Rebellion and the surrounding military chaos of the midnineteenth century had ripped a gaping hole in that heritage. Like other monasteries in the belt stretching from Yangzhou eastward on both sides of the Yangzi River, Nanjing temples had quartered troops, cared for refugees, and suffered attacks during the battles between Taiping and Qing forces; unlike the other temples, however, Nanjing monasteries stood in or near the Taiping capital, and so bore the brunt of the war’s destruction. Some received attention from the concerned elites who sought to rebuild the region in the rebellion’s aftermath. Others failed to recover fully. During the early twentieth century, Nanjing did become a locus of Chinese Buddhist modernism, as the home of Yang Wenhui’s Jinling Scriptural Press and Ouyang Jingwu’s China Metaphysical Institute (Zhina neixue yuan 支那內學院).


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However, these constituted pillars of the lay wing of the movement. The temple at Qixiashan was the lone Nanjing monastery that possessed anything approaching a high profile in the “Buddhist revival.”15 Nanjing-area monasteries held a firmer grip on the local imagination as places of devotion or congenial spots for tourist outings, purposes that were not necessarily mutually exclusive. For KMT planners, they served as useful sources of cheap land, bucolic surroundings, and historical value— in that order. As often as not, the planners arrived from central KMT authorities, rather than local government, indicating the weight of their purpose. Religion figured little in their calculations, and local community was an afterthought to social experiments of national significance.

The Commerce of Trees Economic interest lay at the heart of both sides of the conflict over Niushoushan 牛首山, directly south of the city gates in Jiangning (Map 2). There, the historical function of mountain temples as tourist sites and locations of rustic respite encountered the needs of scientific national construction, namely the afforestation campaign (zaolin yundong 造林運動). This was one of the key early KMT reconstruction projects, but more than other matters of economy and infrastructure, trees had symbolic as well as practical meaning. Beginning in 1929, Nationalists enshrined the act of tree planting as a way to memorialize Sun Yat-sen, instituting March 12, the anniversary of Sun’s death, as a sort of national Arbor Day.16 Political ideology and centrally planned “material construction” (wuzhi jianshe 物質建設) were intertwined, since at the same time afforestation was named one of the “seven key campaigns” of national construction. Minister of Industry and Commerce Kong Xiangxi 孔祥熙 (H. H. Kung, 1881–1967) and others emphasized not only the environmental and safety benefits of planting trees but also their importance as a source of jobs and a way to lessen China’s reliance on imports.17 Doubtless goaded by the strength of forestry studies at Nanking and Ginling universities, as part of the campaign the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Mining (Nongkuang bu 農礦部) planned a Central Model Forest (Zhongyang mofan linqu 中央模範林區), which they proposed to set up at Niushoushan. A popular saying in Nanjing directed pleasure-seekers thus: “In the spring Niushou, in the fall Qixia.” Tourists flocked to Qixia to view colorful autumn leaves, and to Niushou (also called Niutou) to drink the famous

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tea grown on the twin hills. The popular moniker for Niushou, “the heavenly palace” (tianque 天闕), supposedly traced to Emperor Yuan (r. 317–22 ce) of the Eastern Jin; during Republican times, it connoted a sense of the place’s natural and religious aura.18 The mountain was most prominent as the alleged birthplace of the Ox-head (Niushou), or Southern School, of Chan Buddhism, hence its name. The Pujue Monastery 普覺寺, also called Hongjue 宏覺, claimed a central role in that lineage’s history as a study and teaching site of the reputed founding patriarch, Farong. According to one Republican-era guidebook, it possessed his finger bone relic. A nearby Tang pagoda honored the lineage master Huineng.19 In early May 1929, the peace of the temple was shattered by the appearance of a corps of two dozen Jiangning county authorities, who helped a representative of the model forest district take control of Pujue’s woodlands, as well as all of its buildings and a good deal of its furnishings and implements. “This place of Buddhist quietude,” wailed the abbot and prior in a petition to the Executive Yuan, “has become a site of greed and terror.” And yet, adopting a familiar narrative, the Central Daily News reported the following month that this was no sudden move but a well-considered plan, since the abbot had been absent from the monastery for quite some time and the prior was accused of violating his vows.20 In fact neither version was quite accurate. The Niushoushan incident followed what became a common pattern with Nanjing-area civic improvement projects. Convinced that their plan furthered the greater social good, with little prior notice officials steamrolled over local residents, who then pushed back with claims of property ownership, historical value, or Republican rights and freedoms (all of which the Pujue monks cited). Often both rhetorical positions concealed matters of economy and profit. In the Niushoushan case, an investigation team from the Ministry of Agriculture and Mining and the district government found a number of moneymaking ventures at stake. Foresters had already cut down a mulberry grove belonging to the temple. The monks further depended on tinder fuel gathered from the mountain groves for their own use, and perhaps for profit as well. The two sides painted contradictory pictures of the monastery’s environmental stewardship. In their petition, the monks wrote that the foresters were originally slated to oversee only the deforested parts of the mountain, which was fitting since generations of monks had cared for their wooded property so well that rare plants flourished. Meanwhile, however, the investigators discovered tree


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stumps on the monastery’s land, although their claim that Pujue consequently now stood on a “bald” mountain spot seems exaggerated when compared to contemporary photographic evidence.21 Finally, there was the matter of the tourist trade. The seizure of temple buildings posed a crisis stemming not only from potentially thwarted religious observance, but from the fact that the property also contained a teahouse where monks served the many day-trippers who came to Niushoushan precisely to sample the local product. With this range of enterprises on the mountain, it is not surprising that the local villagers also resisted the model forest plan. Perhaps sensing what the future might hold for them, the Buddhist associations of Jiangning and four adjacent counties protested as well.22 The investigating team succeeded in smoothing over the dispute by devising a profit-sharing agreement. The plan nonetheless encapsulates the Nationalist disregard for property rights, particularly in the service of grand projects around the capital. Admitting that the foresters had erred in preemptively seizing what was indeed historic property, the team proposed to divide the profits from gathered brush fuel between the model forest and the monks, with villagers earning wages as laborers. The teahouse, gardens, and bamboo groves would be administered by the forest district, but the temple would receive the profits—as well as shoulder the expense. Although the monks regained some of their buildings, they also bore the added injury of having to clean and repair the ones that the foresters kept. The foresters then drew up an agreement in which the monks, and to some extent the local villagers as well, would share in the proceeds from the sale of any fuel government officials harvested. “Once we explained to [the abbot] how our administering these matters would not harm the temple’s profit [li 利, which can connote both profit in the material sense and general well-being],” the ministry team brightly explained, “his opposition disappeared.” Nonetheless, the abbot was canny enough to demand an agreement in writing.23 The Central Model Forest remained at Niushoushan through 1949. Meanwhile, the forestry district expanded its efforts around Nanjing, now making sure to include local residents in arrangements for these new sites, but always under civic supervision—for instance, giving farmer’s associations responsibility for raising seedlings on privately owned land.24 E. Elena Songster has pointed out that KMT timber-management programs in Fujian consistently assigned the majority of profits to the government, even in arrangements involving privately owned land.25 Such a pattern holds true for

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Nanjing-area cases such as Niushoushan; yet in one respect these went a step further: although the investigation team’s solution avoided mention of the word “ownership,” for all intents and purposes it appears as if rights over the ultimate disposition of the property had, in fact, fallen to the state. In escaping wholesale eviction, the Pujue monks fared somewhat better than many victims of urban renewal, but in terms of the letter of the law on property rights, the effect was much the same. Indeed, the temple seems to have done poorly thereafter. The writer Zhu Jie (Chu Chi), whose 1936 photographs revealed a rather dilapidated main temple hall, found in it only “dusty and shut” niches where the deities had once stood. Poking through the stones of the building were flowers that “had withered many times; the old temple lacking people, they blossomed and died on their own in profusion.”26 Not all melancholy abandoned temples were the work of the Nationalists, to be sure, but the same ad hoc approach to the property rights of temptingly endowed suburban monasteries continued in two cases of far greater prestige, profile, and controversy in the Nanjing area.

Competing Revolutions at Qixiashan Elsewhere in Jiangning county, an intense confrontation flared between a prestigious, model normal school and a powerful but maverick monastery— one whose historical credentials traced not only to the Buddhist revival but to the heart of the Nationalist Revolution. The government allowed the conflict to smolder for nine years, during which time the property manager of the temple at Qixiashan 棲霞山 was arrested twice, imprisoned once, and banished first from the temple grounds and then from the entire county. For all but the last of those nine years, the fact that his monastery had been revived in modern times by a man who had written for the canonical revolutionary paper Subao, was a founding member of the Tongmenghui, and had received 10,000 yuan in temple reconstruction funds from Sun Yat-sen himself seemed of little consequence. Indeed, the Qixiashan case fascinates precisely because each of the opposing sides stood at the vanguard of its field. Although this meant that both combatants had friends in high places, it is illustrative that in the temple’s case it took rather a long time for those friends to rally round. Although the monastery at Qixiashan (Map 2) operated within the confines of a traditional ordination center, its modern incarnation emerged from the matrix of political revolution and religious reform. In 1919, the visionary monk Zongyang 宗仰 (1861–1921) began a large-scale reconstruction


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of an institution tracing back to the Six Dynasties. The monastery had been crippled by the Taiping Rebellion, but Zongyang transformed Qixia into a thriving concern that controlled nearly 2,000 mu of land and ordained one or two hundred monks every year.27 Although ordained at twenty, Zongyang had also lived an eventful midlife as a layman. With Zhang Binglin, Huang Yanpei 黃炎陪 (1878–1965), and Cai Yuanpei, he was a founding member of the progressive Chinese Education Society (Zhonghua jiaoyu hui 中華教育會) and had served as its president. When the Qing launched its notorious antisedition case against writers for Subao in 1903, he fled to Japan with his fellow contributors. There he met Sun, establishing a lifelong friendship that served him in good financial stead when he began his reform efforts at Qixiashan. Zongyang’s southern political connections spread further: for instance, Lin Xiang (1882–1935), a Guangdong jurist and later chief justice of the Nationalist Supreme Court, helped the temple regain property deeds destroyed during the Taiping chaos.28 It was precisely these worldly connections that also set Zongyang apart from the Jiangnan Buddhist mainstream. He turned to Qixia after being denied the abbotship of Jinshan, the renowned but more conservative monastery in nearby Zhenjiang; from then on, his degree of engagement with progressive Buddhism can be measured by the fact that, together with Zhang Binglin, he provided the start-up costs for Ouyang Jingwu’s Metaphysical Institute.29 The atmosphere he created at Qixiashan was consequently wideranging while upright. Such was its reputation for scrupulousness that many of the 39 rules of daily conduct expressly forbade any sort of private business dealing among the monks.30 The place’s mixture of canonical Buddhist learning with new intellectual and social currents was echoed in the architectural style of the new buildings, which combined main halls in the whiteplaster Jiangnan tradition with tile-roofed tall brick dormitories in a EuroChinese hybrid style reminiscent of nearby mission campuses such as Nanking University and Ginling Women’s College ( Jinling nüzi wenli xueyuan 金陵女子文理學院).31 The mountain itself was so firmly established in the landscape of greater Nanjing life and leisure that it was the first stop east of the capital on the Nanjing–Shanghai railroad. Qixia Monastery’s reputation as a welcoming locale and a site of modern moral endeavor and new-style education made the land dispute with neighboring Qixia Village Normal School all the more ironic. Relations were initially warm when the village enterprise was founded in 1922 as the rural branch of the larger Jiangsu Number Four Normal School. Expanding over the years to include two primary schools and a number of agricul-

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tural enterprises, the normal school variously “borrowed” and purchased land from the monastery. By the late 1920s, it had become a flourishing concern of over fifty classrooms, as well as dormitories, administrative buildings, and 60 mu of farmland and vegetable plots. The cozy relationship between the school and the locals took a decided turn for the worse with the arrival of the Nationalists. They put the Qixia experiment under the jurisdiction of the Nanjing Middle School, whose principal, Tai Shuangqiu, was the same visionary who would advocate “temple property for schools” on an unprecedented scale at the 1928 National Conference on Education. Tai urged the expansion of the site into a model complex including experimental primary schools and facilities for adult agricultural training. Under Tai’s appointed principal, Huang Zhifu 黃質夫, the school attained national fame and more than doubled in size; the students came from over thirty counties and nearly equaled the village residents in number. As a mark of its leadership, the school published not only its own newspaper—as did many urban middle schools—but a book series (congshu) as well.32 As the school improved, its relations with the monastery deteriorated. Huang appears to have adopted his mentor’s attitude toward religion: as Chen Guofu later put it, he “thought, it seemed, that to change a temple into a school was a matter of course.”33 Sometime in 1928, Jiangning county officials arrested Jiran 寂然, the monastery’s property manager, and banished him from Qixiashan on the pretext that he had roused a mob when the local village head set up an office on temple grounds.34 Later that year, Jiran returned. In the interim, the normal school began fencing off land on the mountain and building on it. When Qixia monks attempted to stop the construction—according to one government account, Jiran threatened “to tear it all down”—fistfights ensued, and several clergy were again arrested. The fracas led to a protracted civil and criminal legal battle. Jiran persuaded several of the monastery’s tenants, who had acted as middlemen and rented temple land to the school, to sue Huang Zhifu, alleging property theft and the desecration of graves. Huang denied the charges and counterattacked, claiming that Jiran was once again stirring up mob sentiment. Accusations flew about secret meetings and monks circulating damaging propaganda sheets; in 1930, in fact, Huang found himself on the wrong side of unrelated accusations of Communist activity at the school and was reduced to pleading his innocence in the press.35 He recovered enough from that episode to become village party director and eventually to get the Jiangsu Office of Education on his side. In 1933 Jiran was once


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again arrested and imprisoned in Nanjing. This time the Jiangning police not only banned him from the entire county but forced him to sign a pledge that he would never return to Qixiashan. It was only at this point that each side started sending petitions and counterclaims to the central government. These five years of local disputes contrast starkly with the numerous temple cases in which either side quickly sought the help of the Ministry of Interior or Executive Yuan. Most interestingly, there is no sign that local or national Buddhist associations intervened on the temple’s behalf, as they had, for instance, for Pujue. Perhaps this traced to the renegade legacy of Zongyang, whose career path diverged from those of the future members of the Buddhist Association establishment.36 The monastery’s allegiances after his death can be gleaned from the temple’s biographical essay on Mingchang 明常 (1898–1970), who served as abbot during the period of turmoil with the normal school. Although several paragraphs are devoted to the master’s encounter with Taixu, there is nary a mention of the Buddhist Association of China. The likes of Yuanying are also absent from the temple’s donor list. Instead, the Qixia Monastery found support from a few monks from Jinshan and around Jiangsu, but from many more Guangdong clergy and several leaders of the independent Buddhist Association of Hong Kong.37 As a result, the Qixia monks conducted their protests on their own. In September 1933, after his second banishment, Jiran sent a “tearful petition” to Wang Taoming, president of the Executive Yuan, lamenting that he was “without shelter, braving death.”38 In response, the Jiangsu provincial government took the side of the education officials and expressed indignation that Jiran had “dared to petition the Executive Yuan.” Indeed, according to Buddhist historian Dongchu, Jiran soon sent a devoutly worded letter from prison directly to the Buddhist chairman of the national government, Lin Sen, which must have exacerbated the situation.39 The provincial irritation hints that local officials feared losing jurisdiction to central authorities. In fact, the designation several months earlier of Jiangning as an “experimental self-governing county” had accomplished just that. Since 1927, the province had made Jiangning a laboratory for the training of village cadres as well as the cleansing of “bad elements” in rural society.40 Now Jiangning was to become the KMT countermeasure to Ding county and the country’s other privately run rural reconstruction efforts—mixtures of social engineering, new theories of governance, and agricultural experimentation. Jiangning would express Nationalist priorities, however; for example, the county administra-

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tion expanded the police force to combat crime, opium traffic, and wasteful activities like gambling and temple festivals. County head Mei Siping went so far as to state explicitly that this experiment was nothing like those in Ding or Zouping counties in that those were projects to reconstruct Chinese society from the ground up via social action. It was “too late” for that, declared Mei, and so Jiangning was about “overturning” the countryside via government power.41 Jiangning’s experimental status also meant that it functioned essentially independently of the Jiangsu provincial government—a sore spot for provincial authorities but a new opportunity for self-aggrandizement for those involved with the county.42 Under the circumstances, the ongoing Qixia dispute clearly posed an embarrassment. In any event, the intervention of the central authorities meant little to Huang Zhifu and his allies. Ministry of Interior officials concluded that, generally bellicose though he was, Jiran had stirred up no unrest and did have rightful claim over the property in question—and moreover pointed out that the Jiangsu Education Department ( Jiaoyu ting 教育廳) had no business getting involved in his fate. Yet, Huang Zhifu simply carried on as before, making no restitution to the monastery.43 It seemed that proximity to the capital had worked against the monastery’s interests. The one quite inadvertent exception appears in the evidence the ministry cited to disprove that Jiran had plotted in secret: his “clandestine” meetings with village supporters had, in fact, been observed by two police lieutenants and six officers sent “to keep order.” According to the investigative report provided by the Jiangning party branch, the names of a full 173 of the few hundred participants were provided to the police—hardly the mark of sub rosa organizing, the ministry observed. This small detail provides stark confirmation of the extent of policing and surveillance in the capital during the early 1930s, even in its surrounding rural areas. Apparently, however, police power did not extend to the enforcement of government orders on lower-level civil servants such as education administrators in violation of property rights. It took the rise to power of the party-elder segment of the “customs coalition” and their sudden interest in applying their personal devotion to Buddhism to the national crisis of the mid-1930s to spur a final resolution of Qixiashan’s problem. Around this time, Dai Jitao became a patron of the monastery; Lin Sen and Yu Shiren 于 石 人 (1879–1964), longtime president of the Control Yuan, also gave donations. In 1936, a group including Dai, Yu, and other notable KMT Buddhists such as National Government official Zhang Ji and Judicial Yuan head Ju Zheng engineered the granting of a posthumous medal to Zongyang—the first Buddhist so


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honored. Dai and Zhang also acted as agents for a government contribution of 5,000 yuan for the erection of a commemorative stele near Zongyang’s burial stupa at the monastery.44 It hardly seems a coincidence that within a few months, the temple and school finally reached a formal agreement in their dispute. The monastery would rent a portion of the disputed land to the school, and both sides consented to restore land on the wrong side of the property line to its original state.45 The resulting lease must be one of the best documented contracts in Republican history. Representatives from eight local government and party offices witnessed its signing, and the parties deposited copies with the Jiangning police, the county government, the county court, the Jiangsu Education Department, the provincial government, and the Administrative Court of the National Government. Nine years of litigation, jail, and petitions had clearly left their mark. The temple managers showed the same amount of caution that businessmen in other fields had been forced to do since the founding of the Republic had brought a proliferation of government agencies and, hence, a necessary repetition of selfprotective contract paperwork.46 In the years since the episode’s conclusion, the Qixiashan case has become something of a touchstone in histories of modern Buddhism, as well as in accounts of governance and education in the Nationalist era. As such, it presents a useful opportunity to look behind the “problem” of government and religion as purely a cultural issue and to question the pronouncements of those who claimed to have fought on the side of the preservation of cultural heritage during the Nanjing Decade. First, there is the ambivalence of the Buddhist establishment toward Qixia Monastery’s plight. Although Dongchu, the representative historian of the Buddhist Association of China, later wrote about Qixiashan as a notorious instance of the government “confiscating temple property and bringing harm to monks,”47 the association’s voice is notably absent from the contemporary archival record of the struggle. The worst crises of the Qixiashan case, culminating in Jiran’s imprisonment and banishment, came after Taixu and other reformers had essentially abandoned the association in frustration.48 Although no proof exists of the deliberate neglect of Qixia, the notable disparity between its treatment and that of even minor temples to whose defense the association readily leaped is striking. Second, there is the attitude of self-styled KMT “traditionalists” and their similar distancing at the time. In his Memoirs of Governing Jiangsu, provincial governor Chen Guofu, a self-described advocate of gradual moral

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suasion when it came to the problem of superstition, claimed sympathy for the monks. Although strictly speaking it was a legal matter, he noted, his morals convinced him that since both the temple and the school were “dedicated to edification” ( jiaohua 教 化 , more literally “transformation through education”), surely a peaceful governmental solution ought to be found.49 Archival records show, however, that although the Ministry of Interior overturned all the provincial government’s decisions in favor of the school, Chen’s administration did nothing to see these orders through, delaying action for nearly three years. It is even difficult to construct the eventual intervention of high-level officials such as Dai Jitao as an instance of KMT “traditionalism,” rather than a providential turn of political fortunes after nine long years of neglect. The Qixiashan case demonstrates, then, that even a revolutionary lineage and legitimate “religious” credentials did not necessarily save temples, nor were friends in high places the most reliable protectors of clergy in need.

Rewriting Ritual Space: The Linggu Monastery and the Memorial to Fallen Soldiers The conflicts at Niushou and Qixia illustrate the ways in which agents of the Nationalist state insisted that secular modernization projects trumped the mixed religious and economic communities the monasteries provided, regardless of the monasteries’ willingness to embrace modernization. But Nanjing planners also desired temple land so that they could create their own ceremonial regimes, in the hopes of cementing affective ties between the party and the populace. This was a tricky process, however, for it left open the possibility for ritual persistence and geographic memory rather than complete revision. Secular ritual and the conversion of a religious site to a monument to the nation-state drives the story of the Linggu Monastery 靈谷寺, which surely receives honors for greatest elevation of a religious site to national uses. The monastery’s proximity to the focal point of the Nationalist Republic—the tomb of Sun Yat-sen—made its buildings and woodland ideal for incorporation into the park and the broader memorial complex planners envisioned for the Purple Hills (Fig. 1). Historically, the temple grounds had been famous for their flourishing ancient pine forest. Nanjing residents had long made Linggu, “the garden of enlightenment in the deep

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Fig. 1

Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, ca. 1935. The Number One Cemetery is behind the Beamless Hall (center), with the Dragon King Shrine to the right (source: Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi ).

pine woods” (shensong jueyuan 沈松覺園), a popular spot for day trips and pilgrimage.50 Now the temple buildings and grounds were to be made into a place of enlightenment of a different sort, a site of scientized leisure and patriotic commemoration. The process drastically reshaped the site as ritual and everyday space. Linggu’s woodlands took on a new significance after the tomb’s 1929 completion. Two years later, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Committee finalized a plan for a vast park of 46,000 mu surrounding and protecting the Purple Hills’ tombs and monuments. Thus, the memorial park represented the convergence and apogee of KMT monumental urban planning and rural reconstruction projects. In addition to decorative leisure spots, the park would encompass forestry training centers and model vegetable plots, tea gardens, and orchards. Perhaps in service of the committee’s stated goal to create a “world-class park,” it also included the regionally atypical element of cow pastures.51 As an important building block of the park, the mausoleum committee took ownership of more than 2,053 mu of Linggu’s wooded, mountain, and paddy land. This represented at least 85 percent of the monastery’s landed property.52 The appropriation was accomplished by sleight of hand: the

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mausoleum committee deemed this “public property,” although all indications were that the temple’s holdings had come from private donations. The only compensation Linggu’s monks received was the right to continue residence and, in an arrangement reminiscent of Niushoushan, permission to cultivate tea and vegetables rent-free on a small plot of land and to collect limited amounts of firewood in winter. However, all such activities would be carried out only under contract with the new park authority, which took over the temple’s deeds and rental agreements.53 In fact, the Ministry of Interior did notice that the expropriation of Linggu Monastery’s land violated the government’s own “Regulations for Temple Oversight.” Officials concluded, however, that “since these are special circumstances, we may ignore this.”54 The prestige factor and political significance of a project connected with the Sun mausoleum excused extra-legal action. The gray zone was in operation. Unlike many Nanjing residents whose property was expropriated for projects in the new capital, the Linggu monks appear to have accepted the arrangement with little protest.55 Their acquiescence not only testifies to the enormous importance of the mausoleum and the transformation of Zijinshan but to the heightened authority of the Nationalists. Liping Wang has remarked that when KMT leaders resumed construction of the tomb in 1927—after many delays during the tenure of the militarist Sun Chuanfang—the site design committee had little problem acquiring the needed land from local farmers and landlords. This ease differed greatly from the struggles that greeted the original plan prior to the Northern Expedition.56 In 1925 the Linggu monks had vigorously protested park authorities’ attempts to take their land.57 Although the locals may have developed more sympathy for the project over time, it is more likely, Wang notes, that they recognized their lack of choice in the matter once Nanjing came under firm KMT control. The farmers received compensation for their land, however, even if the rates were not particularly high.58 But in Nanjing as elsewhere, temples and their personnel were considered separately from other landowners. A second and much deeper transformation took place at Linggu—one that is still visible today. This was the repurposing of its physical plant and a further 500 mu of monastic land as the site of the chief among the many satellite monuments of the Sun tomb. While the Northern Expedition was still in its second stage in late 1928, Chiang Kai-shek and what came to be a committee of eleven others—including General He Yingqin, Chen Guofu, and Mayor Liu Jiwen—formulated a plan to erect a collective burial site and monument to the military heroes of the revolution. They commissioned


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Henry Murphy to lead a design team for the Public Cemetery and Memorial Pagoda for Fallen Generals and Soldiers, which would completely transform the Linggu site. Of the original temple, the plan retained only the Ming dynasty Beamless Hall (Wuliang dian 無樑殿), which was converted to a ceremonial hall ( jitang 祭堂). It shifted attention to a newly constructed memorial museum, three burial grounds, and a nine-story, octagonal concrete pagoda. The monks and their Buddha images, meanwhile, were moved to a subsidiary shrine. The refashioning of the Linggu site constituted a masterpiece of simultaneous historical allusion and erasure. In Murphy’s telling, Chiang himself suggested the location for the memorial, a “Chinese Arlington.” Murphy appreciated the symmetry the Linggu Monastery formed with Ming Taizu’s tomb as companions to the Sun mausoleum (Map 3), and the further emphasis on the Purple Hills suited his (aborted) plan to create an administrative district in the eastern part of the city.59 What led Chiang Kai-shek and the committee to the spot was a mixture of aesthetics (the spot’s beauty and proximity to the Sun tomb) and practicality (buildings of national heritage status that could be reused).60 Linggu was still a working monastery, however, even if it had never regained its Ming glory days after the Taiping cataclysm. In fact, Chiang, Murphy, and the rest failed to mention the crucial role that the temple and its monks played in the pacification of the city and its souls during the rebellion’s aftermath. Not only were a considerable number of Nanjing’s tens of thousands of Taiping dead buried at the monastery, but Zeng Guofan’s Hunan Army had engaged Linggu’s abbot to oversee prayers as corpses were collected and buried in mass graves elsewhere in the city.61 Although these actions were documented in Qing gazetteers for both the temple and the locality, and although the notion of Linggu as a continuous repository for the loyal dead would certainly seem appropriate to the Nationalists’ deployment of historical symbolism, the party never openly evoked the Qing precedent in creating its own memorial. It cited only images of simultaneous eternity and fertility: the ancient temple surrounded by wondrous, tall peony shrubs that held a hundred blossoms each.62 Indeed, the planning committee went a step further and effectively removed from view an additional piece of history directly linked to Zeng Guofan’s post-rebellion reconstruction. Besides recycling the Beamless Hall, planners tore down at least two other Tongzhi-era monastic halls that were still in use. The displaced monks and their Buddha images were sent to the Dragon King Shrine just

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Fig. 2


Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, new Linggu Monastery, within the Dragon King Shrine, ca. 1935 (source: Ni Xiying, Nanjing, 80).

to the east, which Zeng had renovated in gratitude for a successful rain prayer. The shrine had until the 1930s included both an altar to the dragon deity and a Chan meditation hall supporting numerous clergy; now the rain god faded from the site’s public identity as the temple was renamed the Linggu Monastery (Fig. 2). In the course of creating their own monument, then, the Nationalists also managed to achieve a small victory for proper “religion” over superstition.63 The largest act of overwriting, however, was the replacing of religious pilgrimage with secular pilgrimage to the new holy spot of the revolution and the claimed center of Nationalist authority. The move was first made evident in the layout of the new memorial, which added to the secluded “mountain temple” elements of the Republicanized imperial tomb similar to the Sun mausoleum, albeit on a smaller scale. In fact, the architects achieved this by literally placing most of the new features on the sites of demolished temple buildings.64 Now a central “spirit path,” for example, led visitors from a new gate built on the site of the old, capped with blue tiles adorned with the KMT star (Fig. 3). They next encountered a pailou (memorial arch) rising where the Hall of the Heavenly King once did. This was also decorated with the party symbol and inscribed “great benevolence, great justice” (da ren da yi 大仁大義, an allusion to The Romance of the Three Kingdoms) and on the obverse, “save the country and the people” (Fig. 4). The central element in the spirit way, however, was the renovated Beamless Hall, now a ceremonial hall for the commemoration of the war

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Fig. 3

Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, tiles on the main gate with KMT insignia (author’s photograph, July 2005).

dead. Entrants were greeted by an immense inset tablet reading “The Spirit Tablets of Fallen Officers and Soldiers,” flanked on either side by plaques carved with a Northern Expedition rally song and an inspirational offertory text.65 Inside the hall, the names of 33,224 casualties of the Northern Expedition and the fights against the Japanese and the Communists were inscribed onto black Lake Tai stone. Together with the cemeteries themselves, the ceremonial hall was now the focal point of governmentsponsored secularized public offerings (gongji 公祭), the form of which closely followed the KMT’s reformed funeral ceremonies or, indeed, the rituals used to inter Sun in his mausoleum—solemn music, offerings of wreaths to photographs or memorial tablets, and the company bowing three times. Modeling such rites was the dedication ceremony, held on 20 November 1935, and led by Chiang Kai-shek before a substantial (5,000 plus) but captive company of civilian officials, military officers, and government students and cadets.66 Yet like Arlington, the new memorial was intended not simply for grand government ceremonial occasions but for regular visitors. In the memorial hall next in line, for example, the designers offered the more “modern” experience of a museum, which imparted its lessons to viewers on a daily

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Fig. 4


Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, pailou (author’s photograph, July 2005).

basis via photographs and the personal artifacts of revolutionary martyrs. Then there were the cemeteries themselves: three round grassy expanses that Murphy designed to be secluded from one another (Fig. 1).67 Each was enclosed by a semicircular, gently rising scalloped concrete wall that mimicked the “armchair-style” southern Chinese tomb. The overall style was hybrid, in the manner adopted by Murphy and the Kuomintang in their Nanjing projects. After 128 (for January 28, the date the battle commenced) casualties of the 1932 Shanghai War were interred in the central Number One Cemetery, their presence was marked with small square stone blocks that evoked Arlington. Obelisks commemorated the achievements of the Nineteenth Route and Fifth Armies (Figs. 5 and 6). Determining who else of the numerous eligible dead could be buried in this space, limited to some 6,000-odd places, proved to be something of a problem.68 Members of the Military Affairs Commission were instructed to draw lots to select representatives and alternates from each unit, which resulted in a total of 1,152 names. In a testament to the chaotic nature of warfare at the time, however, the remains of over half of those chosen could not be found by investigation teams, delaying the interment process.69 The Second Cemetery, to the west, remained vacant until after the war, when Chiang Kaishek buried his intelligence chief Dai Li 戴笠 (1897–1946) there;70 the


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Fig. 5 Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, Number One Cemetery, with new pagoda and museum in background (source: Zhongguo di’er lishi dang’an guan, ed. Lao zhaopian: minsu fengguang, 176).

Third Cemetery remained likewise unused until it was converted into Deng Yanda’s 鄧演達 (1895–1931) tomb in 1953. Clearly the memorial fell short of a “Chinese Arlington” in the sense of being open to all veterans of the Nationalist wars.71 Even without all the logistical impediments, the tense political atmosphere of the mid-1930s dictated a careful orchestration of the memorial’s population. The monument’s function as an overt political statement is most obvious in what came to be its most famous feature: the 175-foot-high concrete-and-stone pagoda at the end of spirit path. Although accounts in the English-language press have Murphy variously attributing the desire for a tower to Chiang Kai-shek and to himself,72 the result epitomized the goals of both. Some dubbed Murphy’s tower the “Yankee Pagoda,” and airmail pilots came to appreciate it as a navigational guide. But the architect also deliberately reproduced in concrete elements of classical architecture, in particular the tiled Glazed Pagoda of Bao’en Temple, destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion.73 Chiang, meanwhile, made the building a monument not to KMT veterans in general—despite the oil paintings of significant battles he ordered made—but specifically to the Huangpu Academy, its founder Sun Yat-sen, and its director, himself. Visitors to the pagoda first encountered Chiang’s calligraphy on the exterior. His mark lingered as the secular pilgrim climbed: on the second floor,

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Fig. 6 Monument to Fallen Officers and Soldiers, Nanjing, Number One Cemetery, memorial to 19th Route Army (author’s photograph, July 2005).

in the form of Chiang’s exhortation to the academy, and on floors three through eight, in his personally selected list of the first six classes of cadets, engraved in the calligraphy of a roster of party luminaries. At the highest level—the holiest level, as Charles Musgrove points out, and the one from which the view of the neighboring mausoleum is clearest—visitors reached the famous speech Sun gave at Huangpu before going north on the final journey of his life.74 The pagoda, then, completed the narrowing of meaning at the memorial site. Politically, it defined the significant national power not only as the KMT but as Chiang via the authority of Sun and the army, most loftily exemplified in the Huangpu Spirit. Militarily, it attempted to discount the messiness of the Nationalist campaigns and the Northern Expedition in


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particular by focusing on representatives selected by current military leaders and above all on Huangpu officers rather than on irregular forces and militarist units absorbed during the course of battle and expedient negotiation. It even represented yet another effacement of religion, despite Murphy’s design quotation of the Bao’en pagoda—an aesthetic allusion only. Behind the new museum, the reliquary stupa of Six Dynasties monk Zhigong 誌公 (also called Baozhi 寶誌, 418–514) stood under a wooden pavilion. Although the original plan called for its preservation, as the new pagoda was going up in 1934, the memorial committee decided a Buddhist stupa “spoiled the air” of a public cemetery and demolished the structure. They moved the relics and accompanying stele to a more secluded location and built a separate small building honoring Zhigong to the west of the Beamless Hall. By the following year, a Central Daily News description of the project normalized the change as one seemingly planned from the beginning; the park authorities did enlist Buddhist Association leaders and the Linggu monks, however, to inter the relics in their new home with appropriate ritual.75 When one steps away from the static images, however, and imagines the reconfigured Linggu site operating on an everyday basis, one is forced to question whether meaning had in fact been so successfully circumscribed. The remains of the Taiping-era loyal dead did not depart the monastery grounds but accompanied the Nationalist heroes unacknowledged. Similarly, the clergy squeezed into the narrow confines of the Dragon King temple constituted a residue that was not solely “historical” in nature but one that kept on functioning, if in diminished form. Even the official Central Daily News dropped small clues about the different aspects of the site in the pages of its cultural supplement, especially as the official climate toward Buddhism warmed in the mid-1930s. A photo of the new memorial pagoda ( July 1936) was followed by ones of Linggu’s Buddha image (November) and a rare-blooming flower found near the temple ( June 1937). In April 1936 a tiny piece even acknowledged Zeng Guofan’s hand in the Dragon King shrines. The pseudonymous author “Zhuozhuo” claimed that visiting the site built some seventy-odd years before, he felt he could grasp history “as if it were new.”76 Of course, he failed to mention all that had changed—indeed that had been effaced—about that spot in particular. Yet these appearances even in the official press prompt us to think about the wide variety with which the public could have continued to encounter Linggu overall, even if its monastic nature was irrevocably altered.77 The families of the Shanghai dead or other veterans who made the long trek to honor their relatives may have purchased incense from the same

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vendors who catered to visitors to the temple, which, although displaced from the central action, was still but a short walk away from the central cemetery and ceremonial hall (Fig. 1). The chanting of the monks and the tapping of bells and wooden blocks must have periodically drifted through the trees to the ears of those standing before the monuments, an auditory reminder of the past. In any event, even as a mere tourist site and spot for relaxation and admiration of the flora, the monastery remained part of the edification and entertainment complex the Nationalists refashioned out of the Purple Hills. In popular parlance it lent its name to the soldier’s memorial as a whole and hung on as the remains of religion underwriting the nation.

Contesting Space, Capital, and Power: Suqian as a Feared Community If a religious remainder could haunt the shining civic monuments of the capital city, what of the part of Jiangsu political and cultural elites considered most remote, in every sense of the word? The lack of visibility and indeed lack of legibility of the region north of the Huai River to the central authorities instilled great anxiety. In a frenzy of cyclical aggression in Suqian county, party cadres violently overwrote religious practice and property, and local interests responded just as violently. The resulting Small Sword Uprising of 1929 did not trace solely to the antisuperstition campaign, but its short- and long-term consequences had visible effects on both the religious landscape of the locality and the social and cultural construction of Huaibei “backwardness.” The unrest erupted in the seat of Suqian (see Map 4), a Huaibei county along the defunct Grand Canal, whose recent fortunes had suffered from hydraulic instability and military activity in the region. Briefly, three days after the Lunar New Year of 1929 (February 13 by the new calendar) three to four hundred armed Small Sword Society (Xiaodao hui 小刀會) protesters attacked Suqian town, smashing various party and government organs while chanting anti-KMT slogans. Over the next three months, the uprising swelled to tens of thousands of participants from three counties and defied two pacification efforts. Military reinforcements from Nanjing finally defeated the Small Sword forces in June, but the repercussions of the event continued to plague Suqian politics and society for years. The Suqian episode is a fitting place to conclude the discussion of contested power in Jiangsu, because in Suqian religious institutions and ritual


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Map 4

Suqian city during the Republican era (adapted from Suqian wenshi ziliao 4 [Dec. 1984]).

networks coexisted in a relationship with party and government power that was both antagonistic and symbiotic. Observers from the metropolis and party activists deemed superstition to be Suqian’s downfall, yet they fed off it as well, both literally taking its proceeds and figuratively parlaying its notoriety into places for Suqian and for themselves along the scale of progress. The Small Sword tale played a small but significant role in the discourse of modernization being written elsewhere in China.

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Mitani Takashi has deftly described the three stages of the Small Sword uprising and the variety of social and political interests involved—ranging from landed gentry in walled dwellings and former officials to tenant farmers, refugees, and wandering ritual specialists who enabled the Small Swords to gather rapidly. He points out that the antisuperstition campaign served as a trigger after several months of increasing insertion of the partystate into local affairs, most notably through land surveys and increased taxation.78 But the conflict in Suqian arose out of not only the political and social changes that the party presence brought at the close of 1928 but also the KMT’s ritual and spatial provocations. Topographically and economically distinct from the rest of Jiangsu, the Huaibei region felt to many party activists something of a militarized danger zone in which they needed to apply social engineering with the greatest force, including antisuperstition campaigns and temple conversions. Wang Weifan, a Central Political Institute student visiting Suqian in the mid-1930s, offered a typical assessment. The locals’ level of knowledge was “backward,” he wrote, and they were “combative and selfish, unable to unite, and waste[d] a great deal of money on worshiping gods.” In fact, Wang admitted, Suqian severely tested his faith in the political and cultural superiority of Jiangsu to the rest of the country.79 Party authorities pursued the campaign against superstition in Huaibei well into 1930. In such counties as Guanyun, Pei, and Tongshan, they took over not only City God temples but shrines to the Three Emperors, the Fire Deity, Xuandi, the Midwife Goddess, and others. Sometimes these local shrines came with considerable amounts of land, more than a thousand mu (as opposed one or two dozen for similar properties in the south).80 Huaibei officials also complained bitterly that they found themselves competing for influence with local churches and mission-run schools.81 The fate of Suqian itself had historically risen and fallen with the waterways that surrounded the county. Suqian town was an important Grand Canal entrepôt until the Yellow River shifted to its northern course in 1852. The resulting surge in flooding and other natural disasters to which Suqian had always been prone sent the county’s residents into a cycle of immiseration and military instability. Regional conflicts and rebellions had spilled over from Henan, Anhui, and southern Shandong at least as far back as the mid-nineteenth-century Nian uprising. These battles, however, also reflected Suqian’s strategic importance as “a bone of contention between north and south,” which brought official attention to the county in a way that eluded its poorer neighbors.82 Thus, the Qing government cooperated


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with local elites and foreign missionaries to build communications and industry. Suqian had a telegraph service in 1892—eleven years after the nation’s first—as well as hospitals, charities, and policemen in numbers that, although scant by Jiangnan standards, put Suqian at the forefront of the region. Those seeking to develop the area’s economy, however, whether through the traditional farming of wheat and sorghum or through new ventures such as the glass factory established in 1910, swam against a steady tide of social dislocation.83 During the Republican era, the area became a battleground for political armies, a situation that produced an ecosystem of bandit gangs, selfdefense associations, and secret societies. Suqian saw battles during the Second Fengtian-Zhili War and in the course of the Nationalist Army’s two efforts to oust Sun Chuanfang. Even more common, however, were the bandit raids that plagued the Suqian countryside during the Beiyang period and the campaigns led by local militias to exterminate them. Small Sword activity initially arose in response to the bandit threat. From time to time grain riots shook the county as well, especially in 1910 and 1925. By the late 1920s, these conditions had produced a considerable floating population of refugees, out-of-work canal longshoremen, and demobilized soldiers.84 Some of this floating population fed Small Sword ranks, but, as Mitani points out, landlords were also intimately involved with the uprising, a phenomenon in keeping with Elizabeth Perry’s findings for Red Spear rebellions elsewhere in the region, where the arrival of KMT land surveyors and tax collectors prompted resistance.85 However, the instability of Suqian also extended to the situation of the party itself. During the course of the 1928 “party purge” reorganization, some two-thirds of the Suqian KMT membership was expelled, including many long-term underground organizers.86 In their stead, the provincial chapter installed a group of “inexperienced youth.”87 Thus, at the end of 1928, a minority group emerging from a fractured party sought to claim simultaneous political, economic, and symbolic power in the community.

Plotting Power Across Space and Time in Suqian First, the new group went after the physical sites of community authority in Suqian town. An important ritual focus of the city lay in its northwest corner, where temples were concentrated around Malingshan. Key among these was Yuxu guan 玉虛觀, the Daoist center for the county, and Baizi

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tang 百子堂, the site of a yearly pilgrimage by Suqian residents on the sixteenth day of the first lunar month. In an activity colloquially called “going to the northern hills” (zou beishan 走北山) or “bowing for a hundred sons” (kou baizi 叩百子), on this day barren couples prayed for a child and purchased votive clay figures of boys. A series of ritual offerings throughout the day took worshippers across half the city as they concluded the Lunar New Year along firecracker-strewn roads after sundown. Across the road from Malingshan stood a major Buddhist monastery, Jile Priory ( Jile an 極樂庵); 25 km north along the main road stood its sister monastery, Wuhuading 五華頂, the other largest landholding temple in the county. The KMT county party branch set up its headquarters directly in the middle of this ritual center. Together with education officials, party cadres proceeded to smash images and convert temples along the major northsouth axis of the city. The local Public Security Bureau seized the Dongdajie God of Wealth Shrine—a site where people took their children to make offerings of gratitude during the kou baizi circuit. The Mass Education Bureau placed its outreach center in the Xiaoguan miao 小關廟, and the Suqian Middle School rose at the former Confucian Temple.88 In what was to become the most controversial move, at the southern point of the axis the head of the Mass Education Bureau cleared the Temple of the Eastern Peak (Dongyue miao 東嶽廟) in order to create a public lecture hall. Mapping the rapid KMT incursions into the temple life of the city helps us understand a few things. First, in Suqian we see an eager party branch cannily claiming authority throughout the county seat not by simply converting the City God Temple as in other Jiangsu locales but by attacking several sites spaced across the length of the town. As with seizures of City God temples, these linked acts had implications that ran well beyond “just” religion. In creating the new lecture hall, the cadres not only seized the Eastern Peak temple, smashed statues, and forbade worship but rousted traders from the market outside. The local population reacted poorly to this restriction of the site’s religious and commercial functions. On February 13, after entering town on “pilgrimage,” the Small Sword rebels dispersed into groups. One group demolished the new lecture hall. Thereafter, the leaders consistently placed restoration of the Eastern Peak temple high on their list of demands.89 The other targets of the uprising’s first day— the county party branch, the telegraph office, and the newly established middle school (in the former Confucian Temple)—also lay on the same vertical axis of authority. They were logical outlets for local frustration and power struggles.


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The schools posed a particular set of problems, which reminds us of the multiplicity of personnel and interests contained under the Small Swords rubric, even at the early stage of the uprising. Contemporary accounts attributed numerous slogans to the attackers—so many that the Shishi xinbao’s adjective “jumbled” seems the best description.90 Among the most frequently cited ones—“Down with the Party Branch,” “Down with Sun Yat-sen,” and “Down with the Three Principles of the People”—many observers focused on the call “Down with the Foreign Schools.” This aspect of the Small Swords attracted attention because it was quickly attended by attacks not just on the new middle school but also on the girls’ school and privately established middle schools as well. The rebels seized a number of teachers and students, among them unfortunate young women deemed “occult” ( yaoyi 妖異) because of their short hair.91 Several teachers who managed to escape to Nanjing related dramatic tales of being trapped in their classrooms, fearfully listening to approaching cries of “Strike! Kill! Strike! Kill!”92 Yet as Bradley Geisert points out, two men charged as “local bullies and evil gentry” fostering the chaos were in fact prominent leaders of modern educational reform in the county—Japanese-educated, Shanghai-refined Tongmenghui members who, tellingly, had lost their positions as middle school principals at the beginning of the year.93 Thus, to be a participant did not necessarily mean to be a reactionary. Perhaps here the party branch reaped the ill will caused by its own internal upheaval. Furthermore, “foreign schools” (i.e., new-style schools) had been operating in Suqian without much incident since at least the beginning of the Republic. At stake here, as elsewhere in Jiangsu, were their expansion and nationalization (or “partification”) at the same time that the KMT was adding “miscellaneous taxes” and threatening to expand the land tax through new surveys and registration, two other sore spots for the Small Swords. In this context, confiscating the Confucian Temple for the middle school entailed the appropriation of property as well as the elimination of a communal ritual site—hence another of the protesters’ demands, prohibiting the appropriation of temple property.94 The timing of both sides’ actions mattered enormously as well. By inserting itself directly into a major ritual route of the city, the party branch had co-opted ceremonial power, which it then promptly denied expression by prohibiting celebration of the Lunar New Year and customary pilgrimages. Adding insult to injury, it issued this ban on New Year’s eve, when all financial and practical preparations had already been made.95 Mitani notes

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the compound effect: the “miscellaneous taxes” had raised year-end prices, ritual sites had been smashed and beliefs denigrated, and a substantial collection of people poised for the carnivalesque release of pressure afforded by a temple festival were suddenly denied activity.96 Little wonder, then, that the earliest newspaper reports focused on the anger over bans on religious processions, as well as those on opium, gambling, storytelling, and prostitution.97 Even the KMT paper, the Central Daily News, acknowledged that the “immediate cause” of the outbreak of violence was “party branch and county office ban all New Year’s activity. Distant cause: party branch and schools destroy the Temple of the Eastern Peak and forbid all worship.”98 Under such circumstances, the rebels’ labeling of the advance on the town as a “pilgrimage” ( jinxiang 進香) looks less like a ploy and more like an argument. According to the Shenbao, the first wave of protesters demanded the right to process on the upcoming fifteenth of the new lunar year and, rather poignantly, for every household to be able to hang New Year’s couplets and light firecrackers without molestation.99 Since the fifteenth, the Lantern Festival, fell during the tense period between the first and second Small Sword attacks, it is difficult to imagine that this request was granted. The secret society continued to pay attention to timing during the subsequent stages of the uprising. That it selected auspicious festival days to launch major attacks is in itself not especially surprising. That one of these, the second day of the second lunar month, the “Dragon Raises Its Head” day, happened in 1929 to correspond in the new calendar to March 12, the national holiday commemorating Sun Yat-sen’s death day, offers a fine irony and highlights even further the sense of a manufactured competition of affiliations in space and time.100

The Small Sword Aftermath and the Demonization of Suqian Buddhism Once the dust settled, what was the potential for what remained of Suqian religion to reassert itself? Perhaps the local religious community could, over the coming months and years, bounce back by rebuilding or by moving the cults of the smashed temples to new locations. There is ample documentation that Huaibei worshippers were especially adept at doing this—in Donghai, for instance, the head of one district complained that the residents had merely commissioned new statues of the City God and Earth God and continued praying in the old temples.101 In other ways the


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1929 violence affected the local role of religion negatively and more permanently. Newspapers and local and national official accountings needed instigators and scapegoats, and, channeling the voice of the Suqian party branch, the consensus settled on the combination of “local bullies and evil gentry” and “bad monks” (eseng 惡僧). Even before the final and by all accounts brutal military “pacification” of the rebels, the Suqian party cadres—many of whom were county natives and few of whom, interestingly, lost their jobs—and the brand-new, Sichuanese county head decided to close the two large Buddhist monasteries, arrest their abbots, and demand 30,000 yuan cash in compensation as punishment for their monks’ alleged provision of aid and comfort to the rebels.102 Throughout the months of negotiation and battle with the Small Swords, the Nationalist side never relinquished the right to punish the monasteries or confiscate their property.103 On making an inspection tour of the restless north in June 1929, the despised provincial governor Miao Bin 繆斌 (1895–1946) suggested altering the terms to a confiscation of 60 percent of the two institutions’ landholdings. The income would be used to support education, relief works, local enterprise (including the revival of the glass factory), and “local selfgovernment expenses.” The monks would be allowed live off the remainder but were to be permitted no role in handling the property. Instead, the province recommended a management committee be established, to include representatives from the provincial government and the provincial Department of Civil Affairs, two members of the Jiangsu Buddhist Association, the Suqian county head, and four “trustworthy and public-minded locals.”104 The arrangement placed the monasteries in a peculiar limbo— not dissolved, yet diminished and no longer in control of their fates. The provincial government took advantage of the fact that the “Rules for Temple Management” had been abrogated and not yet replaced to devise a plan that put the property’s proceeds more closely under its control. The confiscation amounted to a substantial parcel of land, even if incomplete deeds and the absence of tax registration records meant that no one knew for sure just exactly how much of it there was. Indeed, the nature of Jile Priory and Wuhuading as religious and social institutions during the Republic constitutes something of a moving target in the historical sources, as does the actual part they played in the uprising. The fate of the twin monasteries becomes in effect a simultaneous historical and historiographic problem, affected by local politics, by the materialist critique of religion, and even by the broader prejudice against the northern Jiangsu region.

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Probably the single most influential contemporary view of life in Huaibei was an article by Wu Shoupeng, “The Xuzhou-Haizhou Region, Mired in the Age of the Rural Economy,” which appeared in the extremely popular weekly Dongfang zazhi (The eastern miscellany) in 1930.105 In his study, Wu painted a portrait of villages that resembled European medieval fiefdoms, controlled by primary landowners from within fortified dwellings (bao 堡).106 Religion also formed a key element of his conception of the feudalistic “age of the rural economy,” specifically nature worship, which he saw reflected in the region’s numerous Earth God shrines. His regional (“Jiangbei”) landlords were powerful families who held ten or twenty thousand mu of land and ran their own private militias. Or they were corrupt monasteries like the Jile Priory, which together with Wuhuading, he claimed, owned 200,000 mu—half of Suqian county. “Although once a venerable temple,” he wrote, “in reality [the Jile Priory] now lacks any shred of religion. Instead it has become the very model of a feudal landlord.” The monks “spend their whole lives doing nothing but collecting rent,” he charged; the most powerful among them had wives, concubines, and children, and armed themselves with guns and swords.107 Wu Shoupeng’s account was widely reprinted and cited for decades thereafter.108 In part, this is because his analysis of the crisis of the northern Jiangsu economy in many ways had no contemporary equal. But in seeking to attribute material motives and explanations to Subei religious behavior—whether it was farmers seeking answers in nature worship or rapacious monks wheeling and dealing—he reflected his times and painted an exaggerated picture. Other contemporary sources temper the picture of Suqian’s medieval atmosphere. Surveyors for the Rural Rehabilitation Commission found that the area had only one or two very large landholding families per county.109 The commission reported the combined holdings of the two monasteries as 20,000 mu—a third less than the monks themselves estimated, half or less than is hazarded by Buddhist historians, and a mere tenth of Wu Shoupeng’s claim.110 Beyond this stands the issue of regional standards of living. David Faure and Elizabeth Perry have pointed out that the poor quality of the land meant relative wealth per mu paled in comparison to southern Jiangsu.111 Another contemporary economist wrote, with perhaps only a bit of hyperbole, “In the XuzhouHaizhou belt, unless their land is entirely of good quality, even landlords of one or two hundred qing [10,000–20,000 mu] do not live as well as a machine laborer in Shanghai or Guangzhou.”112


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Whether holding 50 or 5 percent of the county’s land, however, the monasteries were major landlords—and therefore held a financial interest counter to that of the party-state. They had also fallen on hard times. During the Qing, Jile Priory had been known as Jile Seminary, a center of Chan learning whose glories travelers commemorated in verse.113 Such splendors had waned by the Republic. One memoir notes that local unrest had shrunk the temples’ holdings, as monks were forced to “contribute” cash to various military factions and local gentry—some “taking the opportunity to fatten themselves” by illegally selling monastic land to tenants.114 Learning had also suffered: in 1929, the majority of the 118 monks who signed the monasteries’ petitions to Nanjing could offer only hatch marks.115 Yet they also demonstrated enough savvy to appeal to their own sympathetic press in the heat of the Small Sword violence. Just as the besieged middle school students sent a version of their harrowing tale to the Education Journal, the Jile Priory clergy found a voice in a specialist periodical, telling the Buddhist monthly Haichaoyin that “Suqian has no evil monks.”116 This shadow of Jile Priory’s Qing self did not necessarily correspond to Wu Shoupeng’s bleak portrait. More to the point, however, even Wu Shoupeng’s monastery would not warrant confiscation under Nationalist law, and neither provincial nor central authorities showed any inclination to revisit this ad hoc solution after the “Oversight” regulations, promulgated in December, eliminated seizures of temple property for clerical misbehavior. It soon emerged just how much the party, government, and civic side—interests that melded in post–Small Sword Suqian—had to gain from the punishment of the monasteries. Representatives from the Suqian Middle School and the mass education center, for instance, were in Nanjing seeking restoration funds from the central government months before the county was even brought to peace.117 Soon education and county officials alike realized that they could not depend entirely on emergency grants. Party branches throughout the province had seen their finances dry up in 1928 and 1929, and the Suqian branch encountered further difficulties when the county Finance Bureau took over its budget and for a time refused to release funds.118 Thus, when the monks began to issue their petitions— thirteen pleas in just under two years to the Executive Yuan alone—Suqian officials knew that their livelihoods hung in the balance. In 1934, a second visiting Central Political Institute student observed that the Suqian relief house’s portion of the rental income from the Jile Priory and Wuhuading property amounted to more than 18,900 yuan a year, an amount that certainly seems ample. Because of the depressed economy and the monthly

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salaries of the managers, however, it was proving insufficient even to meet ordinary operating expenses.119 The student admitted an “appearance of waste and the enrichment of officials at public expense going back to the [relief house’s] inception.”120 More damningly, a district head who signed several petitions testifying to the monks’ crimes turned out to have previously sought cash reparations from other sources. Several months after the uprising, Liu Zhenxiu had twice asked the provincial government to be allowed to assess a 10,000 yuan “wealth tax” or “loan from the wealthy,” ostensibly for self-defense expenses. Both times he was turned down. Over the next two years he proceeded to back the effort to absorb the property of the two monasteries.121 The fact is, conclusive evidence either for or against the monks’ collusion with the rebels is simply absent, despite the circumstantial probability that as prominent landlords and antisuperstition targets they clearly had ample reasons for grievance against the party. Newspaper accounts, for example, lead in different directions. Shishi xinbao claimed that the rebels assembled at the Jile Priory on February 13—a circumstance that need not have taken place with the monks’ consent.122 Xinwen bao, however, noted that Huimen, abbot of Wuhuading (age 90 plus), was already in jail before the violence began—an indication that the party branch had the monasteries in its sights well before any question of punishment for collusion had presented itself.123 Over the next two years the monasteries’ leadership protested that they were innocent bystanders victimized by the secret society members. The locals who petitioned to this effect on their behalf, however, were village heads in the same district as Wuhuading, which raises the possibility that they were tenants of the monasteries or at least represented the monastery’s tenants and sided with them financially.124 And yet, while Nanjing officials considered the monasteries’ pleas, clergy died in prison. As in the case of Qixiashan, the monasteries’ property manager was banished.125 The clergy’s main accuser revealed that his testimony had been extracted under torture, and the county head who freed him was charged with corruption.126 His successor was in turn denounced as a corrupt taker of clerical bribes by none other than the formerly “inexperienced” party cadre Xu Zheng, who just happened to be the director of the Suqian Relief House.127 Oddly, in all their petitions the monks and their allies never once blamed the party branch, although the KMT activists arguably posed the greatest threat to religious custom and landowning practices in Suqian. Rather, they concentrated on the line of corrupt or vulnerable men who


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came and went through the revolving door of the county head’s office. Perhaps they sensed the political reality in Suqian: after the Small Sword cataclysm, it was the likes of Xu Zheng who stayed, now firmly entrenched in the civic operations of the county. The Suqian KMT repeated the common pattern of the early years of the Nanjing Decade, only on the larger scale afforded by big Huaibei land parcels, chaotic Huaibei security, and “backward” Huaibei culture: having found themselves unable to take on the landholding class as a whole, they targeted the vulnerable landholding segment of temples.128 This can further be seen in the national Buddhist establishment’s utter failure to force the Nationalists to find an equitable and indeed legal solution in Suqian. In mid-1929 Taixu chimed in with a proposal to use the property to set up a “monks’ factory, to constitute the first step toward improving the lives of the clergy as a whole.” It was ignored.129 Finally, after considerable protest the Buddhist Association was permitted to designate new abbots for the two temples, but the confiscation arrangement still stood—a violation of national law.130 In early spring 1931 the Suqian abbots sent their final petitions from exile in temples in Zhenjiang and Nanjing, citing freedom of religion, the “Oversight” regulations, and Judicial Yuan cases in their arguments. Unanswered, their voices fade from the historical record. The events in Suqian came to serve as a collective malleable sign within the campaigns against superstition. To leftist economists like Wu Shoupeng, Suqian was an emblem of a feudal world that should have long since been left behind. To the formerly idealistic students from the Central Political Institute, it represented the outer edge of the modern regime, a place where governance began to break down. For high-level officials, Suqian was a spot on the periphery that had suddenly become quite central. After the Small Sword incident, the Ministry of Education made completing the old county gazetteer a priority; Chen Guofu himself provided a preface. Around the same time there was talk about creating a high school devoted to glass production.131 For Buddhists, it was yet another place where the Nationalists had violated their own rules about protecting temple property. To Suqian party cadres and officials, the incident represented a chance not only to tackle superstition and sedition but to fund their projects and perhaps enrich themselves. Elsewhere, opportunists eagerly took up the potential Suqian offered. Two years after the uprising made headlines, a resident of the monastic island of Putuoshan in Zhejiang province tried floating a story that the abbot of one of the Suqian monasteries was conspiring with his local monks to

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funnel funds to Shanghai, where they were destined for the hands not only of secret society members but also of Communist organizers to boot.132 The central government turned down his request for a 2,000 yuan reward for this suspect information. The tale nonetheless demonstrates the notoriety of Suqian and its “evil monks.” An enterprising sort recognized the name’s value as a signifier playing on the utmost fears of the KMT— superstition, secret societies, and Communists—and saw its potential for lining his own pockets and perhaps striking a blow against his neighborhood monasteries in the bargain. The historical record does not speak much to the long-term prospects of the mothers and fathers who wished to “bow for a hundred sons” or the effects on Lunar New Year celebrations in Suqian after 1929. The struggles of KMT officials in other Huaibei towns, described in the previous chapter, to keep templegoers from rebuilding and adapting to confiscation suggests one possibility. The idea of resurgence receives further confirmation from a newspaper notice of February 1937, announcing that the Suqian county head has once again declared that New Year’s religious processions endangered morals and public safety alike and enlisted his district chiefs to put a stop to them.133 Thus, the struggle over public space and power in Suqian went on.

Conclusion The notoriousness of Suqian and the favoring of Nanjing meant that the struggle over religious practice and property in these communities was conducted on the rhetorical plane as well as in the physical and economic realms. This should not be taken to imply a conceptual separation between “ideology” and material “reality.” Instead, it means that the managers of the religious communities and the architects of the Nationalist ones separately argued for their existence as much through the material qualities of their structured worlds as through the verbal tactics of their petitions and plans. Although these levels of competition may have been happening throughout Jiangsu (and elsewhere in China), they are especially visible in Suqian and Nanjing because of the high stakes in those communities. In Nanjing, we encounter not only a thoroughgoing transformation of a site in the service of the nation at Linggu Monastery but also a rare instance of a powerful secularization advocate running into progressive and, indeed, revolutionary Buddhism. In Suqian, the antisuperstition campaign was caught in a whirlwind of social and political upheaval that obscures some


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historical matters but reveals the process by which a local party branch attempted to claim physical and economic power while ignoring ritual authority. Claiming these sites for civic needs, Nationalist officials evaded the question of their continuing ritual associations, a matter that would come to haunt them as these forces confronted the state’s and the party’s ceremonial responsibilities during the 1930s. Those years would bring the KMT’s starkest confrontations not only with the religious remainder that persisted after their attempted overwriting of religious sites and communities but also with that which stubbornly adhered to their own efforts to invent an original secular repertoire of ceremony and civic belonging.

part iii Transactional Modernity

six Embodying Superstition

During a push to promote the antisuperstition campaign in winter 1929–30, operatives of the KMT Department of Propaganda made a rare foray into folk styles—a realm usually ceded to their Communist Party counterparts. The “Superstition Smashing Song” was a chanted rhyme, of the kind meant to be accompanied by rhythmic wooden clappers and sung on the street or in a teahouse by a storyteller or a fortuneteller. It began: This antisuperstition song, what purpose does it serve? Because the Chinese folk are more ignorant than wise They do not plan or strive, seeking only dependency Losing touch with the real, chasing only illusion.

Having diagnosed the perilous condition of China’s national body, the party put itself in the position of doctor: The Chinese Kuomintang cares for the people’s ills We see this dread disease and administer a cure We’ve written these few words to show you many evils In hope our comrades soon will from delusion wake.1

The evils, described at much length, included the folly of expecting to change one’s life circumstances by worshipping deities and the futility of problematic practices ranging from consulting spirit mediums and thanking the Fire Spirit and Dragon King to following Tongshanshe. None of these,



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the chant’s imagined storyteller argued, improved material life in the slightest. Most especially, they did nothing to ensure the survival of the physical self. Most of the verses, however, were devoted to the problematic nature of ritual specialists, especially fortunetellers and geomancers. Echoing the images of smashed-up deity statues mocked for “not even being able to protect themselves,” the rhyme focused not just on the illogic of mantic beliefs but the physical frailty of those who purveyed them: And take a look at the fortunetellers—what great abilities do they have? Nine out of ten are blind, their viscera already diseased If they can’t see what’s in front of them, how can they see what’s hidden?2

Not only did the KMT propagandists flip the custom of blind men telling fortunes on its head—their physical disability was commonly thought to enhance their mantic powers—they used the example as further evidence of superstition as a sickness plaguing China, for which only the party could provide the cure. Indeed, the image of the blind fortuneteller seemed hard to surpass for meeting the symbolic needs of the cultural modernizer: literally blind to any possible concrete future, he led the gullible with tales of a fictitious one instead. Such persons seemed to have little to contribute to the new society and nation. And yet: not too long before this, a number of petitions had arrived in Nanjing that accepted the subaltern physical state of the fortuneteller but demanded a role and rewards for him in the Nationalist Republic all the same. These petitions were responding to a public ban on diviners and spirit mediums of numerous types, enacted first in Nanjing and Shanghai and then announced nationwide. The most curious, perhaps, was a neatly printed petition and accompanying “manifesto” (xuanyan 宣言) from a group calling itself the Shanghai Association of Blind Fortunetellers (lit. “blind scholars”; Shanghai mangshi gonghui 上海盲士公會 ). No names were provided, and the petitioners described themselves as “impoverished little people, crippled and frail.”3 This acknowledgment of the weak physical bodies of the fortunetellers found reinforcement in the image that decorated the printed manifesto: an outline of a diviner dressed in long gown and imperial-style cap, a lute on his back, walking stick in one hand and cymbal in the other, his face nearly skeletal with its sunken cheeks and blank eyes. The blind diviners of Shanghai, however, were no meek pushovers; they knew their rights as Republican citizens, and they knew how to act in the

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broad public arena. First, by creating at least a nominal gonghui (public association), they linked themselves to all the other professional associations and unions in the city. Indeed, the rhetorical connection soon became concrete, as the following month the Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce (Shanghai zong shang hui 上海總商會) wrote Nanjing on the diviners’ behalf, an intercession that gained the protest press coverage.4 Second, although the diviners’ petition began with the language of the imperial state, it rapidly emerged into the world of Nationalist ideology and the tutelary state. Their self-abnegation was a first step toward reminding the revolutionary party of its obligations. Lacing the language of humble memorials to the emperor with modern political keywords, the diviners wrote: “On bended knee, we beg the sages of the party-state, and the good people of society, to permit some help for our benighted and dark lives.”5 Born into poverty (for the blind children of the rich, they noted, need not learn to provide for themselves), they had chosen their field through necessity and gained expertise in it only through lengthy study. The party-state had an obligation to recognize such efforts and provide for an alternative. We humbly note that the Three Principles of the People emphasize the people’s livelihood above all. Furthermore, party ideology has specified that poor people must be the first to be helped. Blind fortunetellers are both poor and crippled— among the poor they have the least opportunity. Only this beggar-like enterprise gives them a chance to earn a little rice. The day that they do not have this chance is the day they go hungry.

The diviners gently pointed out that the nascent regime hardly possessed sufficient resources to provide for such sudden indigents, as was its obligation. “Now is the beginning of the construction of the party-state,” they argued, “and realization of relief for the crippled is proceeding none too speedily.” Under such circumstances, how could the Nationalists ask them to give up their only livelihood? Yet they, too, saw the wisdom in affirming the cause of cultural modernization, requesting that the government use education to destroy superstition while planning a means of survival for the country’s “millions of blind fortunetellers.” These two images of blind fortunetellers, one a satirical sketch and one a self-portrait, overlapping yet divergent in key ways, point at the problems the Nationalists faced by stigmatizing ritual specialists in the era of tutelary government. In critiquing and furthermore attempting to ban practices such as divination, geomancy, mediumistic ritual, folk healing, and even the


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use of spirit money and firecrackers, the party and government built on longstanding discourses against waste, excess, and the chicanery of popular practitioners. But they underpinned these with arguments based on the agency of the modern political and economic subject, enhanced with medical metaphors about the survival of the national body and gendered views of the superstitious.6 New Chinese citizens must reject superstitious ritual in order to assert their agency, a process guided by the party under the tutelary regime. Ritual specialists must be pushed aside—or, in the medical metaphor, excised—lest they block that process. These same specialists, however, saw the future differently. Some argued that they, too, belonged to the national body—and that the tutelary bargain, and the Three Principles of the People, meant that provision must be made for them along with everyone else. Some, such as medical practitioners, tried to protect themselves via a similar process of triangulation that “religious” clergy had practiced, by pointing the finger at others who were the “truly” superstitious. And some benefited from privileged positions and political connections; many KMT leaders were not averse to the practice of fengshui on their personal behalf. The KMT’s bans on “superstitious persons and products” (mixin renwu 迷信人物 and mixin wupin 迷信 物品) reflected both the party’s religion problem and its larger projects of social reform, such as those against beggars, opium addicts, and unlicensed prostitutes—simultaneously schemes of sociology, policing, and education. Like these, and indeed like many large-scale government plans of social engineering, the stigmatization of ritual items and specialists conflicted with the promise of rights and obligations. The party, as it turned out, had done much to instill expectations along those lines as well, and ritual specialists were no different from any other citizens in understanding that.

Urban Reform and the Economics of Popular Ritual The imperial-era critique of popular ritual specialists—from fortunetellers to mediums—arguably fell into two general categories. The first stemmed from the desire to maintain social order. Itinerant ritual specialists traversed physical and social boundaries: the broad range of female healers and matchmakers subsumed under the pejorative category “three maidens and six grannies” (san gu liu po 三姑六婆), for example, might cross the threshold from the outer “public” sphere to the inner women’s quarters. Diviners, likewise, maintained networks of connection and information

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that spread well beyond local communities. Cultural critics concerned with curbing excessive ritual objected to the undue expenditure, breaches of etiquette, and clashes among family members fostered, they argued, by geomancers and non-elite ritual assistants. As Richard Smith points out of fengshui, however, this did not necessarily stem from a rejection of the underlying principles through which the ritual specialists claimed their authority—the idea of geomancy itself; rather, critics rejected these practitioners’ right to claim such authority and the way in which they exercised it.7 This points at the second, more comprehensive explanation of the critique of ritual specialists: competitive efficacy. That is, both Confucian elites and Daoist masters can be seen as operating in a mutual marketplace of legitimacy with other ritual specialists. In this view, the interaction— sometimes competitive, sometimes cooperative—of huoju (伙局, “housedwelling”) and ritual master Daoists, of lisheng 禮生 Confucian ritualists and Daoist priests, of shidaifu 士大夫 scholarly elites and spirit mediums, and of a wide range of other assistants and adepts can be seen as constituting a continuum of ritual possibility.8 The basic commodities in this marketplace are efficacy and authority. Their existence generates competition to demonstrate specialized knowledge or access to spiritual power. Both anthropological and historical evidence indicates that the steady state of this market includes the sharing of duties among different types of ritual specialists as well as moments of direct competition for legitimacy. Importantly, the scholarly elites do not provide a “secular” alternative in this spectrum, as recent scholarship on the interaction of government officials and Confucian medics with popular healers has shown especially well.9 Instead, in addition to functioning in the realms of governance, education, domestic management, and so on, jiaohua 教化, “civilization and education,” operates in this ritual market as well. The Nationalist critique of popular ritual specialists drew on these longstanding precedents and placed them in new contexts. The modern construction of religion, for instance, with its reliance on centralized and statesupervised organizations and the narrowing of textual legitimacy, aided the cause of clerical specialists and promoters of scholarly authenticity. Horror at wasted donations and religious expenses built on orthodox condemnations of ritual excess and placed them in new contexts of productivity and national construction. Other techniques and motivations had emerged only since the end of the Qing, such as the idea of social engineering as an important part of urban planning and the creation of a modern police force to carry out that task.


Embodying Superstition

Just as other “evil habits” such as prostitution and opium generated their own economic relations, superstition supported a world of mediums and fortunetellers, makers of spirit money and firecrackers, and monks and priests who made a living from funerary rites. The Nationalists argued that this economy had to be broken if habits were ever to be improved. They hoped that popular education would help reduce demand. To make the final break, however, KMT activists decided they had to attack the supply side by banning the purveyors of superstition from carrying out their customary trades and rehabilitating them to make a proper contribution to the new planned economy. Nanjing Decade programs for the reform of customs emerged in three rough stages. For the first three to four years, central leaders such as the ministers of interior drove the initial flood of activism in part, but even more energy came from the officials and party cadres running the model municipalities, especially Nanjing and Shanghai. In Nanjing the initiative came from Liu Jiwen, a Chiang Kai-shek ally and student of urban government who served as the new capital’s mayor from 1928 to 1930. In addition to overseeing the ambitious construction projects that were to transform the city into a gleaming new capital, Liu initiated a wide range of campaigns to modernize and sanitize the behavior of Nanjing residents into something befitting representatives of a modern nation—emphasizing, as Zwia Lipkin has noted, both “spiritual” and material construction.10 In Shanghai, the activists in the municipal party branch, such as Chen Dezheng 陳德徵 (1893–?) and Pan Gongzhan 潘公展 (1895–1975), spearheaded similar efforts.11 In their late twenties, by and large educated in the south coastal China nexus of elite mission colleges, these men had risen in the party hierarchy by honing their craft in the KMT’s propaganda organs and under the patronage of cultural reformers such as Ye Chucang and Chen Guofu. After 1930, the attention of central officials was diverted by civil war, natural disaster, and foreign invasion. Enforcement of customs campaigns fell by the wayside as administrative attention and government funds went to military expenditures, large-scale economic planning, and measures for social control (such as the gradual implementation of the baojia system in some parts of rural China, largely the north). As with temple confiscations, however, reforms that had faded in cities continued to surface in towns and villages years later (particularly for calendrical reforms and temple festivals, topics considered in the next chapter). The third stage began around 1933. The Ministry of Interior Office of Ritual and Customs under Lu Xirong 盧錫榮 (1893–1957), a professor

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of politics with a doctorate from Columbia University, renewed and expanded the customs surveys of the late 1920s and reopened efforts to reform particular areas such as funerary practices.12 Chen Guofu, who devoted a great deal of his voluminous writings to the problem of customs reform, took over the governorship of Jiangsu and initiated similar programs there. Then the February 1934 launch of the New Life Movement intensified the spotlight on the daily behavior of Chinese citizens. Begun in the crucible of what would be the final anti-Communist encirclement campaign in Jiangxi, the movement reflected the military orientation of its figurehead, Chiang Kai-shek, and contributors such as the general Xiong Shihui 熊 式 輝 (1893–1974). It became notorious for its regulations on individual behavior, from the right way to button a button to stipulations of politeness and frugality. The goals of making Chinese life more military, more productive, and more aesthetically pleasing (the “Three Transformations”—junshi hua, shengchan hua, meishu hua 軍事化, 生產化, 美術化) brought renewed attention to customs construed as wasteful or unseemly. Nationalist customs reform plans also represented the blossoming of seeds planted at the beginning of the century. New Policies and early Republican urban planners created institutions aimed at reforming society’s detritus: the workhouse, the lecture hall, the night school, the police force, and the social affairs bureau. Janet Chen has shown how the late Qing rise of the idea that productivity would save the nation had the effect of criminalizing poverty in new ways. During the 1920s, poverty relief became intertwined with discourses of national shame.13 This provides a good underlying explanation for how ritual specialists and their clients became targets for policing and workhouse schemes alongside the indigent, beggars, prostitutes, and opium smokers. Governmental activists not only saw ordinary fortunetellers as a subset of the urban poor littering the streets but also argued that the trade practiced by such persons poisoned the minds of millions with fatalism and indolence and added to the ranks of the impoverished. The 1920s brought a confluence of popular and professional sociology, planned economies, and mobilizational politics that focused attention on everyday ritual as a source not only of psychological and educational deficiency but also of fiscal weakness in the Chinese family and by extension the nation as a whole. Thus the Nationalist Department of Propaganda claimed that according to national statistics, the peoples’ expenditures on worshipping gods is no less than 200 million yuan a year, and on sacrificing to ghosts, more than 400 million. In poverty-stricken China, how can we countenance such worthless


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expenditure? What’s more, most of the faithful are poor people from the countryside. To take their money, earned by sweat and blood, and put it toward these uneconomic expenses is an even crueler thing!14

The Department of Propaganda cited no source to back up its claims, but in this era of the survey, official-sounding statistics were not hard to find. In 1930 an investigation conducted by the Jiangsu provincial government calculated that expenditures on “superstition” that year totaled a stunning 47,940,000 yuan for the whole province (a figure which, if representative, yields a nationwide figure double the party’s claim). Once again, however, the methodology—indeed, what exactly was counted—was left vague.15 More reliable gauges might be found in information gathered on household expenditures by the social surveys of the 1920s and 1930s—Li Jinghan’s in Ding county, Sidney Gamble’s surveys of Beijing, and the Institute of Social Research study in Shanghai.16 These surveyors scrupulously distinguished kinds of ritual expenses, clearly separating incense, firecrackers, spirit money, lanterns, and (in the case of Sidney Gamble) even the special greenery for festivals in a category distinct from temple donations and special occasions such as funerals. The averages drawn from these sources are given in Table 4. In both rural and urban settings, expenditures on ritual goods amounted to well less than one percent of household income or spending—although, in both Ding county and Shanghai, spending on these goods slightly exceeded the average amounts spent either on education or on hygiene. The outlying Shanghai figure may be due to higher commodity prices overall; by contrast, in Hangzhou, a center of the spirit money industry, the local government found that laboring households spent 0.2 percent of their income on ritual expenses, and civil servants and store managers 0.1 percent.17 The surveyors focused on commodities rather than services, and thus their findings shed little light on the role of ritual specialists in household life and spending. The government likewise saw the world in terms of commodities, however, and thus even these relatively small expenditures represented two possibilities: potential tax revenue, or labor and infrastructure, better redirected to creating a more “necessary” product. On the practical side, the central and provincial governments’ inability to collect land taxes in full severely limited the Nationalists’ revenue base, and an assessment on even a minor household expense might go quite far toward helping close small but important gaps.18 On the rhetorical side, the message was that all must

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Table 4 Ritual Expenses in Annual Household Budgets ____________________________________________________________________ (A) (B) (C) (D) (E) Ritual Total A/B Total A/D Time & place expenses expenses (%) income (%) ____________________________________________________________________ Farming households, Ding county, 1928–29






Cotton mill workers, Shanghai 1927–28

$2.76 (Y2.56)

$390.00 (Y361.14)


$394.68 (Y365.47)


Urban workers, $2.12 $683.00 $683.00 Beijing 1926–27 (Y1.96) (Y632.46) 0.30 (Y632.46) 0.30 ____________________________________________________________________ note: Units of currency at this time were multiple and various, including notes (largely denominated in yuan) issued by private and state banks (represented in the Ding county figures) and silver dollars of different source (Shanghai and Beijing figures). Yuan equivalents for silver dollar amounts are calculated here according to the 1927–28 silver tael worth of each (0.667 and 0.72 taels, respectively, from Sheehan, Trust in Troubled Times, xiii; China Year Book 1929–30, 291). sources: Ding county: Li Jinghan, Ding xian shehui gaikuang diaocha, 302, 305, 322; Shanghai: Simon Yang and L. K. Tao, A Study of the Standard of Living of Working Families in Shanghai ), 33, 38, 68; Beijing: Sidney D. Gamble, How Chinese Families Live in Peiping, 37, 45, 186, 319.

pitch in on the enterprise of national construction. A 1929 cartoon from the Central Daily News (Fig. 7), while ostensibly addressing the end-user of ritual—in this case, the temple donor—exhorts and challenges all those engaged in China’s ritual economy.19 Worshippers kneel before a large Buddha image, a vaguely rendered monk or nun taps a wooden fish in the background, and incense wafts through the air. The enormous candle stands and opulent lanterns suggest the temple’s wealth. “Urging you to take your donation funds and help build the nation instead!” the slogan reads—a challenge to the would-be recipient of the largesse as well as to the donor.

Superstitious Products With ritual goods, members of the Nanjing government faced a choice: to levy taxes on their consumption—as with other vice taxes on cigarettes and alcohol— or to prohibit their manufacture and sale altogether. The cash-strapped government initially chose taxation. This solution appealed strongly to educational planners and county governments seeking revenue. Ironically, urban economics eventually undercut such plans and allowed

Embodying Superstition


Fig. 7

“Urging you to take your donation funds and help build the nation instead!” Cartoon in Central Daily News, 26 August 1929 (supplement, 7).

zealous reformers in city governments to attempt more basic attacks on social practice. The University Council, under the leadership of Cai Yuanpei, saw assessments on spirit money as a potential boon for education funds and a possible replacement for the problematic lijin transport tax.20 In particular, education officials had in mind foil money (xibo 錫箔), paper with applied squares of tin foil or gold leaf.21 They proposed taking the levy on foil money, which since the Qing had been assessed locally as part of a general tax on paper products, and using the proceeds for their pro-

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grams and for the Jiangsu and Zhejiang education departments. These provinces had to be accommodated both because of their key role in KMT educational planning and because of their central position in foil money production and distribution. Officials expected the new fixed rate of 25 percent on sales of spirit money to generate nearly two million yuan a year. This figure testifies to the pervasiveness of expenditures on these relatively low-cost products throughout Chinese society; it was equivalent to a respectable fifth of the revenue brought in by the stamp tax on notarized documents and one-twelfth of that generated by the tax on the more expensive tobacco and alcohol.22 The Ministry of Finance commissioned two Shanghai merchants, Yu Yu and Zhu Shigong, to run the Jiangsu-Zhejiang Office for the Collection of the Special Foil Tax from that city.23 But the plan to levy the foil money tax nationwide quickly collapsed. The failure was an early indicator of the dependency of some local economies, especially in south-central China, on “superstitious” businesses. The Zhejiang provincial government, anxious to preserve the tax income it already derived from foil money, warned against the rate increase. Provincial party members—a group heretofore at the frontlines of the antisuperstition movement and more than happy, for example, to consider defrocking large numbers of Buddhist clergy—warned that sales of the product would undoubtedly diminish and put workers out of jobs. They pointed out that the men who beat foil for a living were known for being strong and “truculent,” and “in this time of turbulence in the workers’ movement and a crisis of poverty among the people,” the government would hardly wish to provoke another threat to public security.24 Then the industry itself spoke up: the Shanghai Foil Industry Association (Shanghai xibo tongye hui 上海 錫箔同業會) warned of the possible ill effects on “hundreds of thousands of workers” in Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Shaoxing.25 Worried, University Council Assistant Minister Yang Quan prevailed on the Ministry of Finance to halve the tax rate, but the tax farmers Yu and Zhu balked at the reduction, perhaps due to their own financial interest.26 The center’s attempt to execute the tax over the following year caused endless squabbles with the localities, especially in Zhejiang, where the clamor to retain local control of revenues was high. Some foil businesses in Shaoxing remained shuttered, closed by antisuperstition campaigners.27 Finally, the University Council was itself emasculated and replaced by the Bureau of Education, and the Ministry of Finance made the foil tax one of the sixteen regressive “special taxes” (tezhong shui 特種稅), a particular focus of popular hatred.28 Local education authorities sometimes collected


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the foil tax as one source of school funds—in Wujin, for example, school officials derived 2 percent of their 1929–33 revenue from a foil tax. This, too, generated its own periodic conflicts. In Suqian, it contributed to the weighty local assessments that fostered the Small Sword uprising.29 In early 1930, the Nanjing authorities finally dropped the idea of drawing additional revenue from spirit money into national coffers.30 They focused thereafter on the punitive approach. Mayor Liu’s Nanjing city government started the action by proclaiming a general ban on spirit money, arguing it not only fostered superstition but “was easily confused with real currency.”31 Although the second claim stretches credulity and hardly seems applicable to all spirit money, the Nationalist government did face numerous problems due to the proliferation of different bank-issued currencies before the 1935 shift to a managed currency system (aka fabi 法幣).32 After the failure of the tax plans, activist officials in other areas began to take up the idea of prohibition. In 1930, local party branches in Jiangsu and Hebei asked the center to ban all “superstitious products”—from spirit money to religious woodblock prints. The leadership in the party Central Executive Committee and the Executive Yuan agreed but, having learned a lesson with the tax proposal, decided to enact the ban gradually.33 The resulting “Plan for Abolishing Businesses Dealing in Superstitious Merchandise” (“Qudi jingying mixin wupin ye banfa” 取締經營迷信物品業辦法), promulgated in March 1930, ordered that anyone manufacturing spirit money, charms, or firecrackers “for offering to ghosts and spirits” had one year to change to “another, proper profession.” County and city police chiefs were to work in concert with local workers’ and merchants’ associations to register all such businesses and oversee their reform. Collaborative efforts would also produce propaganda materials—including posters and songs—that would encourage “selfawakening” among owners and employees and bring their families to understand the costs of superstition. After one year, not only sellers but also customers would be subject to police action.34 The objections to the tax on foil money had not been a fluke: the protest to the plan came quickly. Almost all of it came from businessmen in Jiangnan, the center of the foil and gold leaf industry. The petitions that piled up at the Executive Yuan display several notable characteristics. First, the foil merchants showed a savvy awareness of Nationalist rhetoric and government fears. The Hangzhou Foil Industry Association (Hangzhou xibo tongye hui 杭州錫箔同業會) sent an urgent cable raising, as had the Shanghai group two years earlier, the specter of civil unrest. Citing both

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the global depression and the existence of other troubled local industries, the foil producers asked how the government could add to the people’s suffering. To do so directly contravened Sun Yat-sen’s principle of the people’s right to a livelihood. They even claimed that Chiang Kai-shek had recently given a speech in which he acknowledged the problems of executing the ban before adequate relief measures were in place to succor the unemployed.35 The Hangzhou businessmen went so far as to critique the regime’s priorities: “In this period of tutelage, the government ought to be putting all its efforts into pacifying society and increasing production; in comparison, banning superstitious products hardly seems like an urgent task.” They concluded with a veiled threat about the consequences of protest, arguing that “speaking realistically, if [the government] doesn’t take a gradual approach, it will be hard for the country to reach the glorious era of constitutional government.” Another Hangzhou business group had clearly gotten similar information as the foil merchants and implied the ministers’ disobedience when they called on them to “heed the virtuous ideas proclaimed by Chairman Chiang.”36 Second, the foil-industry protests were also notable for their organization. Shortly after that first cable, merchants’ organizations throughout the city, including the Hangzhou General Chamber of Commerce (Hangzhou zong shang hui 杭州總商會), sent almost identically worded appeals. In the coming months further petitions from industry representatives in Shaoxing, Shanghai, Suzhou, and Zhenjiang would reiterate the particular arguments made by the Hangzhou groups: appeals to Sun’s ideology, warnings of social dislocation, advice that a gradual program of education was the best way to deal with superstition, and, most commonly, Chiang’s recognition of the problems in his alleged speech. Some added their own novel twists that demonstrated a savvy regard for the cultural and political discourse of the day. The Zhenjiang group, for instance, claimed that since Buddhists burned spirit money, the practice ought to be protected under the freedom of religion.37 In this clever calculation, the newly legitimated category of religion elevated this problematic substance out of the realm of superstition (rather than spirit money dragging Buddhism down and out of religion, as reformers like Yuanying feared). The Suzhou foil merchants, meanwhile, argued that the sages of old promoted honoring one’s ancestors and thus spirit offerings were exactly the kind of “national morality” (minzu guyou daode 民族固有道德) that the KMT upheld.38 Other industries joined in: a group of firecracker


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manufacturers in Shanghai appealed to the national products movement, remarking that their item was a “uniquely Chinese item” and a rare case of surviving artisan craftsmanship. “The government is not able to purge the Communist bandits or enable people to live and work in peace,” they criticized; so why further endanger the livelihoods of good citizens?39 The petitions touched on every hot issue of the day. The ultimate key to the successful appeals of the “superstitious products” industries, however, was the endorsement of local Nationalist officials themselves. Even the Shanghai Merchant Organization Rectification Committee, the KMT-dominated group designed to bring the city’s Chamber of Commerce under the control of the party and central government, supported the firecracker makers.40 It was the intervention of the Zhejiang provincial government, however, that ultimately pushed the Nanjing leaders to reconsider their measures. Echoing his predecessor’s warnings about excessive taxation, Governor Zhang Renjie 張人傑 (1877–1950) worried about the social effects of unemployment not only on foil makers but on the paper industry. He, too, cited Chiang’s speech, which he said had projected that half a million workers would be affected. Zhang proposed a scheme of gradual change enacted by a vaguely outlined program of propaganda and reassignment of workers “according to local conditions.”41 In effect Zhang proposed delaying the ban into oblivion. The Zhejiang officials’ financial interest in the tax revenues from foil making cannot be discounted. Yet the social threat was also very real. Even though years of taxation and antisuperstition activism had already taken a toll, in 1931 the Hangzhou spirit money industry alone did business of more than 8.5 million yuan and employed 35,000 workers. Makers of other funerary items in the city—a more localized market than that for spirit money, which was distributed throughout Jiangnan—brought in 421,000 yuan and employed another thousand people. The 538 workshops involved made up 35 percent of all handicraft businesses in Hangzhou, but more astonishingly their capitalization accounted for at least half the total invested in such ventures.42 In a city of 490,000, this meant that at least 7 percent of the population had jobs producing “superstitious products.”43 Add to that the workers who made household prints of gods and other paper products, deity images, and firecrackers—as well the merchants who sold these products and their employees—and the portion of Hangzhou’s population directly affected by the new legislation grew to a sizable number. Much the same was true in Ningbo and Shaoxing, and on a lesser scale in Suzhou, Zhenjiang, and Shanghai. Labor unrest was already a factor in

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these places. Between 1918 and 1926 makers of spirit money struck four times in Shanghai and Shaoxing; one 1920 incident in Shaoxing involved over 23,000 workers and ended in police action.44 Nor was it only urban employment or local economies that were potentially affected. A 1936 analysis of the rural economy of Jiangsu estimated that farmers engaged in sideline production of “superstitious products” in 46 out of 61 counties.45 As the Shanghai foil merchants pointed out, “The foil makers are mostly in Zhejiang, the product is sold in Jiangsu, raw materials come from Yunnan, and the paper comes either from Zhejiang, Jiangxi, or Fujian. So although [spirit money] is indeed superstitious, the lives of tens of millions depend on it.”46 The total may have been exaggerated, but the product’s importance to local, regional, and transregional economic networks was not. Thus when the Zhejiang governor made his plea, central officials withdrew the ban, albeit in stages. First, a group consisting of Chiang Kai-shek and the heads of the other yuan (Hu Hanmin 胡漢民 [1879–1936], Dai Jitao, Wang Chonghui 王寵惠, and former interior minister Zhao Daiwen) ordered candles and incense removed from the list of banned items.47 No explanation was given, but the intervention of high-level officials (rather an administrative review) is remarkable. The broad utility of these two items—from ordinary household uses to the needs of permitted worship and ancestor veneration—offers one possible explanation. Fear of labor unrest provides another. During the previous decade, the incense industry had experienced a level of strife disproportionate to its size. Between 1918 and 1926 incense workers in Shanghai, Suzhou, and other Jiangnan cities held nineteen strikes, mostly over wages. Shanghai accounted for eleven of these, even though it had but fifty workshops overall. The control of these manufactories by both local and out-of-town factions kept pay for piecework low.48 In 1927 incense workers were among the many groups forming new unions in Shanghai, whereupon they struck again. The numbers of workers involved were relatively small: the number of strikers averaged a few hundred, and the Shanghai union was founded with just over 500 members. But the Shanghai Social Affairs Bureau counted 388 shops in the city that specialized solely in candles and incense, 1.5 percent of all shops in the city. Nanjing had 25, about as many as shops offering tea, herbal medicines, writing supplies, or noodles and flour.49 And just at this time, Nanjing municipal officials were facing another sizable dispute in the incense industry—this one over the hiring of non-union labor. The organizers won.50 On the manufacturing side, associations in these industries also dominated the local economy in Suzhou.51


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Sent a signal on these two products by their superiors and drawing on the evidence that additional agitation might come from the other industries providing “superstitious” goods, officials soon caved in. The National Government conceded that Zhejiang, and other localities confronting the possibility of unrest, might “alter the procedure” for dealing with superstitious products, so long as officials of the Executive Yuan gave prior approval.52 Nine years later, a Ministry of Interior official admitted that this loophole had effectively nullified the ban.53 In cities near the capital, such as Suzhou, the order was printed and circulated by the local police departments.54 But it is unclear whether any further steps were taken. To carry out the ban on sales, police would not only have had to investigate shops but also scour the streets for the itinerant vendors who more frequently sold spirit money in neighborhoods. Work reports in the capital show no further police activity on the ban after 1930. Even though the New Life Movement instructed officials to attack the use of spirit money as one of the many social problems requiring reform, the myriad other demands of the movement took precedence. The 1936 One Day in China collection shows people using spirit money undiminished even in places like Zhenjiang, the administrative seat of Jiangsu province.55 None of the 57 Jiangsu county governments completing customs surveys during 1932–35 mentioned a successful ban. Most instead noted the use of incense and spirit money in local worship and funerary rites, even in places where officials otherwise claimed success in “destroying superstition.” Officials in Rugao, for example, proudly noted that ever since ever since the county party branch had destroyed the City God Temple, the youth of the county had been keen opponents of superstition, and large-scale temple festivals had diminished. But, they admitted, “the business of shops dealing in incense, candles, paper gods, and spirit money has not changed for the worse.”56 If the purveyors of superstitious products turned out to be stubbornly embedded in the social and political framework, then perhaps the lowly people whose very identity embodied superstition would more readily render themselves for reform.

Superstitious Persons and the Meaning of Modern Society To Nationalist officials, persons such as spirit mediums, fortunetellers, and geomancers were even less socially or economically productive than nuns or monks. Moreover, like beggars and prostitutes, they constituted blights

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on the social landscape, disaggregated objects imperfectly legible to the state. They spurred a more ambitious campaign than the plan to ban superstitious products, for even more than laborers who pounded tinfoil or fashioned firecrackers, fortunetellers and their ilk lacked transferable skills and an obvious place in the newly constituted society. Relocating them would require detailed preparations that linked to other KMT programs for economic development, vocational education, and social welfare. The fate of ritual specialists during the Nanjing Decade therefore impinges on the history of Nationalist social and economic planning overall. More broadly, the state-demarcated category of “superstitious persons” lumped together a wide range of persons with different levels of education, organization, and social and political connections. By thus categorizing them, the state attempted to label such people as social outcasts in need of reform. For their part, the “superstitious persons” demonstrated levels of social engagement that included not only territorial marking and strategic rejection of the competition but also organization along new civic lines and the ability to use the party-state’s rhetoric against itself. As with ritual commodities, the movement to counteract ritual specialists began in activist Jiangnan, with considerable enthusiasm in Guangzhou as well. Here, too, the initial idea, especially for the counties, was to seek revenue and discourage behavior via taxation, a plan shared by some reformminded Buddhist clergy. Thus, educational authorities in Jiangsu province attempted to assess a “sutra-reading” tax on Buddhist and Daoist services, much like the one Dixian and Yuanying had suggested in Zhejiang during 1927. The Nantong Education Bureau expanded this thought by attempting to collecting fees of one to ten yuan on the activities of monks, nuns, fortunetellers, and mediums, with collection committees to be established in every town and village.57 Once it became apparent how unfeasible such a plan might be—especially in counties less well organized than Nantong— the taxation movement faltered, just as its commodity counterpart had.58 The urban administrations then pursued an outright ban of such activities, focusing on seemingly vulnerable popular practitioners and, for the time being at least, excluding Buddhist and Daoist clergy. In Nanjing, Mayor Liu Jiwen declared fortunetellers, whether they relied on hexagrams, astrology, physiognomy, or other methods to make their prognostications, “the worst blot on a revolutionary capital.” They were universally ordered to change their occupation by 1 September 1928, as part of the “three big prohibitions,” which also included gambling and prostitution.59 That September the Shanghai Party Affairs Supervision Committee (Shanghai shi


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dang zhidao weiyuan hui 上海市黨指導委員會) proposed a seven-point plan to ban fortunetellers (bushi 卜筮), astrologers and physiognomists (xingxiang 星相), spirit mediums (wuxi 巫覡), and geomancers (kanyu 堪與). Xue Dubi’s Ministry of Interior immediately adopted the proposal and issued a national regulation calling for local public security bureaus to cleanse the country’s streets of such persons within three months.60 With the stick, however, came a carrot: police were also to spearhead a related propaganda campaign, reminding people that “the future and fortune of humankind rested entirely on their own efforts.”61 Spreading the message of human agency, therefore, was key to undermining this aspect of superstition and applied equally to the consumers of superstition as to its producers. Party propaganda and mass education textbooks elaborated the theme of self-reliance as a means of promoting rationalism and productivity. The “Superstition Smashing Song” returned repeatedly to this idea. It mocked the method of reading physiognomy: The cause of being poor Rests with one’s own hard work Dying young or old All comes down to hygiene The job you choose to do Depends on your own brains All these kinds of things Have what to do with a face?62

And it offered realist arguments against selecting graves by using geomancy: The land is rich or poor The place is high or low No one’s bones place first All will face decay.63

Textbooks commercially produced for the government mass education program echoed similar refrains of responsibility, effort, and productivity. A 1931 reading primer for adults included a rhyme entitled “Fate” that shamed readers for their gullibility and held out hard work and competition as the correct path: Reckoning your stems and branches, assessing what’s your fate This sort of enterprise is really most crude. Fortune must be sought after, advantage should be struggled for. That is “fate,” that is “luck.”64

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This was how the ignorant and fearful were to learn “faith in themselves.” Tied in with the message about agency, however, seemed to be almost overwhelming images of Social Darwinian competition amid bleak social prospects (“struggle,” “hard work,” inevitable decay). As with so much Nationalist rhetoric, promise was tinged with shame and anxiety. It was, however, more direct to go after the supply than to curtail demand. Subjecting superstitious personnel to police action had the added benefit of placing a small but important segment of society and their larger social networks within the state’s grasp. That is the step local governments tended to take first. Diviners who had not found new work on their own after three months were to be steered into local factories, or, if factories did not exist, “work appropriate to their responsibilities.” Relief houses were to absorb the “aged and crippled” who could not find other jobs. The guidelines assigned county and city authorities responsibility for overseeing every stage of the plan. The number of people involved was considerably fewer than the workers who manufactured spirit money, firecrackers, and religious prints. According to a Nanjing Social Affairs Bureau survey of September 1928, for instance, 685 diviners worked in the city.65 Yet by assigning local governments direct responsibility for rehabilitating the entire population of diviners and their colleagues, the Ministry of Interior placed on their shoulders a burden that was considerable enough. In 1928 the only employment agency in the capital, the Nanjing Vocational Guidance Center (Nanjing zhiye zhidao suo 南京職業指導所), was run not by the government but by Huang Yanpei’s Vocational Education Society of China (Zhonghua zhiye jiaoyu she 中華職業教育社).66 By early 1929 the municipal Education Bureau had founded a public employment office, but it was designed to serve educated youth in applying to secondary or tertiary schools or in finding professional work after graduation, goals that reflected the party’s tendency to view vocational education as primarily a matter of steering well-educated youth where they were needed.67 At the unskilled end of the spectrum lay “people’s training institutes” ( pingmin xiyi suo 平民習藝所), short-term handicraft training programs that, as Zwia Lipkin points out, Nanjing authorities spoke of as much in punitive as in aspirational tones.68 Weaving straw sandals was a typical pursuit in these schools—a model established in the New Policies era.69 Many of the institutes were mandated to help bereft women, orphans, and refugees. Thus the place for unemployed diviners was not immediately apparent. There was the further question of the infirm and blind among their numbers. The government claimed great concern for the disabled: a 1929


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Ministry of Interior outline pledged to use scientific advances to train blind citizens to read.70 In February of that year, the Nanjing Education Bureau held a two-day fair “to promote the education of the blind and deaf in the capital.” Timed to coincide with the Lantern Festival, the fair featured military bands, elementary school song-and-dance performances, martial-arts demonstrations, and Beijing opera. Members of a workhouse ( pingmin gongchang 平民工廠, or “people’s workshop”) performed the educational play “New Spirit.”71 In terms of concrete facilities, however, funds were low. Nanjing city boasted the country’s only public school for the blind and deaf, for example; its students were taught music, weaving, and different methods of communication. Private schools also existed in such cities as Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing. Some of these were church-run, and some were arms of civic organizations: the Guangzhou school for the blind, for example, was funded by the city’s salt merchants.72 Even combined, private and public schools, especially those that provided free room and board, could support only a small number of students, most of them children. During the 1930s, the Nanjing school cared for 50 to 65 students a year; the number of blind fortunetellers in the city topped 300.73 When the Jiangsu provincial government designed its “home for cripples” (canfei suo 殘廢所) in 1930, it limited the number of residents to 100, of which only a portion were the blind and deaf.74 Thus there is some justice to the Shanghai Association of Blind Fortunetellers’ comment that relief for the disabled was “proceeding none too speedily.” This was a sensitive topic; as Janet Chen writes, the ability of the Nationalist state, rather than foreign charities, to provide relief formed a key part of the moral case for abrogating extraterritoriality.75 The idea that fortunetellers deserved a chance to pursue their chosen livelihood resounded in a wave of petitions from the capital and Shanghai. Soon after the announcement of the original Nanjing city ban, one Chen Zirou wrote in under the mantle of the “Nanjing Association for the Protection of the Livelihood of Blind Persons,” arguing that the city’s fortunetellers would never be able to find new occupations so quickly. Mayor Liu—whose government had already suggested that fortunetellers be sent to construct roads—refused to entertain the plea.76 Then, as the National Government was considering whether to adopt the Shanghai proposal as a nationwide ban, Wang Yiting attempted to intervene on behalf of local diviners in the same way he had aided fellow Buddhists just a few months earlier. Diviner Zhang Zhengming and 45 colleagues—including fortunetellers, geomancers, and physiognomers—had pleaded for his help as chairman of the

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Shanghai Federation of Charitable Organizations (Shanghai cishan tuanti lianhe hui 上海慈善團體聯合會), he wrote. Wang quoted their appeal at length. Members of their profession were either physically handicapped, of great age, or extremely poor, Zhang Zhengming and his colleagues had claimed. They might be distasteful and helpless—“although our lives are insect-like, we have nothing else to rely on”—but there was someone yet more loathsome than themselves: the spirit medium. The diviners argued that mediums were the ones who denied human agency and responsibility, whereas they affirmed it: We show people how to encourage good luck and avoid bad—isn’t this really “aiding the masses”? If you wish for the signs of good fortune, you must not forget good acts; if you want to avoid bad luck, you shouldn’t create evil. You must wait for the cause, and the effect will follow; if there is no cause, there will be no effect. This is not like the way spirit mediums stir up the masses.77

Wang Yiting defended Zhang Zhengming and his colleagues on grounds of their infirmity and need for protection, and they were willing to play on that image as well. But professional pride also spurred them to distinguish themselves from spirit mediums, contrary to the crude categorizations of modern government. Gentlemen who cultivated an expertise in the mantic arts had long carefully distinguished themselves from those they considered to be less learned and more prone to rabble-rousing. During the Republic, literary diviners began to fit themselves into arguments about China’s heritage and history as a weapon against the growing tide of antisuperstition critique. In a 1925 preface to The Shen School of the Mystic Void, for example, Wujin native Gu Shibai 顧實拜 called geomancers “China’s national essence” and demanded that their long history be continued unbroken.78 During the 1940s, Yuan Shushan 袁樹珊 took a similar tack, pointing out how emperors, and therefore the country, had benefited from learned divination in the past. He called the government ban on fortunetelling a philistine act comparable to Qin Shihuang’s book-burning.79 Yet although such men doubtless believed themselves under cultural assault, a careful consultation of the Nationalist agenda makes it clear that although the party named all mantic practices for eradication, it had only certain types of people in mind. Private pursuit of these interests by the powerful was not at issue; indeed, in an extension of the Confucian scholar-official’s sideline fascination with mantic practice, rumors circulated about certain KMT leaders’ own obsession with fengshui and


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divination. One especially popular bit of gossip had Chiang Kai-shek avidly consulting Zhejiang fortunetellers during his first period “in the wilderness” in late 1927.80 Of the range of divination professionals in the Chinese social landscape, however—the occasional dabblers, the private consultants on retainer to prominent families, and the men and occasional woman who wandered cities and towns or set up in street stalls—it was clearly the last group that concerned the Nationalists. Like clergy, beggars, and prostitutes, they received the labels “unproductive” (bu shengchan 不生產) and “useless to society.”81 This still covered a wide range of operations. Sighted specialists in character analysis or divination by hexagrams set up small stands in markets or along major thoroughfares. In big cities like Shanghai, the premises of the more prosperous diviners could be rather more luxurious. Contemporary photographs show lone blind fortunetellers in the street, seeking customers with a cymbal and clapper. Some accounts held that their territories covered great distances, but more commonly they were fixtures in their neighborhoods, taking advantage of their itinerant occupation to deliver gossip as well as prognostications to local households. The blind Shanghai master Wu Jianguang 吳鑒光 (“Bright Mirror Wu”) practiced a simple method of divination with bones from his spot on Nanjing Road, the bustling commercial artery of the city, but won entrée into women’s quarters around the city at New Year’s.82 Thus whereas late imperial governing elites may have simultaneously relied on and despised fortunetellers for their ability to travel among various social strata, Republican governance now viewed such mobility as dangerously unfixed and illegible. It also made the mantic arts a matter of class and economy: the poor and unproductive practitioners were an affliction of the body politic, whereas the private interests of the political elites could be safely hidden away as “culture.” Perhaps—as with temples and temple committees—it was the very social bonds that fortunetellers formed that disturbed the Nationalists, for their own surveys revealed the diviners’ embeddedness in the local social fabric. In the capital, investigators from the Social Affairs Bureau questioned 138 of the 350 known blind diviners, and 73 of the 120 sighted ones. They found that nearly 43 percent of both groups were Nanjing natives; another 42 and 23 percent, respectively, came from elsewhere in Jiangsu. The proportion of natives among fortunetellers in fact exceeded that among Nanjing residents as a whole.83 In Guangzhou, a 1929 police survey showed that 95 percent of the city’s 612 diviners, mediums, and geomancers were Guangdong natives, mostly from the two

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Pearl River delta counties immediately to the south of the city.84 Moreover, the vast majority of both blind and sighted fortunetellers in Nanjing supported households, of an average of 4 and 5 persons, respectively.85 Yet the surveys approached fortunetellers less as a represented constituency—part of a social segment ( jie 節) in the parlance of the day—than as bits of loose social flotsam that needed rehabilitation. The Shanghai and Nanjing petitions made an opposite claim. It is unclear whether the professional associations that responded so eloquently to the Nationalist ban had a prior existence or formed solely in response to the threat. Although these groups appear to have sprung out of nowhere, related groups such as mendicants and blind storytellers had long organized themselves in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.86 Yet, in designating professional “public associations” and printing manifestos, the diviners laid claim to a loftier realm than the rough-and-tumble world of beggar guilds, with their territorial operations and protection-fee extortion schemes. Their language sometimes mixed the imperial and Republican discursive worlds—the Shanghai Association manifesto rendered a stock phrase of petitions almost politically unintelligible by “begging the sages of the party-state” for attention. But a useful comparison might be the individual petitions that Social Affairs Bureau scribes wrote out for impoverished plaintiffs in Beijing, which not only addressed Nationalist officials in the manner of their imperial predecessors but used the rhetoric of the past to appeal to their fatherly benevolence.87 By contrast, the diviners were more linguistically diverse and certainly better educated, organized, connected, and funded (having money enough to print their petitions and manifestos). Local officials did acknowledge the informal community role of some of the fortunetellers: although Chen Zirou’s Nanjing Association for the Protection of the Livelihood of Blind Persons may not have been registered as a charitable group, municipal Social Affairs Bureau investigators depended on his personal statements for some of their survey results.88 But political clout was another matter; Wang Yiting succeeded in arguing on behalf of the Buddhists, but his intervention on the diviners’ behalf failed.89 Terms such as gonghui placed the diviners in the realm of productive and politically engaged citizens, however, as did citations of the Principle of Livelihood. It made them legible on the new public terms. Besides winning the support of Wang Yiting, fortunetellers got a sympathetic hearing in opinion pieces in such outlets as the China Times (Shishi xin bao 時事新寶), where an op-ed writer reckoned that if elementary school and college graduates faced an unemployment problem, diviners should hardly be


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asked to add to the number of job seekers.90 Ritual specialists kept up their protests against the “superstitious persons” ban, with more energy than officials had for enforcing the prohibition. In Guangzhou, different groups of diviners also put forth arguments based on their level of learning and morality, on the Three Principles, and on the commonality of astrology to world civilization. The municipal government there proved as ineffectual in carrying out the ban as the city administrations of Shanghai and Nanjing, despite the presence of the activist, party-led Committee for Customs Reform (Fengsu gaige weiyuan hui 風俗改革委員會). Guangzhou’s city government ended up taking a more pragmatic position by registering local ritual specialists in 1933, an act that gave them some legitimacy but also placed them under state control.91 At the national level, two years after the passage of the ban on diviners and mediums, even fervent party activists were confessing their naïveté regarding the social position of superstitious persons. “We originally thought,” admitted the central Department of Propaganda, “that it would not be difficult to use political force to eradicate this kind of pest quickly. But it turned out the infection had gone very deep. [Such practices] had gradually turned into a profession. If we wiped it all out at once, with great severity, we could not avoid adding to social strife.”92 Admitting that here was a profession was a striking step. How could one respond to an infection of the social body if it turned out to be a part of it? The central government, however, did not give up so easily. In 1932 the Ministry of Interior issued a new law again ordering ritual specialists to change occupations within three months. Moreover, it forbade bookstores to sell books on prognostication and sorcery, censored artworks on the basis of superstitious content, and called on the police to prevent families from consulting spirit mediums and diviners in sickness and death.93 The most visible outcome of this renewed attempt was an intensification of the censorship of films with superstitious themes, although later the censors’ attention would focus more on political content.94 The New Life era revived official attention for a third time, especially in relation to the attempt to rationalize and simplify funerary and wedding ritual. Local conditions continued to affect the level of enforcement. Newspaper writers still enjoyed filing color pieces about their encounters with fortunetellers in places like Nanjing’s Fuzi miao.95 Nonetheless, ritual specialists had a hard time finding security as organized groups, unlike their “religious” clerical counterparts. Ritual specialists proved as aware of current political and social discourse as any other group and fully able to deploy Nationalist rhetoric and

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the new forms of civic organization on their own behalf. But how far did this get them? After the war, another group of Shanghai ritual specialists tried to form a Mediums and Prognosticators Reform Society (Wu bu gaijin hui 巫卜改進會), pledging to assist the cause of combating superstition while helping their colleagues find new ways to survive in the world. The city government rejected them on that grounds that their ilk should not exist in the first place.96 Even when relieved of the ban, ritual specialists were still particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of urban renewal, such as the construction of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall at Suzhou’s Xuanmiao guan or the transformation of Guangzhou’s City God Temple into a national goods exhibition hall.97 Perhaps the most instructive case is that of the namh-mouh 喃嘸 Daoist masters of Guangzhou. A local type of huoju Daoist, the namh-mouh objected to being lumped into the “superstitious persons” ban and, like Shanghai’s Zhang Zhengming, particularly objected to being conflated with run-of-the-mill spirit mediums. They successfully petitioned the local and the central government for recognition as Zhengyi-affiliated Daoists. They and their halls were still subject to the ritual specialist registration of 1933— thus their apparent ascension into the category of “religion” was not so straightforward. Nor was it permanent: in 1936, the political climate in the province shifted back to one more hostile to religion, and the namh-mouh lost their legitimized status, a move approved by the Ministry of Interior.98 Adept as they were at navigating the terms of the new sociopolitical environment, then, ritual specialists remained especially vulnerable to the operation of the gray zone. Definitions could be rewritten, and conditions suddenly shift beyond their control.

Medicine and Magic Several of the processes described above and in Chapter 2—the fostering of a state-sanctioned professional class, the professionals’ efforts to distinguish themselves from demonized groups of popular practitioners, and state programs to reorder public space and reshape public behavior through social engineering and mass education—came together in the Nationalist medical and public health programs. The Nationalists invested enormous time and energy in planning a new medical system that would raise living standards and attack infectious disease. The intent was not just to create modern medical training and bring care where there had been none before, however, but to undercut the influence of old-fashioned


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medical practices, especially in the countryside. This meant attacking religious professionals who administered medicine and healing rituals. The sheer ambition, effort, and expense poured into the public health movement (weisheng yundong 衛 生 運 動 ) meant that its antireligious aspects probably reached more people that any of the education campaigns associated with eradicating other types of superstitious behavior. The medical metaphors of the national body infected with superstition became entangled with the actual medicalized bodies of Chinese citizens, and their metaphoric properties. A full treatment of the rich topic of medical modernization in China is beyond the scope of this book, but a brief look at the intersection of the medicine and problem of “superstitious” practice is a fitting way to conclude this chapter.99 Although the bulk of the public health movement was devoted to solving problems of hygiene, disease prevention, and the expansion of medical care, the battle against superstition formed the dark underside to the ambitious plans for making China healthy. Three particular issues linked the two: the regulation of popular medical practitioners, the promotion of rational standards for housing and housekeeping, and the campaign for modern methods of disease prevention. Even more than the Nationalist efforts to improve education, customs, and local self-government, many overlapping and sometimes competing players took on the challenge of raising the standard of public health: a briefly separate Ministry of Public Health (Weisheng bu 衛生部), during most of the Nanjing Decade a department of the Ministry of Interior; the Ministry of Education, which supervised medical schools and—important for this study—helped devise programs for educating the general public on health and science; the National Economic Council (Quanguo jingji weiyuan hui 全國經濟委員會), which after 1934 ran health stations with some assistance from League of Nations advisors; and the party itself, which chose public health as one of the “seven movements” launched in early 1929. Add to the mix the programs of the CCP soviets, various nonstate rural reconstruction projects, mission enterprises and foreign aid organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation, and what Ruth Rogaski has aptly termed the “hypercolonial” competitive environment of the treaty ports, and the result was not only a high degree of attention to the literal national body but high anxiety as well.100 One of the tensions that emerged was that between a science-based program of training, institution-building, and research on one hand and a mass campaign aimed at transforming popular habits on the other. Both Nationalist planners and rural reformers tried to bridge the gap through

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programs for training urban and rural nurses, midwives, and so on, but nonetheless the greatest attention and controversy focused on the matter of licensing medical doctors.101 Efforts to validate Chinese medical theories via Western experiential science and educational publishing had already been under way for some time. The actions of the licensing and policing apparatus of the KMT state, however, created a situation not unlike that for clerics and religious groups, where validation turned into competitive organization. Forced to defend themselves against proponents of statesponsored Western medicine who sought to abolish “old medicine” altogether, Chinese-medicine doctors rallied their political allies and sought a scapegoat. Having already been labeled superstitious by the self-styled modernizers, they turned the label on the religious specialists that elite doctors had so long scorned. Thus the founders of the Institute of National Medicine were careful to exclude the likes of Daoist priests, mediums, and diviners from their ranks.102 Although the institute did not win the right to license doctors of Chinese medicine until 1936, the one area its leaders and most members of the government could easily agree on was the rejection of popular practitioners. The state’s favoring of biomedicine created rippling pressures on practitioners of different forms of Chinese medicine, which in turn encouraged a zero-sum approach to medical ritual specialists and healing rites. For the government, this amounted to criminalization, especially of those who provided “magical prescriptions” (xianfang 仙 方 or shenfang 神方). A September 1928 item in the Central Daily News explained the social problem in one place in particular: Though by and large Shanghai counts as a civilized city, when it comes to the matter of superstition, we still have not been able to wipe it out completely. So jobless refugees and corrupt clergy set up altars throughout the streets of Shanghai, falsely beseeching the gods to send a magical prescription, so that they may cheat people out of their money.

The Shanghai health and public security bureaus resolved to stamp out such hucksters “to destroy superstition and save people’s lives.”103 The Nanjing municipal government soon followed suit, and in early 1929 the new Ministry of Public Health issued a nationwide ban on “those in temples who issue divine elixirs and medicines, prescriptions from the gods, charm cures, and so on.”104 Like the ritual specialist ban, this painted with a broad brush. Who, precisely, did the government have in mind among even this broad category


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of religious healers? The educated Daoist elite of Shanghai, after all, pursued their interests in inner alchemy unmolested. But the Shanghai ban followed quickly upon the Nationalists’ comprehensive ban on Tongshanshe, Wushanshe, and Daoyuan, which also carried out healing practices. Police certainly arrested individual healers when they fell afoul of people powerful enough to complain. In Shanghai, for example, Shaoxing native Mr. Ma Wen was accused of swindling 81 gold dollars out of the parents of an ill three-year-old, and arrested. Doubtless the considerable sum involved led to the complaint against the man. Confiscated with him were a statue of Lüzu (Lü Dongbin 呂洞賓), clothing for the image, two accompanying statues of immortal messenger boys, one printing press, a pack of printed spirit money, a string of bells, one vermilion writing brush and inkstone, several sets of bamboo divining sticks, one cash box, and five packets of medicinal herbs. Spirit-writing cults centered on Lü Dongbin and inner alchemy had spread since the nineteenth century, many fostered by officials and Quanzhen clerics.105 Although the brief newspaper account of Ma Wen’s arrest gives no clue as to his involvement in any larger society, in one sense the construction of the law now meant that it did not matter one way or another. He was not a legitimate healer, and he was arrested for his pursuit of profit. A clearer case was that of a wandering Nanjing “sorcerer” named Wang Deshan, who was unlucky enough to fascinate the thirteen-year-old son of a National Economic Council functionary. Attracting the youth and his friends with a bag filled with the “sorts of ooky things that children like,” as the Nanjing Evening News put it, Wang conned the boy into borrowing money in order to buy a packet of mysterious white powder. When the youngster temporarily went blind upon swallowing the contents, Wang’s fate before the police was sealed.106 Thus although police acted when large sums of money or the well-connected were involved—and the press delighted in printing the lurid reports—there is little evidence that they actually pursued an all-out, street-level prohibition of popular healers. They did drive groups such as Daoyuan underground, however, and undoubtedly put some mediums on the run when seizing and converting temples. But people continued to rely on spirit mediums, Daoist ritual specialists, and willing Buddhist clergy for their medical care, particularly in the countryside and in smaller cities. More than half the Jiangsu county magistrates answering the customs surveys, for example, complained that this aspect of “superstition” was the hardest one to break.107 Even in counties with relatively developed medical facilities, old habits persisted. Hai-

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men, tucked along the Yangzi shore between Nantong and Chongming Island, possessed a full complement of social services, including an infirmary that treated the indigent at low or no cost and ran public health and inoculation programs. Yet the county government noted that “when people are sick or have some matter they cannot figure out, they go to diviners or those who understand the spirits, and make their decisions through prayer, consulting divination sticks, fortune reading, or diagramming characters.”108 Their persistence begins to make sense when we take a closer look at Haimen’s facilities, which reveals that the infirmary had only one doctor in a staff of five—for a population of just over 600,000—and an annual budget of a mere 200 yuan. Even much richer and more populous Wuxi had a staff no larger than Haimen’s.109 Many counties in Jiangsu had no infirmary at all but overall were still far better off than the rest of the country.110 In Ka-che Yip’s estimation, clinics and public health stations remained “tangential to [the] daily existence” of people in the countryside.111 Thus, “mass education centers” and other adult night schools became the main conveyance for what the Nationalists hoped would be new attitudes about health and healing. Although childhood educators also included public health in their lessons—and indeed, much Nationalist propaganda about good hygiene featured and focused on children—it was adults who were considered the greater problem when it came to superstition. The solution was thought to lie in spreading scientific principles and, once again, the value of self-reliance.

Pathologizing Superstition Public health was an issue critical enough to concern every government official—not just the medical specialists. Thus, the authors of a series of training lectures for Jiangsu district heads took time to argue to their charges that medical superstitions had grave implications for citizenship, society, and the fate of the nation. “No matter how serious the disease,” they wrote, “the average person believes it is sent by the Goddess of Smallpox or the Demon of Pestilence” or is a punishment from above for their bad hearts. “If people hold this kind of attitude, then of course they cannot perceive any social problem, and of course they cannot imagine that all of us can use our collective glory and collective power to solve that problem.”112 The route to self-confidence lay in rationalism and scientific fact. Much as the “Standards” derived from the idea that relating the historical evolution of deity cults would disenchant them, much KMT adult


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health propaganda stemmed from a conviction that mere exposure to the facts of science—particularly the germ theory of disease—would correct people’s thinking. As the Xue Dubi / Feng Yuxiang–sponsored Twelve Principles for the People of the Nation pamphlet put it, “no one will fear death if they know the causes of dying.”113 Accepting scientific causes of disease, furthermore, would bring about an awareness of society and the potential of the collective. The iconoclast’s mocking refrain that deity images could not even protect themselves turned out to be especially useful in a medical context. A rhyme in a reader for merchants took the voice of one such spirit: My skin and flesh are mud and dirt, my head and bones are made of wood You bow before me without end—I find it all really quite strange. Aiyao! Aiyao! You swindled are not few! My wooden spine is full of rot; my nose of clay will soon fall off; You ask me for a divine cure—I cannot even heal myself. Aiyao! Aiyao! You swindled are not few!114

In the workers’ reader from the same series, the authors turned the image on its head by suggesting a new kind of divinity. By eating right, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, observing proper hygiene, and going to bed early, people could achieve long life on their own: “If you can build your body, then you’ll be a living god!”115 The shift to the agency of the modern subject brought a near-mystical transformation of its own. Turning people’s superstitions on their head was a favorite rhetorical trope of textbook authors. In a government textbook for farmers, for example, the authors reinterpret the term fengshui literally. The book’s protagonist, self-actualizing subject Zhang Jue (Enlightened Zhang), visits the Ma household for a funeral and finds everyone talking about geomancy. One does sometimes have to pay attention to “wind” and “water,” he agrees. For instance when building a house, one should make sure the exposures and air circulation are good, and that a water source is nearby. That way the household will stay healthy. But when it comes to burial, Zhang lectures, that is a different matter entirely. A corpse cannot breathe, nor can it drink or wash—what use is “consulting fengshui?”116 Educators in the adult school movement especially advocated this kind of approach for the countryside. In the central government’s popular education monthly, Yang Xilei urged teachers to “master a few sentences of [the farmers’] old-fashioned way of talking.” Another author recommended that teachers make it a priority to hold a scientific experiment every week—“it

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doesn’t matter what kind, but it should include a great transformation. That will get the attention of many people, and at the same time one can destroy all sorts of superstition.”117 Thus science, for the purposes of educating the people, becomes just another form of magic. Gyan Prakash sums up the contradiction at the heart of such approaches in his description of nineteenth-century Indian lectures and museum displays: “What began as representations of science staged to conquer ignorance and superstition became enmeshed in the very effects that were targeted for elimination.”118 But medicine was a more personalized matter than general science, important as those principles were to the underpinning of Nationalist education. As Ruth Rogaski has remarked, Chinese elites had already “widely accepted a medicalized view of their country’s problems and embraced a medicalized solution for the deficiencies of both the Chinese state and the Chinese body.”119 If in turn superstition begat China’s psychological deficiencies—its inability to self-actualize as an agent—then nothing was worse than medical superstition, the combination of the two. It is no coincidence that some of the Nationalists’ most visible ideologues of the superstition problem—such as Xue Dubi and Chen Guofu—also took a deep interest in the future direction of China’s medical culture. Such men even appear in stories of personal enlightenment. These stories often recapitulate, in real or metaphoric terms, the sentimental education of the Nationalist teacher or official himself. Chen Guofu contributed a number of moral tales. In at least two different pieces, he described the problems encountered by the family of his friend Cheng in their house in Nanjing. Members of the household frequently fell ill, and neighbors blamed it on bad geomancy and the lingering ghosts of past residents. Chen proved that the north-facing house was merely exposed to harsh winds and drafts, and that poor construction was to blame for sickness in the family.120 A second story centered a bad night he spent in his uncle’s Hangzhou home when he was 23. In the version told in a public health lecture at the Wujin county night school, “During the middle of the night, [Chen] felt a strange pressure, and, touching something fuzzy, he was scared awake.” As Chen described it, he had been dreaming of ghosts. Taking a minute to clear his head, he realized the fuzzy object was simply his blanket; he opened a window, and, voilà, the strange pressure was gone as well. Chen concluded, “After that, I opened the window every night before bed, and gradually the nightmares of ghosts went away.”121 Thus a promising ghost story became a homily about the virtues of circulating air and understanding scientific principles.


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The journey to rational awakening often had gendered implications. The campaign against superstition had lent particular force to the age-old saw that women were more susceptible to both piety and heterodoxy. In retreating from active feminist organization, party cadres identified religion as a problem in working not only with rural populations in general but with women in particular. A major policy document issued in 1929 stated that provincial and county party members ought to take care to “explain all aspects of women’s liberation: how we must defeat old clan thinking, superstitious attitudes, vanity, and dependency.”122 It was not just women’s reception of superstition that was the problem; their role in purveying it was a problem as well. Organizer Yu Jida called for the destruction of superstition and the reform of Buddhist nuns as part of the KMT’s social program for women, but most especially, she recommended banning the “three maidens and six grannies”—female clergy, fortunetellers, mediums, and matchmakers. Despite the sorry picture such ignorant women presented, Yu held out hope for the potential of female capabilities if only they received the proper training, for women were by nature suited to medicine, nursing, and pharmaceutical preparation due to their refined sensibilities, gentility, and tact. It was only that their fatalism under the old family system had led them to rely on the supernatural.123 Some Nationalist narratives, accordingly, were of liberated women who strove to free the rest of their families from the darkness, such as Jingsan, a young girl whose cleverness at exposing a cheating spirit medium caused her grandmother to have doubts.124 In other tales, however, awakened children faced the prospect of alienation from their believing mothers. It is not surprising that such stories particularly developed in support of inoculation campaigns, which especially depended on parental consent. In 1937 the journal Minzhong zhoubao published a model lesson in the form of a letter from a grown son to his mother. The son, “Wang Fan,” has left home to work in a factory, perhaps in Shanghai. One day he and his fellow workers receive a visit from a Western medical doctor ( yisheng 醫生) sent by the government Health Bureau. The physician begins to explain the origin of smallpox and mentions that, as is true of some demonological beliefs held by Africans, “ignorant people in the Chinese countryside” sometimes still seek help from the Smallpox Goddess. His aside transports Wang back to childhood: I remember that after smallpox had struck down little sister and brother, you, crying, led me and big sister to pray to the Goddess of Smallpox. You made us bow

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our heads, and said weeping, “Goddess, take pity on these two children! Protect them from getting sick and growing pox! Take pity on this poor widow who only has two children left. If evil befalls them, then the Wang family will meet its end!” Then, Mama, you cried again, so hard that you made no sound.

Wang Fan tells his experience to the doctor, who patiently explains that smallpox is a natural phenomenon spread through physical contamination. Only inoculation can help the body build up resistance to infection. Thus, Wang Fan ends his letter urging his mother to get her grandchildren vaccinated at once, and herself and the children’s mother (presumably his wife) as well. “There is no Smallpox Goddess!” he repeats, concluding by reminding her once again to think of the cruelty of his siblings’ deaths. Good intentions thus demand reliving trauma, for now the child must instruct the parent.125 The lesson seems almost directly modeled after a Jiaoyu zazhi article from three years earlier that interpreted belief in such deities simply as proof of the devastation of disease and recommended straightforward instruction in hygiene and inoculation as the best response.126 Yet the passage in which the adult Wang Fan regards his childhood self, witnessing the helplessness of his mother, is both poignant and bitter: through science, he now realizes that she was not merely unlucky, but wrong. It is not just that the roles of the parent and child have been reversed, but that the male of the family—aided by a male teacher—has become the agent of enlightenment for the household’s women. Paternalism is certainly in evidence in Fan Yuansheng’s New Life Movement policy statement on peasants, in which he called rural life “strange, pathetic, and dangerous” and not up to the standards of a civilized nation. In considerable part, this stemmed from peasants insisting on praying to the gods when they got ill or disaster struck, which to Fan was not just a waste of time but sign of a deadly fatalism. But something else is at work here—trauma and fear for the future drive both Fan’s dire assessment and the real pathos evoked by Wang Fan’s model letter. The rejection of popular healers arose in part from an atmosphere of professional competition fostered by the state’s promotion of biomedicine and the rearguard reaction of elite Chinese medical doctors to protect themselves. But stigmatizing medical rituals also played on the fears of real deaths and panic at national anxieties of physical and mental weakness, mixed together to a degree impossible to separate out fully. Thus the easiest solution was the zero-sum approach: people should “find a doctor ( yisheng) when they


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got sick, not pray to deities,” Fan said.127 To him the only choice was one or the other. But those not prone to such anxieties saw other possibilities. In Exorcising the Trouble Makers, Francis L. K. Hsu describes how during a cholera outbreak in 1942, many Yunnan villagers duly lined up for their inoculations while continuing to sponsor jiao 醮 offerings to the Plague God and other deities. One of the Daoist priests got vaccinated as well. Some respondents, such as an eighteen-year-old middle school student, thoroughly understood the scientific principle of the injection—local health officials had blanketed the area with educational posters—but also recognized the jiao’s social import. Others took the attitude that “to rely on [the inoculation] alone, or any one thing alone, was thoroughly unwise.”128 This kind of bet-hedging, thoroughly typical of an eclectic religious and social practice and eminently practical from a community point of view, was not within the realm of possibility of most public health planners and government officials. As Prasenjit Duara remarks of Hsu’s case and an analogous one in which the protection of Guandi was invoked in response to an outbreak of bubonic plague in Guangzhou at the turn of the century, “the goals of social welfare came to be inseparable from the spread of religious ideas”—and indeed, governance, broadly speaking.129 But the modern separation of the religious, the political, and the social had rendered that relationship unnatural. Thus Chen Guofu, advocate of professionalized Chinese medicine, recorded his surprise when religion proved amenable to medicine and science. In the public health experimental district at Jianbi town, outside Zhenjiang, a monastery donated land to serve as the site for a “people’s birthing center.” Chen remarked rather fatuously: Originally it was only that people made donations to China’s monasteries; now it was the opposite, and they were making donations to the people—this was a rare thing. Temple land given for the construction of a birthing hospital is something I never would have imagined, monks and mothers being apples and oranges. From this one can see that if something will benefit the people, it only takes someone to suggest it, and earnest people to execute it, and it will naturally gain support from every quarter.130

In his mind, of course, the beneficial force had come from the state, and the monastery had followed. There seemed little possibility that monks might contribute to the public’s health and well-being otherwise.

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Conclusion To the Nationalists, the problem of everyday religion as it was embodied in popular ritual specialists and the participants in the economy of ritual products was the problem of “superstition” at its most basic. These unproductive people dealt in destructive commodities and prevented others from ascending to modernity. The “superstitious persons,” however, saw it otherwise; they understood their economic and social importance and argued for their significance in the new political regime. Some popular ritual specialists demanded the right to pursue their livelihoods as professionals. Others sought protection in the status of social organizations of properly “religious” clergy. Neither of these turned out to offer a steady refuge. Although diviners quite articulately argued their rights as citizens and members of society, the government did not shy away from treating them as second-class citizens when it was convenient to do so. In the case of the namh-mouh, the KMT also demonstrated it could remove “religious” status as easily as it could designate it. The cynical thought that the deep-seated fatalism in China rendered such distinctions moot. This bitter theme emerges in an April 1937 installment of the Nanjing Evening News comic strip The Mr. K. Papers (Ke xiansheng waizhuan 克先生外專), a series whose style and content blatantly copied Ye Qianyu’s 葉淺予 (1907–96) famous Mr. Wang and Little Chen (Fig. 8). The title character is frustrated to receive contradictory advice from two different street-side fortunetellers. When his wife suggests visiting a temple to seek a resolution from the deity, they discover that the monk has gone out to have his fortune told.131 Thus even the “religious” were subject to the chicanery of the mantic arts. Self-reliance was nowhere to be found. Comparison to the present day is instructive. Although some of the same suspicions certainly prevail in post-reform China, the shifting economic ground has placed ritual specialists in a category that is both somewhat familiar and different in a critical way. Adam Chau has noted the rise of the term “superstition specialist households” (mixin zhuanye hu 迷信專 業戶) as a catch-all term for the diviners, geomancers, musicians, spirit money and paper-offering manufacturers, unlicensed Daoist priests, and other ritualists who have re-emerged to serve the needs of the religious resurgence since the 1990s. Although the term itself originated in state critique of the phenomenon and shows the deep internalization of the


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Fig. 8 The Mr. K. Papers, cartoon in Nanjing Evening News, 6 April 1937, 2.

category of mixin, it also reveals the incorporation of such professions into the entrepreneurial mode of reform-era China. As Chau points out, in fact such specialists are more or less tolerated by local officials.132 Thus through no special rhetorical effort of their own, “superstition specialist households” have been fit into a political and economic mode of the times and therefore found space to operate.133 Perhaps this should not be surprising, as the terms of social belonging have decidedly shifted over seventy years. It is no longer the selfactualizing subject and productive citizen that is at stake, but the earner and consumer. Ritual expense can be incorporated into the life of the latter as part of a “ritual economy.”134 In fact, the fortunetellers and papermoney makers of the 1920s tried to argue that it could be part of the lives of the productive citizen as well. That proposition, however, did not fit into the Nationalist zero-sum world.

seven Affective Regimes Rites and customs are created by people. They are not innate to society, nor are they ironclad rules determined by heaven. Naturally if we can create them, we can change them. To turn something old into something new, we must pay attention to changing peoples’ environments and changing peoples’ needs. —Chen Guofu, Studies in Chinese Customs, 1943 The basic element of the modern spirit is none other than collective life. Whether the thought and behavior of great numbers of people can, under a unified command, lobby [for a cause] in an orderly fashion—is this not deeply connected to the very flourishing of a nation? —New Life Movement Promotion Association, 1935

To rid the country of superstition was not to leave a vacuum in which people would gradually discover new and better customs on their own. It was necessary, Nationalist leaders believed, to provide a new regime of training and habit to build a nation and its constituent citizens.1 External threats and internal dissensions made this an urgent task. As conditions worsened during the 1930s, a “customs coalition” of party elders and young conservatives within the KMT leadership increasingly called for reformed family rites and collective patriotic ceremonies to unify the Chinese people. To the Nationalist reformers, the “old” world of superstitious associations and the “new” arena of devotion to the nation constituted opposing affective regimes of sentimental attachment. The old ritual world was unregulated and frequently chaotic, whereas the ceremony of the new realm would foster a sense of 227


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citizenship and faith in the party and nation. Chen Guofu, as always a cannier observer of customs than many of his peers, recognized that changing habits was no minor matter; rather, it necessitated rewriting social ties and personal priorities. Erasing religious practice would, in the end, require more than simply introducing scientific rationalism and explaining the origins of misplaced attachments to fate and the supernatural. It also potentially involved destroying ties to community, lineage, and local power structures and challenging affective senses of justice, propriety, mourning, time, and even something as simple but basic as pleasure. My use of the term “affective regime” here departs somewhat from recent scholarship that has deployed the term to indicate a system of cues, symbols, or behaviors that influence human decisions, rest on emotional associations, and are usefully distinguished from the strictly political or economic.2 My main caveat against that last distinction is that politicians and intellectuals of the Nationalist era saw little causal separation among the economic, political, and cultural spheres or between “public” signals and “private” behavior. That is, although the idea of the existence of discrete realms of social existence began to take hold during this period, the assumed connection of mindset, economy, and political behavior continued to be strong. Thus what I see in their vision as an affective regime is a set of political, cultural, and economic conditions that influences the outlook and beliefs of a people—which in turn have political, economic, and cultural consequences. It is the conviction that such affective regimes existed—and that new ones could be fostered just as a nation’s infrastructure could be built and its economy planned—that drove Sun Yat-sen’s concept of “psychological construction” (xinli jianshe 心理建設) and above all his proclamation “to make revolution, we must uproot hearts-andminds” (geming xian gexin 革命先革心).3 These ideas formed the ideological basis of the campaign against superstition and were developed in the 1930s by people such as Chiang Kai-shek’s secretary Shao Yuanchong, who in 1933 identified “spiritual construction” along collective lines as the only way the nation would escape destruction.4 The connection between affect and social evolution underlay conceptions of modernity elsewhere: as Paul Manning reminds us, the idea of a progression from passionate family life through the moderating realm of commercial engagement to the rational goal of public civitas lay at the core of the European liberal ideal of civil society.5 For the KMT, as for its successor, Mao Zedong’s CCP, the requirements of revolutionary nationalism meant that this process had to be accelerated and condensed. It also

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brought a self-conscious break with the past—what Prasenjit Duara has termed the “end-of-history syndrome”—which engendered the belief that “to remake the people as the foundation of national sovereignty was the most urgent task of the day.”6 Thus, the affective regimes the Nationalists envisioned were ideal constructs. The “old” world of superstitious associations, full of danger, unscrupulous behavior, and irrational fervor, was as coherent a sphere as the “new” arena of citizenship and faith in the party and nation. This shaped cultural rhetoric, religious policy, and the partystate’s creation of its own ritual rejoinders. This chapter describes the ritual competition that the KMT consequently created between itself and local society.7 The party pursued this by its attempts to replace the lunar and cyclical calendars with a solar-based “national” one, to ban temple festivals and thus rewrite local spatial and ritual arrangements, to substitute modern public cemeteries and streamlined funeral ceremonies for previous end-of-life ritual, and to create a system of national commemoration by scripting secularized national ceremonial based on revolutionary martyrs, Sun Yat-sen, and a panoply of sanitized heroes from China’s past. Based on their conception of two opposed affective regimes, the Nationalists saw this competition as a zero-sum game: the new habits proper for citizens of the nation-state could take hold only if destructive superstition was vanquished. As the Nanjing Decade drew to a close, however, both local actors and members of the party itself began to find that the worlds of religion and patriotism might be combined in ways satisfying both to community and to the individual heart-and-mind. The religious remainder emerged as both an external and an internal challenge to the Nationalist project.

Time The day after taking office as provisional president in 1912, Sun Yat-sen decreed that the new nation switch to the solar calendar. These linked acts simultaneously invoked internationalism and national heritage, as rewritten by the revolutionaries: Sun founded the Republic on January 1, and the transition to the solar calendar marked not just his declaration of “the government of the revolutionary era”8 but also China’s emergence into the world, as defined by Western terms. Yet he also called on the mythical primordial ancestor that had lately become a nationalist (and Nationalist) symbol: “The thirteenth day of the eleventh month of the four thousand six hundred and ninetieth year after the birth of Huangdi [the Yellow Emperor],” he stated,


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“will now be the first day of the first year of the Republic.”9 It was simultaneously a return to a fictive past and a birth anew. A decade and a half later, Sun’s successors found themselves struggling to reclaim the promise of that moment, lost in the intervening years. The calendar project had floundered along with the Republic itself in the intervening years; to revive the new calendar—now named the “national calendar” (guoli 國曆)—would be to reclaim not so much the glory of Huangdi as the unfulfilled dreams epitomized by the party’s own hero, the late Father of the Nation. Xue Dubi lamented: The Party Leader first made this change to show both China and the outside world [our] revolutionary spirit and to demonstrate the new people’s farsightedness and independence. But because of the gradual decay of national affairs and the masses’ adherence to the past and the familiar, during these past seventeen years only public offices have taken up the national calendar. Most of society still doesn’t even know what the national calendar is.10

Changing the way people reckoned time was thus critical to bringing the revolution to its fullest fruition. A Department of Propaganda pamphlet on the significance of the national calendar explained the problem with an arresting metaphor: “Superstition impedes the progress of the National Revolution, and the old calendar is the staff headquarters of superstition (mixin de canmou benbu 迷信的參謀本部)!”11 Thus, the calendar emerged from the realm of the merely symbolic to become a historical instrument in itself—a base for the command of retrograde forces. Reclaiming lost “national” time had the happy effect of resetting the clock at zero, constructing a “memory” of the moment that Sun had declared the birth of the Republic and of a new era, and done so in a city that was now once again the capital. The new calendar, which, although “in accordance with the world,” began with 1912 as its Year One, would tie the reconstituted Chinese nation to Nanjing, to the Republican government, and to the Nationalist Party in time and space. This was intended to deflect attention from conflicts over the actual locus of political power, disagreements about the proper form that the national calendar should take, and even more distant truths such as the fact that Sun Yat-sen was hardly the original advocate in China of the solar-based calendar.12 Henrietta Harrison has argued that Sun’s original shift of the calendar highlights a rather obscure moment amid the political and military negotiations that constituted the actual transfer of power at the end of the Qing dynasty.13 The calls to renew Sun’s task a decade and a half later can be seen as a similar effort to cast

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a spotlight back on Nanjing and the “Father of the Nation” in order to legitimate KMT power amid factional struggle and political violence. The effort to reinforce use of the “national calendar” also reflected internationally focused anxiety and a “productivist” social materialism. Xue Dubi repeated the national humiliation theme of the “Standards” when he warned that if the reform was not quickly adopted, “we will not be able to guard against arousing the laughter of other nations or bringing the national body (guoti 國體) into conflict; moreover, our revolutionary principles will be overturned.”14 The authors of the Department of Propaganda pamphlet argued that the national calendar did more than bring China in line with the rest of the world; it allowed China to free itself from the world’s grasp. This was the “most useful and advanced calendrical system in the world,” a tool with which China could strengthen its economy, reject the unequal treaties, and emerge from the world of semi-colonialism.15 Economic reconstruction, for instance, could take place only when the accounting practices of the country’s businesses and farms were brought into line with the dominant calendrical system of both the current government and the world powers. At a deeper level, the national calendar formed the linchpin between psychological construction and physical enterprise that would allow the work of nation-building. Complaining about the error of those who took the matter of changing the calendar lightly, a 1929 Department of Propaganda internal report argued that by wiping out the old instrument of superstition and supernatural authority, “this party can take a social consciousness that falls back on ‘there’s no way out’ and ‘rely on what heaven has fated’ and turn it into a consciousness of ‘people’s rights,’ ‘self-rule,’ ‘there is a way,’ ‘hard work and struggle,’ and ‘make your own fate.’ ”16 Changing the calendar, like rejecting fortunetelling, formed part of becoming a self-conscious modern subject. This psychological aspect of the old and the new affective regimes determined all the others, for without a rewired social consciousness, the Chinese people would never be ready to engage in projects of economic construction or be proper subjects for political tutelage. The calendar did not simply measure time; it shaped human pursuits—this is how it served as the “staff headquarters of superstition.” Pasting door gods on entryways, hanging nianhua of spring-welcoming oxen on the Lunar New Year, or playing amid the lights on Lantern Festival—all were remnants of the era of sages and emperors, the party propagandists argued. The less said about the use of almanacs to select auspicious days, the better. Finally, the celebration of


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gods’ birthdays promoted an “idolatrous outlook,” one aided and abetted by the country’s numerous heterodox temples and the clergy who depended on income from temple festivals. Eliminating such temples along with the old calendar was the only way to transform civic consciousness.17 Thus, the Nationalists’ calendrical project included the goals that Mona Ozouf observed of revolutionary French calendrical rewriting—to commemorate the memory of the revolution and “to clear away the undergrowth in the forest of customs, for reasons stemming from a sense of order”—as well as the modern state’s interest in disciplinary, linear time and its attendant coded social roles, as described by Foucault.18 The objection, after all, was not to lunar reckoning per se but to the numerous cycles attached to the “old calendar,” be they agricultural (the 24 solar periods), derived from the stem-and-branch system, or otherwise related to religious or personal markers.19 Furthermore, the concern lay entirely with public manifestations of the calendar, so that the state could stake its claim to universal power. Ironically, this meant that the KMT rather ignored the issue of private ecclesiastical calendars such as Daoist ones, which continued more or less unchallenged. Another anxiety deeper than the concerns of bare governmentality underlay the KMT calendar project: namely, the dual mandates of popular legitimacy and nation-building under conditions of colonialism. In this case it was not nation-states on (theoretically) equal footing that formed the background against which new ideas about time, ritual, and religion became coupled with political power and economic authority, but the unequal power relations of the colonial system and the collapse of the imperial ethos-state. Politics and linear time, therefore, were as much about liberation as about social order and the militarization of the modern state. The rhetoric of revolution and the promise of self-determination fostered a tension at the very center of the transition between times. Just how much of the “thicket of custom” could be cleared away without sacrificing national character and the necessary compact between a revolutionary government and its citizens? In other words, did preserving national culture necessitate a religious remainder? In this instance, the balance between reform and prohibition was especially delicate. The Ministries of Interior and Education spearheaded an effort to draw up new official calendars during 1928–29, enlisting the help of scholars in the newly founded Academia Sinica to apply scientific method to calendrical design and help transfer a very select group of lunar dates, such as Confucius’ birthday, to solar reckoning. In the meantime, local

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party branches and schools were carrying out their own individualized efforts to overturn popular custom. In Songjiang, the Popular Education Center printed up and distributed its own couplets for the 1929 Lunar New Year in an attempt to discourage local processions and household rituals by employing reverse psychology: Abolish sending off the Stove God “The future will be guaranteed” Get rid of “Celestial Incense” “Everything will be auspicious” Don’t worship Earth [God] “All will be as you wish” Don’t receive the God of Wealth “Riches will cross your door”20

At the same time, throughout the KMT heartland, party cadres and local officials were taking more drastic actions to curtail the observation of the Lunar New Year, several examples of which we have seen in previous chapters. The blowback from such direct and haphazardly organized approaches prompted central officials to consider how best to launch a thoroughgoing campaign to elicit the public’s understanding and enlightenment. As central party leaders turned their attention to customs reform during KMT plenary sessions, the Department of Propaganda and the central government launched an all-out effort to make 1930 the year of the national calendar.21 The government printed calendars for nationwide distribution that not only featured national holidays but were prominently adorned with Sun’s political testament, the KMT party charter, and ten political slogans, including “Down with Imperialism!” and “Abrogate the Unequal Treaties!”22 The massive propaganda campaign sold the idea of changing calendars as a means of transforming one’s life. The Central Daily News, for example, ran a cartoon depicting a disembodied hand turning the page of a calendar to 1 January 1930, under the warm glow of the KMT sun (Fig. 9). “Calling on all masses under the white sun and blue sky,” read the caption, “to use the national calendar!” The hand turned the page voluntarily, but in case readers did not get the message, the reverse of the leaf had: “National Government Order.”23 Not everyone was convinced. The 1 January 1930, New Year’s page of Dagong bao featured such elements as a “New Year’s conversation” that consisted entirely of a series of question marks “answered” by a series of


Fig. 9

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“Calling on all masses under the white sun and blue sky to use the national calendar!” Cartoon in Central Daily News, 25 August 1929 (supplement, 7).

exclamation points, and a cartoon that seemed to make a direct visual reply to the Central Daily News message to the masses (Fig. 10). Once again disembodied hands (here a pair) turned a page, but now it was a cover of a ragged book. “We’ve got to flip through a tattered piece of Republican history once again!” read the caption.24 There was no starting anew, no reclaiming the glory of 1912. Such cynicism formed one extreme of an overwhelming and unceasing public interest in the fate of the calendar in general, and of the Lunar and Solar New Year in particular. National and local newspapers and magazines published dozens of essays on the issue, and press editors could always count on reports on the change or lack thereof on each subsequent Spring Festival to fill column inches. In late 1929 a conference convened in Shanghai with over three hundred attendees discussing how to promote the new calendar. Moreover, numerous petitioners sent in their own research and views to the central government. These ranged from neo-traditionalists, such as the General Confucian Society (Kongdao zong hui 孔道總會), which called for a return to the stemand-branch system on the principle that the seven-day week was a “Chris-

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Fig. 10


“We’ve got to flip through a tattered piece of Republican history once again!” Cartoon in Dagong bao, 1 January 1930.

tian superstition,” to internationalists seeking to adopt the calendar used by the League of Nations. Several local officials proposed various systems more conducive to the agricultural seasons. And after the invasion of Manchuria, some patriots urged the Executive Yuan to purchase and reproduce an anti-Japanese “Calendar for the Return of the Northeast.”25 Factor in the folklorists and educators who wrote on the subject, as well as interested officials like Chen Guofu, who composed several versions of a new citizen’s almanac during the 1930s and 1940s, and it seemed the entire literate nation was calendar obsessed.26 And why not? The calendar involved commerce, livelihood, and sociability as well as customs, religion, and politics. The image of the God of Wealth at New Year’s time, for example, evoked everything from household rituals to community processions to merchants’ worship of occupational gods to the importance of the holiday in accounting and business practices.27 The KMT had big plans for redirecting the public’s attention away from many of the old calendar’s pursuits, but by far their most arresting proposition was to abolish the Lunar New Year. Naturally, 1930 would be a test to see whether this could be accomplished peacefully.


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New Year’s and the Persistence of the Abolished Officials and outside observers alike agreed that the single largest impediment to the adoption of the new calendar was the Lunar New Year celebration. George Missemer of the English-language China Weekly News likened banning the holiday to the U.S. government forbidding churchgoing and predicted that that the KMT “had tackled something more difficult than all the other things on [its] abolition program combined”—including abrogating extraterritoriality and the unequal treaties.28 To their credit, officials like Xue Dubi acknowledged that the array of activities surrounding the lunar holiday was too deeply embedded in Chinese culture and social practice to remove outright. The solution, they thought, was to emulate Meiji Japan and reassign those traditions and “all the liveliness and entertainment” of the holiday to the Gregorian New Year.29 The apparently successful revision of popular customs in Japan, however, took decades to achieve. For its part, the Chinese public had lived nearly twenty years in a state of selective adaptation to what was essentially a political calendar, aside from the minority who dealt with the Gregorian calendar for business or religious reasons.30 Now the Nationalist ban on the Lunar New Year would force the issue. The government tried to focus attention on January 1, giving the nation three days’ holiday (in 1928 it had been five) and encouraging schools and organizations to put on parades and other festive displays. On 1 January 1930, newspapers carried many special New Year’s advertisements. The political nature of the holiday could not be dispelled, however, as news items also described mass rallies and meetings in government offices to commemorate the founding of the Republic and various political issues of the day. Positive efforts to promote interest in January 1 were countered with police measures on the Lunar New Year at month’s end. In Shanghai, police arrested and fined lion dancers and raided gambling dens. According to one account, their threat to fine households that set off firecrackers dissuaded mainly the miserly rich; the less wealthy lit them surreptitiously. They did chase the writers of New Year’s couplets from the streets, however, which resonates in many ways with the ritual specialist ban.31 Eventually the policing met with some resistance: the following year, for example, when authorities in Zhabei attempted to shut down gambling, a crowd

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smashed up the police station.32 In Nanjing, however, authorities kept families cowering for a few years, at least according to Yao Ying 姚穎, a sardonic contributor to Lin Yutang’s journal Lunyu 論語 who worked as a government secretary. She wrote that prior to 1933: Because the movement to promote the national calendar was at its height, each house had to open its doors on the Lunar New Year. If you didn’t comply, the police would come and pound and pound on your gate; once you opened, they would ask about any little noise inside, so as for any firecracker or noisemaker, you simply daren’t set it off !33

At least families still assembled to dare to set firecrackers off or not. In fact, people taking the holiday (and associated days) off and closing businesses proved to be beyond the government’s control. This was true even of government and party functionaries. Widespread absenteeism in the Jiangsu provincial government during the 1930 Lunar New Year became a weapon in a notorious political battle. In the aftermath of the Jiangnan uprisings of 1929, the leaders of the Jiangsu Party Affairs Rectification Committee suspected provincial civil servants and party cadres of disobeying strict orders to shun observances of the holiday.34 A surprise inspection on the second day of the lunar month revealed some offices to be completely empty, including the provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, Finance, and Public Security and the Zhenjiang county government; others had only a single person on duty. Only two provincial departments were operating normally. The matter was considered grave enough to warrant a Ministry of Interior investigation. This turned up little except confirmation that a large proportion of civil servants had requested either formal sick leave or casual leave; others had taken suspiciously long lunches. Only the police were absolved, having been found to be on patrol.35 The wholesale replacement of senior Jiangsu officials in March, the end result of the Rectification Committee’s work, impeded any punishment of the rank and file, but members of the KMT Propaganda Bureau took notice. When compiling new guidelines for the calendar later that year, they forbid civil servants from absenting themselves on the old holidays, and especially from “taking leave under false pretexts.”36 If the habits of civil servants proved difficult to control, the practices of the general population were even harder to manage. At the following Lunar New Year, the Nanjing police reported that merchants continued to sell old-style calendars, spirit money, sweet cakes for offering to the Kitchen God, and other accouterments of the holiday. Worse still, even


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though Yao Ying’s family may have cowered, other city residents— including some households of civil servants—persisted in noisily parading gods and setting off firecrackers throughout the night. Once again workers in government offices had to be warned to mind themselves and their families to set a good example.37 Evidence was accumulating that the “abolished” ( fei 廢) calendar was enduring past its advertised death. At times the feili shadowed the guoli like the spectral image that its name evoked. Nanjing municipal officials had executed an initial ban on the printing and sale of old calendars in 1928 but two years later complained that they had made little progress.38 Initially the Ministry of Education planned to arrogate the right to publish calendars to itself “to avoid misleading people and to create public concord,” an act reminiscent of the imperial government’s control over calendrical design and distribution.39 Soon it became clear that fiscal problems required the central government to contract out to private printers, however, and finally officials declared that all calendars should simply receive the imprimatur of the city or county authorities instead.40 But meanwhile, old-style calendars kept showing up on the market. So did dual-system calendars, which the Ministries of Finance and Interior labeled “subversive documents” ( fandong wenjian 反動 文件) and ordered the mayor of Shanghai to crack down on printing houses that produced them.41 Publishers followed public demand, however, which continued strong for the fei and “subversive” documents, as well as “superstitious” New Year’s prints.42 Dual-system calendars irritated authorities because they enabled people to live in two (or more) worlds at once. A similar effect was achieved on the discursive level by publishers who placed Sun Yat-sen’s portrait on the covers of their old-fashioned almanacs.43 “Merchants think only of profit,” fumed the Department of Propaganda. “As long as there is profit that they can foresee, they will avoid doing anything. They will sell lunar calendars anyway, and most of them have not burned the old ones. So many [businesses] sell them, the ban can hardly succeed.”44 A further 1930 order for policing and calendar burning seems to have had at least some short-term impact in Shanghai, especially since it also called for monitoring ritual specialists at temples as “dealers” in the contraband of almanacs and old calendars.45 Yet the spectral presence of the feili persisted: George Missemer noted that by 1931, when obtaining old-style calendars finally became difficult in Shanghai, residents took to painstakingly penning in the lunar dates on their guoli.46

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That was the unbidden persistence of the religious remainder. The Nationalists themselves evoked another aspect of it, however, by way of conceding a place to Chinese cultural traditions in their politicized national regime. Xue Dubi and others had conceded that the feili— or rather certain of its festivals—could continue as vestigial elements within the guoli. Textbooks pointed this out to farmers who might be tempted to object to the change on ritual or practical grounds. The fictional Hua family of Three People’s Village, the “model household” of the People’s Primer for Farmers, “always followed the national calendar when they passed holidays.” The Huas used the new calendar “to observe all their ancestors’ anniversaries and invite guests for feasts, but they do not pursue any superstitious activities.”47 Other educational tools included rhymes to help people memorize the number of days in each solar month and where the solstices, equinoxes, and other important farming dates fell in the new reckoning.48 The matter of which old holidays to transpose to the new calendar nonetheless perplexed government planners. Concessions were grudging: the Executive Committee on Education drew up a calendar for the 1927–28 school year, for example, that omitted all lunar holidays, with the sole exception of the Double Ninth Festival, perhaps allowed as a day for family outings.49 Shortly thereafter, however, Ministry of Interior officials noted that to win the battle for public sentiment, holidays celebrated with “proper habits . . . that do not contravene good social tendencies or have to do with superstition” could be transferred to solar dates.50 After all, officials recognized, revolutionary holidays, such as the anniversaries of Sun Yat-sen’s birth and death or the remembrance day for the 72 Martyrs of the 1911 Revolution, hardly afforded the populace much chance for leisure. Rest and entertainment were important “to moderate the course of life and would improve the efficiency of mechanized labor” as well.51 The winnowing process took Interior and Education officials two years. The result was a list, very similar to the “Standards,” that traced the origins and development of eight permissible holidays. The Lantern Festival, Shangsi (the third day of the third month), the Dragon Boat Festival, Double Seven, the Zhongyuan Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Nine, and Laba (the eighth day of the twelfth month) were assigned new dates and added to the official calendar as of 1931.52 The ministries mostly chose holidays that served as popular days of leisure and family gatherings, such as the Lantern, Dragon Boat, and Mid-Autumn festivals. Some were primarily associated with special kinds of foods—one ate congee on Laba,


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for instance. With others the officials took care to downplay distasteful associations or rewrite the day’s meaning to suit contemporary governmental concerns. Noting that Shangsi was traditionally a day for invoking cleansing rituals to prevent disease (including those performed by spirit mediums), the officials deemed it an appropriate day for promoting the modern discipline of public health. And, as is discussed below, they attempted to redefine the Zhongyuan Festival into a day of ancestor worship, eliminating Buddhist and Daoist rituals and ghost offerings. Notably absent from the list was Tomb-Sweeping Day (Qingming jie 清明節), which the party ignored until Shao Yuanchong proposed rewriting the holiday for state purposes in 1935. Instead, the government promoted the anniversary of Sun Yat-sen’s death, March 12, as a new focal point for remembrance of the dead and urged the public to plant trees in commemoration of the late leader. During the New Life era this broadened to “all martyrs who had died for the revolution.”53 Although this use of Sun’s death briefly suggested the notion of the party and the state as a meta-ancestor for all Chinese—a process Susan Glosser sees happening with Nationalist marriage ceremonies—the ritual cacophony that soon developed undercut such a possibility severely.54 In the mid-1930s, Shao and the “customs coalition” promoted the “National Tomb-Sweeping Day” as yet another commemoration of national ancestors. The party and government never seemed entirely certain of how to approach familial ancestral rites in the modern age and alternated between banning and fostering them. This points at an essential problem of the process of state-sponsored secularization. Once such holidays were plucked from the old calendar and moved to their new homes, what kind of life were they to have? What were people supposed to do on them? The dire warning about promoting good social tendencies and avoiding superstition showed that officials intended more than just a chronological shift. Could “all the liveliness and entertainment” of the past remain under such circumstances? The Lunar New Year was not the only calendrical moment when such questions hung in the balance, for concurrent with the ban on the lunar calendar, the KMT sought to prohibit temple festivals. This struck not only at the way many of even the preserved old holidays were observed but also at the structure of local collective action as well.

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Community As Nationalist army units and party cadres began inserting themselves into the Jiangsu countryside in the summer of 1928, they frequently took the opportunity to prohibit prominent temple festivals (miaohui 廟會), often only just as the events were set to take place.55 Some of the more spectacular results of such actions have been explored in earlier chapters. Over the course of the following year, urban authorities in such cities as Nanjing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou followed suit. They took particular aim at the Ghost Festival of the seventh lunar month, especially the events of the fifteenth day (Zhongyuan jie 中元節, also commonly referred to by the name of the Buddhist rite associated with it, Yulanpenhui 盂蘭盆會 or Yulanbanghui 盂蘭膀會).56 General bans followed; when those failed, the National Government reissued calls for vigilance during the height of the New Life Movement. In many ways such bans fit into the overall drive to establish public order early in the regime, especially in the KMT heartland. In Jiangsu during the late 1920s, the “party purge” (qingdang 清黨) movement targeting suspected Communists was quickly followed by an equally disruptive “countryside purge” (qingxiang 清鄉) meant to counter the power of local elites.57 In the major cities, authorities focused on keeping a lid on labor and student agitation. Even before massive public reaction to the invasion of Manchuria heightened government anxiety, for example, the Nanjing police issued regulations stipulating that all marches and rallies must be registered, receive prior approval, and take place along specified routes between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.58 Any public gathering in the capital, therefore, was subject to scrutiny. In examining the evidence from Jiangsu during the early 1930s, it is thus not surprising to find a correspondence between places receiving the tightest political and social monitoring and those where temple festival prohibitions were reported to be in effect. The Ministry of Interior customs surveys reveal bans in counties where the party branches were particularly strong, such as Rugao and Liyang, or that felt the influence of nearby urban centers, such as Nanhui, near Shanghai.59 In Suzhou zealous bans on celebrations of the Ghost Festival and other lunar holidays succeeded at least up until 1931.60 On one level, then, temple festivals simply constituted one type of unsupervised gatherings that were seen as posing a general threat to the social


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order. On another, they presented particular obstacles to Nationalist goals of social engineering. Like the old calendar more generally, they fostered a “lack of faith in oneself.” They also encouraged the formation of social groupings that threatened the Nationalist reordering of the nation. Explications of KMT rural policy, for example, drew direct links between the party’s eradication of religious processions and temple plays and its future ability to build self-government organizations in the countryside.61 Another line of thinking cast temple festivals as primarily economic events. In the context of antisuperstition discourse, this emerged as a reading of festivals as a means for greedy clergy and local elites to extract hardearned money from the deluded poor. Sometimes this message was linked with the Nationalists’ own symbolic regime via the myth-history of Sun Yat-sen’s youthful efforts to combat superstition. One elementary-school textbook described the effects of temple festivals in Sun’s home town: Every year the village held a temple procession. They took out the statue of the god and paraded it. The people of the village were very pious. But in the end, it was only the people who took care of the temple who made a lot of money. The people of the village were still poor and still suffered. They got nothing out of it at all.

The last sentence was accompanied by an illustration showing monks and temple managers counting strings of cash while a pinched-face man stood by, watching his savings flow away.62 Such arguments reinforced the theme of human agency as well. A few political analysts held that temple festivals could be reconstructed as purely commercial activities with no religious content whatsoever. In response to initial national confusion about the exact role of the observances of the lunar calendar under the new system, in 1930 the KMT Politburo issued a set of instructions that allowed local officials to transpose miaohui to the national calendar.63 The Jiangsu party branch immediately wondered how this could be permissible, given the various bans in force, at which point the Department of Propaganda was forced to clarify that of course they meant only the commercial gatherings that took place around temple sites. Being “pursuits of society’s lower classes,” these need not be wiped out, but by no means did anyone intend to preserve “processions to venerate gods” ( yingshen saihui 迎神賽會).64 Were the Department of Propaganda cadres being deliberately disingenuous here? The heart of the matter was that “temple festivals” could not be reduced to a single category of activity. These occasions vary in periodicity from multiple days to multiple decades and encompass geographic

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ranges from neighborhoods to regions. They can involve a variety of activities (processions, feasting, performances, offerings of food and objects, as well as rituals performed by specialists) engaged in by a variety of actors (ritual specialists, designated community representatives, members of the local temple community, visitors from adjoining communities, and so on). The economies they support are both local and social (based on contributions and exchanges that produce the festivals) and centered on trade (markets timed to coincide with the festivals). They are not lawless, as antisuperstition activists argued, but neither are they restricted to a single liturgy. Seen from another angle, however, the party’s viewpoint is entirely characteristic of the modern categorization of human endeavor in which “religion” is rigorously separated from the economic and the political. Even those Nationalist officials who took a more conciliatory view of Chinese customs reflected the influence of this line of thinking and viewed China’s culture as a source of symbolic value rather than social and political networks. Chen Guofu encapsulated this attitude in a 1937 preface to a (perhaps unpublished) work on temple festivals. Taking the quasiConfucian “golden age” standpoint that there was nothing wrong with temple festivals in their origin, Chen argued that they had become tarnished with superstitious practices over time, and therefore the government was correct to ban them in the present day. Yet they could be rehabilitated. Expressing much the same spirit that drove his calendrical project, he proposed that festivals might be suitable for “temples that were proper and had historical value.”65 In his memoirs from his time as Jiangsu governor, Chen gives an example of the kind of site he had in mind, a shrine to a former worthy in Yangzhong who had once aided the locality in flood relief. He noted that banning the procession at the last minute had led to the county head being barricaded in his office by an angry crowd. Rather than opposing the event, he reasoned, the local authorities should be leading it, if only “to guarantee that it will not lose its moral character.”66 Although Chen strove to sympathize with the Yangzhong temple supporters, in the end his view is only somewhat less programmatic than the argument for dividing the economic role of temple festivals from the religious activities. “Belief is a source of strength,” he wrote. “Therefore, now that the nation is rectifying culture, and unifying and directing thought, it is worthwhile to make use of the original pure motivating power of temple festivals.”67 For him, therefore, the core defining features of temple festivals were belief and symbolic moral value, as was true of the holidays he sought to detach from their contexts in the lunar calendar, assign


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nationalist or modern meanings, and place alongside revolutionary commemorations. This line of thinking was to have pervasive and negative effects for the Nationalists’ own ceremonies. When it came to the vast majority of temple festivals, however, most Nationalist officials and their allies in the government-controlled portions of the press found it difficult to imagine that they had legitimate moral value. What operated here, they were convinced, was not so much belief as delusion and chicanery. Proof positive, in their minds, was the Ghost Festival.

Nanjing’s Ghosts: “Hot and Noisy?” Why did the Ghost Festival come in for such opprobrium? Authorities in Zhenjiang, Nanjing, and Guangzhou sought to curtail it in 1928 and 1929.68 The Ministry of Interior issued a nationwide ban in 1934, thus making the Ghost Festival the only festival universally targeted by name for banning during this period. As Robert Weller has shown, government officials during and after the imperial era found reason to disapprove of ghost ritual.69 The Nationalists of the 1920s and 1930s inherited this legacy, but added their specific political motivations, local as well as national. They heaped rationalist scorn on the central acts of, first, believing in ghosts and, second, making offerings to them.70 Furthermore, both stages of the ban coincided with the prohibition on spirit money and other “superstitious products.” Expenditures during the seventh month on these items and food offerings, firecrackers, lanterns, and so on came in second perhaps only to money spent at New Year’s. At the time of the initial wave of activism, the frugality movement ( jieyue yundong 節約運動) gained steam within the party, influenced not only by concerns over China’s poverty and fragile economy, as well as the related native goods campaign, but also by the military ethics promoted by leaders such as Chiang Kai-shek and Xue Dubi’s patron, Feng Yuxiang.71 Offerings to ghosts, placed in this light, constituted not only an affront to rationality but a drain on the national economy. A 1928 pamphlet issued by the central Popular Education Center explains the ultimate effect: To set fire to a few pieces of paper copper, gold, and silver money, or some paper houses, and [think that] as every piece of paper is consumed it really turns into gold, or copper, or a house—where in the world is this possible? Those who insist on believing this only end up taking the money earned by their own sweat and blood and putting it in the pockets of monks and priests.72

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Thus far, the KMT attack on the Ghost Festival fits into the general pattern of the party’s critique of Chinese religious practice overall, wherein longstanding elite disapproval of excessive spending on rituals and undue power wielded by clerics is reworked into a rationalist framework centered on the nation-state and its economy. In this schema, no ritual can be as effective for self, community, or nation as productivity. To see more clearly just how the Nationalists’ view of the Ghost Festival emerged from or enhanced this pattern—and to see where it departed from the disdain or fear for such observances that government officials and elites of the imperial era could show—a closer look at how both the festival and the ban operated in the KMT capital is necessary. The term “temple festivals,” of course, masks what are in fact multifocal and multivalent occurrences. More perhaps than other such events, the Ghost Festival opens itself to numerous levels of meaning. Originating in a mixture of Buddhist, Daoist, and shamanist elements in medieval China, the festival both spread beyond and retained ties to the monastic system.73 The wide repertoire of Ghost Month activities that had developed in south and south-central China by late imperial times corresponded to an equally wide range of elite and government attitudes. Qitao Guo shows how in sixteenth-century Huizhou local Mulian opera served as a vehicle for new intellectual and moral ideals, and Robert Weller has described how, under quite different conditions of economic and political stability, Qing officials demonstrated little but fear and loathing of the violent mass “ghostrobbing” ceremonies held in late nineteenth-century Taiwan and coastal Fujian.74 Descriptions of seventh-month observances in early twentiethcentury Nanjing do not point at anything especially violent, although they certainly reflect what Weller terms the “hot and noisy” aspect of ghost ritual. In fact, it was the typical diversity of household, neighborhood, temple-based, and city-wide rituals that was precisely what bothered the Nationalist police and party authorities. Accounts of 1920s Nanjing describe streets periodically filled throughout the month with offerings to hungry ghosts put out by both residents and businesses, who might also invite Buddhist or Daoist clergy for recitations.75 Pan Zongding, the author of Nanjing suishi ji, claimed that besides the usual ritual-supervising clerics, Nanjing’s public spaces were also populated by beggars (lianhua naozhe 蓮花鬧者), who circulated songs “half full of rumor” about the identity of specific local ghosts.76 At the midpoint and end of the month, visitors flocked to the temple to Dizang bodhisattva at


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Qingliang Hill 清涼山, in the western part of the city (Map 3). By this point in the Qingliang Dizang shrine’s history, it was precisely its role in connection with the activities of the seventh month that gave the shrine a place in Nanjing’s religious landscape. It was not otherwise among the large or well-known temples in the city. Contemporary lists of important historical relics on Qingliang Hill indeed usually ignored it in favor of established institutions such as the Qingliang Monastery (Qingliang si 清涼 寺) or even new markers such as a Christian cemetery founded there at the beginning of the Republic.77 Its familiar name of “Little Jiuhua” seemed a selling point in guidebooks and local lore rather than based on firm ties to the Anhui pilgrimage site of Jiuhuashan.78 Seventh-month visitors were assured in any case. Pilgrims flooded the halls for Dizang and the Jade Emperor. The scholar-official Hu Pu’an vividly described the rest of the Ghost Month scene: From the beginning of the month on, the worshippers spill outside the temple walls [i.e., the temple cannot accommodate the crowds of visitors]. Another surge comes after the twenty-fifth. The sweat pours off one like rain, and visitors circulate like ants. Tea booths are set up in every corner to serve as spots for burning incense and resting. The dazzle of the decorations and the grandeur of the setup compete with one another to catch the eye. Only at the end of the month, when it is said that the mountain gate [to the underworld] closes, does the activity start to diminish.79

The rest houses (“tea booths” chapeng 茶棚) included both sheds for vendors of locally famous tea and “Dizang tents” (Dizang peng 地藏棚) for visiting spirit images from smaller temples.80 These structures, as a 1932 guide to Nanjing remarked, attracted crowds of “women and old folk, plus people in every kind of strange attitude of prostration and mortification (shao bai xiang shao rou xiang 燒拜香燒肉香); but most are there to seek the health of their family members and to redeem their vows.”81 The fervent activity of an otherwise unremarkable temple stood in contrast to other sites within the city. The continuance of festivals at Jiming Temple in the northern part of the city also frustrated the city government, for instance, but its historic eminence and social prominence lent it an aura of invulnerability. Lastly, Nanjing residents commemorated Ghost Month along the Qinhuai River 秦淮河 and the Green Stream (Qingxi 青溪), which flowed through the heart of the city. In localized versions of rituals held elsewhere in China, monks conducted prayer services (daochang 道場) and crowds

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made “offerings to the river orphans” (zhai he gu 齋河孤) by setting paper lanterns afloat, and sent off paper “dharma boats” depicting Dizang and other figures from the Mulian story. John Shryock, observing such a ritual in Anqing in Anhui province in 1923, marveled at its beauty. “While we watched,” he wrote, “suddenly a new river appeared on the old one, a river of moving lights. Buddhists say these lights shine down upon the depths, and the imprisoned souls who see them are able to escape.”82 Nanjing residents gathered in especially large numbers at the naval yard and former fortress of the Qing naval official Huang Yisheng, on the bank of the Qinhuai facing Mouzhou Lake (see Map 3).83 The potential offenses to modernized urban social order that these activities could pose were numerous. Describing the reasons for the ban, Liu Jiwen’s administration pronounced, “The Yulanbang Festival occurs as summer turns to fall. Ignorant people follow it in a swarm, squandering money with no benefit to society.”84 As the image of the “swarm” hints, the perceived injury to social order reached beyond ritual expense. Social Affairs officials stated the occasion was of the sort where “danger could easily arise.”85 The Capital Police Department issued a public declaration that this sort of jiao 醮–holding and festivals for spirits recklessly stirs up the gullible; not only is it a source of financial waste, but it can readily start trouble. This city is the place of the national capital—all eyes are turned here, from both domestically and abroad. Now as we are rewriting the script of politics, all bad habits must be uprooted, so as to create a model.86 (Italics added)

Thus the Ghost Festival took on special significance in a city undergoing ambitious urban planning as the showcase of the Nationalist regime, under the scrutiny of the world as well as of the KMT’s local rivals. As with numerous other aspects of the antisuperstition campaign that intersected with economic and ritual activities in public space (such as the bans on fortunetellers and spirit mediums or on the trade in spirit money and amulets), the police took primary responsibility for the 1929 Ghost Festival prohibition.87 The Social Affairs Bureau followed up by blanketing the city with notices forbidding Nanjing residents from holding any sort of ceremony on the fifteenth, and the Education Bureau launched a typical propaganda campaign of street lectures and wall posters.88 The goal was to cleanse the streets and rivers. The pressures on the Nanjing municipal authorities to create a sense of regulated street traffic and controlled public gatherings went far beyond those of a simple desire for neat modern display. In fact the ban on the


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Ghost Festival coincided with serious stresses on Nanjing’s urban population. The number of residents in the city skyrocketed 38 percent in 1927 and 1928 and grew another 8.7 percent the year after. This rate of growth far outstripped that of other large Chinese cities during the Nanjing Decade. The growth reflected not only the arrival of a new administrative class but also a steady influx of poor farmers and refugees seeking opportunity in the Nationalist promise—not necessarily the new citizens urban planners such as Liu Jiwen desired most.89 The prospect of dealing with a homeless population and other problems of sudden growth surely enhanced the urgency of clamping down on unsupervised, manifold public gatherings such as the events of the seventh lunar month, especially since urban elite administrators might construe these as the very sorts of activities that “ignorant” and “gullible” persons from the countryside would be likely to seek out. Land reclamation and reorganization also stood high on the list of urban management priorities in the capital, and these affected many of the liminal spaces in which Ghost Festival rituals were conducted. As part of its design for the capital, the city government launched several rounds of land surveys, which particularly focused on the widening of thoroughfares and the clearing of squatters. Also important was the rationalization of official property belonging to the former Qing government, especially that which had slipped into private hands. This process began in 1928, around the same time as the social reforms that targeted temple festivals.90 Given that much of the local Ghost Festival activity took place not simply at Qingliang Hill, but along the very roadsides that the city was trying to clear of even permanent structures such as shops, or at former Qing property such as Huang Yisheng’s naval yard, the conflict between the administration’s ambitions and the festival becomes even clearer. Lastly, during the previous year Mayor Liu had trained his sights on the Qinhuai River itself—that is, on its famed entertainment districts and the pursuit of prostitution there, which was officially prohibited in September 1928.91 Although the effort ultimately failed, it did have the effect of at least temporarily heightening police surveillance of certain riverside neighborhoods and moreover created an official discourse stigmatizing the “Qinhuai atmosphere.” This contributed to the recasting of the riverbank area into a place of general illegitimacy and disrepute. Whether the public took such messages to heart is another matter. In a way the effort of the Interior and Education ministries to redefine the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month as a day of ancestor worship conceded defeat—officials were simply acknowledging that people clung to

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the holiday.92 The transplant failed to take root, however, and so when the national party and government launched the New Life Movement in early 1934—centered on, among other virtues, the goals of making China “productivized, militarized, and aestheticized”—the Nanjing city government took this as an opportunity to revive the old prohibitions. Meanwhile, the central government’s Ministry of Interior decided to issue a nationwide call to eradicate the Ghost Festival once and for all as a “disturbance to local peace and security.”93 Two columns below the order, the KMT’s Central Daily News printed the observations of a reporter who had spent several hours at the Dizang temple and other Qingliang Hill shrines in the early hours of the Zhongyuan Festival. He noted that worshippers continued to arrive in great numbers and provided a description of their ritual activities for a readership presumably detached from such matters (Dizang’s development into a bodhisattva figure, for instance, is ascribed to “our country’s feudal era”). The article is most notable, however, for its reflection of the persistent theme of temple festivals as primarily an (unproductive) economic pursuit. The most orderly aspect of the entire scene, the reporter found, was the line of beggars along the path to the temple gate. More than a hundred were “arrayed in ranks.” Querying the Dizang temple manager on finances, he discovered that the institution owned fields in northern Jiangsu and typically received 1,000 yuan in donations during the “ghost month,” an amount that had been only somewhat diminished by the recent economic downturn. Doing some quick calculations, the reporter concluded that this is more than sufficient to pay for ritual items and the meals and salary for the hundred extra temple attendants that needed to be hired: “Because the government doesn’t take taxes, the daily income from donations can nicely support [the temple].” The writer took careful note of all places where worshippers deposited coins and other offerings and concluded by noting that pilgrimage also provided opportunities for prolonged consumption: “When going home, one must leave behind several sticks of ‘returning incense,’ as well as purchase Taipinggan, Lixianggao, Huabangchui, etc. [all famous types of tea], in order to get good luck.”94 In other words, the Ghost Festival was at its heart a financial enterprise, one that operated to the detriment of the pockets of poor folk. Yet as rural county heads continued to pledge to eradicate festivals, the narrow view that many Nationalist officials adopted of religious community activity deprived them of the ability to make key inroads into local power.95 Officials of the Jiangning county experimental government


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understood enough to realize that they had to make community leaders responsible if they wanted to eradicate temple fairs, but it is unclear whether this achieved anything more than an atmosphere of coercion. Deciding in 1933 that the reason locals had ignored several past prohibitions was ignorance and a lack of “proper entertainment,” county officials conducted a survey and drew up a plan to replace the festivals with generic gatherings that would feature agricultural exhibitions, plowing and planting contests, and plays, “within the boundaries of promoting public security.”96 Representatives of the county party branch, the police, the relevant village gongsuo, and the central primary school would vet play scripts and form propaganda teams. The crux of the plan, however, was to extract a personal guarantee to the police from each temple committee head that the temple fairs and processions would end. Village and town heads were similarly held personally responsible for the festivals’ eradication. Thus the Jiangning experimental county, which as previously noted focused its energies on security and control, edged closer to achieving reform through force. Other routes were possible; some enterprising rural health workers, for example, chose not to attack religious festivals but use them as public occasions to promote biomedicine.97 More often, though, KMT officials operated on a new approach to power and community authority that led them to discount festivals and their sponsors as resources. This is suggested by the experience of Rural Rehabilitation Committee researchers in Jiangsu. Visiting a village in Changshu county, the survey team found that the village head was away taking part in a festival for Guanyin. “For the convenience of the survey results,” the team headed up to the mountainside temple: Amid the smoke from incense and candles, we saw a number of faithful seated at a table chanting sutras. It seemed the village head had some leadership role, since he was seated at the center, with bowed head and closed eyes, and was reciting with particular vigor. . . . The village head was not very pleased with us. But since he had no choice but to go along, he reluctantly led us door to door to make the survey. . . . Afterward, he rushed back to the temple to continue his activities.98

Although the surveyors noted the significance of Guanyin in local lore and practice and remarked that farmers in the area scraped together offerings for this festival no matter their level of hardship, interrupting the ritual gave them no pause. They did not even think to ask the village head about his role in the proceedings, choosing instead to speculate based on their

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brief glimpse of the ritual. In their eyes, his role in the ritual was irrelevant to his identity and duties as village head. As ethnographic and historical literature has shown us, however, this village head was but one of many who simultaneously dealt with postimperial Chinese states and community iterations of power, including temple festivals.99 Such people increasingly found a voice in the public realm as the Nanjing Decade reached emotional heights of national humiliation and fear during the 1930s. In fact, the putative dividing line between political and numinous power—nebulous enough to begin with—became fuzzier even in the realm of Nationalist ceremonial itself.

The Dead National crisis allowed for the continual rewriting of the political “script.” As the 1930s progressed, attempts to wrest control of the pen from the hands of the KMT grew more numerous, and the presence of the religious remainder became increasingly obvious. Campaigns for social and political control such as the New Life Movement should be seen as part of that growing contestation, not as evidence of effective government command or the actual implementation of a Chinese fascism. One of the tensest areas of contestation was the question of how to bury and commemorate the dead. The party wished citizens to forgo private, superstitious, and wasteful rituals in favor of a uniform ceremony and burial in centralized cemeteries. The regulated reverence of ancestors in public cemeteries was to mimic on a smaller scale new civic ceremonies commemorating fallen revolutionary heroes and their historical predecessors, with Sun Yat-sen at the pinnacle. The alternative was not simply open resistance. Instead, social actors ranging from families to civic organizations to Nationalist officials themselves creatively melded new and old ritual forms and patriotic observances with personal and community services. Scholars and officials had been criticizing funeral ritual, of course, since at least the time of Confucius. During the twentieth century, the watchword became simplicity rather than ritual orthodoxy. Westernized customs such as music by military bands or the wearing of black armbands began to spread in cities. Funerals for revolutionary martyrs during the late Qing served as some of the first public examples of revised observances.100 New Culture reformers such as Hu Shi also made it a point to serve as personal examples. After his mother’s death in 1919, reformers and traditionalists alike waited expectantly to see how Hu Shi would handle the occasion. He


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did not disappoint; although he published a terse death notice, he then distributed a public statement in his hometown declaring that “in its mourning, this house has instituted several improvements to the bad habits of old.”101 He prohibited mourners from offering spirit money or paper objects, refused to employ monks or priests, and rejected public weeping as artificial and dishonest. His only concession to tradition was to wear mourning garb of rough white cloth, a choice he attributed to residual fears of local gossip. He topped the garment, however, with a black armband. By the time of the Nationalist regime. Hu Shi’s individual example had become a general attitude.102 During the mid-1920s, the frugality and simplicity of memorial services held for fallen comrades of the Northern Expedition contrasted sharply with the extravagance of funerals for fallen militarists like Zhang Zuolin. A June 1926 photo of a memorial for a member of the political unit of the Sixth Division of the Revolutionary Army, for instance, shows plain white commemorative banners as the main decoration of the sparse shed erected for the service. The primary slogan reads “Exhausted himself in working for the Party.” Mourners added only black armbands and white floral badges to their uniforms to show their respect.103 Although born of revolution and battle, this became the model of the memorial service (zhuidao hui 追悼會) KMT leaders wished civil servants and, eventually, the broad public to adopt. The matter was important enough to generate proposals from several offices during the first months of the Nanjing government; finally, a special central government committee on ritual reform, together with Xue Dubi, Cai Yuanpei, and other officials from various ministries, drew up new ritual guidelines.104 The standards dictated process and behavior for seven stages of ceremonial, from encoffinment to funeral to burial. The rituals were spare. Bows replaced prostrations, and ritual weeping was nowhere to be found. The various grades of mourning garb were unified to white clothing and white caps for all, without ornamentation. The reformers did not entirely omit important stages of funerary rites, such as sacrificial offerings and ceremonial leave-taking of the deceased, but they simplified them greatly. For example, the sequence of offerings was boiled down to nine steps: 1. Introductory speech 2. Mourning music 3. Leader of the sacrifice takes his seat

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4. [He] proceeds to the deceased’s spirit [i.e., photo or coffin], bows to it three times 5. Extends offerings (limited to incense, flower [wreaths], fruit, liquor, and so on) 6. Ceremonial music 7. Further speeches 8. Takes leave of the spirit, bowing once 9. Mourning music, mourners rise.105

This particular ceremony contained the core elements of Nationalist public commemorative ceremony, reproduced (later subtracting the incense, fruit, and liquor offerings) in so-called public sacrifices (gongji 公祭) and memorial services for Sun, martyrs, “national heroes,” and political leaders. Besides simplifying the duties and expenses of the mourners, the reformers limited the religious associations of funerary rites as much as possible. Mourners were not to employ monks and priests or make paper offerings to the dead. After the burial, the deceased could be remembered only with a portrait inscribed with the dates of birth and death. Spirit tablets were forbidden. In addition, the Ministry of Health passed further restrictions limiting the amount of time a coffin could be stored before burial.106 Officials claimed concern about the public health consequences of keeping coffins exposed more than sixty days, and in some cases—for instance that of drowning victims—they prescribed immediate burial. But the regulations also struck a blow against geomancy and the selection of auspicious days for burial. For Nanjing municipal officials, such reforms did not go far enough; they drew up their own, more specific rules, which dictated such details as the number of musicians and pallbearers, their clothing, and the type of insignia permitted (memorial photos and depictions of the Twenty-Four Exemplars of Filial Piety were allowed; images of Amida Buddha and the Eight Immortals were not). The rules ostensibly permitted rites specific to each religion but effectively stripped Buddhist and Daoist rituals bare. They also stipulated spending limits and, like a similar Shanghai law, required the use of native products, although they did allow for two classes of funeral depending on the wealth of the family.107 This city also instituted a permit system for coffin transport, which would not only help police regulate and tabulate the dead but also generate revenue from fees, taxes, and fines.108 A further step remained, however: where were the coffins headed?


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Collective Life in Death The KMT did not invent the idea of communal burial grounds for unrelated persons, but it could be argued they franchised the concept for application across China. The local precedents for gongmu 公墓 (public cemeteries)109 were huiguan burial places for sojourners, and religious-affiliated burial grounds (such as Buddhist columbaria and Muslim and Christian cemeteries). Collective anonymous burial also occurred at times of disaster, notably undertaken by officials and Buddhist clergy in the aftermath of the Taiping Rebellion and, more recently, by the Red Cross and redemptive societies during the wars of the 1910s and 1920s.110 During the early twentieth century, reformist gentry such as Zhang Jian in Nantong began to construct cemeteries for the general indigent population; Nanjing city had two gentry-run burial societies, founded during the 1880s and 1890s.111 The other model emanated from the treaty ports, where newly hygienic British sensibilities registered horror at Chinese burial practices and began providing substitutes that were soon more widely emulated.112 The Nationalists adopted elements of both the hygienic and the charitable models but added their own ingredients of antisuperstition and social engineering. Niu Yongjian, the Christian party elder who had defended religious freedom in 1928, took a special interest in promoting public burial while governor of Jiangsu, and his 1929 campaign influenced cemetery design in Suzhou, Wuxi, and Zhenjiang cities and Jiangdu and Feng counties. His interest mixed the customs-improving prerogative of the imperial-era magistrate with the discerning nose of the Englishman and the antisuperstition concerns of the modernizer. He wrote of touring Jiangnan and seeing “villages and farms where coffins floated about and corpses were exposed, producing a suffocating stench.”113 Public cemeteries, he believed, would take care of both the indigence and the superstitious belief in geomancy that underlay the problem and would bring respect for the dead. His colleagues in the Ministries of Interior and Health agreed with him in many respects. As part of the imperative to modernize society via every route imaginable, they ordered local KMT officials to add constructing and managing public cemeteries to their long list of administrative tasks. Local governments were free to choose the location and overall design, but the Ministry of Interior regulated format quite closely, from distance from residential and civic areas to the size of the plots and the proportion to be kept free for the indigent (no less than two-thirds of the whole). Cemetery managers would also take over much of the care of the graves from fami-

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lies.114 In fact, the desire to minimize the role of the family played a large part in the 1937 drafting of plans for a national cemetery for public leaders in the Zijinshan complex, which was eventually designed to reduce the possibility that descendants would choose to bury the person elsewhere.115 As with converting temples, however, building a public cemetery meant not just changing custom but altering property and therefore power relationships. Reforming burial customs was a practical choice in an era of infrastructure development: as the Wuxi city government subtly put it, “Because of the construction of roads, waterways, and so on, disputes often develop to the point of destruction; burying people randomly in this [current] way not only encroaches on the land used by the living but makes it difficult to leave the dead in peace.”116 The desire to open land was not limited to urban areas. In an environment where prices for burial spots regularly exceeded those for farmland, party cadres as near as Zhenjiang to the capital and as far as Shanxi requested permission to dig up graves to free fields for planting.117 But the point of new-style public cemeteries was not simply to change peoples’ habits. They were also endpoints for the disinterments necessitated by development. Nowhere was this process more visible than in the new capital. Soon after distributing the new public cemetery regulations, for instance, Mayor Liu’s administration sought to move several thousand graves scattered around Beijigeshan, Xuanwu Lake, and the Jiming Temple, all in the north-central part of the city (Map 3). Beijigeshan was the site of the Central Observatory, a military radio tower, and a rail line, and not far from several major government offices. The Executive Yuan had ordered the area cleaned up, and so the Nanjing Public Security Bureau duly posted a notice ordering the public to move all graves within twenty days. Not surprisingly, the call went unheeded. When no one responded, the city fretted over how to solve the problem. Some of the graves had markers, but in other places plague victims and fallen soldiers were scattered randomly, “bones of corpses protruding from the earth.” City health officials therefore proposed to allow families to maintain their lineage burial plots; the city would cremate any other coffins and put the remains in a specially constructed pagoda. They admitted that they would need police assistance “to destroy superstition and open up land.”118 Their superiors in the national Ministry of Health, however, realized the affront to “popular sentiment” that digging up graves and burning the contents would constitute, despite the fact that the ministry promoted cremation as the modern and economical alternative. They decided it was best to


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collect only the exposed coffins and corpses—which was cheaper as well—and wait to put them in the first municipal public cemetery when it was completed.119 The Ministry of Health resolved to turn Beijigeshan into a park, along with another major burial site at Gonghoushan. Ministry officials did insist, however, that all other graves scattered throughout the city had to be moved outside the city walls. The municipal government was to carry out a propaganda campaign and provide modest equipment to help people with the move, but it would have city workers move the graves if necessary after the deadline elapsed.120 This radical project still depended on the construction of new cemeteries and thus accumulated delays. In the initial flush of grand urban design and ambitious budgetary requests Mayor Liu had estimated it would cost 70,000 yuan to build just the first of an original three planned cemeteries, at Dayingpan.121 Later that year the municipal Health Bureau complained that it was allowed to spend only a seventh of that.122 Although that amount eventually doubled, it stood in stark contrast to millions of yuan spent on Sun Yat-sen’s mausoleum.123 By the time Japanese troops arrived in Nanjing, the Dayingpan cemetery had just been completed. The city’s first public crematorium was tested there in 1936. Of the eventual eight cemeteries planned for Nanjing, it appears that only one other was nearing completion in 1937.124 This was just sufficient to meet the city government’s modest estimate, made in 1929, that 10 mu of space would be needed for new graves every year, based on the assumption that only one out of ten deceased citizens would be buried in a public cemetery.125 This left no room for transferring old graves from around the city for public works, however, as the state plan originally intended. Furthermore, the ultimate ideological goal was to convince or require all citizens to join their fellows in public burial grounds. In April 1935 Chiang Kai-shek issued a personal order once again banning private and random choice of burial sites. The ban was enforced by a tax on old tombs.126 Business associations regarded the new tax warily, especially after the Executive Yuan promulgated new cemetery regulations in fall 1936 that made the grave tax into national law and stipulated that all burials outside a public cemetery now required special permission from the local government.127 Lawmakers nonetheless forged ahead with additional regulations. Most notably, strict rules dictated that any grave site interfering with public health, the cultivation of fields, or the establishment of military installations could, after a year’s notice, be forcibly destroyed and the corpse disinterred for

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cremation. The fines, taxes, and fees for permits to operate private cemeteries constituted a real windfall for the government.128 Plans for public cemeteries in Nanjing and other Jiangsu cities show how mourners were encouraged to alter their habits of burial and public remembrance. The design of the Number One Public Cemetery in Wuxi, for example, combined a tolerance for the rites of ancestor worship with a desire to detach such customs from the family setting and make them part of a broader public.129 The tomb site stood on the western outskirts of the city, in the foothills of the landmark Huishan, and directly in front of a Buddhist temple, the Qingshan Monastery. The main road led both to the cemetery and to the temple, which was still active and famous for its statues of 500 lohans.130 Only a small back gate led from the cemetery to the Buddhist site, however. Once the visitor entered the cemetery, his focus was meant to stay there. Families burying someone in one of the 3,100 planned plots were allowed to make offerings to the deceased but not at the grave itself. Onethird of the budget was to be designated for a ceremonial hall (litang 禮堂) constructed for that purpose instead. This lay at the center of the cemetery, along the main north–south axis. Users were to a pay a rental fee for use of the hall, in addition to the regular service fee and a grave construction fee paid at the time of burial. A room at the central gate was also provided for lower-cost rites. Although cemetery regulations did not forbid the burning of offerings entirely, this was to take place only in designated areas. Thus ceremonies that previously would have been celebrated within the confines of the family or the family’s local community were brought out into randomly designated public locations. Class differences were to be muted, if not erased. Plots were standardized, and most cemeteries prohibited individual design of grave sites. The Wuxi planners also asked clients to choose from a selection of uniform memorial tablets. One now performed rites for one’s ancestors alongside other citizens, previously strangers, performing the same rites for their own ancestors. If everyone followed the new government regulations, they really would be performing the same rite to boot. Some privately run cemeteries even absolved families of that duty, offering yearly public sacrifices on Qingming to honor all those buried within.131 Thus could citizens be buried and remembered as equals. Or almost. Some were more equal than others: the Wuxi planners included in their design a collective shrine (gongci 公祠) “for the spirit tablets of famous martyrs buried in the public cemetery.”132 In doing so, they


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joined the movement, carried on intermittently since the founding of the Republic, to construct shrines, memorial pagodas, and other monuments to fallen leaders of the revolution and to the soldiers who served under them. The founding of the Nanjing regime spurred a new surge of monument building, centered on the Sun Yat-sen mausoleum as the party’s supreme achievement. The presence of martyrs’ shrines in the new cemeteries, like the presence of Sun’s portrait in public halls during new civic weddings and funerals, simultaneously created a link to the revolutionary regime and a differentiation of ordinary citizen from revolutionary hero.133 The genius of the Wuxi design was that it put the martyrs’ shrine into communion with the public at large, in a place whose meaning was quite viscerally personal to the visitor. Martyrs and family ancestors could be remembered in the same visit. And yet, the martyrs were always a class apart, a model to be emulated; they received sacrifices in a separate hall, after all. It seems, indeed, that the martyr shrine was the first element of the Wuxi cemetery to be constructed—and perhaps the only one prior to the war. It was the easiest one, for setting it up required following a wellestablished process: converting a pre-existing shrine.134 Martyrs proved simpler to handle than ordinary citizens and their families.

Heroes Herein lay the contradiction of the Nationalist era, which is really the same contradiction at the heart of countless modern movements of mass political mobilization. Rewriting funeral and burial rituals was meant to achieve uniformity in the actions of ordinary citizens and their leaders. Homogenized burials in public cemeteries were to have their counterparts in rituals at martyrs’ shrines and in the newly codified procedures for state funerals of prominent Nationalists. Modernized mourners would wear black armbands, offer wreaths, and bow three times before the coffins of their relatives just as the nation’s leaders—in images widely publicized—had done before the sarcophagus of Sun Yat-sen at his gleaming tomb in Nanjing. Thus unity and cohesion (tuanjie 團結) would be achieved. But many in the public understood full well the bargain of political tutelage: that the partystate as parent was only supposed to constitute the first stage of their evolution as conscious political subjects. Eventually citizens would outgrow the need for a tutor or a parent.135 On a more quotidian basis, people felt free to fit political symbols and rituals into their own ritual systems. As economic and military challenges grew with each successive year—and

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challenges to Nationalist authority along with them—officials such as Shao Yuanchong, Dai Jitao, Zhang Ji, and others began to seek a path to tuanjie in elevating heroes above the masses. Sanitizing and secularizing a chosen few from China’s past and placing them alongside the party’s own martyrs—sometimes literally, in the same shrine—argued for a linear national history that party leaders hoped would foster some sense of unity in an increasingly fractious time. What began as a process of converting shrines to honor Sun Yat-sen, then, eventually came full circle.

The Universe of Sun To state a connection to the Father of the Nation was to stake a claim to power. This reality shaped the long-delayed construction of Sun Yat-sen’s Nanjing tomb and his interment there. At least beginning the mausoleum project helped advocates of Nanjing as capital settle their case. Sun’s final burial in 1929 constituted a notorious low point in the jockeying among KMT leaders for the position of his true heir. Chiang Kai-shek managed to win the role of chief mourner not only from rivals Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin but also from Sun’s widow and son.136 Neither did the claims to authority stop in the Purple Mountains. Idealists hoped that the putative authority of the KMT’s most magnificent monument would radiate outward to every city, town, and village where party cadres set up a Sun Yatsen Hall or martyr’s shrine. That such satellite monuments were often placed in forcibly converted temples and that citizens had their own opinions on how to remember the late leader and his compatriots meant that the meaning of patriotic commemoration was as heatedly contested on the local level as it was on the national. After Sun’s death in 1925, the ritual of honoring him had gradually spread from the precincts of the party through the Nationalist armed forces to the various KMT governments. Sun himself had shown some aptitude for fostering, if not an outright cult, then certainly strong personal links, such as direct oaths of loyalty.137 It was not such a great leap, therefore, to attempt to use the late leader as a symbol to foster cohesiveness against all odds (the difficulty of such a task became apparent on the first anniversary of Sun’s death, when separate ceremonies were held by factions supporting widow Song Qingling 宋慶齡 (1893–1981) and son Sun Ke and the Western Hills cohort). That year the KMT Central Committee decreed a “weekly remembrance of the Party Leader” (Zongli jinian zhou 總理 紀念周) for all party and government offices. Every Monday morning


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cadres and civil servants were to gather to sing the party anthem (which eventually became the national anthem as well), bow three times before Sun’s portrait, recite his last testament, observe three minutes of silence before the portrait, and, in a later addition, listen to “lectures on continuing the Party Leader’s instructions” or work reports.138 The Nanjing regime continued the practice and even amended the rules to include punishments for absenteeism. In 1929 the KMT Standing Committee drew up regulations to ensure that all party members practiced the KMT song sufficiently before attending their first meeting.139 This hints that the Sun remembrance was a basic way to socialize a young cadre into the party. Not only would he assemble with comrades and undergo the same ritual regimen, but he would absorb values, pledging to “remember the Party Leader eternally, let comrades receive his spirit of sacrifice and struggle for all the people, and allow his wisdom, humanity, and bravery to spur us to continue striving to realize his principles.”140 There was even hope that the event would help overcome difficulties in integrating the diverse pool of officials employed by the Nationalists more firmly into the KMT regime. In 1934, the Central Committee called for provincial party branches and governments to hold their remembrance meetings together, in the hope that the “important and meaningful” occasion of the Sun ritual would not only physically bring the sides together but also “increase understanding.” Alas, a year later leaders complained that non–party members still avoided the Sun rituals whenever possible.141 The idealism of the New Life Movement, however, brought the weekly Sun remembrance to schools and civic organizations as well as government and party offices and military units. In accordance with New Life precepts, the rules stipulated proper dress to show respect for the occasion: blue or black robes or Sun Yat-sen suits for men, long robes or dresses for women.142 Schoolchildren were already well familiar with Sun not only through instruction but via numerous national holidays. By 1930 these had been standardized to include the anniversaries of his birth and death (November 12 and March 12, respectively) as well as three politically charged events from his life (such as his 1895 London kidnapping, used to instruct about imperialism and autocracy). As Robert Culp notes, Sun commemorations had been standard in Jiangnan secondary schools since the late 1920s.143 There were also mass remembrances in politically important locations. In the capital, large-scale commemorations during the early years of the regime included lantern parades for the masses, although these seemed

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to diminish in scale over the years.144 The New Life orders proposed to recapture that early fervor. The high point of public remembrance of the late leader was the final journey of his corpse from the Biyun Temple in Beijing to the Nanjing mausoleum in 1929. The Central Daily News spared no hyperbole in reporting the moment when Chiang Kai-shek triumphantly arrived in the north to reclaim the late leader’s body: “The Nationalist Revolution stands at a crossroads; will it crumble and retreat, or will the revolution advance?”145 The papers followed every inch of the tomb construction and the progress of the propaganda train that transported the coffin to Nanjing, which by some estimates was seen by a million people. Yet when the party finally laid Sun to rest, it maintained absolute control over the proceedings. In contrast to the crowds that poured out to view Sun’s bier and march in the streets after his death in 1925, in Nanjing each ceremonial stage was attended by a carefully chosen audience of representatives from party, government, social organizations, and foreign governments.146 Prior to the interment, Chiang Kai-shek led three days of mourning at KMT headquarters, again before a circumspect and restricted audience.147 Spectators watching the bier process along the flag- and arch-festooned streets of the capital were ordered to be quiet and respectful, and citizens throughout Nanjing were bidden to observe three minutes of silence at noon on June 1. The pace of the city had already slowed, for any sort of celebration or entertainment had been banned for five days prior to the burial.148 The ceremony itself modeled the new-style Nationalist funeral, except on the grandest scale possible, with the addition of honor guards and gun salutes.149 Stirring as it all was, the mausoleum design committee and the eulogists were careful to remark that Sun symbolized revolutionary progress beyond his illustrious neighbor to the west (and, it was pointed out, slightly below), Ming Taizu.150 The broader public was supposed to exercise its reverential role afterward instead, by visiting the mausoleum and its surrounding complex of gardens, exhibition halls, leisure sites, and memorials. For those unable to come to Nanjing—or indeed awaiting the completion of the mausoleum— there was the county Sun hall and revolutionary shrine. Local officials changed old temples and imperial offices into martyrs’ shrines simply by removing the old statues and tablets and putting new names in their place, as occurred at the Kaifeng former worthies shrine.151 In some locales officials made deals for the property: Yangzhou officials, for example, purchased the


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old imperial palace from a private owner, and made it into the party branch and Sun memorial hall.152 Elsewhere they simply took what they wanted: the Executive Yuan ordered the monks of Shanghai’s Shousheng Priory to vacate the premises so that the district party branch could convert it into a “heroes’ memorial.”153 As with the conversion of City God temples, official sources took such changes as a redefinition of public interests. Said the Central Daily News about the decision to allow a historic Buddhist stele on Suzhou’s Tiger Hill to be moved to make way for a Sun Yat-sen statue, not only did the Sun monument convey a better image, but “these days some people oppose [the presence of the sutra tablet] rather fiercely.”154 Of course, some attempted conversions failed (as in Gaoyou) or had to be reworked (as with the Xuanmiao guan project in Suzhou city). In some rare cases, well-off party branches actually constructed freestanding monuments. The Tai county branch in Jiangsu, otherwise extremely active in temple conversion, demolished the old yamen gate and built a five-story concrete Sun Yat-sen Memorial Pagoda in its place. Among the many symbols of Nationalist political modernity that adorned it were a clock and a bell. The monument was respectfully constructed not only “to revere virtue and proclaim achievement,” as one inscription read, but “to announce the time and guard against fires, rousing the people of our nation”—an allusion both to practicality and to the longstanding political symbol of the awakening bell.155 By the end of the Nanjing Decade, even projects that did not require confiscation were becoming coercive of local communities. In 1937, the Jiangsu party branch decided to build a Sun Yat-sen Hall and Local Heroes Shrine in the provincial capital of Zhenjiang and extracted “contributions” from chambers of commerce, unions, theater owners, and local party branches to fund it. Although the descendants of the local worthies were also expected to make a donation, the party noted that “the great spirit of the Party Leader and our provincial heroes belongs to the masses.”156 Therefore, presumably, the masses could be expected to open their wallets. But perhaps the issue at stake here was not so much the contribution itself as the source of the initiative and the level of coercion. The Zhenjiang plan came as an order from the top down but was contradictorily expressed in the language of mass movements. Thus it represented a shift from the past push-and-pull between local elites and the central state about religion—whether in the form of “reverberation,” “conflation,” “superscription,” or “standardization”—especially because it also imposed the new structure of the nation-state above all.157 It also offered one of many

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problematic versions of the KMT’s upside-down visions of mass politics. But the deepest problem was the matter of what was to take place in the shrine. In fact, central and local government offices had been receiving suggestions from enthusiastic would-be contributors to any number of shrines to local heroes, Confucius, and more. They also had been rebuffing them steadily, despite the party’s ostensible promotion of these very figures. At the heart of the impasse lay a fundamental disagreement about what shrines were for, and what ritual meant in the modern age.

Honoring the Sages of Old Nationalist reformers—specifically Cai Yuanpei—saw abolishing the spring and autumn sacrifices to Confucius as a signal act of asserting the sovereignty of the individual. In March 1928, Cai’s Education Ministry declared: “History’s autocratic monarchs held Confucius up as a worthy example and offered him sacrificial animals as a way of controlling the minds of the literati. Truly, this perverts the modern principle of freedom of thought, and this party’s principles as well. If we don’t quickly put an end to it, how will we explain it to the people of this nation?”158 Here Cai and his colleagues were simultaneously rejecting a system of government and constructing a view of ritual as producing a pathological mental state and undermining the free will they assumed necessary for the modern political subject. Even those in the party who found a bit more to admire in Confucius the man likewise rejected the ritual of the state cult. Shortly thereafter, Minister of Interior Xue Dubi offered this clarification: “Abolishing the offerings to Confucius is to eradicate superstitious sacrifices and idol worship, certainly not to overturn his character, scholarship, or place in culture and history.” Even though the rites were stopped, Xue added, Confucian temples must themselves be protected.159 Yet without the rites within, what purpose would the temple shells serve? This was the conundrum presented by the KMT’s simultaneous iconoclasm and historicism. The Nationalists had created a political world heavy in symbol and in ceremony, and yet they firmly rejected the cosmological basis of authority on which imperial government and rites such as the spring and autumn sacrifices had rested, just as they rejected ritualism in general (the “superstitious sacrifices and idol worship” of Xue’s statement). Although the party would eventually resurrect Confucianesque symbolism, this formation resembled neither kongjiao 孔教—Confucianism as modern religion, which Cai Yuanpei had once notably denounced as a false concept


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in the pages of New Youth160—nor lijiao 禮教 orthodoxy. It did not especially reflect ruxue 孺學 scholarship either. Although members and sympathizers of the party representing all three interests could be found, the KMT ceremonies notably disappointed them as much as they annoyed cultural iconoclasts. Rather, the ceremonies derived from a conviction in the motivating power of symbol and a desire to create secularized ceremonies to unite the national body. In How Societies Remember, Paul Connerton remarks on the modern inclination “to focus attention on the content rather than on the form of ritual.”161 The example of the Nationalist deployment of Confucius and his ilk as “national heroes” during the Nanjing Decade is an excellent example of this, for it elevated symbolic meaning and didactic content above all else. Thus, it hardly constituted a revival. The Nanjing government itself had asserted its new power in the capital by moving into many ritual sites of the imperial regime: the Examination Yuan took over the site of the Military Temple; the Central Education Academy, the Civil Temple and imperial academy at the Chaotian gong complex; and the municipal government, portions of the Confucian temple. Although the Examination Yuan converted the main hall of the Military Temple into a two-story structure that housed its reception room and an accounting office, it preserved a small shrine to Guandi that was also on its new grounds.162 This was in accordance with government policy; shortly after the initial Confucian ritual decision, the Ministry of Interior also ordered local governments to cease worship of Yue Fei and Guandi as well, while nonetheless protecting their shrines.163 Since Yue Fei and Guandi shrines were not marked for new uses as Confucian temples were, their new preservation without ritual held out the prospect that they would survive only in a static museum-like state. Confucian temples, however, seemed too laden with symbolic meaning to leave alone. Outside the capital, Nationalist cadres and government teachers spoke of their plans for liberated Confucian temples in transformative terms, returning especially often to the idea of repainting the shrines’ vermilion walls with Nationalist blue and white. One observer deemed such a change “Teacher Confucius’ bad luck!”164 An article in the KMT Central Daily News suggested that the new color scheme would not only mirror the national flag but “express that this place is a refuge of universal love, freedom, and equality.”165 If changing the color could (allegedly) change the polarity of the space, what would be the effect on its everyday use? This proved more difficult to determine.

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At first the government openly encouraged educators to convert civil temples to night schools and other features of mass education; this had the greatest impact since it exposed the public to a space previously reserved for the scholarly elite.166 In the Nanhui, Jiangsu, site of Confucius’ “bad luck,” the central hall, the former precinct of spirit tablets and sacrifices, became a lecture hall. Other schools divided the space up into classrooms, libraries, and so on, a welcoming arrangement.167 The common staple of many schools in rural areas was a science department, usually placed at the front of the building, where experts and organizers could dispense farming advice. Thus crowds now gathered to be socialized in the secular habits of nationalist modernity—listening to speeches and lessons on topics like hygiene, science, agricultural technique, and national ideology. Such sessions were invariably launched with the more formal ceremony of listening to the last political testament of Sun Yat-sen and bowing before his portrait. The future ritual life of Confucian shrines not turned into schools posed more of a conundrum. Under Xue Dubi’s successor, Zhao Daiwen, the Ministry of Interior advised standardizing all civil and Confucian shrine names to Kongzi miao 孔子廟 (Confucius temple) and removing hall names such as Dacheng dian 大成殿, which were deemed to be “connected to autocratic [ways of] thinking.”168 Although the term Kongzi miao was not new, ordering this unification reinforced the idea that Confucius was an individual person and historical symbol, not part of a social, intellectual, and political system, as wen miao 文廟 (civil temple) connoted. It also effectively franchised the Confucius temples alongside Sun Yat-sen shrines, martyr shrines, and other burgeoning categories. In this system Confucius approached something like Benedict Anderson’s “replica” figures of late official nationalism. Anderson remarks that the images of Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington (one could add Sun) could be replicated in a number of media with equal significance, or lack thereof. This, he explains, is one of the reasons visitors to their memorials are stumped for a standard physical response, unsure of what to do with themselves.169 Republican Confucian temples may not have quite reached this stage, but banning the rites and constraining the names and appearance of both temple and referent certainly represented an evolutionary step forward toward the replica.170 That Confucius was henceforth only a symbol had been made clear both by Xue Dubi’s statement and by the “former worthies” section of the “Standards.” This created a category of human historical relics that were to


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be commemorated in a new way. Thus, local officials were cautioned to leave adequate space in front of the preserved Confucius temples for students or masses to gather and listen to speeches on remembrance days— notably the sage’s birthday, which the government had requested the Academia Sinica to transpose to the new calendar.171 Again, the intent seemed to be to strip authority from the shrine’s inner precincts and create a new mass space. And yet officials were also instructed to preserve the spirit tablets of Confucius and his disciples. For the purposes of streamlining, the disciples’ tablets and those of other worthies and savants were to be moved into the Confucius temple alongside that of the sage, but those of Confucius’ ancestors and descendants of the disciples could be omitted.172 Why keep the very loci of spiritual power? Were they simply to be museum pieces now? It was probably a step too far to destroy them, even for cadres who happily decapitated City God images so that the party might assume the deity’s role in the community. This was a party, after all, that had declined to comprehensively attack ancestor veneration, and in fact during the 1930s promoted it as an alternative to “superstition” (cf. its attempted rewriting of the Ghost Festival). Nonetheless, what was the point of keeping spirit tablets if there was to be no sacrifice to them? The confusion manifested itself immediately. The General Confucian Society in Beijing asked for a clarification: since all the tablets were now kept together and “since Confucius’ birthday is the day to sacrifice to Confucius” (si Kong zhi ri 祀孔之日), were they supposed to perform a separate sacrifice to the disciples afterward, or should everyone be venerated together? The Ministry of Interior replied with some emphasis and exasperation that the society had it all wrong: the day was “a holiday to commemorate the birth of Confucius” (this was bolded in the government gazette text), “a day for remembrance” in all the schools, and for “giving speeches on Confucius’ words and deeds.”173 What to the KMT was an obvious difference between “commemoration” ( jinian 紀念) and “sacrifice” (si 祀) was not apparent to members of the public to whom ritual mattered. To be fair, however, the incomplete transformation was the KMT’s doing. In all probability some local officials kept on performing the old rites. County-level surveys of Confucius temples that the Ministry of Interior began carrying out with the New Life Movement in 1934—although sporadically conducted and in many cases completed only after (sometimes during) the war—provide some evidence of this. The fact that three or four Anhui county Confucian temples were reported as still carrying out spring and autumn rituals (the majority observed the August 27 birthday)

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shows a certain persistence, especially since public security bureaus carried out the surveys, at the height of the New Life Movement.174 Farther away from the KMT heartland, it was even clearer that local conditions and the demands of national heritage could dictate different results. A pamphlet put out by Beijing’s Shrine and Temple Management Office (a part of the Ministry of Interior), for instance, described the Beijing Confucian temple as having a full complement of spirit tablets and ritual offerings, as if nothing had happened.175 But the center nonetheless consistently refused requests to revive and sponsor the state cult. Such demands in a sense recognized Nationalist authority. Early in the Republic, Henrietta Harrison’s Shanxi skeptic of the revolution, Liu Dapeng, had scoffed at a provincial official’s rain-seeking ritual; since the man was in Liu’s estimation “by definition” a traitor for serving the government that had overthrown the emperor, he was therefore incapable of carrying out an efficacious rite.176 By contrast, in August 1929, Rugao villagers, suffering from a prolonged drought, assaulted teachers of a local elementary school and threatened to kill the principal when he refused their request to lead a rain-seeking ceremony.177 Those who decried the KMT’s rejection of state ritual—most of whom came from the ranks of former Beiyang and Qing officials incorporated into the new government—engaged the regime as a legitimate ritual actor. Sun Guangting 孫光庭 (1863–1943), a jinshi and former parliamentarian serving on the Yunnan provincial committee, delivered a lengthy and impassioned printed petition against the “destructive” decision to end the spring and autumn rituals, arguing that the sacrifices to Confucius were not superstitious but “ordinary rites,” and after all, what country in the world did not have rites?178 Protesters such as Anhui University literature professor Chen Chaojue 陳朝爵 (1876–1939) and a Henan tax official and former county magistrate named Yu Shiyuan used the topic to vent their anger over the New Culture movement, blaming the changes on “romantic vernacular novels” and “regrettable youths, with their short hair, literati airs, and proclamations about equal rights, free will, and falling in love.”179 Others submitted requests to reinstate official sacrifices to Yue Fei, Guandi, and local worthies; one such plea came from the KMT branch of the 57th Army Command.180 Lastly, a number of locals and officials, quite understandably confused by the order to maintain such temples, followed the longstanding imperial-era practice of submitting names for consideration for shrine honors or government sponsorship. They were rejected.181 What such people did not comprehend was that in the KMT universe, the


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new meanings of Confucius, Guandi, and other cultural heroes were surely not to coexist with older ones. Instead, nationalist symbolic meaning was predicated on removing these figures completely from the realm of cosmic ritual. There was little chance that such petitioners were satisfied with the commemoration of Confucius’ birthday as a national holiday. It was not only that stigmatizing ritualism and promoting the commemoration of symbol did not make sense to them, although that much is obvious. Yu Shiyuan’s petition in particular further shows that as the national situation deteriorated after the Japanese invasion of the northeast, such men considered this change a dereliction of duty. Since, as Yu pointed out, “the Japanese soldiers who are fighting us now all carry protective amulets with images of Buddha,” why throw out over one thousand years of “national religion” and make heaven angry to boot?182 The central government’s failure to perform the proper rites had brought calamity upon the nation. In fact, the multiple crises of national well-being and political legitimacy that the Kuomintang faced during the 1930s led a number of its leaders to reconsider ritual’s potential. The leaders in the loose “customs coalition”— Dai Jitao, Lin Sen, Zhang Ji, Ju Zheng, Shao Yuanchong—were or became more comfortable with the religious remainder, perhaps, as many of them started to manifest their private religiosity more overtly on the public political stage. Starting soon after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, disciple of Tibetan Buddhism Dai Jitao sponsored Buddhist ceremonies ( puli fahui 普利法會) praying for both lives lost and the future of the country.183 Nonetheless, Dai rejected superstition both from a nationalist and a Buddhist standpoint in his speeches and radio addresses. Dai Jitao proposed no divine role for his country’s leadership but saw Buddhism as a vehicle for ethics and national unity. In 1931 he prayed for citizens of the Republic to honor the Eight Confucian Virtues and serve the masses, for young men to strengthen mind and body and young women to learn household management, for government officials to obey orders and carry out their duties, and for world governments to cease bullying the weak. He clearly enunciated in the invocation: “[We] pray that the Buddhist multitudes . . . do not become mired in ghosts and spirits and desert living things.” Indeed, although he prayed for the masses, they were not necessarily invited to participate in the services of the early 1930s.184 Dai sought other ways to unite the public, however. He belonged to a group of conservative KMT leaders who advocated that that the crises of

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the 1930s be addressed with sanitized commemorations of “national heroes” (minzu yingxiong 民族英雄) such as Yue Fei and Guandi. Shao Yuanchong augmented this idea in 1935 with National Tomb-Sweeping Day (minzu saomu jie 民族掃墓節), which brought officials together at the burial places of select dynastic founders and restorers, including Ming Taizu and Han Wudi, and figures from myth-history like the Yellow Emperor.185 This did not correspond to any consistent relaxation of official attitudes toward familial Tomb-Sweeping Day practice: on the 1937 holiday, for instance, Shenbao reported that the Shanghai county government was launching yet another campaign to prevent ancestor worship.186 All the official ceremonies followed the same basic format as the reformed funerary rite and Sun Yat-sen remembrances. Speeches focused on the contribution of such figures to the cohesion and development of the Chinese nation, eschewing both blood sacrifice and cosmological reference. In contrast, Yuan Shikai’s brief revival of the Confucius cult in the second year of the Republic involved not only animal sacrifice but also the customary full ketou.187 Rather, the point was to fit Confucius and the dynastic-era heroes into a historical progression that produced the present moment, and the Nationalists, in the end. Locally, the connection could be reinforced by a 1935 plan to incorporate revolutionary martyrs’ shrines into Confucius, Yue Fei, and Guandi temples.188 To avoid confusion, however, protocol had to be established. This point was made clear during the New Life Movement era ritual promotion of Confucius. A bit of context is important here. The party leadership had long struggled with the fact of the continuing physical, social legacy of the sage and his descendants. Cai Yuanpei’s University Council tried to nationalize the Kongs’ substantial sacrificial fields ( jitian 祭田) in Qufu—the family protested loudly in the press and enlisted collateral relative and KMT official Kong Xiangxi (H. H. Kung) to intervene successfully on their behalf.189 The Kongs also used newspaper advertisements to shame the government into providing restoration funds when Yan Xishan’s bombing raids damaged the complex at Qufu during the War of the Central Plains.190 But by 1935—precisely when the party was reviving Confucius as national symbol—adverse publicity had made it clear that certain traditional Kong privileges could no longer stand. The government finally forced Confucius’ main descendant, Kong Decheng 孔德成 (1920–2008), to give up the imperial-era title of Yansheng Duke, although they sweetened the loss of titular prestige with the practical offer to fund the education of the sage’s direct descendants through the university level.191


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In fact, the Nationalists were in a difficult position, and not simply because of pressures emanating from personal connections within the government to the Kong family on one hand and antitraditionalists on the other. The Nationalists faced a serious challenge to their essentialized Chineseness in the form of manipulation of the sage and his descendants from farther north. The Japanese and their local allies in Manchuria had been engaged in an all-out effort to out-Confucian the Nationalists since at least 1932. The sage figured in Manchukuo constructions of rule via wangdao 王道, the way of the ethical monarch, and as a means to de-Nationalize the curriculum by replacing the Three Principles with so-called lijiao 禮教 (ritual teachings).192 Not only did the Manchukuo regime reinstate the spring and autumn, Yue Fei, and Guandi state sacrifices, but by the mid-1930s, Japanese officials were assiduously courting Kong lineage members with invitations to travel to Japan to take part in ritual offerings to the sage.193 Therefore, the New Life resurrection of Confucius was as much defensive against the charges that the Chinese government had forgotten China’s heritage as it was offensive against the Chinese Communist Party social program in Jiangxi, where the movement was born.194 Similarly, the revival of Huangdi and imperial figures as symbolic foci of national ceremonial on Qingming constituted cultural and historical arguments. Dai Jitao and Shao Yuanchong, for example, had been engaged in a fierce intellectual and political battle with Gu Jiegang about the historicity of Huangdi for some years.195 This was the ritual and symbolic context that was truly important to New Life–era Confucian ceremony, much more than the so-called Confucian fascism of small party organizations such as the Blue Shirts (Lanyishe 藍衣社), Lixingshe 力行社, and Fuxingshe 復興社.196 Underpinning it all was the goal of disciplining the party and society at large: the core message of New Life “militarization, productivization, and aestheticization.” Thus, any regard for the sage must place the nation and the party first. On the occasion of the first post–New Life central government ceremony commemorating Confucius’ birth, Dai Jitao emphasized that one could not expect to return to the age of Confucius. “Only if we faithfully follow the Party Leader’s ideology,” he stated, “will it then be enough to save the nation; only then will it be enough to restore Chinese civilization.”197 Speaking at the same event, Wang Jingwei focused on the unifying power of belief (xinyang), but made it clear where people should place their trust. He noted that “the greatest use [of religion] is to bring about in humankind a

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collective belief”; Confucianism, although lacking the supernatural trappings of religion, could produce a similar effect. In the same way that the Chinese people once shared a collective belief in Confucius’ teachings, however, they must now cultivate belief in Premier Sun’s instructions.198 The Confucius ceremony itself was to focus on the sage as “the leader of Chinese national culture,” in an emblematic rather than constitutive sense. The party’s precedence made itself manifest in the most obvious physical way: Confucius’ image was to be set on a table beneath the portrait of Sun on the wall above.199 Confucius would appear for his commemorative day and then go, that is, but the premier was always present and superior. And although a special “Confucius Song” was composed for the day, singing the party anthem was the first order of business at this gathering as at all other KMT-authored ceremonies. Few outside the party seem to have accepted this reinterpretation. Most of the “culture hero” ceremonies failed to attract more than a captive audience of officials and soldiers; the Confucian ceremonies, captive students and teachers.200 Once more, the party and government were forced to clear up confusion from within their own ranks about the nature of the new ceremonies, as some party delegates continued to request the reinstatement of the old sacrifices.201 Others played on the symbolic capital of the occasion to compare the sage’s achievements and compassion with the party’s numerous failings.202 Meanwhile, diehard reformers such as Hu Shi mocked the notion that the image of Confucius could somehow be separated from the intellectual and social traditions that invoked his name. Hu joked that the KMT’s wheeling-out of the sage recalled a saying in his hometown: “When you hit a snag in the play, bring out the god” (zuo xi wu fa, chu ge pusa 作戲無法出各菩薩). The poor old faithless revolutionary party! You want revolution, but now that we’ve witnessed the progress of the past twenty years of revolution, you choose to ignore it. . . . The saintly Confucius cannot help us; you can’t ride a broken-down cart back to a ‘golden world created by morality’ that never existed in the first place!203

This viewpoint launched a thousand erroneous opinions that the KMT were pure Confucian revivalists. But Hu Shi was only partly correct—the KMT was not trying to return to Confucius but to reinvent him. Why else would the Yu Shiyuans of the world have been so upset?


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Conclusion: Regime Mixing In other words, the party was just as secularist as Hu Shi. In this regard it is salutary to keep in mind Talal Asad’s observation about the disruption caused by the doctrine of secularism, based in a division between “a world of self-authenticating things in which we really live as social beings and a religious world that exists only in our imagination.” For Asad, this, among other effects, automatically complicates the relationship between religion and nationalism and, especially, any pre-existing practices that nationalism may utilize.204 Although Asad here is pointing out that religion does not necessarily form nationalism, we can take his argument a step further and note the profound disjunctures that can occur when secular national regimes appropriate symbols that previously had religious foundations. Such a break is particularly evident in the case of the Nationalists’ removal of Confucius from the realm of state sacrifice and into mass politics. But if it is the case, therefore, that terms such as “civil religion” or “national religion” are problematic both in themselves and as applied to the Nationalist project—and I believe they are—does it follow that nationalism never finds its way into religion? This is quite a separate question, and the evidence to the contrary points—again—not to the existence of “national religion” but to the flexibility of religious practice, a flexibility denied by the modern separation of political and numinous power. At times the popular mixing of ritual forms and political images showed the Nationalists in a less than flattering light, but the real problem for the KMT was the crossing of the boundary between religious and secular. One of the most disturbing episodes was the soul-stealing panic that spread from Nanjing throughout the lower Yangzi in the spring of 1928, as construction on Sun Yat-sen’s mausoleum began in earnest and the battle against Sun Chuanfang continued to rage.205 What began as rumors that sorcerers were collecting souls in medicine bottles and packets to create “a yin 陰 tomb” to help the KMT win the war soon coalesced into a series of reports that the search was on for the souls of children to protect Sun Yatsen in his new mausoleum. Some versions put the total at a thousand children. Spirit mediums and other female ritual specialists did a rollicking trade in protective red “stone monk” headbands for children, inscribed with various blunt charms, such as “Stone calls on stone monks, one calls one’s own kin; you’re building your own tomb, what’s it to do with me?”206 Adults also protected themselves with medical amulets, and suddenly Nan-

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jing was awash in red. The city government blamed the fear on “grasping, cheating old ladies” and promptly arrested the perpetrators. This did not prevent the panic from spiraling throughout Jiangnan. Not only were people in the capital rejecting the communion between citizen and leader that was supposed to occur with Sun’s reburial, but they also treated him as a tyrant of old and warded off his purported ill effects with superstitious jiaohun 叫魂 rituals. This transformed the fatherly Sun into “an outsider to local society in a very real and concrete sense,” as Barend ter Haar describes emperors thus scapegoated in other sorts of dire tales.207 Steve Smith posits that Maoist-era rumors of the supernatural expressed how Chinese Communist Party ideology emerged in local minds as an “alternative occult cosmology” characterized by unfathomable logic and impenetrable motives, rather than by rationality and clarity such as party cadres claimed.208 One can see a similar dynamic at play here in which Nanjing residents articulated the impact of the Nationalist presence by subverting and reinterpreting the KMT’s chief symbol and its concrete manifestation. The rumor hindered the process of census taking, which people feared was under way because “they want to control people’s souls so they can finish building the Party Leader’s tomb.”209 Census taking, of course, was intimately associated in the popular mind with tax collection and conscription, both extremely pertinent concerns at this turning point between military consolidation and state-building. Other contextual explanations included a brief pandemic that had hit children under the age of ten in the capital. Liu Xiyuan, however, also points to the importance of the rumors’ origins in the supposed need for the yin tomb to promote military victory.210 This last is a fact well worth remembering, for it points at the sheer accumulation of violence and disruption in the lives of many in China Proper during the early twentieth century, a circumstance often noted in textbook fashion but whose concrete effects have hitherto been little explored. As scholars of the late imperial and Maoist periods such as ter Haar and Smith have suggested, however, one means of dealing with an otherwise unmanageable force is to incorporate it into ritual, and in that sense the measure of the Nationalists’ impact can be measured in their positive appearances—in the auspicious omens related by Zhang Zhenzhi, described in the Introduction—and in the negative ones as well. Moreover, it is entirely possible that the 1928 panic concealed multiple and contradictory feelings toward the Nationalists—the hope that they might prevail over Sun


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Chuanfang; the wish that they would refrain from further conscription, taxation, and other state predations; anger at the widespread confiscations required by the mausoleum project; and simple general weariness and discord that had little to do with the party specifically. As the decade progressed, further signs appeared of the melding of political symbols and ritual life. Lawmakers were shocked by a 1931 report from a Zhejiang party branch that local people were producing, of all things, spirit money imprinted with Sun’s image.211 Not only were Zhejiang residents trafficking in an outlawed substance, but they were importing the secular hero of the Republic into their outmoded rituals to barbaric gods and the dead. The Ministry of Interior quickly issued an order to the provinces and municipalities to ban “superstitious items” incorporating Sun’s portrait or other KMT symbols.212 We could chalk up the spirit money to a natural progression of things stemming from Sun’s presence on ROC banknotes—or more commonly before 1935, silver coins.213 But there is also the possibility that the omnipresence of Sun’s visage had in fact successfully transformed him into a figure of power at several levels.214 It had also made him generic, easily replicated. On the other side of the equation are people who we might more comfortably recognize as “patriots” also manifesting religious identities. Models for such engagement, including Wang Yiting and Xiong Xiling, were already active in the political and religious networks of the early Republic. But the worsening conditions of the 1930s prompted more and more largescale observances that openly combined what was now deemed “superstitious” with the overtly patriotic. This was particularly true of the commemoration of the dead. Many citizens shared Dai Jitao’s impulse to save the nation but did not necessarily subscribe to the state-authored script of how to do so. For instance, Poon Shuk Wah describes how in Guangzhou elements associated with the Ghost Festival—an altar to local ghosts and above all the presence of an effigy figure of a “filial son”—appeared at a November 1932 service commemorating the heroism of the 19th Route Army earlier in the year.215 A powerful local charity, the Fangbian Hospital, sponsored a wanrenyuanhui 萬人願會 service for the dead under the auspices of honoring national martyrs, which, Poon argues, attracted local residents eager to fulfill the religious purpose of the banned Ghost Festival, albeit some four months later. This is an important finding. When we look at the range of events occurring in the 1930s, however, it becomes clearer that patriotic rites were

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not merely a way for some to sneak religion back into a public arena from which it had been written out, but that many commemorations for the dead never observed the lines separating “private,” “public,” and “government,” or “religious” and “secular” in the first place. In August 1935— two months after the first perilous agreement ceding large portions of north China to Japanese control—the Beiping branch military council held a large-scale Yulanpen service on government grounds, inviting monks to recite sutras for fallen soldiers and officers.216 And in much the same way that the merchants supporting the powerful Fangbian Hospital refused to excise ritual activity from their definition of civic engagement, the technically banned and avowedly patriotic Daoyuan openly observed the Ghost Festival during the mid-1930s by holding sutra readings and burning dharma boats.217 Thus, the Nationalists’ perceived competition between affective regimes appeared to be taking place only in the arena of their own choosing. Others seemed quite capable of combining nationalism and religion at once, all the more so in troubled times. This is not to imply that the melding of new political forms and symbols and pre-existing religious practice occurred solely in response to trauma. It is probably better to think of the conditions of the early twentieth century as enlarging the ritual marketplace, one marked by the tensions of government prohibitions but also by the flourishing of national symbols and new religious communities. It makes sense that life-cycle rituals formed an especially tense site of market competition. Political anxieties and competition for resources found expression in struggles over the marking of time and the burial and commemoration of the dead. As Katherine Verdery comments in regard to postsocialist Europe, dead bodies are one means by which people “reconfigure their worlds in the wake of . . . a profoundly disorienting change in their surroundings.”218 A literal struggle over the Republican dead took place in the tussle over Nanjing graves: who would be unceremoniously removed, who would be ceremoniously honored. In the end the apparent victors, the monumentalized martyrs and heroes, might have been ignored by the public or commemorated in ways unforeseen and unscripted by the party-state.219 Beyond the physical struggle over graves and bodies, how the dead got buried served as a cultural marker—no longer of civilization in the broad Chinese sense, or of local culture, but of progress, class, and urbanity. Ye Chucang and his coauthors remarked in the Shoudu zhi that “relatively


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westernized persons” in Nanjing had adopted the black armbands but the common people still kept old habits.220 The Baoshan gazetteer noted that the new customs spread in “those towns that like to copy Shanghai.”221 But Suzhou people regardless of class still invited clergy to celebrate the Feast of the Ten Kings, and in 1938 Wang Peitang wrote that although people all over Jiangsu were abandoning some old-style rituals, adherence to the rules of mourning proved difficult to erase. “Furthermore,” he added, “even intellectuals cannot avoid inviting monks and priests to perform services, or spending money on spirit money and paper offerings.”222 Indeed, everyone was subject to the marketplace. The problem of the calendar provides a good explanation why. In 1936 the fei made another unbidden appearance in the supposedly secular realm, this time in the Shanghai publishing world. Mao Dun’s massive reportage project, One Day in China, meant to record the events of May 21, which that year fell on the first of the fourth lunar month. Thus, a large number of the 469 essays Mao Dun eventually published dealt with the myriad temple festivals, prayer sessions, and special household customs associated with the beginning of the Small Fullness, an important period in the growing season.223 One writer from Suzhou linked the persistence of the abolished to a New Life Movement slogan: In many places around China, people continue to follow the old ways and “make use of old trash” (liyong feiwu 利用廢物). For example, today is May 21, but here we’re still using the lunar calendar that was abolished long ago. People recollect only that the intercalary third month has just flown by, and to them today is the beginning of the fourth lunar month. The first and the fifteenth, these certainly are special days according to superstition!224

That same year, two researchers investigating cultural attitudes among farmers inquired into the continued appeal of the old calendar. A little more than half (54 percent) of the respondents said that they preferred using the old calendar to the new—although, tellingly, they were not given the option of choosing both. Only people between the ages of 23 and 32 preferred the new method, and only by a margin of less than 10 percent over older respondents; surprisingly, teenagers between 13 and 22 showed the same preference as the general population. Many respondents cited the responsibilities of ancestor worship and agricultural necessity as reasons. The third most popular cause, however, is the most intriguing. The old calendar, the farmers said, was renao 熱鬧—“hot and noisy,” “festive,” or, perhaps in this context, “fun.”225

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Was the national calendar no fun? In 1932 Gu Jiegang had used the example of the new calendar and New Year’s holiday to make a trenchant critique of the Nationalist plans to reform society, alluding to the problem of the lack of fun. “In the past and right now,” he wrote, the government has barely paid attention to mass education, yet hollowly proclaims, “Destroy superstition.” This is failing to see the forest for the trees. Not only has it failed to produce any result, but it has made the people develop a revulsion toward knowledge, so that they are unwilling to receive the wisdom that a person must have in this day and age.226

It was bad enough, he noted, that the string of national crises had “almost caused people to forget entirely” the holidays he remembered so vividly from childhood. But the government, by banning the celebration of holidays according to the old calendar, had failed to create adequate entertainment for the holidays of the solar calendar. The result was that “it is almost as if we were allowed no holidays at all.” Gu was convinced that the majority of people, even in well-developed large cities such as Beijing, lacked reasonable alternatives to traditional forms of entertainment. New-style public parks charged admission, required near-formal modes of dress and deportment, and banned artisans and merchants on the premises. No wonder people preferred to visit the Temple of the Eastern Peak at New Year’s. Arguments that such temples should be closed to eradicate superstition failed to move him: “Please go [to these temples] and make a count: are there more people who are there to burn incense, or more who are there to sightsee and have a good time?” Gu, of course, was not unsympathetic to the arguments of modernization, that even the common culture that he felt should generate China’s future should be retooled for “the wisdom that a person must have in this day and age.” Hence his eagerness to separate the purposes of leisure and pilgrimage among visitors to the Temple of the Eastern Peak. But even though he thus shared some of the Nationalists’ ultimate goals, he saw the inherent emptiness of the zero-sum game. Arguably, Nationalist officials recognized this themselves when they tried to neutralize certain old holidays and move them to the new calendar, or when they kept Confucius’ spirit tablet in a temple that had otherwise been made into a night school and lending library for farmers. But such actions reveal the simultaneous emptiness and instability at the heart of state secularization. Having eschewed the most radical alternatives, the KMT wanted to “culturalize” these aspects of Chinese ritual life and remove


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them from the numinous sphere. Yet some religious remainder always stuck. In a way, it was not their fault: it was the inherent false promise of secularization, an imperfect separation of worlds that could never be achieved. Affective regimes did not in fact exist in a state of decisive competition, but interacted, elements transposing, in a marketplace of ritual, habit, and ideas.

eight Conclusion: Superstition’s Legacy

The Nationalist period constituted the first large-scale experiment in Chinese history simultaneously to (1) create a secular government stripped of rituals linking sovereignty to cosmic authority; (2) build a quasi-democratic nationalism theoretically premised on popular mobilization but ultimately dependent on political control; and (3) author secularized civic ceremonies and instruments of nationalist habitation meant to (4) replace customary modes of social arrangement, including religion. Many of these individual elements arose even before the fall of the Qing dynasty, but it was the Nationalists, working in the crucible of social reorganization and nascent state-building with the soon-to-be-discarded Communists, who refined and ordered them into a system of secular-nationalism. This system then became thoroughly naturalized as a scheme of governance in twentiethcentury China.1 It seemed a short leap from secular nationalism to the secularization of society itself—at least until the late 1980s, when the postreform resurgence of religious life in China and the post–martial law reintegration of religion and politics in Taiwan called that connection into question. One of the aims of this study has been to demonstrate that secular nationalism’s premises were shaky at their very outset. This was the case on the basis of both the propositions it made about religion and those it made about politics. The difficult transition in China’s case from government as “cosmic pivot” to secularist manipulator of emperors as nationalist symbol only highlighted a division that was inherently difficult. Careful readers will 279


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have noticed, for example, a distinct absence here of terms such as “desacralize” to describe the act of ending the spring and autumn sacrifices to Confucius and establishing birthday commemorations for him in their stead. This is not only because “sacred” and “profane” (and their derivatives) are terms with specific religious origins that complicate their application as universals, but also because they imply as well the dichotomy of religious and secular. The confusion over Confucius and his rituals demonstrated the problematic nature of defining and making that transition. The difficulties the Nationalists experienced in separating the religious from the political, and in writing the religious out of public life, manifested themselves repeatedly over the course of the Nanjing Decade. Although the KMT’s attacks on temples and redemptive societies convinced many religious actors that subscribing to the state’s corporate hierarchy of religious associations was necessary for survival, the members of the new groups then often used the associations to channel demands for religious freedom, property rights, and political exercise. Others employed them as instruments of power in the sorts of local configurations (e.g., lineage control of temple endowments) that secular nationalism was meant to override. I argue that this is evidence not that the political regime was not implemented extensively enough—as is often taken to be the case with the Nationalist era—but that the architecture of the nation-state was, slowly but surely, integrated into local life. This may have spelled failure on the terms established by the secular nationalists, but we hardly need read it as a lack of existence of a public commonality, or even the construction of a nation. Buddhist monks, Daoist intellectuals, blind fortunetellers, lay attendants at City God temples, and the Suqian families walking the route to “pray for one hundred sons” claimed a participation in the public that contradicted the secular separation of life into realms of political, religious, social, and economic. Many Nationalist officials themselves had difficulty with this division, of course, a discomfort that national crisis seemed only to deepen. The Japanese invasion of eastern China left many of the Nationalist experiments in governance dangling: legal decisions were left unrendered, surveys and registrations were half complete, and projects of cultural reform that had been renewed in the mid-1930s remained under construction. Once relocated in Chongqing, the KMT government saw a renewed opportunity to pursue superstition. It targeted spirit money as precious war matériel (both paper and metal were in short supply) and launched a new antisuperstition campaign centered on “divine authority” (shenquan 神權), shorthand for local and translocal religious affiliations that posed a threat to wartime

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mobilization and in some cases to the Nationalist territorial presence itself (i.e., secret and redemptive societies).2 But Chongqing officials also asked Tibetan Buddhist clerics to hold dharma-assemblies on the nation’s behalf on a scale unlike anything seen in Nanjing. With other KMT Buddhists, Dai Jitao held a “national day of ceasefire” on May 4, 1939, which launched a 49day Dharma-Meeting to Protect the Country and Avert Disaster in which over 500,000 monks participated. The patronage of party leaders meant that the KMT Committee on Mass Movements paid for the travel expenses of some Tibetan and Mongolian lamas.3 Several more such public prayers were held during the course of the fighting—including one in Chongqing that Chiang Kai-shek attended—and continued during the civil war. Interestingly, some Buddhists kept a distance from such efforts, viewing them as primarily political and in the end less effective than direct participation in the war effort.4 Their suspicions about the increasingly instrumental way in which wartime officials viewed religion were not unfounded; some Chongqing party organizers showed a pragmatic streak that their Nanjing predecessors had lacked. In the same month that the new regulations against “divine authority” were passed, the KMT Secretariat asked the Ministry of Social Affairs to devise a plan capitalizing on a clever proposal from their Hubei operatives to secretly train fortunetellers in propaganda and “undercover patriotic” work. This scheme had been tried in several locations already; the idea was to turn what had previously been a liability (the social and physical mobility of diviners and mediums) into a weapon of wartime mobilization, instructing them to “point their clients’ eyes to the north and east” (i.e., toward the enemy) and—in a time of conscription resistance—reverse the traditional reading that soldiering was a bad fate.5 Within a year this secret training program was established in seventeen counties in Henan and Sichuan, as well as Guizhou and Hubei. This was the state being practical in rough times. But the war also heightened appearances of the religious remainder that secularists had tried to ignore during a relatively more peaceful decade. Critics such as Yu Shiyuan had blamed the Nationalists for rejecting the cosmic ritual that would save the nation. The exigencies of national crisis, however, also made religious patriots more comfortable about bringing their own numinous connections to bear on behalf of the nation and its leaders. Thus government archives include such artifacts as a personal fortune sheet drawn up for Chiang Kaishek by a 94-year-old Jiangxi provincial official in 1945. Another item that arrived at the offices of the president during the last months of the civil war was a papercut charm in the northeastern foursquare style, sent personally to


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Chiang in the hopes of advancing his victory over the Communists and making Beijing the capital once again.6 More comprehensively, David Palmer’s biographical sketch of Li Yujie demonstrates how Li’s spiritual cultivation (and founding of his own redemptive society) during the antiJapanese and civil wars was intimately tied to his perception of the military and political situation, developments he frequently conveyed to Chiang and his other connections in the KMT leadership.7 Considering the range of examples described in this book of engagement between the putatively rival affective regimes of the nation-state and religion, one of the major steps we can take is to add an additional refinement to our notion of the modern “public.” Within Chinese history, this has been a topic of intense debate during the past two decades. One of the most productive turns has been a recent shift to investigating how institutions such as the mass media, financial institutions, the legal system, and the instruments of consumption and leisure interact with discursive tropes to frame different sorts of publics. This has led to fruitful explorations of the roles of emotion, sentiment, sympathy, and daily habit in the construction of the public.8 To this list we can add religion. On one hand, this could include a thoroughgoing examination of the way religious institutions function along with other social and cultural institutions in the public sphere.9 On the other, it could take the form of describing both the discursive and the everyday role that religion has played in the construction of key concepts of public life: modernity, citizenship, subjectivity, agency, and community. This book has shown how in this respect religion did not remain merely a foil for secular nationalism. The modern redefinition of religion along the lines of belief and sincerity was powerful— so much so that even Buddhist leaders and blind fortunetellers claiming their rights as citizens eagerly renounced superstition. But everyday life revealed a much more fluid melding of the worlds of “superstition,” “religion,” and “nationalism” into a general public. Leaders of banned Daoyuan branches registered new members on Nationalist Party stationery. Shanghainese painstakingly wrote the lunar reckoning onto their new national calendars. And the government found itself, oddly, celebrating Confucius’ birthday in front of an array of technically defunct spirit tablets. This last element suggests that what has always been taken as a weakness of the Nationalists specifically (especially in comparison to the Communists) might actually be a weakness of nationalism more generally. In “Moving the Masses,” Elizabeth Perry argues that CCP mass engineering demonstrated that its “leaders appreciated what Western social scientists

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are only beginning to understand: emotions can not simply be dismissed as a residual, irrational domain of consciousness.”10 The KMT, by contrast, she notes, treated mass emotion with suspicion, moving to control and ritualize it rather than encourage its spontaneous expression.11 This is certainly evident in the party’s attitudes toward civic ceremony, national holidays, and other aspects of controlled mobilization described in this book. But shifting the focus slightly to include religion—which after all has occupied a place quite near emotion in the schema of modern rationality— and secularized national ritual, commonalities between the two parties begin to emerge as well. The Communists, despite adopting a much more practical approach toward local religion during the early years of their organizing than the KMT—ended up taking much the same position as their erstwhile enemies.12 This was that superstition, too, was a “residual, irrational form of consciousness”—in the medicalized metaphors of the Nationalist period, a disease for the party to cure. It is a premise of this study that the idea that nationalism would replace the irrational psyche with selfconscious subjectivity constituted a superstition of its own. As Michael Herzfeld points out, iconicity—in which an emblem is taken to “mean” its subject—underpins nationalist ideation as well as the mechanism of the nation-state; it emerges both in the Nazis’ use of Germanic folktales and in modern bureaucrats’ deployment of classificatory schemes.13 Iconicity clearly functions in nationalist ritual too; seemingly all the more so when the subject itself is under question. Thus Huangdi not only was revived during the political and national troubles of the 1930s but more recently has been wheeled out in spectacular fashion by the CCP leadership in increasingly lavish commemorations in the new millennium. The political point of these more recent ceremonies was made clear in press reports that highlighted the attendance of numerous Taiwan visitors, including James Soong 宋楚瑜 (b. 1942) of the People First Party (Qinmin dang 親民黨) (whose 2005 visit seemed to inspire the frenzy) and Lien Chan 連戰 (b. 1936) of the KMT.14 But as Herzfeld and others have pointed out, recognition of a symbol or even of the quality of iconicity does not preclude alternative readings, including mockery (understanding or otherwise) and deployment of the symbolic and rhetorical against itself. This can occur even under relatively restrictive political conditions.15 To this I would add that the KMT case demonstrates the particular problem with ceremonies of the nation-state. Important as they can be, they cannot create something out of nothing (i.e., invent political legitimacy by their very act of being), and they do not operate in a zero-sum


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environment that requires participants to reject other affiliations for the purpose of attaching themselves to nationalism. There are myriad ways in which people can take the symbols of the nation-state and civic habitus into their lives: melding calendrical forms is one obvious example; adding gradual changes to funeral and burial habits is another. But the ritual environment in China, centered as it was on the concept of efficacy, raised a very particular question regarding nationalist ceremony: what would it do? This was a question that the Nationalists struggled to answer on their own secularist terms, for there was no reply except the totalizing logic of the nation-state. The air of simulacra that the denaturalized Confucius and National Tomb-Sweeping ceremonies thus accrued continues to hang over the Huangdi extravaganzas today.

The Governmental Legacy of “Religion” and “Superstition” Since much of this book describes how a new way of seeing religion led to the building of a new framework for managing religious people and places in China, it is worth concluding with some brief thoughts on the legacy of that system. At the end of the war with Japan, the Nationalists revived plans for customs reform as a means of reasserting social control, but overall they seemed to have little ability to settle the temple problem. Before hostilities had even ended, the government once again pledged to “eradicate bad habits”—including superstition—which morphed into plans for the retrocession of eastern China.16 Property concerns focused mainly on the wartime accumulations of accused collaborators until the drafting of the 1946 Constitution occasioned a re-examination of land policy. None of this shed much light on the problem of temple property, however, as evidenced by the aborted effort to revise the “Regulations for Temple Oversight” in 1944 and 1947. The comparison to the KMT’s policy in Taiwan is instructive. On one hand, well into the 1970s the Nationalist regime persisted in a construction of local religious culture as “superstition,” backed up with renewed policies to promote frugality, the New Life Movement, and so on. Although the long-term effects of such policies on the health of local and cross-island cults is still being debated, iconoclasm of the sort seen during the Nanjing Decade was not the norm.17 On Taiwan, moreover, the government had to reckon with the physical and cultural aftermath of Japanese colonization. This had some negative effects, such as the favoring of mainland leaders of

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the Buddhist Association over local clerics.18 But the issue of how to dispose of former Japanese temple property—especially Daoist temples, local shrines, and vegetarian halls converted to Shinto shrines during the most radical stages of “Japanization”—compelled the regime to issue a far more definitive statement on temple rights than it ever had on the mainland. The statement did not come until 1958, but in its frequent references to the necessity of freedom of religion and its provisions for protecting the integrity of temple holdings and by allowing local leaders and religious organizations to have a say in a temple’s fate, the statement considerably improved on the general “Regulations for Temple Oversight” that were still in force.19 Thus, being able to position themselves against the totalizing modernism of the Japanese colonial regime allowed the Nationalists, in this instance, to relax their own totalizing modernism. It also showed the beginning of their selfpositioning against the totalizing modernism of the People’s Republic—a move that would become more pronounced during the Cultural Revolution years when the Nationalists presented themselves as the bulwark of Chinese culture.20 Despite the fact that the Chiang Kai-shek regime on Taiwan attempted to channel much of official religious life through the same corporate hierarchy of official representative organizations that it had established on the mainland, its real energies seemed directed elsewhere. What was ostensibly the same system produced very different results. This was the case even before the political and cultural liberalization that began with Chiang Ching-kuo’s 蔣經國 (1910–88) presidency and eventually resulted in a remarkable efflorescence of religion in public and political life in Taiwan.21 The example of redemptive societies is a good case in point—these flourished in the postwar period, and one way in which members of Yiguandao, ironically, dealt with their illegal status during the martial-law era was to register as members of the Daoist Association, a sleight of hand some steps beyond the strategies of the early Republic.22 Lee Fong-mao makes an observation about Daoism under the KMT that I think can be applied more widely when considering the effects of government policy toward religion on the island overall. He notes that although Daoism never received the academic legitimation from the state that Confucianism did, temple cults and festivals “were not vigorously attacked” and thus were able to continue to function in local society.23 Without being overly idealistic about the continuity of local culture, I think that this point cautions us that the existence of high-level state apparatuses such as the New Life Movement and the Chinese Cultural Revival Committee (formed in 1967)—or


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even the Buddhist and Daoist Association—is not in itself sufficient to change the religious landscape, absent the disruption of local communities. Thus the PRC government was the true inheritor of the Nanjing Nationalist architecture of religious policy. Schematics of cultural evolution and social classification reached new levels of theorization and application.24 The CCP adopted the system of the corporate hierarchy of officially sanctioned religious organizations and polished it to a high sheen. In fact, although many religious associations were formed in the 1950s, they generally had little to do until the reform era, with the great exception of the Christian organizations (e.g., the Three-Self Movement and the Catholic Patriotic Association), which were part and parcel of the intense negotiation between churches and the state and then their absorption and reformulation.25 The state preferred to reduce the hierarchy almost to the minimal point of the representatives themselves. During the post-reform religious revival, some religious associations have had the opportunity to play their old roles of distilling and creating tradition to an even greater extent than their predecessors did during the Republic, as they attempt to assume responsibility for recreating “lost” liturgies and reclaiming discontinued practices.26 But even government organs taking an interest in temples and religion continue to multiply in number and nature, and it is no longer merely the Bureau of Religious Affairs (Zongjiao ju 宗教局) but various tourist, cultural, and international affairs officials that may have a hand in matters.27 Nonetheless, it hardly seems likely that the importance of state religious associations will increase in the future. They are irrelevant to the revival of local religion, except perhaps insofar as some “irregular” religious specialists (such as huoju Daoists) can find legitimation and resources through them.28 In fact, however, in this realm and others (such as the putative relationship of “house churches” and the Three-Self organization, or the official Chinese Catholic structure, local Catholic churches, and the Vatican), the momentum derives from the religious landscape, not from the governmental superstructure.29 Although this problem is a direct legacy of the system the Nationalists created, it represents an altogether different stage of historical development. During the Nationalist period, the break with the cosmologically determined (and determining) imperial state was still fresh. The corporatized religious structure and redefined public realm KMT planners and activists attempted to create meant to reinforce that break and establish it as social fact. Social and political momentum, then, came from the state, as well as from the religious landscape. This landscape may have been economically starved in some respects—such as monastic

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Buddhism in Subei—but it flourished in others—such as redemptive societies and “new” Daoism in Shanghai. Still, scholars of Chinese religion reading this book may be left wondering about the effects of Nanjing Decade policy on the waxing and waning of particular forms of religious practice. A ten-year study—especially one where the disruption of war creates an endpoint—poses natural limits to analyzing long-term effects on local cults.30 But a larger issue stems from differing worldviews. That is, although the antisuperstition campaigners often perforce had to define their targets in terms of individual cults and—as occurred in the case of the Suzhou-area attacks on Wutong shrines—their actions sometimes focused on objects of imperial-era ire, the Nationalist attacks on religion were in their essence not about individual cults and practices. Rather, they were about maintaining categories and claiming territory as an act of power and an expression of how the modern world should look. Despite occasional claims to the contrary by the likes of Xue Dubi, the KMT took no real interest in reviewing and approving even shrines to former worthies, for that would encourage the rituals of the old world. The symbolic idea of a former worthy as national hero was more important than niggling over who might or might not be included. Similarly, adding to a list of problematic cults proved to be a losing game. The logic of the extractive nation-state required, instead, creating a legal underpinning and de facto justifications for the government assumption of temple property, which lent muscle to verbal denunciations of temples important to community power, such as City God shrines. In other words, the Nationalists, and one could argue the Communists, looked on Chinese religion with essentially different eyes from those who study Chinese religion. This may well present a contrast to Chinese officialdom before the twentieth century; however much distaste imperial bureaucrats might show for particular practices, they emanated from within the same cultural sphere—from “inside Chinese religion,” as Vincent Goossaert puts it.31 Instead, the Nationalist experience shows two new twists in the relationship of state and religion. Many of these are still in effect in China today. Over the long term we may be better able to understand how they have interacted with the “religious remainder” and with the simple persistence of religious communities outside state influence. Legibility. Including religion as an element in the construction of the public does not mean that we should overlook the contested and controversial nature of its presence. The twentieth century brought a new political


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constitution of the public. Once religion was excised from political power, many in the state considered that it had no role in public life as well—or rather, that the state would now assume religion’s duties, as Adam Chau puts it, to create a “good public” (as well as contribute to the public good).32 Thus the physical reordering of communities, in which civic institutions took over temple space and ritual routes, found a political and social counterpart in religious organizations like Daoyuan foregrounding their charitable and patriotic identity and masking a forbidden religious identity or in local temple committees and lineage organizations using education bureaus to conduct community business. That much of this masking was only partially successful or done with a wink and a nod does not undercut the significance of the transformation in essential cultural values, which deemed religion—and local temple religion in particular—as something secondary, illegitimate, lacking in public engagement, or specifically counter to the very notion of the public and the public good. This has placed religious practitioners, devotional communities, and ritual specialists on the defensive. It also rearranged the communities of many people who had no particular stake in the nation-state. In order to win recognition as a member of the public in good standing, therefore, one had to become legible according to the categories offered by governmental analysis. This stretched well beyond the question of national belonging and into the realm of everyday existence. The absurdities of fitting eclectic Chinese religious practice to the categories of a “high modern” state is neatly encapsulated in an installment of Ye Qianyu’s satirical 1930s cartoon, Mr. Wang and Little Chen (Fig. 11). The petty bourgeois protagonist, Mr. Wang, makes offerings at ancestral graves, while his wife goes on Buddhist pilgrimage, and his daughter shakes out divination sticks at a Daoist temple. In the final frame, a county official has come round to take a census. He asks Mr. Wang, who by this point is clutching a Bible, “What religion do you believe in?” As the family looks on, puzzled by the question, Mr. Wang proclaims, “Ancestors, Buddha, the Lord of Heaven, Jesus—I pray to them all!”33 It is hard to tell who Ye was mocking more—the Wang family or the hapless census taker and his task. Yet the categories continue to persist and perplex to this very day. The Gray Zone of Law and Legitimacy.34 Freedom of religion during the Republican period came with a caveat, insofar as it was granted “except in accordance with the law.” Similar restrictions apply in the PRC. Although this exception is not altogether unusual in constitutional law, when coupled

Conclusion: Superstition’s Legacy

Fig. 11


The Wang family at worship, cartoon from Ye Qianyu’s Mr. Wang and Little Chen series, ca. 1930 (source: Ye Qianyu, Wang xiansheng he Xiao Chen, 156).

with the legislated sense of a religion-superstition distinction and a state that reserves the right to oversee social progress, the result is that religious activity takes place in an indeterminate state of legality. Under such a system, in times of greater liberalism, or, more important, when religious pursuits meet concurrent state interests, this built-in “gray zone” may seem to pose little problem.35 But even apparent smooth sailing for officially sanctioned institutions can disguise the overwriting of practices that are not approved. For instance, Der-Ruey Yang describes how during the reform era state-approved Zhengyi Daoists in Shanghai first cooperated with and studied spirit mediums but then essentially ousted them from the temples they occupied together—a process reminiscent of the jockeying for position of ritual specialists during the Nanjing Decade.36 The gray zone can also feature internalized codes and self-censorship, as Thomas DuBois notes occurred with leaders of the Heaven and Earth sect (Tiandi hui 天地 會), who witnessed the 1951 CCP campaign against Yiguandao and decided to go underground for safety.37 But it can also include people making use


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of new strategies and institutions produced by a more extensive state apparatus, and doing so in ways rather divergent from that government officials originally intended, as we have seen in the chapters on struggles over temple property in Jiangsu. As Adam Chau points out, popular religion has its coercive aspects (which he uses to explain why local leaders are sometimes reluctant to enforce antisuperstition mandates).38 But if we are to disaggregate local communities and disaggregate the state, as he urges us to do, then that must lead us to consider how state institutions and governmental techniques can become instruments in local religious and social dynamics, as well as vice versa. In this sense, I consider the “gray zone” to be related to but in important ways distinctive from Fenggang Yang’s recent, influential formulation of the “gray market” as one of three religious marketplaces in China.39 Drawing on economic (or consumer-driven) formulations of religiosity, Yang posits that heavy regulation and banning of religion (the black market) with a certain segment of activity permitted (red market) will always create a third sphere of ambiguous activity. The gray market for Yang includes disguised religious activity, such as that taking place under the rubric of “culture” or “science.” The articulation of this third area is important, and in many ways it relates to the dynamics of the Republican period, when redemptive societies sought the cover of their charitable or patriotic activities, for instance. But including government regulation as well as religious activity under the umbrella of the market metaphor, although increasingly inescapable in postsocialist China, may not help completely explain instances in which regulatory categories may be used as tactics in intra-religious conflicts (as in the case of Der-Ruey Yang’s ritual specialists), or when the categories themselves change or are applied differently according to region, level of government, and accident of timing. Are such phenomena marketdriven, or a combination of “market” forces and struggles with the rule of law and the enactment of secularism? Does the regulatory intervention of the nation-state into religious life under the very premise of secularism, as I have argued here, potentially permit the state to treat religion as a special case outside standard law? These are things I see as occurring in the gray zone, and as particularly apt to happen when governments make efforts to create exceptional laws and regulations for religious groups and persons, rather than prosecuting the illegal behavior of groups and persons who happen to have religious affiliations. Exceptional and extra-legal treatment of religion can of course occur in the form of favoritism toward religion

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(or a religion) as well as demonization of it. Both demand our caution, and both are products of the same historical phenomenon: the coeval births of the modern categories of “nation” and “religion.” Understanding the Limits of Secularism. One of the goals of this book has been to take the secularizing propositions of the architects of the Nationalist state seriously, on the principle that only by doing so can we understand how these differed from the religious critiques of their imperial forebears, and from the widely varied practice around them that did not seek to divide religion so stringently from politics, broadly defined. Much more work needs to be done on customary and ritual practices connected to the areas of life more typically ascribed to the “secular”—political and civic organizations, military life and loss, work units—in order for us to evaluate fully the limitations of the secularist proposition about public life during the twentieth century. Doubtless part of the problem stems from the selffulfilling nature of that proposition, at least insofar as it convinces the keepers of political and military records to efface the religious and the customary from their documents. The examples provided in Chapter 7 of the melding of modern civic and political engagement with religious ritual just scrape the surface. What they reveal, however, is the ultimate poverty of symbolic nationalism, at least in the form originally devised at the state level. Calls from conservative Chinese leaders (and their counterparts around the world) to “reinsert” religion or ritual into the politics of the nation-state come across as forced and dissonant precisely because they reflect the very same epistemological division between numinous and political power on which the critics of superstition rely. Both depend on the modern, symbolic meanings of “religion” and define state authority in a way that leaves behind the age of cosmos-generating ritual or divinely ordained power. The appearance of a cultural divide is misleading, because both sides are secularist at heart. The life of the nation itself, meanwhile, goes on with religion (in its various iterations, old and new) included. And what of superstition as a concept? Mixin has been internalized so deeply now that it is applied as a general descriptive of popular religious practice by the practitioners themselves, not necessarily with pejorative connotations. Normalized though it may be by those who “do superstition,” however, the term still wields derogatory power in the hands of intellectuals and punitive power when applied by the state with force behind it, as most notoriously seen in the crackdown on Falungong—although in


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that case, the appellation was soon followed by the deadlier “heretical teaching” (xiejiao) and the internationalist language of cults.40 Yoshiko Ashiwa remarks that the relegation of certain cults and practices to the categories of superstition and even the seemingly anodyne “local customs” (difang chuantong 地方傳統) does more than just create scenarios for potential confrontation, such as a struggle between worshippers at the Nanputuo Temple in Xiamen versus clergy and officials over the burning of spirit money for Guanyin inside the temple walls. Furthermore, she notes, “the populace continues to have an ontological consciousness of being Buddhist”41— suggesting that rather than mixin being thoroughly internalized, it continues to create a kind of cognitive dissonance among religious practitioners. The seeming normalization of mixin as a category in fact covers up a disruption of how religion should fit into everyday life and thus into modernity.42 This has not been solely China’s fate, however, although the coincidence there of the religion/superstition formulation, the anxieties of nationalism amid the specter of colonialism and international competition, and the rise of popular mobilization and revolutionary politics made for an especially taut experiment in the permutations of national culture-making in the age of the secular nation-state. Even as we look for—and continually discover—evidence of the limits of secularization of society, we must from time to time stop to recognize the mental frameworks that the proposition that political power is secular in nature and inherently separate from religion has created around and within us. It is only by understanding the history of secularism that we can see more clearly the trajectory of religion and everyday life in the modern age, and accurately comprehend the essential link between secularism and the nation-state at its very core.


appendix Three Major KMT Laws on Temples

i: “Rules for Temple Registration” (“Simiao dengji tiaoli”), 2 October 19281 1. All shrines, monasteries, nunneries, or Daoist temples constructed collectively, through contribution, or by private families, and with monks or priests residing or managing, must register according to these rules, in addition to being handled according to other orders related to census or registration of real estate. The aforementioned “monks and priests” refers to Buddhist monks and nuns and Daoist priests and nuns. 2. Temple registration will take place in the following three categories, according to the statement of the temple manager: a. Population registration; b. Real estate registration; c. Registration of religious objects. 3. Registration of temple population is restricted to monks and priests; servants or temporary residents of temples are not covered by these regulations. 4. A temple’s manager or other responsible monks must attest to their duties at the time of registration. 295


Three Major KMT Laws on Temples

Any change in nature or increase or decrease of number of the aforementioned monks must be immediately registered. 5. Laity who act as temple managers are permitted to register according to these regulations. 6. Underage persons may not register as monks or priests. 7. Upon return to lay life monks must be subtracted from the register. 8. “Real estate” of the temple indicates the structure of the temple itself as well as any attached land or buildings. “Religious objects” includes items of religious, historical, or artistic importance, including images of Buddhas and other deities, ritual implements, musical instruments, religious articles, scriptures, sculpture, paintings, and other conserved antiquities. 9. Any increase or decrease in temple real estate or religious objects must be immediately reported as indicated; temple property whose sale is not allowed must also be reported in this manner. 10. Temple registration is the responsibility of the county government in counties, and the public security bureau in the special municipalities. 11. Organs handling temple registration must use the following forms: a. General temple register; b. Temple population registry form; c. Temple real estate registry form; d. Temple religious object registry form. The format of these forms will be specified elsewhere. 12. County governments or public security bureaus of the special municipalities must send personnel to verify registration reports of each temple within three days of their receipt. If discrepancies are found, the person giving the statement must correct it. 13. Initial registration must be completed within three months. This time limit shall begin from the day of receipt of these regulations by post. 14. After the completion of the initial registration, the county governments responsible must compile a county register for the approval of the provincial government; city public security bureaus must do likewise with the government of the special municipalities or with the [ordinary] city governments, which will then report to the provinces. Format of registers will be specified elsewhere. 15. County governments and municipal public security bureaus must then continue the registration and report process as outlined above, on a quarterly basis.

Three Major KMT Laws on Temples


16. If temple real estate as registered above is found to differ from that registered under a [general] registration of real estate, it shall be corrected according to the latter. 17. Temples violating these regulations will be dealt with as follows: a. Those with slight offenses will be forced to register. b. Those with serious offenses will be fined no more than 100 yuan or have their manager replaced. 18. These regulations will take effect on the day of promulgation.

ii: “Temple Management Rules” (“Simiao guanli tiaoli”), 25 January 19292 1. All temples registered under the “Articles for Temple Registration” are governed by these regulations. 2. The monks and property of all temples shall receive the same protection as ordinary persons, except as stipulated by these regulations. The aforementioned “property” indicates items registered under Article 2, Items 2 and 3, of the “Articles for Temple Registration.” 3. The protection of all monasteries of renown and historically important temples shall be separately regulated. 4. Temples whose monks or priests break their vows, contravene party rule, or harm morals shall be abrogated or dissolved by order of the relevant municipal or county government, after application to the next level of government, and in turn to the Ministry of Interior, for approval. 5. At the time of abrogation or dissolution, property of the said temple shall revert to the municipal or county government or to local civic organizations for management. These [authorities] shall then apply to operate various public welfare enterprises, in accordance with local conditions. 6. Temples must operate one or several of the following public welfare enterprises according to their level of finances and size of their site: a. All levels of primary schools, supplementary schools for the masses, seasonal schools, night schools; b. Libraries, newspaper reading rooms, lecture halls; c. Public exercise grounds; d. Welfare houses in their entirety, or homes for the crippled; orphanages; homes for the aged; nurseries; e. Hospitals for the impoverished; f. Factories for the impoverished; g. Cooperatives suiting local needs.


Three Major KMT Laws on Temples

Curricula, books, and lectures for Items (a) and (b), aside from covering the compulsory subjects of party ideology and common scientific knowledge, should assist the followers of the temple to research religious doctrine. 7. Rights to monastic property are reserved to the temple. Aside from [spending related to] living expenses and upkeep, monk-managers/abbots may not monopolize or waste resources. 8. Temple property will be taxed according to current tax statutes. 9. Temple property will be safeguarded as follows: a. For those [temples] with temple managers, property will be administered by a temple property oversight committee formed from the municipal or county government, local civic organizations, and several monks or priests of various sects. b. Those lacking temple managers will be administered by a temple property oversight committee organized by the municipal or county government and local civic groups. c. Those managed by local civic groups will be administered by a temple property oversight committee organized by that group, upon application to the municipal or county government. The aforementioned temple property oversight committees will have no less than seven and no more than eleven members. In the case of Item (a), monks or priests will not exceed one half of the membership. 10. Disposition of or changes in the temple’s property will be decided by debate within the oversight committee. 11. Those temple religious objects that meet one of the definitions offered in Article 8, Item 2, of the “Rules for Temple Registration” should be handled according to the “Rules for Preserving Famous Sites and Antiquities.” 12. Succession of temple managers may proceed according to the custom of that temple, but persons who are not citizens of the Republic of China may not assume that role. The aforementioned succession will be carried out in accordance with Article 4, Item 2, of the “Rules for Temple Registration.” 13. All religious tenets of monks and priests will proceed according to their customs, although they are restricted according to the examples given in Article 4 of these rules. 14. Whenever monks or priests hold meetings or give lectures, or when others are invited to speak, they may not speak outside the following subjects: a. Expounding religious doctrine

Three Major KMT Laws on Temples


b. Improving society c. Expanding revolutionary and patriotic thinking 15. If monks or priests wish to return to the laity, the religious group may not restrain them. 16. When monks are ordained, the ordaining master must produce a certificate listing the penitent’s religious name, age, place of origin, and month and year of ordination. A copy must be given to the new monk, and the master must apply to the municipal or county government for approval. Underage persons may not be ordained. Newly ordained monks residing at that monastery must follow the procedure for personnel registration listed in the “Rules for Temple Registration.” 17. Incidents in which a temple’s monks or managers are accused in civil or criminal suits will be judged by the courts according to the law. 18. Monks and priests may not privately mortgage or dispose of temple property. 19. Monks or temple managers who contravene their duties as listed in these regulations may be reprimanded or deprived of their position by the municipal or county government. 20. Those who seize temple property without cause will be judged by the offense of misappropriation under the criminal code. 21. These regulations take effect upon promulgation.

iii: “Regulations for Temple Oversight” (“Jiandu simiao tiaoli”), 7 December 19293 1. All religious structures managed by monks or priests, regardless of name, are considered temples. 2. Temples and their property and religious objects will be overseen by these rules, except as otherwise regulated by law. The aforementioned “religious objects” are defined as all items of religious, historical, or artistic relevance, including images of Buddhas and other deities, ritual implements, musical instruments, religious articles, scriptures, sculpture or paintings, as well as all other antiquities conserved by the temple. 3. The following types of temples do not fall under these regulations: a. Those administered by government organs; b. Those administered by civic organizations; c. Those constructed and administered by private persons.


Three Major KMT Laws on Temples

4. Abandoned temples are to be administered by local self-government organizations. 5. The property and religious objects of the temple must be registered with the local government office. 6. The property and religious objects of the temple are to be administered by the temple manager. Monks or priests with the right of administration constitute temple managers, regardless of name. Those who are not citizens of the Republic of China, however, may not act as temple managers. 7. Managers may not use income from temple property for other than expenses related to the expounding of religious doctrine, the cultivation of religious precepts or other legitimate purposes. 8. The real estate or religious objects of a temple may not be disposed of or altered except as determined by the relevant religious organization and as approved by the local government office. 9. Temple income and enterprises must be reported by the manager to the local government office twice a year, and published. 10. Temples will undertake charities or enterprises for the public good in accordance with their financial circumstances. 11. In cases where Articles 5, 6, and 10 of these rules are violated, the local government office will strip the manager of his duties. Those who violate Article 7 or 8 will be expelled from the temple and/or handed to the courts for disposition. 12. These regulations do not apply to temples in Tibet, Xikang, Mongolia, or Qinghai. 13. These regulations will take effect on the date of promulgation. The “Rules for the Management of Temples” promulgated in January 1929 are abolished on the date of promulgation of these regulations.

Reference Matter


For complete author names, titles, and bibliographic data, see the Works Cited, pp. 385–428. A list of the abbreviations used in the Notes can be found at the beginning of the Works Cited.

Chapter 1 1. Zhang Zhenzhi, Geming yu zong jiao, preface. Zhang also published under the pseudonyms Zhengzhi 正之 and Zhenzhen 振振. 2. Ibid., 248–49. The stories originally appeared in the Hankou edition of Zhongshan ribao (20 May 1928) and the Guangzhou Daguang bao (3 July 1928), respectively. 3. Ibid., 250. 4. The more common rubric for this subset of secularism is “separation of church and state,” but it is now clear that this term is bound to the specific historical development of Western Europe and is not universally applicable. 5. Asad, “Religion, Nation-State, Secularism,” 192–93. 6. This should, however, not be taken to mean that Confucianism, Daoism, etc., lack ecclesiastical structures within themselves, as is sometimes assumed (e.g., Casanova, “Secularization Revisited,” 19)—especially if one broadens the definition to think of a structure that reproduces and organizes ritual specialists and puts them in contact with lay followers. 7. Aydin, “Secular Conversion as a Turkish Revolutionary Project,” 162. 8. Butler, Popular Piety and Political Identity. 9. Figal, Civilization and Monsters, 199–200. 10. Asad, “The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category,” 27–29.



Notes to Pages 6–9

11. “Translingual” is, of course, adopted from Lydia Liu’s Translingual Practice and points to the work of translation creating not a one-to-one correspondence but a “third realm,” a point especially true in the cases of zong jiao and mixin. Liu’s Clash of Empires more directly applies the question of translation to the wielding of imperial power. Important discussions of the issues arising from translation, modernity, and overlapping worlds in the context of colonialism near and far can be found in Shih Shu-mei, The Lure of the Modern, 5–40; and Meng Yue, Shanghai and the Edges of Empires, xxv–xxix. 12. Asad, “The Construction of Religion as an Anthropological Category,” 40–41. 13. As Tomoko Masuzawa (The Invention of World Religions, 20) comments, “The modern discourse on religion and religions was from the very beginning . . . clearly a discourse of othering,” as well as a secularist enterprise. Thomas David Dubois (“Hegemony, Imperialism, and the Construction of Religion,” 120) offers several examples of the ritual component of colonial law (for example, of the British in Burma). 14. Chen Hsi-yuan, “Confucianism Encounters Religion,” chap. 1; idem, “ ‘Zongjiao’ ”; Snodgrass, Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West, 71–72. 15. Lydia Liu, Clash of Empires, 119, discusses how W. A. P. Martin intended his translation of international law to bring the “atheistic [Qing] government to the recognition of God.” 16. Maxey, “The Crisis of ‘Conversion’ ”; Suzuki Shūji, Nihon Kango to Chūgoku, 129; Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs, 41; Hardacre, Shintō and the State, 63. 17. Anthony C. Yu, State and Religion in China, 14–15. 18. Ya-pei Kuo, “Before the Term.” Kang spoke of jiao as being in mutually destructive competition as early as 1891. 19. Goossaert, “1898”; Reinders, Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies; Girardot, The Victorian Translation of China, 318–19. 20. Mixin also had origins in classical usage. Sakai Tadao (“Chūgoku shijō no dōkyō to meishin hihan,” 159) points out that from at least the Later Han dynasty on, critics of Daoist mysticism had been complaining that such practices “misled” or “bedazzled” people (migan 迷感). A precursor to mixin can be found in the Buddhist phrase mi er xin zhi 迷而信之, “to be deluded and thus believe it,” but the true compound did not appear until 1889, however, when the Japanese term meishin was used to mean “believe mistakenly.” In 1901 the poet Doi Bansui applied the term as a noun to describe ideas that contravened modern science and rationalism (Nihon kokugo dai jiten, 2nd ed., 2000, s.v. meishin). Liang Qichao used the term the following year in “Baojiao fei suo yi zun Kong lun” (305). 21. Respectively, Liang Qichao, “Baojiao”; and idem, “Lun zongjiao jia yu zhexue jia,” 28: 56. 22. Smith, “Introduction: The Religion of Fools?,” 8. 23. Xinchang xianzhi (1579) 13.1, quoted in Schneewind, Community Schools, 144.

Notes to Pages 9–12


24. Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek, Introduction to Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China, 1. 25. Hsi-yuan Chen, “ ‘Zongjiao.’ ” 26. Wu Zhihui, “Zongjiao daode yu shehui zhuyi.” 27. Dunch, Fuzhou Protestants. 28. Just as Mori Arinori and Fukuzawa Yukichi popularized shūkyō with their discussions of the utility and limits of its freedom, for example, Liang Qichao (“Baojiao”) spread the term zong jiao as well as signaled his break with his mentor Kang Youwei by announcing state Confucianism to be a misguided idea, since civilized law now required honoring freedom of religion. 29. Ownby, “A History of the Falungong”; Palmer, “Heretical Doctrines.” 30. Keane, “Sincerity, ‘Modernity,’ and the Protestants.” Keane’s “sincerity” should, I think be carefully distinguished from the Chinese term cheng 誠, the key element to the success of Confucian ritual, among other glosses. Cheng is the sincere intent of the ritual officiant, which is manifested in his bodily movement as well as in his heart-and-mind (Sutton, “Ritual, Cultural Standardization, and Orthopraxy,” 14). Although this mode of ritual certainly produces its own agency and subject positions (best described by Angela Zito in Of Body and Brush, esp. 58–60), the underlying value of cheng stands apart from Keane’s sincerity as truthful proposition. For a fruitful exploration of the historical trajectories of sincerity (including Protestant and Chinese examples, among others), see Seligman et al., Ritual and Its Consequences, chaps. 4–5. 31. Pochu mixin xuanchuan dagang, 12. 32. Keane, Christian Moderns, 201. My emphasis on the historic moment of the rise of valuing belief over ritual is also not meant to engage the longstanding debate about the importance of orthopraxy versus belief in Chinese ritual; in this regard, I think that Donald Sutton’s observation in “Ritual, Cultural Standardization, and Orthopraxy” that one can find different valuations of one over the other in different social contexts is a wise one. 33. The permutations of the modern category of religion as biological metaphor are fruitfully explored in Campany, “On the Very Idea of Religions.” 34. On the reform movement and early temple destruction, as well as a mention of late Qing ritual reform, see Goossaert, “1898.” On earlier temple conversions to schools, see Schneewind, Community Schools. As Roger Thompson (“Twilight of the Gods,” 71) states of Zhang Zhidong’s efforts, “[In] combining Confucian distaste for popular practices with the Western effort to split society into secular and sacred spheres, [he] was laying claim to local resources with the voice of a secular, modernizing state.” 35. See Schneewind, Community Schools, 129, 232n131, for examples of high and late Ming community schools using temple space. 36. Li Hsiao-t’i, Qingmo de xiaceng shehui qimeng yundong, 50.


Notes to Pages 12–14

37. Among the most important works are Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China; Liu Xun, Daoist Modern; Goldfuss, Vers un bouddhisme du XXe siècle; Pittman, Toward a Modern Chinese Buddhism; Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, chap. 3; Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China; Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking; Palmer, “Tao and Nation”; Katz, “The Religious Life of a Renowned Shanghai Businessman”; and several of the articles in Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, ed., Chinese Religiosities. 38. For a bracing argument for the place of redemptive societies in modern Chinese history—and reasons for their historiographic neglect—see Ownby, Falun Gong and the Future of China, chap. 2. Although many of the Republican redemptive societies were urban in origin, some (such as Tongshanshe) had significant development in rural Sichuan and Guangdong, and others (e.g., Daoyuan) spread from urban branches to county towns. 39. See, e.g., Wen-hsin Yeh, The Alienated Academy, chap. 2, on the influence of and political disputes within St. John’s University, Shanghai; good introductions to Buddhism in Republican intellectual circles are Ha Yingfei, “ Wusi” zuojia yu fojiao wenhua ; and Barmé, An Artistic Exile, chap. 6. 40. Goossaert, “1898.” 41. Menzies, a Presbyterian and professor of biblical criticism at the University of St. Andrews who published A History of Religions: A Sketch of Primitive Beliefs and Practices, and of the Origins and Characters of the Great Systems in 1895, is cited in Xie Songgao’s Zong jiao xue ABC (Theology ABC) as the representative of the school of religious analysis that emphasized worship as satisfying basic human needs (Xie identified three other three main schools: religion as thought [Müller], morality [Kant], and emotion [Schleiermacher]). On Menzies, see Capps, Religious Studies, 270–71. 42. Li Ganchen and Luo Yuanyan, Pochu mixin quanshu. 43. Kang Jiyao, Pochu mixin, 4–9. 44. Sun Yat-sen, “Yi zongjiao shang zhi daode bu zhengzhi suo buji.” The piece was later reprinted in Minli bao. 45. Most famous was the 1923 debate on science and metaphysics, which involved Cai Yuanpei 蔡元培 (1868–1940), Carsun Chang (Zhang Junmai), Hu Shi, and Chen Duxiu, among others (Kwok, Scientism in Chinese Thought, 135–160), but political manifestations began the previous year, influenced at least in part by developments in Western Europe and the Soviet Union (Bastid-Brugière, “La campagne antireligieuse de 1922”). Significant debates on Christianity, superstition, and the “religion problem” as a whole also took place between 1919 and 1927 in the Juewu 覺悟 (Enlightenment) supplement to the Nationalist organ, the Republican Daily (Minguo ribao 民國日報). Zhang Zhenzhi participated in some of the Juewu debates. Important political writers of antireligious essays in other venues included Zhu Zhixin 朱執信 (1885–1920) (KMT) and Li Dazhao 李大釗 (1889–1927) (as a member of the Young China Party).

Notes to Pages 15–24


46. Chen Duxiu, “Kelinde bei” (The Von Ketteler monument), Xin qingnian 5, no. 5 (1918), quoted in Zheng Xuejia, Chen Duxiu zhuan, 1: 181. 47. Mao Zedong, “Hunan nongmin yundong kaocha baogao,” 12–44. 48. Murdock, Disarming the Allies of Imperialism. 49. Lipman, “Hyphenated Chinese,” 107. 50. Contrary to popular assumption and the image conveyed by his religiosity later in life and the laudatory claims in some secondary sources, neither Chiang Kai-shek nor his more devout wife, Song Meiling, played an important role in the formulation of religious or antisuperstition policy during the Nanjing Decade. 51. See Ju Zheng, “Meichuan pujie”; idem, “Minzu fuxing yu falü”; idem, “Falü yu rensheng”; and Dai Jitao, “Lun mixin,” 131–33. 52. Other members included Li Liejun 李烈鈞 (1882–1946), Wu Jingheng 吳 敬恆 (1864–1953), Yu Youren 于右任 (1879–1964), and Zhang Ji 張繼 (1882–1947). Buddhist affiliation linked some of these men; others, military experience, political alliance, or simply cultural orientation at the time. 53. In the 1920s Ye aroused the suspicions of some Communists, including Mao Zedong, by declaring selective cooperation with militarists to be a practical necessity, and by defending large companies in labor disputes, but he also firmly advocated a party policy of mass organization. He went to the founding meeting of the Western Hills group, but refused to turn down high party posts on the basis of the KMT’s cooperation with the Communists; he later maintained good relations with the Chen brothers but appeared to keep them at arm’s length as well. MGRW, 1259–60; Boorman and Howard, Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, 4: 27–29; Yang Tianshi and Wang Xuezhuang, Nanshe shi changbian, 546–47; Fitzgerald, Awakening China, 174, 222–224; idem, “Origins of the Illiberal Party Newspaper,” 11–12. 54. This point has been made most articulately by Michael Herzfeld, Cultural Intimacy, 1–2. 55. Mitchell, “The Stage of Modernity,” 17. 56. On simultaneously constituting and representing society, see Tsin, Nation, Governance and Modernity in China. 57. Scott, Seeing Like a State, 76. 58. Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments, 207–8. 59. Poon, “Refashioning Popular Religion.” 60. See also Poon, “ ‘Jiangou’ zhengquan, “jiegou” mixin?” For the antireligious arguments of some committee members, see Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation, 104–10. 61. The areas controlled by Feng Yuxiang come particularly to mind; his policies, along with those of some other militarist leaders, are described briefly in Chapter 3. 62. Asad, “Religion, Nation-State, Secularism,” 192.


Notes to Pages 28–32

Chapter 2 1. On the development of the notion of shehui (society) and its component parts, see Tsin, “Imagining ‘Society’ in Early Twentieth-Century China”; and Fitzgerald, “The Misconceived Revolution.” 2. Wang Ke-wen, “The Left Guomindang in Opposition,” 8–10; So Wai-chor, The Kuomintang Left, 35–38, 44–47; for an excellent summary of how military ventures mixed with political negotiations during these months, see Van de Ven, War and Nationalism in China, 122–23. 3. Special Central Committee to National Government, 11 Nov. 1927, AH GMZF, reel 214, 15–16. It is unclear who sat on the Standing Committee of three (within the larger Special Central Committee) at the precise moment that it made this proposal, in which they are unidentified. One reference names Wang Jingwei, Cai Yuanpei, and Xie Chi as members (Chen Xulu and Li Huaxing, Zhonghua minguo shi cidian, 97), but that seems inaccurate for this moment in time; the composition of both the full and Standing Committees shifted rapidly during their two months of existence. So Wai-chor (The Kuomintang Left, 45) puts Wang’s reconciliation with the Special Committee at the middle of November, after this meeting took place—nor is Wang listed in the meeting minutes (Minutes to Meeting No. 9 of the Special Central Committee of the KMT [9 Nov. 1927], Zhongyang tebie weiyuan hui huiyi jilü huiding [Collected minutes of the Special Central Committee], 7, KMT 468–46). 4. National Government draft order no. 64 to all organizations, 17 Nov. [1927], AH GMZF, reel 214, 1592–94. 5. Minutes to Meeting No. 9 of the Special Central Committee of the KMT (9 Nov. 1927) (see note 3 to this chapter). 6. Ownby, “A History of the Falungong.” This stands in contrast to scholarship, to a large degree influenced by revolutionary historiography, which studies such groups under the general rubric of “secret societies.” For an excellent overview of terminology and associated historical rubrics, see Palmer, “Heretical Doctrines.” 7. Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 103–5. 8. Owen, The Place of Enchantment; Figal, Civilization and Monsters. 9. “Capital Command Police Department, reply [ pi ] number 37” [10 Nov. 1917], quoted in Wang Jianchuan, “Tongshanshe zaoqi lishi,” 61–62. 10. De Korne, The Fellowship of Goodness, 15–19, 71–74. Some sources go so far as to claim founder Peng Ruzhen intended to foster a revolt or restoration of the emperor: see, e.g., Pu Wenqi, Zhongguo minjian mimi zong jiao cidian, 302; and Gongan bu, Di yi ju, Fandong hui dao men jieshao, 28. 11. De Korne, The Fellowship of Goodness, 45. On the charitable pursuits and finances of other branches, see Wang Jianchuan, comp., “Shandong Yantai Tongshan fenshe ziliao,” 203–4, 207–9.

Notes to Pages 32–34


12. Chen Duxiu, “Da He Qiansheng.” The original article, “Bi Tongshanshe” (Refuting the Society for the Common Good), by Li Ming, appeared in the Xiangtan ribao (Xiangtan daily), Hunan. It and the letter of He Qiansheng, who forwarded it to Chen, are reprinted together with Chen’s reply, in Zheng Xuejia, Chen Duxiu zhuan, 181. 13. Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 174–75; Sakai Tadao, “Minguo chuqi,” 6–7; see ibid., 8–10, for an analysis of Tongshanshe’s class composition, which Sakai thinks was likely more diverse than contemporary commentators assumed. 14. Wang Zhixin, Zhongguo zong jiao sixiang shi dagang, 232. On neidan-inspired cultivation in Tongshanshe, see Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 313–14. 15. Zhou Qijian, “Xijiang banshi chu hui wu baogao: fu Xijiang banshi chu hui wu baogao jueyi an” (Work report, Xijiang office: addendum, resolutions on work report), Zhongguo nongmin 6/7 (1926): 779; Fitzgerald, Awakening China, 274. 16. Lin Zhiyuan, “Zhengtan fusheng lu,” 190 (also cited in Wang Jianchuan, “Tongshanshe zaoqi lishi,” 66); Zhang Zhenzhi, Geming yu zong jiao, 214; Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 176, 178; draft letter from Department of Labor, Kuomintang Central Committee, to the Nanjing Special Municipality Public Security Bureau, 1 Aug. 1927, KMT bu 2235; Nanjing Special Municipality Public Security Bureau letter to Department of Labor, Kuomintang Central Committee, 12 Aug. 1927, KMT bu 2236; Department of Labor, Kuomintang Central Committee, draft communiqué to Nanjing Special Municipality General Labor Union, 4 Nov. 1927, KMT bu 2238; and Military Affairs Committee public communiqué no. 1179 to Department of Labor, Kuomintang Central Committee, 14 Nov. 1927, KMT bu 2239. On the Hankou Tongshanshe general headquarters, see Zhang Yufa and Li Rongtai, Zhonghua minguo renmin tuanti diaocha lu, 74. 17. The complaints emanated from Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Shanxi (Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party to Office of the Secretary, National Government, 28 June, 11 July, and 13 Aug. 1928, AH GMZF, reel 214, 1602–4, 1611– 14, 1626–28; Zhang Zhenzhi, Geming yu zong jiao, 209; Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 177, 285). 18. Shao Jingkang and Zhao Renxiong, “Daode xueshe neimu.” 19. Standing Directorate of Zhejiang Province Nationalist Party petition to Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party, 5 July 1928, AH GMZF, reel 214, 1613–14. 20. During the Northern Expedition, Communist organizers had managed to win the cooperation of various secret societies, particularly branches of the Red Spears in central and north China. But as the Nationalists started to expand their tax assessments and other onerous government programs in these same areas, some of the Red Spear groups then rose against them, sometimes using the Nationalist Army’s own weapons. Other unrest, such as the mid-1928 Big Sword Society (Dadao hui 大刀會) uprising in Liyang, quite near the capital, stemmed from a frightening confluence of popular organizations and party politics, with


Notes to Pages 34–35

KMT leftists or remaining Communists accused of aiding and abetting the rebels. Although Chiang Kai-shek and other Nationalists had their own specific secret society alliances—notably with the Shanghai Green Gang—and although groups like Tongshanshe differed in nature and organization from those like the Red Spears, in the uncertain social and political climate of 1927–28, any combination of mystical practices and political or social organization became that much more suspect. See Perry, Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 174–76; “The Reminiscences of Chang Fa-k’uei [Zhang Fakui],” recorded and translated by Julie Lien-ying How (unpublished transcript, Chinese Oral History Project, Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection, Columbia University), 254; Zhang Zhenzhi, Geming yu zong jiao, 165–87; Zhou Yumin and Shao Yong, Zhongguo banghui shi, 572–83; and Cai Shaoqing, Zhongguo jindai huidang shi yanjiu, 344–54. 21. Ministry of the Interior public communiqué no. 36 to Office of the Secretary, National Government, 21 July 1928, AH GMZF, reel 214, 1622–23; “Ling chafeng Daoyuan ji Wushan, Tongshan deng she” (Order to shut down Daoyuan, Wushanshe, Tongshanshe, and other societies), JSGB, no. 56 (22 Sept. 1928), 14. Daoyuan received government approval in 1921. On Wushanshe, see Sakai Tadao, “Minguo chuqi,” 11–13; and Wang Zhixin, Zhongguo zong jiao sixiang shi dagang, 231–32. Wushanshe’s transition to universalism presents a fascinating case; in 1924, the society changed its name to the very evangelical-sounding New Religion for a New Era (Xin shi xin jiao 新世新教). 22. A representative case is Tianxian miaodao 天仙廟道, also targeted by Feng Yuxiang’s army—for this and other examples, see Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 289–98. 23. “Niu Zhang tiyi shixing xinjiao ziyou” (Niu and Zhang propose putting freedom of religion into practice), Shenbao, 18 Feb. 1928, reprinted in Wenshe yuekan 3, no. 5 (Mar. 1928): 48–49. Niu Yongjian was a member of the Tongmenghui from 1898 and had navigated the ups and downs of the party ever since, serving as a KMT legislator in the brief class of 1912, as military officer for Sun Yat-sen in the 1910s and 1920s, and as a member of both the Wuhan and Nanjing governments. He later ran the Ministry of Interior and the Jiangsu provincial government and chaired the National Congress (MGRW, 1165). Zhang Zhijiang had a long career of military service under Feng Yuxiang and was a principal strategist for the second leg of the Northern Expedition, from Nanjing to Beiping. Like Niu, he served as a National Government committee member, had a seat on various anti-opium commissions, and was a representative to the National Congress. He also played a prominent role in the national martialarts movement (MGRW, 902; Morris, Marrow of the Nation, 204–5). Both were also serving on the National Government Committee (Guomin zhengfu weiyuan hui 國民政府委員會); Niu was additionally governor of Jiangsu province. One biographical source claims the cooperation of Yu Rizhang, chair-

Notes to Pages 35–38


man of the National Christian Council and general secretary of the YMCA of China, in presenting the proposal (Paul G. Hayes, “Biographic Records of Chinese Christian and non-Christian Leaders of the 20th Century,” binders 1&2, Missionary Research Library Collection, Union Theological Seminary). See also Niu Yong jian xiansheng jinian ji on Niu’s Christian activity. 24. On the history of the Chinese Christian Literary Society, see Peter ChenMain Wang, “Missionary Attitude Toward the Indigenization Movement in China.” 25. The special section “Religion and Christianity” contained several essays by Christians such as Yu Rizhang (Wenshe yuekan 3, no. 2 [Dec. 1927]: 1–26); Zhang Zhijiang published “Jidujiao yu guomin geming” (Christianity and the Nationalist Revolution) in issue 3, no. 3 ( Jan. 1928): 1–9; reprints of essays by Zhang Zhenzhen and Wenshe editor Zhang Shizhang appear in issues 3, no. 4 (Feb. 1928) and no. 5 (Mar. 1928). For an overview of the debate, see Zha Shijie, “Minguo xunzheng shiqi de Jidu jiaohui.” 26. On 24 March 1927, arriving National Revolutionary Army units clashed with mobilized foreign troops in Nanjing; casualties were incurred on both sides, including several missionaries. Among the results—the most famous of which was Chiang Kai-shek’s rise to power on the strength of his conciliation of British and U.S. fears and outrage—were a temporary panic and evacuation among foreign missionaries, a protective response among Chinese Christians, and a détente in KMT-Christian relations (Murdock, Disarming the Allies of Imperialism, 260–64, 268–72). 27. “Guofu duiyu xinjiao ziyou zhi tongling.” The original order had been issued in May 1927. 28. ZYDW, no. 13 (Aug. 1929): IV.31. 29. Judicial Yuan ruling 1878, 24 Apr. 1939, in Sifayuan faxue ziliao jiansuo xitong. The decision held that religious freedom could not interfere with a person’s other legal responsibilities (in this case under the marriage law). 30. Cen Dezhang and Zhang Rongxi, Zhonghua minguo xianfa shiliao; Yin Xiaohu, Jindai Zhongguo xianzheng shi. 31. Qu Haiyuan, “Zongjiao xinyang ziyou de xianfa jichu,” 421–23; Zha Shijie, “Minchu de zheng jiao guanxi”; Cen Dezhang and Zhang Rongxi, Zhonghua minguo xianfa shiliao, 17: 2; Yin Xiaohu, Jindai Zhongguo xianzheng shi, appendix; Ch’ien Tuansheng, The Government and Politics of China, 448. The 1931 congressional sessions that produced the Draft Constitution in fact saw one last nationwide effort from the opponents of religion as “a tool of imperialism” to eliminate the religious freedom clause entirely. Zhang Zhijiang was instrumental in shutting down their efforts (Zha Shijie, “Minguo xunzheng shiqi de Jidu jiaohui,” 510–12). 32. Ketelaar, Of Heretics and Martyrs, 132–33. 33. Hsi-yuan Chen, “Confucianism Encounters Religion,” 106, 119, chap. 4. 34. Ibid., 189–90.


Notes to Pages 39–40

35. More recently, constitutional scholars argue that the term encompasses the freedoms of worship and association, but that was generally not the case during the Nanjing Decade (Wu Yaofeng, Zong jiao fagui shi jiang, 60). 36. Lifa yuan, Zhonghua minguo xianfa caoan xuanchuan weiyuan hui, Zhonghua minguo xianfa caoan shuoming shu, 16. The standard college textbook on constitutionalism used in Taiwan, where the 1946 Constitution is still in force, observes that in the ROC, legal exceptions to the freedom of religion have extended not only to criminal behavior but to “immoral” (bu daode) conduct as well (Li Jidong, Zhonghua minguo xianfa zhutiao shiyi, 199). 37. For a brief summary of the variety of financing methods for education, see Chauncey, Schoolhouse Politicians, 161–65. The Education Conference occurred in the midst of a struggle among various members of the party and government (represented by, among others, Cai Yuanpei, head of the University Council; Chen Guofu, head of the KMT Department of Organization (Zuzhi bu 組織部); and Ding Weifen 丁惟汾 (1874–1954) of the KMT Department of Training) about how education should be conceived and controlled. The struggle was not “resolved” until 1929, after the replacement of the University Council with the Ministry of Education, the Third KMT Congress, and the gradual diminution of the KMT Training Department. See Linden, “Politics and Education in Nationalist China”; and Chen Zhesan, Zhonghua minguo Daxue yuan zhi yanjiu. 38. Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 128; Chen Jinlong, “Cong miaochan xingxue fengbo kan Minguo shiqi de zheng-jiao guanxi,” 115–16. 39. See Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 132–40; and Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 78. For biographical information on Xue, see MGRW, 1554; Qin Xiaoyi, Zhongguo xiandai shi cidian, 3: 582; Gaimushō, Jōhō bu, Gendai Chūka minkoku Manshūkoku jinmei kan, 192; idem, Gendai Chūka minkoku Manshū teikoku jinmei kan, 272; and Zhang Bowen, “Xue Dubi xiansheng er san shi,” 40–41, 49. 40. “Guomin zhengfu Neizheng bu di si ci bu wu huiyi jilu” (Minutes of the fourth internal meeting of the Ministry of the Interior, National Government), 7 Apr. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 (May 1928): 5.6–7. 41. Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 127, 131. 42. Reichelt, The Transformed Abbot, 45; Gao Zhennong, “Shanghai fojiao gaikuang,” 5; Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 41. The personal relations of Wang Yiting with Chiang went back to Shanghai in the early days of the 1911 Revolution, when Wang produced financial support for Chiang’s military ventures; the men shared Zhejiang ties and a connection via Chiang’s patron Chen Qimei 陳其美 (1877–1916). Wang served as a standing committee member of the various incarnations of the Disaster Relief Committee of the central government from 1928 until his death, reflecting his extensive philanthropic work over decades (Katz, “ ‘It Is Difficult to Be Indifferent to One’s Roots,’ ” 27–28; idem, “Religious Life of a Renowned Shanghai Businessman”; Kuiyi Shen, “Wang Yiting”; Yu Lingbo, Zhongguo jin/xiandai fojiao renwu zhi, 348–49; Zhang Hua, Shanghai zong jiao tonglan, 192–93;

Notes to Pages 41–45


Coble, Shanghai Capitalists, 29–30). At this time Li Jishen, a member of the Guangxi-based military faction, was a member of both the National Government Committee and the Standing Committee of the Military Affairs Commission ( Junshi weiyuan hui 軍事委員會), having been granted his seat in an attempt at appeasement by Chiang Kai-shek (who nevertheless tried to use Chen Mingshu to rein Li in). Wang Zhixiang was also a Guangxi military man and had been brought into alliance with Chiang through the Huangpu Academy (Huangpu junxiao 黃埔 軍校). 43. ZYRB, 18 Apr. 1928, 2.1; Ministry of Interior communiqué no. 105 to Secretariat, National Government, 21 Apr. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 (1 May 1928): IVc.12. 44. Minister of Interior Xue Dubi, unnumbered draft gonghan to “Buddhist Association,” 18 Apr. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 (1 May 1928): 4c.8–10; also DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua (2), 1071–73. 45. Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 129. 46. Nanjing Special Municipality Bureau of Education, “Quanguo miaochan ying you guojia lifa qingli chongzuo quanguo jiaoyu jijin an” (Proposal that temple property throughout the country should be organized according to national law to provide capital for education), in Zhonghua minguo daxue yuan, Quanguo jiaoyu huiyi baogao, part II, 4–6. For other conference proposals to employ temple property, see ibid., 234–35, 291, 385–97, 403–5, 539. 47. Ibid., part II, 4–6. 48. Taixu, “Duiyu Tai Shuangqiu miaochan xingxue yundong de xiuzheng.” These four phrases do not appear in the reprinted text of the Education Conference proposal. See Yinshun, Taixu fashi nianpu, 137–38, for attribution of this editorial to Taixu. 49. Taixu, “Duiyu Tai Shuangqiu miaochan xingxue yundong de xiuzheng,” 67–68. 50. Petition from Keduan, president of the Huayan Chinese Buddhist Academy, to the Executive Council on Education of the National Government, 3 July 1927, SHA 5: 2264. The school had previously been accredited under the Beiyang and Sun Chuanfang 孫傳芳 (1884–1935) regimes. 51. Ibid. 52. Advisory Office [of the Executive Council on Education], “Report of the review of the Huayan Chinese Buddhist Academy’s request for accreditation,” n.d., SHA 5: 2264. 53. Ministry of Interior to Keduan, abbot of Changsheng Monastery, Yangzhou, and president of the Huayan Chinese Buddhist Academy, 23 Apr. and 24 May 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 (1 May 1928): IIb.9, and 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): IIg.17–18. Also Ministry of Interior to University Council, NZGB 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): IVc.5–6, 14. 54. Zhou Qiuguang, ed., Xiong Xiling ji, 1: 1–3. See also idem, “Modern Chinese Educational Philanthropy.”


Notes to Pages 45–50

55. The former aspect of Xiong’s proposal and his arguments about the civilizational and nationalist import of religion are well analyzed in Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 109–10. 56. “Xiong Xiling guanyu sheli zhengli zongjiao weiyuan hui yi anding shehui buzhu zhengzhi deng wenti zhi Jiang Jieshi han” (Letter from Xiong Xiling to Chiang Kai-shek regarding the establishment of a council to organize religion, in order to pacify society and aid political and other problems), 26 Feb. 1929, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua (2), 1019–23. 57. Several of these men also served on government relief boards alongside Xiong. 58. Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, Executive Yuan, 17 June 1929; Executive Yuan to National Government, 20 June 1929, SHA 2: 1042. 59. Buddhist Association of China to Executive Yuan, 23 June 1929, SHA 2: 1042. In addition, one of Taixu’s biographers claims that the master corresponded with Chiang Kai-shek, whom Taixu had met during his 1927 months “in the wilderness,” about the possibility of creating a new sort of Buddhist group that would unite clergy and laymen to “enrich the people, strengthen the nation, improve government, and enlighten customs.” Although Chiang allegedly passed the idea to his officials, like Xiong Xiling’s proposal, it came to nothing (Yinshun, Taixu fashi nianpu, 139–40). 60. Ministry of Interior to Civil Office of the National Government, 8 Nov. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 8 (Dec. 1928): V3.19. 61. Sun Yat-sen, “Fu Fojiao hui lun xinjiao ziyou shu.” 62. Sun Yat-sen, “Yi zongjiao shang zhi daode bu zhengzhi suo buji.” The piece was later reprinted in Minli bao. 63. For instance, he used his connections at the Manchu court to obtain a 1905 edict warning local gentry not to use the new educational policies as an excuse to seize or tax the property of active monasteries (Yu Lingbo, Zhongguo jin/xiandai fojiao renwu zhi, 13–15; Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 12–13). 64. Goossaert, “Republican Church Engineering.” 65. Ibid.; Hsi-yuan Chen, “Confucianism Encounters Religion,” chap. 3, 119–24. 66. Yu Lingbo, Zhongguo jin/xiandai fojiao renwu zhi, 26–28, 66–71. 67. Executive Council on Education to National Government, 13 Sept. 1927, AH 214: 1567–72. 68. The two convened the All-Zhejiang Committee for the Reorganization of the Sangha (Zhejiang quansheng zhengli sengqie weiyuan hui 鎮江全省整理僧伽 委員會) in early 1928 (Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 127, 131) and were instrumental in the organization of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang group and its connection to the Wang Yiting lay association shortly thereafter. 69. University Council Chair Cai Yuanpei and Minister of Interior Xue Dubi to National Government, 3 Aug. 1928, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua (2), 1073–74. 70. Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 139; Yinshun, Taixu fashi nianpu, 140.

Notes to Pages 50–54


71. See Appendix for the “Rules.” The story of the drafting of this document and its replacement is told in greater detail in Chapter 3. 72. Such differences included arguments between the Jiangsu and Zhejiang factions of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang Federation that resulted in a mass resignation of lay members and Taixu’s creation of his separate group in July 1928. Ouyang Jingwu appears to have eschewed this round of national organization entirely (Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 132; Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 139). 73. ZYRB, 21 June 1929, 2: 4. 74. ZYRB, 23 May 1929, 2: 3, and 21 June 1929, 2: 4; Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 138. 75. “Minzhong yundong fang’an an” (passed 11 Aug. 1928, Fifth Plenum of the Second Central Executive Committee), in Zhongguo guomindang lijie lici zhong quan hui, 93. 76. “Renmin tuanti sheli chengxu an” (Procedures for organizing people’s associations), 1929, ZYDW, special issue on the Third Party Congress (May 1929): 132; see also the later “Wenhua tuanti zuzhi yuanze” (Principles for the organization of cultural groups) and “Wenhua tuanti zuzhi dagang” (Outline for the organization of cultural groups), both 23 Jan. 1930, FGDQ, 5751. 77. Xu Xiaoqun, Chinese Professionals and the Republican State, 98–101. Xu shows that regulations governing mass associations under the KMT theoretically permitted considerable party supervision, which distinguishes the Nationalist mode from earlier Republican corporatist models. This also modifies somewhat Joseph Fewsmith’s original formulation of state corporatism, based on the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce: of “a unitary, noncompetitive hierarchical structure of interest which was, on the one hand, largely self-governing (and clearly free of any direct Party interference) but was, on the other hand, subordinate to (and indeed brought into being by) state authority” (Party, State and Local Elites in Republican China, 163–64). 78. Xuesheng funü wenhua tuanti zuzhi yuanze xuanchuan dagang, 22. 79. “Zhongyang minzhong xunlian bu gongzuo gaikuang baogao,” 62. 80. NZGB 2, no. 12 ( Jan. 1930): IIIc.6–7. 81. “Zhongyang minzhong xunlian bu gongzuo gaikuang baogao,” 27–29; “Quanguo lisu xingzheng zuzhi yi lan”; “Quanguo fojiao zuzhi yi lan.” On Taixu’s withdrawal from the Buddhist Association, see Pittman, Toward a Modern Chinese Buddhism, 130–33. 82. Wing-tsit Chan, Religious Trends in Modern China, 190. 83. Mou Zhongjian and Zhang Jian, 79. ZYDW, no. 75 (Oct. 1934): 788; NZGB 8, no. 14 (15 May 1935): 146–49. Upon reorganization, the new group’s name was altered slightly, to Zhonghua huijiao gonghui. In addition, the Association of Muslim Masters (Zhongguo Huijiao shi xie hui 中國回教師協會) was formed in 1934 to promote scholarship and culture (DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua [2], 856). 84. SHA 2: 1043; in the 1932 Nanhua wenyi case, folklorist Lou Zikuang 婁子匡 (1916– ) published a folktale in which Zhu Bajie, the porcine hero of Xiyou ji,


Notes to Pages 54–57

becomes a Muslim in order to avenge his father’s murder by a goat and a cow. By slaying the killers, he assures his parents’ place as “ancestors in Islam” (Hu Shi, “Wuru huijiao shijian ji qi chufen”). 85. See “Jin cheng Zangren wei fanman ling” (Order forbidding calling Tibetans barbarians), Oct. 1929, FGHB, 4: 826–27. 86. Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China, chaps. 5–6, esp. 132–35, 166–72. 87. DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua (2), 855–56; NZNJ, F: 135–47; Zhang Yufa and Li Rongtai, Zhonghua mingguo renmin tuanti diaocha lu, 265–79; Hsi-yuan Chen, “Confucianism Encounters Religion,” chap. 3. Although proposals for the religification of Confucianism still abounded, apparently no one successfully proposed it on the level of a national religious group during this period. 88. Goossaert, “Republican Church Engineering”; NZNJ, F: 134; Zhang Hua, Shanghai zong jiao tonglan, 336–37; Li Yangzheng, Daojiao shouce, 82–83. 89. Zhang Hua, Shanghai zong jiao tonglan, 338. Misleadingly, only the two 1912 organizations technically remained on the Ministry of Interior’s books as of 1936; none of these appear as religious organizations “under the direction” of the party apparatus in the same year (NZNJ, F: 134–35; “Zhongyang minzhong xunlian bu gongzuo gaikuang baogao,” 27–29). 90. Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 78–79. 91. See the example of Guangzhou in Lai Chi-tim, “Minguo shiqi Guangzhou shi ‘Namo daoguan’ de lishi kaojiu.” 92. “Zongjiao zuzhi: Daojiao” (Religious organizations: Daoism), in Yangzhou zong jiao, 265. 93. Daoist representatives Qi Hezhi et al., Jitong, Donghe county, Shandong, to Executive Yuan, 21 Feb. 1933, SHA 2: 1041. 94. Liu Xun, “In Search of Immortality,” 78–80; for more on this period of cultural and nationalist arguments of Chen and his colleagues for Daoism, see idem, Daoist Modernity, 240–49. 95. NZNJ, C: 641. Prasenjit Duara (Sovereignty and Authenticity, 113) implies that one reason the Universal Morality Society (which he translates as Morality Society) flourished in Manchuria during the 1930s, compared to its strength in China proper during the previous decade, was the KMT’s hostility toward religion and redemptive societies in particular. Yet this society did win this extremely rare approval, which came at the tail end of the tenure of Zhao Daiwen 趙戴文 (1867–1943) as minister of interior, serving as actual minister for Yan Xishan, who had received the courtesy appointment. Both men took part in society activities during the 1920s (Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 180–81). 96. Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 108–9. 97. DuBois, The Sacred Village, 106–8; see also Li Shiyu, “Tianjin Zailijiao diaocha yanjiu”; and Jiang Zhushan, “1930 niandai Tianjin Duliuzhen shangren de zongjiao,” 267–68.

Notes to Pages 57–61


98. JSGB, no. 27 (2 Apr. 1928), 23–24; Zhao Dongshu et al., Lijiao shi, 136. 99. JSGB, no. 288 (15 Nov. 1929), 9. 100. Zhao Dongshu et al., Lijiao shi, 138–39. 101. DuBois, The Sacred Village, 114–25. 102. Shanghai Lijiao Union to Executive Yuan, 25 July 1929, SHA 2: 1043. 103. Ibid. 104. DuBois, The Sacred Village, 112; DuBois points out that Li probably had an exaggerated impression of the number of members. 105. Luo Wenbo, “Ji Quyang Limen gongsuo.” On the 1913 approval, Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 165. 106. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 13 Aug. 1929, SHA 2: 1043. 107. Ministry of Interior to Qin Zhongzhan et al., representatives of the Lijiao hui, 5 July 1928, NZGB 1, no. 4 (1 Aug. 1928): IIIe.2–4. 108. Standing Committee of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang to Executive Yuan, 18 Feb. 1930, SHA 2: 1043. 109. ZYDW, no. 57 (Apr. 1933). 110. Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 300–301; Zhao Dongshu, ed., Lijiao huibian, 127–28. Zaili was by no means weak in Shanghai (one source claims it had 10,000 members in the city in 1927 [Zhang Hua, Shanghai zong jiao tonglan, 559]), but its strength was certainly northern: in addition to a stronghold in Tianjin and its environs, it had a notable presence in late Qing and Republican Beijing, so much so that Daoist masters such as Zhao Bichen used Zailijiao lodges as networks for teaching and initiation (Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 303–6). 111. Zhao Dongshu, ed., Lijiao huibian, 127. At one point even the party Mass Movement Direction Committee (Minzhong yundong zhidao weiyuan hui 民眾 運動指導委員會) got confused and referred to the Lijiao Association as a “religious group” like the Buddhist, Daoist, and Muslim associations (ZYDW, no. 57 [Apr. 1933]: 1420), but most government records stick to the “public welfare” designation (“Zhongguo wenhua tuanti jianming dengji biao” [Brief chart of registered cultural organizations in China], Dec. 1936, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, wenhua, 841–56; “Zhongyang minzhong xunlian bu gongzuo gaikuang baogao,” 63, 74). 112. “Zhongyang minzhong xunlian bu gongzuo gaikuang baogao,” 63. 113. Zhao Dongshu, ed., Lijiao huibian, 118; Zhao Dongshu et al., Lijiao shi. 114. Originating in the same year but usefully distinguished from the New Life Movement, the Cultural Reconstruction Movement was meant to provide the intellectual stimulus for a politically conservative, nativist Chinese cultural modernism (a theoretical counterpart to New Life’s behavioralism). The movement originally centered on the eponymous journal; strongly endorsed by Chiang Kai-shek and the Chen brothers, it reappeared in Taiwan during the 1960s as a weapon of Cold War cross-Strait cultural battles. 115. Shijie hong wanzi hui zhi yuanqi ji fazhan, 11–12. List of senders of “altar instructions” (tanxun 壇訓) drawn from Nanjing daoyuan gui jia er zhou he kan, 2–3.


Notes to Pages 61–63

116. Sakai Tadao, Kindai Shina ni okeru shūkyō kessha, 162–68. 117. Red Swastika Society General Association for China to Ministry of Interior, Nov. 1928, SHA 257: 65; also Military Affairs Commission to Red Swastika Society, 10 Mar. 1928, SHA 257: 59. 118. NZGB 1, no. 4 (1 Aug. 1928): IVc.27. 119. NZGB 1, no. 7 (Nov. 1928): 4d.15–16; ZYRB, 8 Sept. 1929, 2.3; ZYRB, 6 Nov. 1929, 2.1. 120. XZYGB, tekan (Nov. 1928), 152; NZGB 1, no. 8 (Dec. 1928): VIc.30–31. 121. Draft petition to National Government et al., 23 Jan. 1928, SHA 257: 59. 122. Zhen Bai (pseud. Yang Gang?), “Diu mixin liu cishan ba” (Let’s drop the superstition and keep the charity), clipping from uncited Tianjin newspaper, 26 Oct. 1928, SHA 257: 59. 123. Shijie hong wanzi hui xuanyan (Manifesto of the World Red Swastika Society), 1929–30?, SHA 476(2): 64; Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 108–9. 124. At least one member of Xiong’s proposed religious council, Wang Renwen, was also prominent in the Red Swastika Society (Shijie Hong wanzi hui zhi yuanqi ji fazhan, 12). 125. “Daoyuan zhangcheng” (Daoyuan charter), Jan. 1929, SHA 257: 179; “Daoyuan shuoming shu” (Explanation of Daoyuan), Jan. 1929, SHA 257: 179, 2. 126. Sakai Tadao, Kindai Shina ni okeru shūkyō kessha, 149. 127. NZNJ, B: 357, 366. 128. Wang Jianchuan, comp., “Minguo shiqi Daoyuan Hong wanzi hui zhenzai jilu”; Sakai Tadao, Kindai Shina ni okeru shūkyō kessha, 213–17. 129. The YMCA-inspired components of the New Life Movement formed only one portion of the numerous reforms undertaken in that name, however. For the relationship of the missionary George Shepherd to Song Meiling (Mme. Chiang Kai-shek) and his involvement in the movement, see James Thompson, While China Faced West. For other influences on the movement, see Dirlik, “The Ideological Foundations of the New Life Movement”; and William Wei, Counterrevolution in China, 76–81. The movement’s relationship to customs reform and religious practice is discussed in more detail in Chapters 7 and 8. 130. Membership rosters, Daoyuan Jiangsu and Anhui local branches, 1936–37, SMA Q120-1-7. Since Red Swastika rosters did not necessarily record Daoyuan membership (perhaps in response to government strictures), it is difficult to make a definitive statement whether society members of necessity belonged to Daoyuan as well. Some did, however, record a member’s name in religion (daoming 道名) and, separately, their dates of entry into the society and into Daoyuan (listed as the date of “seeking cultivation,” qiuxiu 求修). In the case of 1934 membership rosters for Beiping, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, for example, this information is given for all Red Swastika members on the rosters (SHA 257: 263). 131. Rugao Branch, World Red Swastika Society to World Red Swastika Society, 13 Mar. 1933, SMA Q120-1-42; Zhenjiang Branch, World Red Swastika Society to

Notes to Pages 64–71


Board of Directors, Swastika Charity and Kindness Hall (Wanci chongshan tang 卍慈崇善堂), 25 Dec. 1935, SMA Q120-1-50; Chongming Branch, World Red Swastika Society to Swastika Charity and Kindness Hall, June–July 1937, SMA Q120-1-57. It was the Rugao branch that submitted a member’s ancestors’ names for ritual purposes on the stationery of the Rugao District 1 Party Branch. Daoyuan membership rosters did not record occupations, although Red Swastika Society rosters did; of 343 members of the Danyang county, Jiangsu, Red Swastika branch, for instance, 47 were listed as being in government, and one in the party branch (SMA Q120-1-25). 132. Ji’nan Daoyuan li an wenjian hui lu (Collected documentary record of the establishment of the Ji’nan Daoyuan), 1935, SMA Q120-1-47; Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 304–5. 133. Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 305–6; Status Report, Jingjiang Branch ( Jiangsu), World Red Swastika Society, Sept. 1932, SHA 257: 224. 134. Copy of Mass Training Department, Chinese Nationalist Party Central Executive Committee, to Xiong Xiling, President, Chinese General Association of the World Red Swastika Society, SHA 257: 65. 135. Shao Yong, Zhongguo huidaomen, 390–92. The wartime history of both halves of the society is complex and underresearched; as was the case with other redemptive societies, some members joined puppet governments in occupied areas, some suffered from Japanese attacks, and others carried on relief operations in unoccupied zones. 136. Provincial Party Representative Ru Hao, Speech at the Founding of the Ji’nan Daoyuan, 7 July [1935], in Ji’nan Daoyuan li an wenjian hui lu (see note 132 to this chapter).

Chapter 3 1. Gu Mingshan, “Shangshui de ‘dashen yundong.’ ” 2. E.g., Cheng Airu et al., Minzhong gongren keben, 3: 23; and Lu Boyou, Pochu mixin, 14–15; for other examples, see Poon, “Refashioning Popular Religion,” chap. 1. 3. On the idea of the antisuperstition campaign as conversion to secular nationalism, see Nedostup, “Civic Faith and Hybrid Ritual.” 4. On the Civil Code as a transition to a rights-based legal code, versus a Qing code based on prohibitions and punishments, see Philip C. C. Huang, Code, Custom and Legal Practice in China, 53–57. 5. Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 48–55; Dean, Lord of the Three in One, 30–63; Chau, Miraculous Response, 51–54. 6. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 3–4; Goossaert (The Taoists of Peking, 127–31) makes a very useful distinction among the fund-raising techniques of different levels of clerics in Beijing and other cities, and the reactions they generated. During the 1920s, cautious reformers such as Yuanying parlayed the perception of


Notes to Pages 71–76

corruption among hereditary temple managers into an argument to reshape all of Chinese Buddhism to conform to the lines of public monasteries. 7. Naquin, Peking, 62; Schneewind, Community Schools, 146. 8. Feuchtwang, “School-Temple and City God”; Anthony C. Yu, State and Religion in China, 48– 49. 9. Szonyi, Practicing Kinship, 175–78. 10. Duara, Culture, Power, and the State, 35–38, 139–48. 11. Zuoren (pseud.), “Yanle da chenghuang zhi hou” (After knocking down the City God), ZYRB, 28 February 1929, 3: 3. 12. JSGB, no. 65 (24 Dec. 1928): 17–18. 13. Goodman, “The Locality as Microcosm of the Nation?” 14. Poon, “Refashioning Popular Religion,” chap. 2. 15. Guangzhou Municipal Government Gazette, no. 88 (6 Aug. 1923): 18; quoted in Tsin, Nation, Governance and Modernity in China, 96, 215n61. 16. Ou Zhenhua, Beifa xing jun riji, 163–64, 166–67. 17. Mou Zhongjian, Zhongguo zong jiao tongshi, 2: 1069–70. 18. Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 119–23; on Feng’s later activities in 1929, see Deng Xuemin, “Feng Yuxiang pochu mixin.” Tang’s plan was to incorporate monasteries into the civic realm by creating Buddhist congresses, militarizing monks, and converting temples into industrial cooperatives. 19. Report of Hunan Party Rescue Unit Central Committee to KMT Central Standing Committee meeting no. 117, 16 Feb. 1928, ZCH, 3: 315–16. These troops also proselytized, which was restricted; the committee also proposed disbanding the Hunan-Hubei Buddhist Association. 20. Minutes of Ministry of Interior meeting no. 9 (19 Apr. 1928), NZGB 1, no. 1 (1 May 1928): V.18; Quanguo renmin shi’er yao, 8. Although no author is given, then head of Henan Department of Civil Affairs Deng Zhexi credited Xue (his predecessor in office) in a preface. Ministry of Interior to all provincial Offices of Civil Affairs, 2 May 1928, NZGB 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): IIe.6. 21. Ma Bingrong; interview by Ethnography Team, Class of 1982 Literature Majors, Beijing University Chinese Department, in Yangzhou caifeng quan er ji, 400. For general background on the City God in late imperial government and society, see Zito, “City Gods, Filiality and Hegemony,” 358; and Deng Tuyou and Wang Xiansen, Zhongguo chenghuang xinyang, 10–14. 22. Katz, Divine Justice; idem, “Fowl Play”; idem, “Divine Justice in Late Imperial China.” 23. Jiang yin shehui diaocha, 41. 24. Yu Zhijian, “Bu jingqi de chengshi,” 28. On the Shanghai City God, see Duan Yuming, Zhongguo simiao wenhua, 850. 25. ZYRB, 23 Sept. 1928, 3: 3. 26. Zuoren (pseud.), “Yanle da chenghuang zhi hou” (The aftermath of destroying the City God), ZYRB, 28 Feb. 1929, 3: 3.

Notes to Pages 77–80


27. One of the best explorations of the role of youth in community ritual can be found in Sutton, Steps of Perfection. 28. Hu Dawu, “Wo suo jiandao de dashen, jianbian, fangzu er, san shi.” 29. Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 200. The former example occurred in Guangxi, the latter in Chenliu, Henan. 30. Gu Mingshan, “Shanghai de ‘dashen yundong’ ”; Day, Chinese Peasant Cults, 194; Geisert, “Power and Society,” 154; Barkan, “Nationalists, Communists, and Rural Leaders,” 135. 31. ZYRB, 1 Mar. 1929, 2: 2. 32. See ZYRB, 16 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 17 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 19 Oct. 1928, 2: 4; 20 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 24 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 27 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 30 Oct. 1928, 2: 3; 31 Oct. 1928, 2: 3. For a detailed analysis of the Yancheng incident in relation to Nationalist Party politics, see Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 150–54. 33. Minutes of Ministry of Interior meeting no. 22, 11 June 1928, NZGB 1, no. 3 (1 July 1928): V.5. The occasion was another proposal for converting “improper shrines” into schools, this one originating with the Wuhan Branch Political Council. The branch political councils were compromise organizations designed to facilitate KMT rule by offering positions of authority to the party’s military allies. The Wuhan council was under the control of Guangxi militarist Li Zongren 李宗仁 (1890–1969). Records do not show who sat on the committee drafting the “Standards” (the Office of Ritual and Customs was not established until December), but the preface and the overall orientation of the document reflect Xue’s style and priorities. 34. Prasenjit Duara analyzes the document in light of this interpretation in Rescuing History from the Nation, 108–9. 35. Minister of Interior Xue Dubi to National Government, 20 Oct. 1928, AH GMZF, reel 259, 1455–59. 36. “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Temples” (hereafter “Standards”), Nov. 1928, ZYDW, no. 22 (May 1930): 19–30; see also DAZL, ser. 5, wenhua, 1: 495– 506 (a commonly cited version, FGHB, 807–14, contains a significant printing error that resulted in portions of the body of the document being transposed; aside from references to the preface, the ZYDW version will be used). Xue had already used the phrase about inciting laughter in other countries to argue for rejecting the lunar calendar (NZGB 1, no. 2 [1 June 1928]: VII.1). This evoked but did not reproduce the famous pronouncement of Kang Youwei about “travelers from Europe and America” making Chinese the butt of jokes and viewing them as barbarians because of the things they witnessed in temples. This appeared in the version of his 1898 memorial on establishing Confucianism as a national religion that he later revised after the fact: “Qing zun Kongshen wei guojiao li jiaobu jiaohui yi Kongzi jinian er fei yinsi zhe” (Memorial requesting honoring the Sage Confucius as a national religion, setting up a religious bureau, mission, and Confucius commemoration, and abolishing improper sacrifices), in Tang Zhijun, Kang Youwei zhenglun ji,


Notes to Pages 81–86

279–84; on the dating of this document, see Kong Xiangji, Jiuwang tucun di lantu; my thanks to Ya-pei Kuo for these citations. 37. “Standards,” 20. 38. For example, British Protestant missionaries found a resonance in critiquing Chinese rites and Catholic ritualism (Reinders, Borrowed Gods and Foreign Bodies, chap. 6). 39. Xue to National Government, 20 Oct. 1928. Sun articulated the three-ages scheme (with an earlier unnamed state of nature), using many of these same phrases, and laid out a theory of nature worship, in his first lecture on popular authority (9 Mar. 1924); see Sun Yat-sen, San min zhu yi, 89–109. 40. For a summary of major historical debates surrounding Chinese national origins in which Nationalist figures were involved, see Leibold, “Competing Narratives of Racial Unity.” 41. Provision was made for local and provincial governments to preserve additional shrines to worthies, but “scholarship” had to show that their subjects met the stated criteria. 42. Among other omissions, the third member of the Three Pure Ones, Lingbao Tianzun, is not mentioned at all. 43. “Standards,” 24–25. 44. The “Standards” authors never specified which Buddhist sutras they were working with, precisely. Yama and his domain are described in texts as early as the second-century ce Sutra of Questions on Hell, and his image was developed with the cult of the Ten Kings during the Six Dynasties period; see Teiser, Ghost Festival, 179–86; and Matsunaga, The Buddhist Philosophy of Assimilation, 37. 45. Although some especially upright imperial officials objected to Wenchang precisely on the grounds of Daoist associations, he was entered into the official register of sacrifices during the Kangxi era (Feuchtwang, “School-Temple and City God,” 594). Terry Kleeman (A God’s Own Tale, 80–81) adeptly describes the ascriptive form that Wenchang worship could take in the Qing and after (which included publishing the god’s scriptures and contacting him via planchette as well as temple activities) as “Wenchang congregations.” 46. For a summary of scholarly opinion on translating this term as it was used during various periods in imperial China, see Katz, Demon Hordes and Burning Boats, 28–29n49. For an example of a Daoist deployment of the term, see Hymes, Way and Byway, 36–37. 47. “Standards,” 28–30. On the range of late imperial official attitudes toward fox spirits and the sources for studying them, see Xiaofei Kang, The Cult of the Fox, esp. chap. 6. 48. Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation to Executive Yuan, 29 Dec. 1928, SHA 2: 1041. 49. Mitani Takashi, “Nankin seiken,” 11.

Notes to Pages 86–89


50. “Neizheng bu de ‘Shenci cunfei biaozhun’ ling” (The Ministry of Interior’s order on the “Standards for Maintaining or Abolishing Shrines), Minsu, no. 41–42 (9 Jan. 1929): 127–30. See Xia Yanyu, “Guanyu Hangzhou Dongyue miao” (Concerning the Temple of the Eastern Peak in Hangzhou) in the same issue (77–78) on the effects of government antisuperstition campaigns. 51. FGHB, 807–14. This printing error makes it appear that some deities in the “ancient gods” category—such as the Kitchen God—received approval, which was not the case. 52. Examples of former worthy approval can be found in Ministry of Interior to Department of Civil Service, National Government, 15 Feb. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 2 (Mar. 1929): Vc.2–3 (regarding an effigy of the Song-era monk Dafeng); and Ministry of Interior to Guangdong Provincial Government, 30 Oct. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 10 (Nov. 1929): VIb.27 (for a shrine to Zhang Xun [709–57] and Xu Yuan [also 709– 57], martyred heroes of the An Lushan rebellion). The Beiping municipal government issued a complaint about temple ambiguity that found wide circulation: JSGB, no. 70 (28 Jan. 1929): 14–15. 53. On Guandi’s late imperial and Republican images, see Duara, “Superscribing Symbols.” 54. The term “superscribing” is of course Duara’s (ibid., 780) coinage to describe the “jostl[ing], negotiat[ion] and compet[ition] for position” of myth and symbols. 55. “Nei bu yandian huimie shenci ying yi ‘Biaozhun’ jinzhi renyi wangmie” (Interior [Ministry]’s urgent cable states that the demolition of shrines should be carried out according to the “Standards,” and random destruction forbidden), JSGB, no. 70 (28 Jan. 1929): 14–15. 56. Zhou Buguang, Mixin de pochu. 57. “Nei bu cigao feizhi ‘Shenci cunfei biaozhun’ ” (Ministry of Interior reports to abrogate the “Standards for Maintaining and Abolishing Shrines”), JSGB, no. 81 (11 Mar. 1929): 9; ZYDW, no. 22 (May 1930): 19–30. 58. Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, National Government, 30 Aug. 1928, AH GMZF, reel 323, 2018–19. 59. Guidelines and Forms for Reporting Census Findings and Statistics, attachment to Ministry of Interior order to all provincial divisions of civil affairs, 19 July 1928, NZGB 1, no. 4 (1 Aug. 1928): IIIc.25–26 and inserts. 60. The 1928 census yielded complete results from thirteen provinces (under half of the total), and no reply from twelve. Officials complained about the quality of reports, however, and only the Nanjing municipal government, equipped with a relatively comprehensive police force to carry out registration and surveys, managed to update figures annually. Even the relatively closely administered province of Jiangsu managed only two censuses prior to the war, and these, the provincial government itself complained, were incomplete or inaccurate (Orleans, “The 1953 Chinese Census in Perspective,” 566; Liu Jiwen, “Xunzheng shiqi zhong zhi shizheng jianshe”


Notes to Pages 89–91

(Constructing city government during the tutelary era), ZYRB, 10 Oct. 1929, 2: 1; Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 500–501; Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushisi xian shi zhilüe, 4; Chen Guofu, ed., Jiangsu sheng zheng shuyao, 35). 61. “Rules for Temple Registration”; see Appendix, pp. 295–97. 62. Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 66. Goossaert mentions the existence of localized efforts during the New Policies era such as a Beijing municipal temple survey (1908), but not the Yuan survey. “Neiwubu wei diaocha siyuan ji qi caichan zhi de shengzhang/butong ci” (Order to every provincial governor and minister to survey monasteries and their property), DAZL, ser. 3, wenhua, 693–96. 63. This was true of Yuan Shikai’s controversial but poorly enacted “Temporary Guidelines for Managing Monasteries” (“Siyuan guanli zhanxing guize” 寺院管理 暫行規則, 1913), modeled on rules the Meiji government had drawn up for its colony in Korea in 1911. Yuan’s rules defined a temple simply as “that which makes offerings to an idol, such as can be found in the sacred texts of any religion,” but whereas they enacted penalties for managers who improperly dealt with most temple property, they allowed families to dispose of their private temples according to custom (DAZL, ser. 3, wenhua, 692–93; Mingfu, Zhongguo sengguan zhidu yanjiu, 97– 99). The “Guanli simiao tiaoli” (Temple management rules) of 1915, revised in 1921, specifically exempted “privately constructed [shrines] [whose owners] do not wish to classify them as temples” from their scope. The 1921 version included a provision for registration of temples, but no effort seems to have been made to enforce it (Yu Shaosong, Sifa ligui, 731–35; DAZL, ser. 3, wenhua, 698–702; Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 105–6). 64. In fact, the Ministry of Interior originally hoped to control this information as much as possible. A draft provision calling for provincial governments to forward all registers to the ministry for approval, however, was eventually rejected by the Department of Legal Systems (Fazhi ju 法制局) as unnecessarily complicated. Revisions to draft “Articles for Temple Registration,” Department of Legal Systems head Wang Shijie to National Government, 10 Sept. 1928, AH GMZF, reel 323, 2026–35. The Department of Legal Systems was the central government body that reviewed legislation prior to the establishment of the five-yuan system. 65. For examples, see Thomas Li and Naquin, “The Baoming Temple,” 135, 145; see Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 66n89, for an assessment of blanket tax exemption for temples during the Qing (which he judges not to have been the case). 66. Temple registration forms, in Department of Legal Systems head Wang Shijie to National Government, 10 Sept. 1928. Notably, the Yuan Shikai registration plan did not create similar categories, even though the disposal of former government temples was a main concern driving the plan. The 1913 forms also included space for recording changes in temple ownership and status over time, a matter which did not enter into the 1928 registry. 67. “Temple Management Rules” (“Simiao guanli tiaoli,” 25 Jan. 1929), SHA 2: 1039. For a full translation, see Appendix, pp. 297–99.

Notes to Pages 91–93


68. This matter was actually not clarified until a 1956 ruling issued on Taiwan by the Constitutional Court (Dafaguan) of the Judicial Yuan regarding a similar clause in the successor “Regulations for Temple Oversight”; this determined that customary as well as legal public organizations counted. Judicial Yuan ruling 65, 1 Oct. 1956, in Sifayuan faxue ziliao jiansuo xitong. 69. Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation to Executive Yuan, forwarded in Executive Yuan to Ministry of Interior, 20 Mar. 1929, SHA 2: 1039. 70. Juexian, Chairman of the Beiping, China Buddhist Popular Education Federation, et al. to National Government Chairman Jiang, 17 Apr. 1929, AH GMZF, reel 323, 1869. 71. See, e.g., Yinbing, abbot of Jiangtian si, Jinshan, Zhenjiang, et al. to Executive Yuan head Tan, 2 May 1929, SHA 2: 1039. Petitions also emanated from the Shanxi Buddhist Association and several different groups in Sichuan (SHA 2: 1039). For a more detailed discussion of monk’s protests, see Nedostup and Liang, “ ‘Begging the Sages of the Party-State.’ ” 72. Buddhist Association of China to Executive Yuan, 6 June 1929, SHA 2: 1039; ZYRB, 9 June 1929, 2: 4. 73. Mitani Takashi, “Nankin seiken,” 12; idem, “Kōhoku minshu bōdō”; a revised, Chinese-language version of the second title can be found in idem, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, chap. 7. The Suqian incident and its aftermath are explored in detail in Chapter 5 below. 74. Ministry of Interior to Legislative Yuan, 22 May 1929, SHA 2: 1039; National Government to Executive and Legislative Yuans, 24 May 1929, AH GMZF reel 323 1923–25; Ministry of Interior to provincial offices of civil affairs and municipal public security bureaus, 8 June 1929, NZGB 2, no. 6 ( July 1929): IIe.6–7; ZYRB, 10 June 1929, 4: 1. This was the only time before the war that Ministry of Interior regulations on religious policy fell under scrutiny by the Legislative Yuan, which according to its charter was in charge of drafting and reviewing laws ( fa), not “guidelines” or “rules” (tiaoli, guize, banfa, gangyao, and so on) created by another yuan (the Ministry of Interior being a unit of the Executive Yuan) (Yu Mao, Zhonghua Minguo zhengzhi zhidu shi, 253–54). Members of the body could submit to scrutiny any actions of the other yuan that may have violated national law, but there was no sort of clear review process for rules written by government or party offices (Ch’ien Tuan-sheng, The Government and Politics of China, 190–204). In subsequent years similar questions were submitted to the Judicial Yuan or to its subsidiary, the Judicial Executive Yuan (Sifa xingzheng yuan). 75. Venerable Foguang, Gaoyou Buddhist Seminary, et al. to Executive Yuan, 25 June 1929; Dacan, abbot of Puyuan, Putuoshan, to Executive Yuan, 5 June 1929; Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation, 20 Mar. 1929; Jiangsu-Zhejiang Buddhist Federation telegram to Executive Yuan, 14 May 1929; and Buddhist Association of China to Executive Yuan, 6 June 1929; all SHA 2: 1039.


Notes to Pages 94–98

76. Report and resolution of the sixty-third meeting of the Legislative Yuan, 30 Nov. 1929, as cited in Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party to party branches of all levels, 11 Jan. 1930; ZYDW, no. 18 ( Jan. 1930): 35–36. 77. Jiao expressed this in other ways as well, being one of the supporters of an Institute of National Medicine to formalize scientized Chinese medicine (Xu Xiaoqun, Chinese Professionals and the Republican State, 208). For an account of the more conservative shift in the Legislative Yuan (under Hu Hanmin’s leadership) that led to the position of figures such as Jiao, see Ch’ien Tuan-sheng, The Government and Politics of China, 195. 78. “Jiandu simiao tiaoli” 監督寺廟條例 (Regulations for temple oversight), 7 Dec. 1929, FGHB, 4: 814–15. See Appendix, pp. 299–300, for a full translation. 79. Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 146. For a complaint about enforcement, see Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 140; for numerous examples of subsequent seizures—more than a dozen major cases between late 1929 and mid-1931 alone— see Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 140–54. 80. Ministry of Interior to municipal and provincial governments, 6 June 1929, NZGB 2, no. 6 ( July 1929): IVa.6–9. 81. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 83–84; on Feng’s attacks on popular religion and Buddhist temples, see Li Taifen, Guominjun shigao, 517, 532, 538, 543, 552; Hu Dawu, “Wo suo jiandao de dashen, jianbian, fangzu er, san shi”; Buddhist Association of China Standing Committee to Executive Yuan, June 1929, and Abbots of Licheng Guanyin si et al. to Executive Yuan, 11 Aug. 1929, both in SHA 2: 1041; and Yanzhi, representative of the Tanghe County Buddhist Federation, Henan province, et al. to National Government, 22 May 1931, and Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, n.d., both in SHA 2: 1070. On Yan Xishan, see ZYRB, 3 Mar. 1929, 2: 2. Other examples include the Hunan provincial government, which enacted a set of education guidelines that requisitioned 60 percent of all publicly owned temple property and 20–50 percent of privately held shrines for primary school sites and expenses (Ministry of Interior bulletin, 13 July 1929, NZGB 2, no. 7 [Aug. 1929]: Ve.1). 82. Pochu mixin xuanchuan dagang, 10–11. The pamphlet was completed in October 1929 (“Zhongyang xuanchuan bu gongzuo baogao [shi yuefen],” ZYDW, no. 16 [Nov. 1929]: 80, 83). 83. Pochu mixin xuanchuan dagang, 13. 84. Ministry of Interior undated cable to Jiangsu provincial government, NZGB 2, no. 10 (Nov. 1929): VIf.1–2. 85. See ZYDW, no. 14 (Sept. 1929): 126; no. 19 (Feb. 1930): 96, 127; and no. 20 (Mar. 1930): 82. For a summary of the Central Plains war (which involved Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang, and the Guangxi clique versus Chiang Kai-shek’s forces, one million troops and 300,000 casualties), see van de Ven, War and Nationalism, 138–40. 86. Faure, Emperor and Ancestor, 301–3, 329–30.

Notes to Pages 98–100


87. Tudi weiyuan hui, Quanguo tudi diaocha baogao gang yao, 560. Technically, Qing guantian most often referred solely to lands held and managed by government offices—see Wu Tiaocui, Zhongguo shuizhi shi, 2: 12–13. For examples and figures on types of holdings in specific locales, see Wan Guoding et al., Jiangsu Wujin Nantong tianfu diaocha baogao, 17; and Bernhardt, Rents, Taxes and Peasant Resistance, 134. The Yuan Shikai government passed “Temporary Guidelines for Supervising Official Property” (“Jiancha guanyou caichan zhanxing guize,” 26 May 1913) and the “Guidelines for Managing Official Property” (“Guanli guanchan guize,” 13 Nov. 1913); see Yu Shaosong, Sifa ligui, 1757– 61. 88. Schoppa, Xiang Lake, 197–98. 89. See Duara, Culture, Power, and the State, 231, on the post-1911 process of bringing banner land onto the tax rolls. For regulations on banner and colonist land, see NZGB 1928–30 passim. 90. “Tudi fa” (Land Law), promulgated 30 June 1930, FGHB, 653. 91. This dilemma is exemplified in the “Principles of Land Law” (Tudi fa yuanze) issued to the Legislative Yuan by the KMT Central Political Conference in January 1929 (Peng Jin et al., Minguo shiqi tudi fagui xuanbian, 1–5). For intra-party debates on land policy, see So Wai-chor, The Kuomintang Left in the National Revolution, 86–88, 94–95. In defense of the lawmakers of the Nanjing regime, the debate over equal land rights had created fracture lines in the Nationalist Party from its very beginnings in the late Qing; see Gasster, “The Republican Revolutionary Movement,” 492–93. 92. “Land Law,” 684–85 (see note 90 to this chapter). 93. Konuma Tadashi, “Kahokushō Jungiken ni oite kankisan seiri”; Yonghegong had been established as a lamasery in 1744 on imperial property, and its rental income was collected by court staff (Naquin, Peking, 335). 94. Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 228, 10 Feb. 1930, in Sifayuan jieshi huibian, 2: 15. 95. Zhuji County, Zhejiang City God Temple Manager Jin Chengde et al. to Executive Yuan, 12 June 1933, and attached clipping, Zhuji guomin xinwen (Zhuji citizens’ news), 2 June 1933, 3: 5; SHA 2: 1065. 96. He Jian, Hunan provincial governor, to Executive Yuan, 22 June 1933; representatives of the Qiyang God of Wealth Hall, Hunan province, to Executive Yuan, 3 Nov. 1933; both in SHA 2: 1040. 97. Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 1026, 13 Feb. 1934, in NZNJ, F: 121 and SHA 2: 1040; representatives of the Qiyang God of Wealth Hall, Hunan province, to Executive Yuan, June and July 1934, and reply, n.d., SHA 2: 1040. 98. Beiping Mayor Hu Ruoyu to Executive Yuan, 18 June 1931, SHA 2: 1040. 99. “Beiping shi simiao yu sengni tongji biao” (Statistical table of temples and clergy in Beiping city), DAZL, ser. 5, wenhua, 2: 1076–77. 100. Internal notes, Executive Yuan, 23 June 1931, SHA 2: 1040. 101. Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 715 (5 Apr. 1932), in SHA 2: 1040 and Sifayuan jieshi huibian, 2: 226.


Notes to Pages 100–102

102. Administrative Court 24 [nian] [1935] judgment 34, Xingzheng fayuan panli yaozhi huibian, 2: 690. Formed in 1933 as a unit of the Judicial Yuan, the Administrative Court was meant to review suits against official decisions and cases where officials violated the rights of citizens. See Chapter 4 for more on the impact of the Administrative Court on the legal and administrative systems. 103. For example, the land investigation of the National Economic Council published in 1937 clearly differentiated official property (former banner and garrison land as well as offices and schools) from public property (such as forests) and “property held by groups,” which included temples and lineage property; see Tudi weiyuan hui, Quanguo tudi diaocha baogao gang yao, 560. 104. Executive Yuan meeting notes and draft “Revised Regulations for Temple Oversight,” 15 May and 21 June 1944, AH 128: 2188; Ministry of Interior to Civil Affairs Department, Beiping Municipal Government, 8 Mar. 1947, SHA 12: 3131. The issue has also come up on Taiwan, where the “Oversight” regulations are still in effect. As Taiwan politician and scholar of Buddhism Wu Yaofeng (Zong jiao fagui shi jiang, 192) notes, until proven otherwise, questions of private or collective ownership often rest on nothing more than the registrant’s word. 105. Taixu et al., Buddhist Association of China, to Ministry of Interior, quoted in Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 18 Aug. 1930, notes, Executive Yuan Unit Officer Cheng Mingzhai, Aug. 1930, SHA 2: 1040; Judicial Yuan rulings yuan 423 (18 Feb. 1931) and yuan 673 (5 Apr. 1932), Sifayuan jieshi huibian, 72, 118. 106. Zhiding, director of the Baoying branch of the Buddhist Association of China, to Ministry of Interior, 8 July 1937, and reply, 15 July 1937, AH 128: 1626. See also Chapter 4. 107. ZYRB, 19 June 1930. 2: 3. 108. Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 423 (2 Feb. 1931), Sifayuan jieshi huibian, 72; Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 867 (15 Mar. 1933), NZNJ, F: 119; Zhejiang Office of Civil Affairs to Ministry of Interior, forwarded to Executive Yuan, 6 Oct. 1932, SHA 2: 1040; Ministry of Interior to Zhejiang Office of Civil Affairs, 18 Oct. 1933, NZNJ, F: 120. 109. The Ministry of Interior and the courts agreed that even if the manager had violated his vows and committed a crime, they would refuse to declare the temple abandoned; see Hebei Provincial Government to Ministry of Interior, 15 Oct. 1931, Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, Oct. 1931, and Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 673 (20 Feb. 1932), SHA 2: 1040. 110. For instance, three such stories appeared in just two weeks in January 1926 in the Shanghai edition of the Republican Daily (Shanghai Minguo ribao, 15, 21, and 31 Jan. 1926). These represented a gradual transition from the anticlerical stories in early press such as Shenbao and Dianshizhai huabao—which often betrayed elite anxieties of the time about the public behavior of women and other social changes—to the economic focus of the politicized antisuperstition movement; on the former, see Zürcher, “Middle-Class Ambivalence”; Xiaoqing Ye, The Dianshizhai Pictorial, pt. 4; and Goossaert, “Anatomie d’un discourse anticlerical.”

Notes to Pages 102–4


111. See the case of Lianchi Priory, Wu county described in Chapter 4. 112. On Tianning and Jinshan, see Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 140, 327n26. The example of Lingyan is discussed in Chapter 4. Examples of cities that carried out fairly detailed registration that are not discussed in detail below are Beiping (see Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 68–71) and Hangzhou (Hangzhou city temple registration compendium, n.d., SHA 12[6]: 198555). Even Hangzhou’s records are notable, however, for the relative absence of information on additional property temples might own, especially attached lands. 113. “Jiangsu sheng tudi ju quan sheng tudi diaocha guize” ( Jiangsu Province Land Office guidelines for province-wide land survey), 27 Oct. 1932, in Jiangsu sheng danxing fagui huibian, 6: 34–50; Ministry of Interior to all provincial and municipal governments, 23 Mar. 1933, reprinted in Lin Jindong, Zhongguo fojiao faling huibian, 171. 114. On the 1936 regulations, see Fojiao ribao (Shanghai), 14 Feb. 1936, 2, and 25 May 1936, 2. In that year, the governments of only 16 out of the 28 provinces plus the four special municipalities provided the center with any sort of temple registration figures. Only Hebei, Shanxi, and the border provinces of Suiyuan, Chahar, and Yunnan came close to providing at least some sort of count for all their counties. Of the three core provinces, Jiangsu came up one-third empty, Anhui half complied, and Zhejiang managed a mere 13 of its 75 counties. Guangdong managed four (NZNJ, F: 122–23). 115. Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 71. Laws specific to Beijing cultural preservation can be found in FGHB, 1164–65; on the preservation and transformation of imperial sites, see Dong, Republican Beijing, 82–86, 90–101. 116. ZYRB, 8 Oct 1930, 2: 3; Nanjing Municipal Government to National Government, 27 Oct. 1930, SHA 2: 1056; Executive Yuan to National Government, 14 Jan. 1931, SHA 1: 1767. The latter claims 309 temples for 1928; NZNJ, F: 248–49 cites 352; and ZYRB, 3 Dec. 1931, cites the renewed count of 1931 as finding 347. 117. Statement of Benquan, abbot of Jiuhuashan si, 16 Aug. [1928?], NMA 1-5: 3. 118. Zhang Wohua, assistant minister of the Interior, draft communication to Executive Yuan, 30 Dec. 1930, SHA 2: 1056. 119. Urban figures for 1935 cited in Wakeman, Policing Shanghai, 219–20, figs. 7–8; Jiangsu figures from NZNJ, C: 100–103, 415–17. 120. Luo Ling, Jindai Nanjing chengshi jianshe yanjiu, 44–46; Executive Yuan to National Government, 14 Jan. 1931, SHA 1: 1767; Nanjing Municipal Government to National Government, 27 Oct. 1930, SHA 2: 1056 121. Nanjing tebie shi zheng fu gongzuo baogao, 160. 122. Nanjing tebie shi zhengfu, Shoudu shizheng yaolan, 60–61. Beiping’s results were better, but still sparse (“Beiping shi zongjiao diaocha biao” [Religious survey results for the city of Beiping], 7 Nov. 1929, SHA 12[2]: 300). 123. Ministry of Interior to Capital Public Security Bureau and all provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 2 Oct. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 10 (Nov. 1929): III.3–6; SHA 12: 529. The Ministry of Interior intermittently pursued completion of the


Notes to Page 105

surveys until mid-1934. When it finally gave up, it possessed complete reports from only four provinces and three cities (NZNJ, F: 127). 124. Ministry of Interior to provincial divisions of civil affairs, 15 Apr. 1936, as cited in Jiangsu provincial government order min 1087, SHA 12(2): 2394. Funding was an issue here—for example, a full 44 percent of provincial expenditures between 1931 and 1936 went to what Hung-mao Tien (Government and Politics in Kuomintang China, Table D.4, 194) terms “socioeconomic affairs”—education, public health, culture, and so on. But even this share, which Jiangsu spent a greater portion of its budget on than any other province, was consumed mostly by transportation and other public works projects and education budgets. 125. In response to Muslim groups’ protests of ill treatment, the central government issued orders forbidding “prejudice against Islam and the Hui people,” but generally left matters pertaining to mosque property alone (“Jinzhi jiang huijiao huizi jia quanpang an” [Forbidding aspersions on the Muslim religion or the word Hui ], Apr. 1929, FGHB, 826). Property issues involving Christian churches stemmed from the lingering influence of the “education rights recovery” movement, which led not only to school registration but to 1928 regulations stipulating that all landowning foreign missions must be issued formal deeds to their property, which could not be sold or used for any purposes other than education, church, and charity. As a result, missionaries encouraged Chinese churches to put deeds in the name of foreigners to protect against confiscation, the use of church buildings to quarter troops, etc.—in essence, to protect Christian property from the fate of many temples. Most denominations claimed that such arrangements were only temporary, but only a very few made formal stipulations to that effect. The Land Law, however, forbade the ownership of farmland by foreign missionaries and permitted native-born Christians to purchase land for churches without the special oversight that temple managers received. Thus disputes over church-owned property and local governments tended to stem either from the sale of land that was supposed to be leased to foreign missionaries in perpetuity or from the authorities’ distrust that purchases were really being made by citizens of the Republic of China. In general, however, far fewer such problems came before the central government than did disputes over temple property, especially after the high tide of the education rights recovery movement had passed (ZYRB, 20 July 1928, 3: 1; Ministry of Interior to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Executive Justice, 21 Mar. 1929; NZGB 2, no. 3 [Apr. 1929]: IVb.17–19; Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 1 Nov. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 11 [Dec. 1929]: VIIa.9–10; NZNJ, D: 342; Land Law, 654; Douglass, “Some Major Problems of the Christian Evangelization of China,” 74– 75, 148; Kessler, The Jiang yin Mission Station, 109). An example of a church land dispute that made it to the center is Hubei Office of Civil Affairs to Ministry of Interior, 8 July 1932, AH 125: 233. 126. FGDQ, 1164–65 and appendix 159; also Dong, Republican Beijing, 89–94; and Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 206–8.

Notes to Pages 105–7


127. Yunnan Buddhist Association to Executive Yuan, 1 Nov. 1932, SHA 2: 1041. On attention to Beiping (which emanated from city as well as national government), see Nanjing wanbao, 19 Mar. 1931. National laws included “Guwu baocun fa” (Method for preserving antiquities), 2 June 1930, revised 19 Nov. 1935, FGDQ, appendix 157; “Baoguan guji guwu gongzuo gangyao” (Work outline for governing ancient sites and antiquities), 30 Nov. 1934, FGDQ, 1154; “Guwu jiangli guize” (Rules for rewarding [citizens for the presentation of ] antiquities), 9 Apr. 1936, FGDQ, appendix 158. The Emeishan case is documented in Buddhist Association of China to Ministry of Interior, 12 July 1937, AH 129: 1802. 128. Executive Yuan to Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission, and reply, May 1932, SHA 2: 1041. 129. Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China, chap. 6. 130. “Menggu lama si jiandu tiaoli” (Rules for the supervision of Mongolian lama temples), 15 June 1931, FGDQ, 1167–18. This included sites in Beiping and Wutaishan, but featured provisions that revealed that so-called border area security was also an underlying concern, such as one that called for “the dispersal of all ‘unruly disciples.’ ” On KMT expansionist goals in Mongolia and resistance they met, see “Zhaodai Menggu huiyi daibiao” (Receiving the representatives of the Mongolian Conference), ZYDW, no. 23 ( June 1930): 34–36; “Menggu huiyi zhi yiyi ji qi jingguo” (The meaning of the Mongolian Conference and its results), ibid., 172–74; “Nei Meng dangwu tepaiyuan gongzuo dagang” (Work outline for special party representatives to Inner Mongolia), Zhong yang xunlian bu gongbao, no. 2 (Aug. 1930): 21–27. One example of “unruly disciple” unrest that may have inspired the earlier provision was one at Ruiying Monastery in eastern Mongolia, which involved identifying incarnated lamas (Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission to Executive Yuan, forwarded to National Government 17 Nov. 1930 and 7 Mar. 1931, AH GMZF, reel 294, 1593–689). 131. “Guanli lama simiao tiaoli” (Rules for the management of lama temples), 9 Dec. 1935, FGDQ, appendix 171; Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China, 190. The order emanated from the National Military Council. 132. Anhui provincial government to Executive Yuan, 29 Apr. 1932, SHA 2: 1066. 133. Judicial Yuan ruling yuan 810 (21 Oct. 1932), Sifayuan jieshi huibian, 2: 146; also Shandong Office of Civil Affairs to Ministry of Interior, forwarded to Executive Yuan, 19 May 1932, SHA 2: 1040. 134. NZNJ, F: 115–6. 135. NZNJ, F: 109. 136. Ministry of Interior to Qujing county party branch, Yunnan, 16 Nov. 1932, NZNJ, F: 110. Through 1934 the ministry continued to collect results of the improper cults survey, which was based on the definition provided in the “Standards” but generated answers as divergent as the Horse King and City God (Shandong and Tianjin) versus Guanyin and Chan Buddhism (Shanghai) (Shandong province,


Notes to Pages 108–15

Tianjin City Improper Shrine and Heterodox Cult surveys, 1930–32; Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, Improper Shrine and Heterodox Cult survey, 29 July 1930, SHA 12: 529 and 12[2]: 2356–7). 137. ZYRB, 2 Nov. 1930, 3: 4, 21 July 1931, 3: 1. 138. ZYRB, 19 Nov. 1935, 2: 4, Haichaoyin 17, no. 7 ( July 1936): 78; Zhang Ji, Zhang Boquan xiansheng quanji, 26–27. 139. “Miaochan xing xue jiji jinxing” (Temple property for schools is vigorously under way), 4 pts., Haichaoyin 17, no. 1 ( Jan. 1936): 98–101; 17, no. 3 (Mar. 1936): 106; 18, no. 1 ( Jan. 1937): 96; 18, no. 7 ( July 1937): 87–88; Lü Xin, “Sunchan ban seng jiaoyu yu fojiao shiye” (Using land assessments to run monastic education and Buddhist enterprises), Haichaoyin 18, no. 6 ( June 1936): 2–4. 140. Daxing, “Qing Sifayuan jieshi san yiyi” (Requesting the Judicial Yuan to explain three discrepancies), Haichaoyin 17, no. 5 (May 1936): 3.

Chapter 4 epigraphs: “Jiangsu sheng zhengfu shiqi niandu shizheng dagang” (Outline for governing during the year 1928, Jiangsu provincial government), JSGB, no. 40 (2 July 1928): 7–14; JSSJ, sect. 8: 210. A similar statement appears in Wang Peitang, Jiangsu sheng xiangtu zhi, 384. 1. SSXB, 4 Mar. 1931, 1: 4, and subsequent reports. 2. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 82. 3. SSXB, 6 Mar. 1931, 1: 4; 7 Mar. 1931, 1: 4. 4. Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 159. 5. SSXB, 8 Mar. 1931, 3.1. The 1990 Gaoyou county gazetteer notes that the local Buddhist Association was founded in 1931, which seems less than coincidental (Gaoyou xian bianshi xiuzhi lingdao xiaozu, Gaoyou xianzhi, 707). 6. SSXB, 9 Mar. 1931, 2: 2, and 22 Mar. 1931, 1: 4; “Gaoyou chenghuang miao” (The Gaoyou City God Temple), in Yangzhou zong jiao, 232–33. 7. In fact, the central government launched a particularly large campaign to push the use of the new calendar in 1931, another possible explanation for the timing of the incident in Gaoyou. See Chapter 7 for more on Nationalist policy on the calendar. 8. SSXB, 8 Mar. 1931, 3: 1. There were several canal routes and a provincial highway that led to neighboring counties (Gaoyou xian xiangtu biao jie, 8). 9. ZYRB, 3 Sept. 1931, 7; 15 Sept. 1931, 7. 10. Preface to Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 2. Cheng, a veteran of several provincial governments and numerous party positions, served briefly as secretary in Chen Guofu’s Jiangsu government. In 1935 he became China’s ambassador to Germany, held numerous education and party posts during the war, and on Taiwan in the 1950s served as minister of education and vice chairman of the Examination Yuan (MGRW, 1146; Liu Shoulin et al., eds. Minguo zhiguan nianbiao, 689).

Notes to Pages 116–19


11. Wang Ke-wen, “Counter Revolution from Above,” 52. 12. Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 187–92. 13. ZYRB, 20 Aug. 1928, 3: 1. 14. “Dahui shenxiang yu pochu mixin wenti,” (The problem of destroying idols and eradicating superstition), JSGB, no. 63 (17 Dec. 1928), 47–48; “Ling jin Rugao xian weiling hui chenghuang miao” (Order forbidding Rugao county from countermanding the order not to destroy the City God Temple), JSGB, no. 60 (19 Nov. 1928): 24–25; “Tai xian Puli an nai you seng Zhihong zhuchi” (The Puli Priory in Tai county will still be managed by the monk Zhihong), JSGB, no. 66 (31 Dec. 1928): 12. 15. ZYDW, special issue on the Third Party Congress (May 1929): appendix 1: 3. 16. ZYRB, 21 Apr. 1929, 1: 4. 17. The Third Party Congress became notorious for a plan by Chiang Kai-shek and his allies to eliminate the influence of Wang Jingwei by directly appointing half the delegates, occasioning among other responses the resignation of many Jiangsu county delegates. Eventually a process of selecting from among the elected delegates was adopted, but the congress remained controversial and a defeat for Wang. The provincial congress reflected many of the same tensions (Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 219). 18. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 85. 19. ZYRB, 18 Nov. 1935. 20. Jiangsu governor Ye Chucang complained about these three issues at some length in his early 1930s reports on the state of the province. See “Zhouding Jiangsu shijiu niandu sheng-xian yusuan” (Preparing the 1930 provincial and county budgets for Jiangsu) and “Xian jiaoyu juzhang nuli de fangzhen” (Principles that heads of county education bureaus should follow), in Ye Chucang xiansheng wenji, 2: 20–24, 24–29. The problem of personnel turnover was particularly acute following the rectification of the Jiangsu party— during five months in 1930, for example, more than 40 county head posts changed hands (“Jiangsu sheng xingzheng jinkuang”). 21. Finnane, “Yangzhou,” 123–25; Honig, Creating Chinese Ethnicity. David Faure (Rural Economy of Pre-liberation China, 13–14) also discusses the differences between the saline and calcareous north and the comparatively fertile “transitional region” that ended roughly halfway up the province. For a description of the Huaibei region as a whole (including northern Anhui, southwestern Shandong, and eastern Henan), see Perry, Rebels and Revolutionaries, 10–47. 22. Skinner, “Regional Urbanization in Nineteenth-Century China,” maps 1–2 (213–14), 218. 23. Chauncey, Schoolhouse Politicians, 4–5. 24. Li Changfu, Fensheng dizhi: Jiangsu, preface, 1–4.


Notes to Pages 119–23

25. For an introduction to the problems class analysis and Republican methods of land survey have created for historians writing on landownership, see Esherick, “Number Games.” 26. Feng Hefa, Zhongguo nongcun jing ji ziliao; Buck, The Chinese Farm Economy. Buck’s Land Utilization in China, Statistics does include some figures for temple land, but they are based on government research and are extremely sparse. Examples of government statistics include “Ge sheng nongcun jingji gaikuang tongji zhaiyao”; and “Tudi weiyuan hui guanyu quanguo zudian zhidu de diaocha baogao” (Research report of the Land Commission on the system of land rental throughout the country), Jan. 1937, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, caizheng jing ji, 7: 20–29. Government organs also produced periodicals on the rural economy, especially in the mid-to-late 1930s; examples include Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui huibao, issued by the commission of the same name, and Nongbao, published by the Central Experimental Agricultural Station of the Ministry of Industrial Affairs. Nongcun jing ji was an independent publication in Zhejiang, and Zhongguo nongcun was an organ of the leftist Chinese Council for Research on Rural Economics (Zhongguo nongcun jingji yanjiu hui 中國農村 經濟研究會) in Shanghai. 27. “Land Concentration in Wusih, near Shanghai”; Wei Jianxiong, “Wuxi sange nongcun di nongye jingji diaocha”; Minami Manshū tetsudō kabushiki kaisha, Kōso-shō Mushaku-ken nōson jittai chōsa hōkusho. 28. See the detailed government forms reproduced in Zhao Jusi et al., Jiangsu sheng tudi ju shixi zong baogao, 53569–621. 29. NZNJ, F: 256. In 1937 the National Land Commission (Quanguo tudi weiyuan hui 全國土地委員會) of the Ministry of Industrial Affairs collected national statistics on temple lands, but the figures were only partial and unfortunately did not include Jiangsu; see “Tudi weiyuan hui guanyu quanguo tudi fenpei zhuangkuang de diaocha” (Research conducted by the Land Commission on conditions of land division throughout the country), Jan. 1937, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, caizheng jing ji, 7: 14–15. The commission collected information on temple, clan, and school lands, and for Jiangsu only received a total number for all three kinds. This was 38,035,558 mu of cultivated and uncultivated land over 43 counties (Bureau of Foreign Trade, China Industrial Handbooks: Jiangsu, 19). 30. Xingzheng yuan, Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui, Jiangsu sheng nongcun diaocha, 4. 31. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 220–21. 32. Welch, for instance, found that Jinshan owned a total of 4,800 mu, a great discrepancy from Amano’s figure of “tens of thousands.” The example of the Suqian monasteries is explored in detail in Chapter 6. 33. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 6–7, 255–56. 34. Chen-hua, In Search of the Dharma, 21. 35. For Beiyang-era figures, see Jiangsu sheng zheng gongshu tongji chu, Jiangsu zhengzhi nianjian, 127–30; and Jiangsu neiwu si, Jiangsu sheng neiwu xingzheng baogao shu. 36. Liu Xun, “In Search of Immortality,” 75–76.

Notes to Pages 123–27


37. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 236–37. 38. For instance, regarding Xilian Priory in Xinghua, Jiangsu Superior Court civil decision no. 249, 1928; Supreme Court civil decision no. 396, 1929; both in JPA 10547: 1639; re: Tihe Priory in Tai county, Jiangsu Superior Court civil decision no. 249, 1928; Supreme Court civil decision no. 396, 1929; both in JPA 10547: 1639. For examples of Ming-Qing lawsuits involving alienated or misappropriated temple property, see Goossaert, “Resident Specialists and Temple Managers,” 42–43; on the relevant Qing code, see Jing Junjian, “Legislation Related to the Civil Economy in the Qing Dynasty,” 44–45. 39. NZNJ, F: 259. 40. Hu Pu’an, Zhonghua quanguo fengsu zhi, pt. 2, 3: 71. 41. Wang Peitang, Jiangsu sheng xiangtu zhi, 384. 42. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 175. 43. Ibid., chap. 6. 44. For a period of one and a half years (December 1928 to May 1930), Suzhou city had a municipal administration. Before and after that time, the Wu county government oversaw Suzhou. 45. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 209. 46. Carroll, “Between Heaven and Modernity,” 188; also Suzhou shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 3: 1136. 47. ZYRB, 31 July 1928; NZGB 2, no. 5 ( June 1929): VIb.7; 2, no. 10 (Nov. 1929): VIf.1–2. 48. Wu xian xian zhengfu, Yinian lai Wu xian xianzheng gaikuang, 2: 8; Wu xian cheng qu fukan. 49. Gu Yuzhen, Suzhou fengsu tan, 62, 66; Wu county customs survey, 1932, SHA 12: 527. 50. Biographical information viewed by author at the Suzhou Museum of Buddhism, Baoguo Monastery, Suzhou, 23 June 1997. Zhang Binglin lived in Suzhou from his 1924 resignation from the Nationalist Party until his death in 1936 (MGRW, 865). Li Genyuan, a Qing official turned revolutionary, lived in Suzhou and Shanghai from 1923 on (MGRW, 288–89). See Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 154–55, on Zhang’s participation in 1934 ceremony at the renovated Confucius Temple, and ibid., 213–24, on Li’s activities from ca. 1916 to 1931 as a member of the Association for the Protection of Graves. 51. Suzhou shi difang bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 3: 1129. See also Lan Huosong, “Suzhou fojiao bowu guan”; Yu Lingbo, Zhongguo jin/xiandai fojiao renwu zhi, 33 and Jones, Buddhism in Taiwan, 117. 52. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 90–100; Chen Bin and Deng Zimei, Ershi shiji Zhongguo fojiao, 325–26; Yinguang, “Lingyan si.” Welch (The Buddhist Revival in China, 82) notes that in contrast to “conservative” monasteries such as Jinshan, at Lingyan lay people “could pass the whole day in the [meditation] hall reciting Buddha’s name” (recitation lasted at least nine hours; twelve for monks).


Notes to Pages 127–31

53. Yinguang, “Lingyan si,” 196; Ling yan xiaozhi, 30. The tale about the officerin-orders, a monk named Mingben who was allegedly the chief of staff to Zhejiang militarist Xia Zhao (assassinated by Sun Chuanfang after joining the KMT forces during the Northern Expedition), comes from Fan Yanqiao’s 1934 Cha yan xie (Stopping for tea and a smoke); see Suzhou shi difang bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 3: 1127. 54. Tang Ruchi and Jiang Fan, “Jiangsu fojiao simiao jianjie,” 327. For Ma Xulun’s biography, see MGRW, 680–81; and Boorman and Howard, Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, 2: 465–68. Although a May Fourth leader at Peking University, Ma came to oppose the vernacular movement and developed lifelong conflicts with Hu Shi and Jiang Menglin. At the time of the contribution, he was head of Zhejiang’s Department of Civil Affairs (Minzheng ting 民政廳). 55. SZMA, C41-8; according to Welch (The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 100), Lingyan owned 500 acres of land. 56. Announcement no. 2 from the Office of the Suzhou-Changzhou circuit, Jiangsu province, 29 Jan. 1927, SZMA, C41-8: 1. 57. Land survey completed by Li Yinquan and Zhang Zhongren, no. 2 gongsuo, 2 May 1929, SZMA, C41-8: 1. Lingyanshan si temple registers, 1928–45, SZMA, C41-8: 2. 58. Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 44; SSXB, 5 Mar. 1929. Gu Yuzhen (Suzhou fengsu tan, 69) described the crowds on pilgrimage days before the ban as “being like the country had gone mad.” On Tang Bin and his campaign against heterodoxy, see Wu Jianhua, “Tang Bin hui ‘yinci’ shijian.” 59. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 88–90, 95–96. 60. This narrative is compiled from Kuanlu, manager of Lianchi Priory, Wu county, administrative suit against the Jiangsu provincial government, Ministry of Interior, 19 July 1937, and Jiangsu Superior Court Criminal Case no. 1125, 6 Mar. 1937, AH 128: 1625. 61. Liu Zhangquan et al. to Wu County Chamber of Commerce, 5 Nov. 1936; Wu County Chamber of Commerce to Wu county government and party branch, 7 Nov. 1936, SZMA, yi 2-1-1681. 62. Kuanlu administrative suit against Wu county government, Jiangsu County Civil Affairs Department, in Kuanlu, manager of Lianchi Priory, Wu county, administrative suit against the Jiangsu provincial government, Ministry of Interior, 19 July 1937, AH 128: 1625. 63. Kuanlu, manager of Lianchi Priory, Wu county, administrative suit against the Jiangsu provincial government, Ministry of Interior, 19 July 1937. Kuanlu’s final administrative appeal was turned down on the grounds that the proper plaintiff was the Wu County Public Security Bureau (Ministry of Interior to Kuanlu, 4 May 1938, AH 128: 1625). 64. Ibid. 65. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 225–38.

Notes to Pages 131–35


66. Su Hui, “Wo guo daojiao ming guan”; Jiang Jin and Lin Xidan, Bainian Guanqian, 2–7. 67. Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 31n13. 68. Suzhou shi difang bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 3: 1138. 69. Zhang Bingzhang, preface to Gu Yuan, Yuanmiao guan zhi. 70. Cao Yunyuan et al., Wu xian xian zhi. 71. Zhou Zhenhe, Suzhou fengsu, 11. 72. Gotō Asatarō, Shina oyobi Manshū ryokō annai, 331–32. 73. Nance, Soochow, 132–33. Nance was with the Southern Episcopal Methodist Church mission in Suzhou (Chinese Recorder Index, 1: 352). 74. Chau, “ ‘Superstitious Specialist Households?,’ ” 175–77; Ding Jin, “Minguo shiqi de Suzhou daoshi”; Liu Hong, Suzhou daojiao keyi yinyue yanjiu, 14. 75. Suzhou mingbao, 6 May 1935, quoted in Jiang Jin and Liu Xidan, Bainian Guanqian, 172–73; Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 4: 22–23; a virtually identical description is given in Jiang Baiou, Taihu feng jing xian, 24; “Xuanmiao guan de chuantong jishi” (The traditional market at Xuanmiao guan), in Suzhou shi difang bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 3: 1197–98. 76. For other examples of large urban Daoist temples renting out space to shopkeepers and others, see Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 120–21; Goossaert notes that in Beijing, at least, this “did not seem to be perceived to be improper by anyone, except when it went too far” (i.e., when the temple was more or less wholly rented out). 77. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 226–27. 78. Daguang bao, 28 Sept. 1929, 2b, noted that such relics should not be left out in the mud during renovation of the market stalls at the temple but sent to the bureau for protection. 79. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 231–34. 80. On their backgrounds, see ibid., 234; and Yang Tianshi and Wang Xuezhuang, Nanshe shi changbian, 614. 81. Fan Junbo et al. to National Government, 2 and 30 Aug. 1930; see also Fan Junbo et al. to Chiang Kai-shek, 15 Sept. 1930; to Executive Yuan, 18 Sept. 1930; and to National Government, 25 Sept. 1930, SHA 2: 1060. 82. Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 236; Mao Yuman et al. to National Government, 24 Aug. 1930, SHA 2: 1060. 83. Fan Junbo et al. to National Government, 30 Aug. 1930. 84. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 11 Sept. 1930. 85. Ministry of Interior Report li no. 62, 11 Sept. 1930. On claims that the temple land was “fixed property in the public trust,” see Carroll, Between Heaven and Modernity, 236; for a plea for government officials to assert control over the property (and make the market into one selling only native goods), see Suzhou Association for Relief of Native Mechanized Silk Weaving to Executive Yuan, 20 Sept. 1930, SHA 2: 1060.


Notes to Pages 135–38

86. Quoted in Jiangsu provincial government to Executive Yuan, 22 Sept. 1930, SHA 2: 1060. 87. Ibid. 88. ZYRB, 5 Sept. 1930, 2: 3; 19 Nov. 1930, 2: 3. 89. Wang Sucheng et al., Federation of Hubei Native-Place Associations of Nanjing, Suzhou, Zhenjiang, and Yangzhou, to Wu County Chamber of Commerce, 21 Sept. 1931, SZMA, yi 2-1: 1681. 90. Shibao, 19 Feb. 1931, 1: 4; 6 Mar. 1931, 1: 4; 17 Mar. 1931, 1: 4; 20 Mar. 1931, 1: 3. 91. Gotō Asatarō, Shina oyobi Manshū ryokō annai, 333. 92. Di Ling, “Suzhou Xuanmiao guan,” ZYRB, 17 Aug. 1934, 3: 4. 93. Indeed, one local, Zhang Yunbo, had recognized that possibility back in 1931 and suggested putting the Sun memorial in the Hall of the Three Purities instead, lest the Daoist images overshadow the ability to evince patriotic feelings in visitors; see (Shanghai) Minguo ribao, 24 Mar. 1931, 2: 2. 94. Jiang Jin and Lin Xidan, Bainian Guanqian, 33. Temperatures reached 42 degrees Celsius that summer, a sixty-year record (Suzhou shi difang bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suzhou shi zhi, 1: 29). 95. Carroll (Between Heaven and Modernity, 238) makes the point that the preservationists fatally miscalculated in failing to acknowledge the needs of economic development, by this period an accepted link to national civilization. 96. Documents in suit of Accounting Department, Qianchang Textiles v. Zhiping Temple, Wu County District Court, 26 Sept.–1 Oct. 1932, SZMA C41-8: 1. 97. As already mentioned, the provincial Superior Court (Gaodeng fayuan 高等 法院) was located in Suzhou, having been established there in 1911. Furthermore, the system of local courts (difang shenjian ting 地方审檢聽, a level typically including more than one county) that began in 1910 originated entirely in Jiangnan. Although the Republican government briefly established local courts throughout the province, the Yuan Shikai regime abolished these and redirected judicial authority to Jiangning and Shanghai in the south. Over the next decade, officials rapidly created and then merged or closed county-level courts of first instance and other ephemeral institutions, many of which were staffed by only one or two people. The Nationalist system improved on the situation to some degree, for example, expanding their local court (difang fayuan 地方法院) system from five locations—only one of which was in Subei—in 1927 to sixteen throughout the province in 1937. See Cao Yulian, Minguo Jiangsu quanli, 120–37; on the late Qing and early Republican local courts in general, see Philip C. C. Huang, Code, Custom and Legal Practice, 40–41. 98. Cao Yulian, Minguo Jiangsu quanli, 137–38. 99. The Administrative Court was planned in response to a clause in the 1931 provisional constitution, but not realized until 1933 (Zhang Sheng, “Zhongguo jindai xingzheng fayuan,” 88; see also note 102 to Chapter 3 of this book). This should be distinguished from the Ministry of Judiciary Administration (note 107 below), which oversaw judiciary procedure. Despite the court’s existence, ministries of the

Notes to Pages 138–40


executive branch still retained their own internal review processes and used these to quash disputes over their decisions whenever possible (see, e.g., note 6 to Chapter 5). 100. On shanzhu and other terms for temple leaders, see Goossaert, “Resident Specialists and Temple Managers,” 27–28. 101. Ruan Yinhuai, Wuxi zhi tudi zhengli, 18024. 102. Jiangsu Superior Court ruling no. 18-518 (16 Dec. 1929), JPA 10547: 1787. 103. Minglai to Executive Yuan, 26 Feb. 1930, and printed “Petition of Injustice to Minglai, Tianxia City, Wuxi County”; Zhang Jinyun et al. to Executive Yuan, 24 July 1930, 25 Aug. 1930, 26 Oct. 1930, 21 Nov. 1931 (latter including report from Guomin daobao, 6 Dec. 1930); Jin Rongxuan et al. to Executive Yuan, 30 Apr. 1931, SHA 2: 1057. 104. Jin Rongxuan et al. to Executive Yuan, 28 Apr. 1931, SHA 2: 1057. 105. “Danjin miao dichan bei ren sishou an.” 106. “Chi ju’an jixu qingli Hu Jing’an sichan” (Order to continue settling the case of Jing’an Monastery’s property in Shanghai), JSGB, no. 16 (29 Dec. 1927): 8–9. 107. Executive Yuan draft order to Shanghai Municipal Government, 18 Mar. 1935; Ministry of Judiciary Administration (Sifa xingzheng bu), Judicial Yuan, to Executive Yuan, 19 May 1934; Ministry of Judiciary Administration Minutes of Exploratory Meeting on a Resolution to the Dispute Regarding Jing’an Monastery in Shanghai, 28 May 1934, SHA 2: 1064. On the history and economic activity of the Jing’an Monastery, see Fan Mingquan, Shanghai fojiao siyuan zonghuang tan, 36–38; and Ruan Renze and Gao Zhennong, Shanghai zong jiao shi, 336. The Ministry of Judiciary Administration—which variously fell under the purview of the Judicial and Executive Yuans—oversaw matters of court establishment, jurisdiction, and administrative procedure. Less complicated and sensitive cases of alienation of collective temple property were common in Shanghai. If they came before the Jiangsu provincial Superior Court, its justices usually voided the transaction. Those who brought their cases to the national Supreme Court (Zuigao fayuan 最高法院) got a similar response. An example is a case in which a member of a temple committee tried to donate its land to the Shanghai University of Law (Shanghai fake daxue); see Jiangsu Superior Court civil decision no. 797, 1932, and Supreme Court civil decision no. 3789, 1933; JPA 10547: 2206. 108. Shanghai Municipal Police Files D 56.73; Miaoran, Minguo fojiao dashi nianji, 166; Executive Yuan draft order to Shanghai Municipal Government, 18 Mar. 1935. 109. In a case in Rugao county, for instance, the Jiangsu Superior Court found that the school board had violated the “Rules for Temple Management” and ordered the county to return a confiscated temple to its clergy. The Rugao county government dutifully acknowledged receipt of the order but instead allowed the school personnel to take the case to the Supreme Court. When that court came to the same conclusion, Rugao authorities again promised to comply but ignored the order. See Jiangsu Superior Court civil decision no. 162, 1929; Rugao county


Notes to Pages 141–45

government to Jiangsu Superior Court, 14 Sept. 1929; Supreme Court civil decision no. 976, 1930; Rugao county government to Supreme Court, 27 June 1930; JPA 10547-38: 1866. 110. Finnane, “A Place in the Nation,” 1156. 111. Wang Guilin, “Yangzhou ren xianhua Yangzhou” (Idle talk on Yangzhou by someone from Yangzhou), Xinsheng zhoukan, no. 47 (29 Dec. 1934): 951–53, cited in Finnane, “A Place in the Nation,” 1163. 112. Zhou Qiuru, Yi Yangzhou, 51–52. Zhou is identified as an intelligence officer during the Anti-Japanese War in “Kangzhan shengli zhi hou: Riben wu tiaojian touxiang hou de Yangzhou cheng jianwen suoji” (After victory in the War of Resistance: fragmentary records of things seen and heard after the Japanese unconditional surrender), Yangzhou zhengxie, articleid=2970 (accessed 8 July 8 2007). 113. Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 85; Zhou Qiuru, Yi Yangzhou, 51, 139. 114. “Fojiao: kejing liutong changsuo” (Buddhism: Presses and communication centers), “Fojiao: Foxue yuanxiao” (Buddhist seminaries), and “Zongjiao zuzhi: Daojiao” (Religious organizations: Daoism), in Yangzhou zong jiao, 20–22, 265–66. 115. “Fojiao: foshi huodong” (Buddhism: Buddhist activities) and “Fojiao simiao” (Buddhist temples), in ibid., 19, 103; MGRW, 70. 116. A high point of Yangzhou monastic history was certainly the renovation and elevation into national fame of the Tianning Temple (not to be confused with the monastery of the same name in Changzhou) that occurred during the Kangxi emperor’s Southern Tours (Meyer-Fong, Building Culture in Early Qing Yangzhou, 168–93). 117. On the commercial reclamation of salt fields and its effects on tenancy, see Sun Jiashan, Subei yan ken shi chugao, esp. 55–65. 118. Finnane, “Yangzhou,” 123. 119. Today the canal is called Subei guan’gai zongqu (Funing xian difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Funing xianzhi, 127; Dan Shumo, Zhonghua renmin gonghe guo diming cidian: Jiangsu sheng, 467; Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushisi xian shi zhilüe, 194). 120. Finnane, “Yangzhou,” 123. 121. Wang Sunwei, Funing shixi diaocha riji, 52822–23; Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushisi xian shi zhilüe, 186–87, 196; Nanjing shifan kexue yuan, Jiangsu chengshi lishi dili, 202–4. Farm commodities were mostly wheat, cotton, and beans, with a little rice; the lack of household sideline industries in this area compared to Jiangnan was a matter of particular concern to KMT economic planners in the 1930s. 122. NZGB 3, no. 2 (Mar. 1930): IVd.1–2; Miaoqian, Shuiyue Chanlin, to Executive Yuan, 13 Sept. 1931, SHA 2: 1070. 123. Chauncey, Schoolhouse Politicians, 163, 168–69. 124. Wang jiaying zhi, 4.3–7. 125. Gao Baiyun to Executive Yuan, Jan. 1933, and Shengming to Executive Yuan, Jan. 1933; SHA 2: 1058.

Notes to Pages 145–52


126. Zhu Yangshen, “Funing xian zheng baogao” (Report on county government in Funing), unpaginated ms, Central Political Institute, Nanjing (18 July 1936), vol. 1, chap. 2, Nanjing Municipal Library. 127. Funing xian xin zhi, 16.2; also 7.50–51, 15.17; 16.1–3 lists several temples converted to schools during the late Qing and early Republic. 128. Funing xian xin zhi 7.50–51, 16.2–3; Zhou Zifeng, “Funing bencheng miaoyu miaohui suoji”; NZGB 2, no. 5 ( June 1929): IVd.8, and 2, no. 8 (Sept. 1929): VIe.1; Meng Jianzhang to Executive Yuan, 28 Sept. 1933, SHA 2: 1058. 129. Zhou Zifeng, “Funing bencheng miaoyu miaohui suoji,” 83; Funing xian xin zhi, 16.1; Funing xian difangzhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Funing xian zhi., 10–12. 130. Funing xian xin zhi, 3.63. 131. Ibid., 16.2. 132. Ibid., 16.5. 133. Ibid., 15.1–5. 134. Funing county customs survey, 25 Aug. 1935, SHA 12: 527. 135. Ministry of Interior announcement, 7 Aug. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 8 (Sept. 1929): VIe.1. 136. Meng Jianzhang to Executive Yuan, 28 Sept. 1933; Nengji to Executive Yuan, 31 Oct. 1933, SHA 2: 1058. 137. Nengji; Executive Yuan to Jiangsu provincial government, 18 Nov. 1933. 138. Shao Zeming, Wang Yichen, and Gao Kuanfu to Ministry of Interior, 5 Aug. 1937; AH 128: 1627. For the role of the Shao and Gao surnames in Huaian society in general, see the biographies in Jiang Yian and Shao Yuyun, Huaian caifeng lu. On the seminary and temple, see Mao Dinglai, “Huxin si.” 139. Mao Dinglai, “Huxin si”; and appeal from the student body of the Lengyan Seminary, Huxin Monastery, 24 July 1937; AH 128: 1627. 140. Monk Xiaoxiu et al. to Ministry of Interior, July 1937; Buddhist Association of China to Ministry of Interior, 1 July 1937; Zhiding, Chairman of Baoying County Branch of the Buddhist Association of China to Ministry of Interior, 10 July 1937; Monk Xiaoxiu et al. cable to Ministry of Interior, 15 July 1937; and clipping from Baoying minsheng, 15 June 1937; AH 128: 1624. 141. Jiangsu Superior Court Civil Ruling no. 60, 20 Mar. 1930, JPA 10547: 38: 1874. 142. Guanyun county customs survey, Apr. 1932, SHA 12(6): 18263. 143. Donghai county district 2 customs survey, 1932, SHA 12(6): 18261.

Chapter 5 1. The banning of ritual specialists and religious festivals is explored in detail in Chapters 6 and 7. On the broader social reorganization of Nationalist Nanjing, see Lipkin, Useless to the State, especially chap. 3 on protests against shantytown clearances.


Notes to Pages 152–56

2. On the features of Nationalist urban design and reform in Nanjing, see Luo Ling, Jindai Nanjing chengshi jianshe yanjiu, esp. 23–46; on the abandonment of the administrative district, see Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 171. 3. “Jing nei wai ge jiguan zhengshou mindi yilan (qi ba liang yuefen)” (Overview of private land inside and outside the capital appropriated by various offices, July and August), Neizheng diaocha tong ji biao, no. 1 (Sept. 1933): 13. On the numerous building and infrastructure projects undertaken in Nanjing in the mid-1930s, see Luo Ling, Jindai Nanjing chengshi jianshe yanjiu, 107, 130. 4. Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao, 538–39. The rates come from Ministry of Interior survey results. 5. Liu Xiuqing, Nanjing shi zheng fu shixi zong baogao, 61662–64. 6. For example, in 1936 the Administrative Suit Review Committee (Suyuan shenhe weiyuan hui 訴願審核委員會, a Ministry of Interior organ) refused to hear a suit from a landowner whose railway property had been expropriated for the Examination Yuan project six years earlier. He had already appealed to the municipal government, the Examination Yuan, and the local courts some seven or eight times. See Minutes of Administrative Suit Review Committee, no. 29 (31 Dec. 1936), AH 128: 1621. 7. Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 137–40. 8. Coleman, “Municipal Politics in Nationalist China,” 256–57. 9. Ni Xiying, Nanjing (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju, 1936), 40, trans. and quoted in Coleman, “Municipal Politics in Nationalist China,” 250. 10. One is the case of monk Zhilin evicted from Miaofeng an; Ministry of Interior file li 17, 3 Feb. 1934, SHA 2: 1063. 11. For example, Capital Federation of District Fire Brigades to Nanjing Municipal Government, 30 Oct. 1936, Miaokong to Military Affairs Commission, 15 June 1937, and Miaokong to KMT Central Committee et al., 9 June 1937, NMA 1-1: 1313; Documents regarding Anhui Native Place Association and Guanyin an, 12 June 1936–May 1937, NMA 1-1: 1281; Liu Huanming et al. to National Government, 20 Jan. 1930, SHA 2: 1063. 12. Documents dated August 1934 to August 1937, NMA 1-5: 37–39; ZYRB, 18 May 1937, in NMA 1-5: 39. 13. Lipkin, Useless to the State, 111–12. 14. Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 110–11. 15. Jiangsu sheng zhi: zong jiao zhi, 18–55. 16. Songster, “Cultivating the Nation,” online ed., para. 30. The Yuan Shikai government also observed an arbor day, but on the day of the Qingming festival. 17. “Xiaceng gongzuo qixiang yundong banfa” (Plan for lower-level work for the seven key campaigns), ZYDW, no. 8 (Mar. 1929): IV: 2. The other six campaigns were literacy, public health, road construction, the baojia system, cooperatives, and promotion of native products; see Liu Luyin, “Zaolin yundong yu wuzhi jianshe” (The afforestation movement and material reconstruction), and Kong

Notes to Pages 157–60


Xiangxi, “Zhongguo de linye wenti” (China’s forestry problem), ZYDW, no. 32 (Mar. 1931): 695–97, and 697–99, respectively. 18. Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushi si xian shi zhilue, 43; Lin Zhen, Shiyong shoudu zhinan, 1: 2; Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 385, 394. 19. Tang Ruchi and Jiang Fan, “Jiangsu fojiao simiao jianjie,” 301–2; Shiyong foxue cidian, 492–93; Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 386–87; Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 93. That scholars now recognize the earlier history of Ox-head and Chan in general to be considerably murkier in nature than such a narrative indicates should not distract us from the use to which these claims could be put at any given time—it is worth noting, for instance, that this version remains tied to the recent reconstruction of the temple (Yang Xinhua, Jinling fosi daguan, 189). On the problematic record of Niushoushan in Chan history, see Lin Sou, “Du ‘Niushoushan lan sheng’ hou de liang dian yiyi.” 20. Renliang, abbot, and Daoming, prior of Pujue si, Niushoushan, to Executive Yuan, 18 July 1929, SHA 2: 1061; ZYRB, 17 June 1929, 2: 4 21. ZYRB, 17 June 1929, 2: 4; Renliang, abbot, and Daoming, prior of Pujue si, Niushoushan, to Executive Yuan, 18 July 1929, and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to Executive Yuan, 9 Oct. 1929, SHA 2: 1061; Chu Chi, Jinling guji mingsheng ying ji, 76. Indeed, sometimes the shoe was on the other foot, with government employees stealing timber from monastic woodlands; later that year, for example, the provincial government reprimanded a police chief from Zhenjiang for sending his officers to cut down trees belonging to two different area temples; see “Lingban jingdui kanfa Zhu/Helin si zhumu an” (Order handling the matter of police units felling bamboo and wood belonging to the Zhulin and Helin Monasteries), JSGB, no. 312 (13 Dec. 1929): 4–5. 22. Ministry of Agriculture and Mining to Executive Yuan, 9 Oct. 1929. 23. Ibid. 24. Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushi si xian shi zhilue, 43; ZYRB, 25 Oct. 1929, 2: 3; Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo zong baogao, 4. 25. Songster, “Cultivating the Nation,” online ed., para. 21. 26. Quoted in Yang Xinhua and Wu Zhen, Nanjing simiao shi hua, 33. 27. Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 228. 28. Ibid., 228–29; MGRW, 459; Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 97. Zongyang also had an important financial connection in the Shanghai business world: his disciple Luo Jialing 羅迦陵 (1864–1941), the wife of Silas Hardoon, underwrote Zongyang’s massive 1909–13 reprinting of the Tripitaka and contributed to the temple reconstruction (Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 17–18; Chen Bin and Deng Zimei, Ershi shiji Zhongguo fojiao, 105). Political connections continued after Zongyang’s death. For instance, in 1922 Yan Jiachi 嚴家熾 (1885–?), Jiangsu minister of finance from 1920 to 1925, contributed a preface to a record of monastery ordinations. In 1931, Ye Gongchuo 業恭綽 (1881–1968), Beiyang minister of transportation, who


Notes to Pages 160–63

would soon sit on the National Economic Council (Quanguo jingji weiyuan hui 全國經濟委員會), composed and inscribed a stele commemorating the renovation of the Heli Pagoda by Hong Kong business- and newspaperman Sir Robert Hotung (He Dong 何東, 1862–1956) and his wife, Clara Cheung (Zhang Lianjue 張蓮覺, 1875–1938) (Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 24, 139–40, 143–44). 29. Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 16–17, 117–18; idem, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 159. According to Welch, when in 1915 the position at Jinshan should have by seniority gone to Zongyang, his fellow monks objected on the basis of his extensive lay life and political involvement. As a result, he secluded himself for three years before undertaking the project of restoring Qixia. 30. Daily monastic rules, Qixia Chan Monastery, in Zhongguo fojiao faling huibian, 313–18. 31. On American architect Henry K. Murphy’s design for Ginling, erected around the same time, see Cody, Building in China, 108–14. 32. Jiangsu provincial government to Executive Yuan, 2 Nov. 1933, SHA 2: 1070; Chen Bangxian, Qixia xin zhi, 129–39; Jiangsu sheng jiaoyu gailan, 3: 234, 238. 33. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 84–85. 34. The following description results from comparing the accounts of events in these sources: Jiangsu provincial government to Executive Yuan, 2 Nov. 1933, SHA 2: 1070; Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 153–54; Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 79– 80; and Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 147. Qixia Monastery had both supporters and opponents among local notables; the head of Qixia town, for instance, was a temple donor, but the head of a neighboring village quarreled with the monks over appropriation of temple buildings (Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 103; Jiangsu provincial government to Ministry of Interior, 18 Apr. 1933, SHA 2: 1070). 35. “Shoudu xiangcun shifan jiaoyu zhi wei yun” (Perilous future for village normal education in the capital), Jiaoyu zazhi 22, no. 8 (Aug. 1930): 120–21; “Nanjing Qixia Xiang Shi fengbo zhi neimu” (Inside story on the crisis at Nanjing’s Qixia Village Normal School), Jiaoyu zazhi 22, no. 9 (Sept. 1930): 133. Apparently the charges emanated from an investigation into several area high schools by the Capital Garrison (Shoudu weishu si bu). 36. Welch, The Buddhist Revival in China, 29, 42–46, 82. 37. Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 75–87 (on Taixu, see esp. 77), 96–107. Mingchang served as abbot from 1928 until his retirement in 1941. 38. Monk Jiran to Executive Yuan President Wang, 29 Sept. 1933, SHA 2: 1070. 39. Jiangsu provincial government to Executive Yuan, 2 Nov. 1933, SHA 2: 1070; Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 467–48. 40. Ma Junya, “Minguo shiqi Jiangning de xiangcun zhili” (Rural governance in Republican Jiangning), in idem, Zhongguo nongcun zhili de lishi yu xianzhuang, 350–78, esp. 355. 41. Quoted in Guomin zhengfu, Junshi weiyuan hui weiyuanzhang Xingying, Hubei difang zhengwu yanjiu diaocha tuan, ed., Diaocha xiangcun jianshe jiyao, 277–78.

Notes to Pages 163–66


42. Jiangning zizhi shiyan xian zhengfu, Jiangning xianzheng gaikuang, 1: 1–10, 25– 35, 46–47; Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushi si xian shi zhilue, 38; Chen Mingzhong, “Guomindang zhengfu shiqi de Jiangning zizhi shiyan xian.” Chen Guofu (Suzheng huiyi, 14–16) commented snidely on the lack of results in the Jiangning experimental zone, favorably comparing two “obscure” county governments during the same period. 43. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 28 Feb. 1934; Executive Yuan and Ministry of Interior to Jiangsu provincial government, 10 Mar. 1934; Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, Executive Yuan, 21 June 1934, SHA 2: 1070. 44. Yu Lingbo, Zhongguo jin/xiandai fojiao renwu zhi, 36–38; Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 70–71, 96; MGRW, 15–16, 458, 541–44, 897–98; Welch, The Chinese Practice of Buddhism, 159; Qixiashan jianjie, 7; Re: Stupa of Monk Zongyang, Dec. 1936, Archives of KMT Central Political Committee, KMT zheng 6.1: 25. Eight KMT leaders sponsored the award, which praised Zongyang’s assistance to Sun Yat-sen and the revolution. 45. Contract for the rental of temple property by the Qixia Village Normal School, 11 Apr. 1937, in Zhu Jiexuan, Qixiashan zhi, 133–35. 46. Madeleine Zelin (“Merchant Dispute Mediation,” 253–54) argues that this expansion of governance made multiple registrations of contracts and claims necessary. 47. Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 147. Dongchu notably omits Zongyang from his roster of modern clergy contributing to the study of Buddhism (ibid., 741–932). 48. Pittman, Toward a Modern Chinese Buddhism, 131–33. On the continuing struggle between reformists and “traditionalists” after much of the Buddhist Association leadership moved to Taiwan in 1949, see Jones, Buddhism in Taiwan, 110–11. 49. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 85. 50. Chen Naixun and Du Fukun, Xin jing bei cheng, 1: 59. According to Lin Zhen (Shiyong shoudu zhinan, 1: 4), the temple was especially popular during the Mudan festival of the third lunar month. In fact the monastery’s attractiveness had tempted government interference once before: Ming Taizu so liked the original, sixth-century locale of the temple that he appropriated it for his tomb, forcing the monastery to move; thus the Republican site in question dated to the Ming. 51. “Zongli lingguanhui guanyu yuanlin gaikuang zhi jishu” (Notes of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Committee on the condition of the park), in Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an ziliao, 201–2, 212–18. 52. Records indicating the accurate extent of Linggu’s holdings in the twentieth century are hard to come by; the Nationalist government paid little attention to this point. Prior to the Taiping Rebellion, the monastery had acquired some 1,300 mu of land in three counties, but it is unclear what portion of those holdings were retained during the course of the rebellion; donors provided another 1,100 mu during


Notes to Pages 167–69

Linggu’s 1886 reconstruction. Given that the park arrangement included concessions for the Linggu monks to continue to draw support from the output of the Purple Hills property, it seems likely that they had little source of income from land elsewhere in the area. 53. “Zhongshan lingyuan guanli weiyuan hui jieshou Linggu si miaochan banfa” (Method for receipt of the temple property of the Linggu si by the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Management Committee), 13 Apr. 1931, SHA 2: 1062. It appears that prior to this agreement some portion of the monastery’s land was also appropriated for Liao Zhongkai’s tomb (Chu Chi, Jinling guji mingsheng ying ji, 285). 54. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 24 June 1931, SHA 2: 1062. 55. At any rate the Central Daily News (ZYRB, 8 July 1931, 2: 4) claimed that temple manager Yushan “did not object” to the government’s plan as presented by Office of Rites and Customs head Xi Chulin. 56. Liping Wang, “Creating a National Symbol,” 37–38, 41. 57. Jiangning County Magistrate Wu Yaochun to Sun Yat-sen Park Authority, 14 Sept. 1925, in Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an ziliao xuanbian, 45–46. At this point the mausoleum park was attempting to absorb 800 mu of temple land by fencing it off. 58. Either way, the amount spent was not great compared with the construction and administrative costs of the project. By 1931 only 229,388 yuan (5.5 percent) of the entire budget of 4,174,741 yuan had gone toward land purchases; see “Zongli lingguanhui guanyu 1930 qian jingfei gaikuang zhi shuoming” (Explanation of the financial situation prior to and including 1930, Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Committee), in Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an ziliao xuanbian, 465. 59. North China Herald, 10 Mar. 1934, 518. 60. One unstated reason frequently cited in recent Chinese writings on the topic is the area’s auspicious fengshui; see, e.g., Wang Nengwei, “Linggu ta he Chenwang jiangshi gongmu”; and Lu Suji, Minguo de zong ji, 231. Although these sources do not link such claims to contemporary documents, discussion of geomancy in regard to the Nationalist memorials at Zijinshan is not itself entirely unwarranted; see Chapter 7. 61. Wooldridge, “Transformations of Ritual and State in Nineteenth-Century Nanjing,” 246. 62. Fu Huanguang, Zongli ling yuan xiao zhi, 62–63. This is despite Chiang Kaishek’s personal references to Zeng Guofan in speeches later in the mid-1930s; see Wright, The Last Stand of Chinese Conservatism, 308. 63. See Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 50–52, for descriptions of both the Dragon King Temple and the Linggu Monastery. Apparently some elements of the Dragon King Shrine, such as plaques with Zeng’s inscriptions (and probably the spirit tablet as well) remained (ZYRB, 27 Apr. 1936, 3: 1). But contem-

Notes to Pages 169–73


porary accounts also make it clear that the building became known as the Linggu Monastery, as it remains to this day. 64. Lu Haimin and Yang Xinhua, Nanjing Minguo jianzhu, 484–86. In some cases (the Tianwang Hall and the structure housing the Baozhi Stupa), these were postTaiping reconstructions torn down at the time of the memorial’s construction; others (e.g., the Wufang Hall, the location of the Number One Cemetery) appear to have been ruined sites. 65. Lu Suji, Minguo de zong ji, 234. All three texts were covered in concrete and altered during the Cultural Revolution; many sources erroneously conflate the current inscriptions (which include the party song and Sun’s last testament) with the original ones. 66. China Weekly News, 23 Nov. 1935, 430. The format of KMT ceremonies is explored in greater detail in Chapter 7. 67. North China Herald, 30 Mar. 1934, 518. 68. The Number One Cemetery had 1,642 spaces; the unused Number Two Cemetery, 2,268. Figures for Number Three are difficult to come by but given the symmetrical design one might safely assume it was planned to be equivalent with Number Two, which would yield 6,178 spots (Lu Haiming and Yang Xinhua, Nanjing mingguo jianzhu, 486). Bodies were to be cremated, not buried in coffins, to further conserve space. 69. Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 281–82; Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 264. 70. Wakeman, Spymaster, 363–64. The CCP desecrated the grave in 1950. 71. The original Arlington of course was—and continues to be—subject to political wrangling over interment privileges, starting with its origins as a burial ground for the Union dead on an estate formerly belonging to Robert E. Lee. After World War I, however, Arlington was formally opened to veterans of all American wars (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, History and Development of the National Cemetery Administration, 5; on the political background of admitting Confederate veterans a memorial presence in Arlington, see Blair, Cities of the Dead, 171–207). 72. According to China Weekly Review, 23 Nov. 1935, 431, Chiang responded to the original plans by saying, “Must have a pagoda!”; according to North China Herald, 30 Mar. 1934, 518, Murphy conceived of the idea himself, a view seemingly supported from his own papers, as interpreted in Cody, Building in China, 195. A third possibility is presented by a 1932 photo caption in the Central Daily News (ZYRB, 5 Nov. 1932, 2: 3.), which attributes the pagoda under construction to the work of Dai Jitao. 73. Cody, Building in China, 195. 74. Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 265; Lu Suji, Minguo de zong ji, 236. The oil paintings are described in Fu Huanguang, Zongli ling yuan xiao zhi, 68; they included the battles of Huizhou, Nanchang, Dingsiqiao, and Ji’nan, as well as the 1932 Shanghai fight with Japan.


Notes to Pages 174–78

75. ZYRB, 8 May 1935, 2: 3; Lu Suji, Minguo de zong ji, 235; Chen Ken, Zhongshan feng wu, 138–39; Liu Weicai, Linggu shi hua, 14–17, 22–23. The puppet government of Wang Jingwei apparently carried out further construction on the stupa. 76. ZYRB, 27 Apr. 1936, 3: 1. 77. For a contemporary lament on that latter point, see Chu Chi, Jinling guji mingsheng ying ji, 285. 78. Mitani Takashi, “Kōhoku minshū bōdō.” Bradley Geisert (Radicalism and Its Demise, 154–58) independently comes to a similar conclusion; he sees opportunism on the part of both the party and local elites. Prasenjit Duara (Rescuing History from the Nation, 108), working from Mitani’s account, views the events in Suqian as something rather larger: a clash of historical narratives, with the utopianism of the KMT antisuperstition radicals being met by that of the Small Sword army claiming to seek the age of the Grand Unity (datong 大同) on earth. 79. Wang Weifan, “Jiangsu Suqian xian xian zhengfu shixi zong baogao,” pt. II. 80. “Ling chafu Jing Tian deng shoumo miaochan an” (Order to investigate the matter of Jing Tian et al. confiscating temple property), JSGB, no. 55 (15 Oct. 1928); Mitani Takashi, “Nankin seiken,” 9; Changwu, manager of Banpu city Temple of the Eastern Peak, Guanyuan county district no. 1, to Executive Yuan, 23 June 1933, SHA 2: 1041; Wang Xiangkun, manager of Tongshan county City God Temple, to Executive Yuan, 30 Jan. 1933, SHA 2: 1058; Guanyun county, Apr. 1932, SHA 12(6): 18263; Pei county customs survey, June 1932, SHA 12(6): 18259. 81. French Catholic missionaries had been an early presence in Xuzhou, for instance, and American Protestants followed them into the area in the latter half of the nineteenth century. In the late 1930s, members of the Xuzhou Mass Education Center persuaded Chen Guofu and the provincial Department of Education to complain directly to Chiang Kai-shek about the expansion of mission primary and middle schools within their bailiwick. See Chen Guofu cable to Chiang Kai-shek, Office of the President, 24 June 1937; Jiangsu Department of Education cables to Chiang Kai-shek, Office of the President, 24 June 1937 and 6 July 1937; AH GMZF reel 55: 1513. 82. Suqian shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suqian shi zhi, 1. 83. Ibid., 11–12. The first Chinese telegraph station was established in Tianjin in 1881; see Xu Changzhi, Zhonghua zhi zui, 617; Zhu Peilian, Jiangsu sheng ji liushi si xian shi zhilue, 248–49. Perry (Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 35) describes how the substantial capitalization of the glass factory, founded to take advantage of local supplies of quartz, was gradually diverted to self-defense costs, and the site itself given over to quartering troops. 84. Billingsley, Bandits in Republican China, 34; Suqian shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suqian shi zhi, 12–14, 895; Faure, The Rural Economy of Pre-liberation China, 66–67; Mitani Takashi, “Kōhoku minshū bōdō,” 139. 85. Perry, Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 177–78.

Notes to Pages 178–81


86. “Guomindang Suqian xian lishi jianjie yu paixi douzheng,” 36; see also “Zhongguo Guomindang zai Suqian de geming yundong,” 38–41. Biographical information on the Suqian party directorate is scant, but it is known that Xu Zheng 徐政 (1905–82), whose name figured prominently in the Small Sword story and in local politics thereafter, was a Suqian native (Li Hongru, Jiangsu lu wai, 382). 87. “Xiao dao hui er yi san shibian jingguo” (An account of the February 13th Small Sword Incident), Suqian wenxian, no. 1 ( Jan. 1966): 20. To call the group “inexperienced” is surely a bit of historical flattery; Suqian wenxian was an exile publication of the Taipei City Suqian Native Place Association, which counted among its members KMT officials involved in the Small Sword story, such as Xu Zheng himself. See Taibei shi Suqian xian tongxiang hui huixun, nos. 8 and 9 (31 Jan. 1960 and 20 Jan. 1961), included in the 1961 reprint of Yan Xing, Suqian xianzhi, passim. 88. Suqian shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suqian shi zhi, 175, 884; “Zhongguo Guomindang zai Suqian de geming yundong,” 43–44. In the God of Wealth part of the kou baizi day, parents had their children offer incense to the stone lions at the shrine and recognize the spirits as parents. 89. Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 213, 224. 90. SSXB, 21 Feb. 1929, 2: 1. 91. Shibao, 23 Feb. 1929, cited in Mitani Takashi, “Kōhoku minshū bōdō,” 141. 92. ZYRB, 25 Feb. 1929, 2: 3. 93. Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 156–57. Geisert does not link the fate of these men, Zhang Ziqin and Liu Menghou, to the party rectification he describes elsewhere (ibid., 82–83), but the coincidence of timing seems strong. 94. Shenbao, 21 Feb. 1929, cited in Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 213–14n4. 95. This seems to have been no mere happenstance, in light of the Nationalists’ concurrent efforts to promote the use of the solar-based “national calendar” ( guoli) and prohibit the old lunisolar calendar. The smashing of the Gaoyou City God Temple two years later also took place at the time of the Lunar New Year. 96. Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 219. 97. For example, SSXB, 24 Feb. 1929, 2: 2; see also accounts from Xinwen bao and Shen bao cited in Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 216. 98. ZYRB, 23 Feb. 1929, 3: 4. 99. Shenbao, 21 Feb. 1929, cited in Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 213–14n4. 100. Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 224, 228. The other auspicious day was the third day of the third month (12 April), Pantaohui, the birthday of Queen Mother of the West. 101. Donghai county district no. 2 customs survey, 1932, SHA 12(6): 18261. See also customs surveys for Tongshan (Apr. 1932; SHA 12: 527), Gaochun (1932; SHA 12[6]: 18263), Suining (16 Nov. 1932; SHA 12[6]: 18262), and Ganyu (Sept. 1932; SHA


Notes to Pages 182–84

12: 527). I appreciate Don Sutton’s prompting me to consider this possibility in my analysis of Suqian. 102. Suqian Buddhist Association to Executive Yuan, 31 May 1929, 5 June 1929; Pengxian and Cangzhen to Executive Yuan, Mar. 1930; SHA 2: 1059. 103. Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 221, 226. 104. Jiangsu provincial government to Ministry of Interior, forwarded to Executive Yuan, 5 Nov. 1929, SHA 2: 1059. 105. Wu Shoupeng, “Douliu yu nongcun jingji shidai de Xu-Hai ge shu.” 106. Wu (ibid.) references an unspecified article by the American agronomist John Lossing Buck in offering his description of a “feudal” atmosphere. 107. Ibid., 343–44. 108. Because of the reprint in the Feng Hefa volume, it appeared in English in the frequently cited volume Agrarian China: Selected Source Materials from Chinese Authors (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939), and in Japanese in Amano Motonosuke, Shina nōg yō keizai ron. Li Zhang drew on the article in compiling his 1936 gazetteer of Jiangsu, Fensheng dizhi: Jiangsu, 115. More recently, Wu’s claims about Suqian temples are quoted, with some caution expressed in a footnote, in Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 56; his description of the walled villages of Huaibei is translated in part in Faure, The Rural Economy of Pre-Liberation China, 183; and Mitani (“Kōhoku minshū bōdō,” 138–39) appears to draw on Wu’s assessments in his description of Suqian landlords. 109. Xingzheng yuan, Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui, Jiangsu sheng nongcun diaocha, 3. 110. Ibid. Other estimates, respectively, from Pengxian, monk of Jile Priory, Cangzhen, monk of Wuhuading, et al. to Executive Yuan, June 1930, SHA 2: 1059; Dongchu, Zhongguo fojiao jindai shi, 147; and Daxing, Kouye ji (A gadfly’s collected writings) (Wuchang, 1934), 109, cited in Welch, The Chinese Practice of Buddhism, 495– 96n19. Another number frequently heard in government sources was 100,000 mu, which was reported in the Nanjing newspaper Jingbao and later cited in Zhang Zhenzhi, Geming yu zong jiao, 192; and Zhou Guangtao, “Women de luxian,” 3. If we conjecture that the Rural Rehabilitation Commission was counting the 40 percent left to the monasteries after the 1929 confiscation, that would bring their finding more in line with Daxing’s number. 111. Faure, The Rural Economy of Pre-liberation China, 168–72; Perry, Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 25–33. 112. Lan Weibin, “Jiangsu Xu-Hai zhi nongye yu nongmin shenghuo,” 14. 113. Tang Ruchi and Jiang Fan, “Jiangsu fojiao simiao jianjie,” 318; Suqian shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suqian shi zhi, 842; Yan Xing, Suqian xianzhi, 5: 14. 114. “Zhongguo Guomindang zai Suqian de geming yundong,” 49. 115. Pengxian, Jile an, and Cangzhen, Wuhuading, et al. to Executive Yuan, May 1930, SHA 2: 1059. Holmes Welch (The Chinese Practice of Buddhism, 257–58, 500n13) notes that although a popular image of monks during the Republic held that the majority could not read the sutras they recited, surveys conducted in the early years

Notes to Pages 184–86


of the People’s Republic showed an illiteracy rate of around 20 percent at prominent Buddhist centers at Emeishan and Ningbo. 116. Haichaoyin 10, no. 2 (21 Mar. 1929): 14; Jiaoyu zazhi 20 (Mar. 1929): 137–38. 117. ZYRB, 8 Mar. 1929, 3: 1, 10 Mar. 1929, 3; “Zhongyang daxue qu Di’er minzhong jiaoyu guan huiyi baogao,” 42. 118. Tsai, “Party-Government Relations in Kiangsu Province,” 107. 119. By way of comparison, 1932 relief expenses for the entire province amounted to 547,231 yuan—an average of 1,467 yuan for each of 373 listed organizations (NZNJ, B: 403–5). 120. Liang Zongyi, “Suqian xian xian zhengfu shixi zong baogao.” 121. JSGB, no. 291 (19 Nov. 1929): 1; Xu Zheng et al. to Executive Yuan, Dec. 1930, and Suqian Education Bureau Chief Luo et al. to Executive Yuan, 4 Feb. 1931, SHA 2: 1059. 122. SSXB, 21 Feb. 1929, 2: 1. Another report stemmed from the rebels’ attack on Wuhuading during the third wave of fighting, which critics alleged was actually proof of collusion on the part of the monks (Suqian Buddhist Association to Executive Yuan, 31 May 1929, SHA 2: 1059). Thirdhand accounts such as Zhang Zhenzhi’s (Geming yu zong jiao, 192–93) even had the monks leading the entire uprising. 123. Xinwen bao, cited in Mitani Takashi, Mimi jieshe yu Zhongguo geming, 216. Huimen had been arrested by the county on charges of colluding with bandits. 124. Wang Longshan, head of Xishan Village, et al. to Executive Yuan, Feb. 1930, SHA 2: 1059. 125. Pengxian to Executive Yuan, 18 June 1930, and Pengxian et al. telegram to Executive Yuan, 13 Mar. 1931, SHA 2: 1059; “Chisi jile lüyuan shilue,” 9. 126. Report of Zeng Mianze, department representative, Executive Yuan, 6 Aug. 1930, SHA 2: 1059. Of the county head in question, one admittedly anti-KMT source claims that “villagers all called Liu ‘the county head whose hands were full of the masses’ blood’ ” (“Xingxing sese de Guomindang Suqian xianzhang,” 47). Yet an account written from the Nationalist point of view also asserts that Liu’s forces killed “more than several hundred” (“Xiaodao hui er-yi-san shibian jingguo,” 23). 127. Xu Zheng, Suqian Party Affairs Direction Committee, et al. to Executive Yuan, Dec. 1930, SHA 2: 1059. The petition boasted 63 other signatories, many of whom also stood to benefit from the arrangement, including public school principals and education officials, the heads of Suqian’s various charities and partysponsored civic organizations, and members of various tax bureaus. It should be noted that the office of Suqian county magistrate rotated at a head-spinning rate: between June 1927 and January 1931, twelve men held the office (Suqian shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Suqian shi zhi, 649). 128. This differs slightly from Bradley Geisert’s (Radicalism and Its Demise, 158) assessment that the party was “chastened” after the attack.


Notes to Pages 186–96

129. Taixu, cable to National Government, Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, and Ministry of Interior, 13 July 1929, SHA 2: 1059. 130. Buddhist Association of China to Executive Yuan, Mar. 1930, SHA 2: 1059; Report of Zeng Mianze. 131. Yan Xing, Suqian xianzhi; ZYRB, 14 Feb. 1934, 1: 4. 132. Jiangsu provincial government to Executive Yuan, 10 Feb. 1931, SHA 2: 1059. 133. ZYRB, 15 Feb. 1937, 2: 2.

Chapter 6 1. Pochu mixin ge. 2. Ibid., 12–13. 3. Shanghai Association of Blind Fortunetellers to Executive Yuan, Dec. 1928, SHA 2: 1032; see also Nedostup and Liang, “ ‘Begging the Sages of the Party-State,’ ” 202–5. 4. ZYRB, 6 Mar. 1929, 2: 3. 5. Shanghai Association of Blind Fortunetellers to Executive Yuan, Dec. 1928, SHA 2: 1032. 6. I recognize that theoretically speaking, subjectivity should not automatically be taken to correspond to agency (for a cogent analysis of that point, see Jon Wilson, “Subjects and Agents in the History of Imperialism and Resistance”), but the point here is that the Nationalists believed that it did. 7. Smith, “Ritual in Ch’ing Culture,” 303. 8. Overviews of the huoju and lisheng traditions can be found, respectively, in Chau, “ ‘Superstitious Specialist Households’?,” esp. 177–78 (on Daoists) and 183 (for an overview of all household specialists); and Clart, “Confucius and the Mediums,” 3–4. Paul R. Katz proposes, for instance, that a continuum best expresses cultural options for the pursuit of justice in which litigants can pursue mediation, court cases, and ritual solutions in succession or simultaneously (Divine Justice, 7). My thinking on continuums and marketplaces owes a great deal to his work and that of the other scholars cited in this paragraph. 9. Hinrichs, “The Medical Transforming of Governance,” chap. 2; Sutton, “From Credulity to Scorn.” 10. Lipkin, Useless to the State, 48, 257–58. Liu (1890–1957) also served as mayor for three months in 1927. During the mid-1920s, Liu studied for two years at the London School of Economics and made a trip to the United States to research city government. A Tongmenghui member since 1910, he had held several financial posts in the Guangzhou KMT government and served as Chiang Kai-shek’s procurement officer during the final stage of the Northern Expedition, receiving his mayoral post in part due to his close ties to the leader (MGRW, 1433).

Notes to Pages 196–98


11. Chen Dezheng was a Zhejiang native educated at Hangzhou Christian College. He had taught in a number of middle schools and colleges, including the Shanghai School of Law and Political Science, which contributed several alumni to the Shanghai party branch. He had served as a cadre in the central Department of Propaganda and hence was rumored to have Ye Chucang as a patron. Pan Gongzhan, also from Zhejiang, went to St. John’s University in Shanghai and worked at the Shishi xinbao and Minguo ribao; at the latter he wrote as a special correspondent for the Juewu supplement that was so influential in the debates on freedom of religion and antisuperstition. In addition to working in the Shanghai party branch, Pan headed the city’s Bureau of Social Affairs from 1928 to 1932 (Henriot, Shanghai, 1927–1937, 38–40; MGRW, 1064, 1466–67; Liu Shoulin et al., Minguo zhiguan nianbiao, 1006–7). Henriot (40) writes that “the promotion of these young activists was probably due to Chen [Guofu’s] support.” 12. Yu Xirong (1893–1957) received his doctorate in philosophy in 1917 and researched politics and economics at the universities of London and Berlin. He taught politics at colleges in Yunnan, Beijing, and Shanghai and, shortly before joining the Ministry of Interior, was on the faculty of Daxia and National Central universities, as was “temple property for schools” advocate Tai Shuangqiu (MGRW, 1519). 13. Janet Chen, “Guilty of Indigence.” Examples of how Republican officials built on late Qing precedents in the case of Chengdu can be found in Stapleton, Civilizing Chengdu, 125–38; and Di Wang, Street Culture in Chengdu, 152–54. 14. Pochu mixin xuanchuan dagang, 6–7. 15. “Quan sheng mei nian mixin haofei tongshi shu” (Statistics on yearly expenditures on superstition throughout the province), JSSJ, vol. 2, pt. 8, 210–12. The numbers do reveal patterns, however: expenditures in the top five counties— Jiangdu county (which contained Yangzhou), Wuxi, Wu county (Suzhou), Changshu, and Wujin (Changzhou)—all in the Yangzi valley, equaled the spending in the other 56 combined. 16. John Lossing Buck’s collection of rural data for north and central China did not give a specific picture of the place of religious expenses in the household. 17. Jianshe weiyuan hui, Diaocha Zhejiang jingjisuo, Hangzhou shi jing ji diaocha, 927–29. An analyst for the Shanghai municipal council working on household spending later estimated religious expenses at 1 percent of all expenses; see T. Y. Tsha, Industrial Section, Shanghai municipal council, to Horace H. Smith, American consulate general, Shanghai, 7 Oct. 1939, Records of the United States Department of State 80: 770–71. 18. Bernhardt, Rents, Taxes, and Peasant Resistance, 186–87. One marker of the results was that 1933 government expenditure amounted to only 2.4 percent of GDP, which, as Parks Coble points out, looks quite meager compared to the Meiji state’s control of 10 percent of the Japanese national product; see Coble, The Shanghai Capitalists, 9, citing Albert Feuerwerker, The Chinese Economy, 1912 –1949 (Ann Arbor:


Notes to Pages 199–201

University of Michigan Press, 1968); see also Rawski, Economic Growth in Prewar China. 19. ZYRB, 26 Aug. 1929, supplement, 7. 20. Ministry of Finance to University Council, 31 Jan. 1928, DXYGB 1, no. 4 (Apr. 1928): 59. According to this document, the Ministry of Finance resolved to abolish the lijin (likin) on 1 September 1928. It was 1931 before the plan was carried out, however. This was in part due to strong opposition from provincial governments, particularly when the ministry unveiled an even more comprehensive plan to charge the localities with the collection of some sixteen “special” consumption taxes, of which a tax on foil money was one. The lijin was eventually replaced with “consolidated taxes” (tong shui ) on cement, matches, cotton yarn, and other goods; see Wu Zhaocui, Zhongguo shuizhi shi, 2: 133; and Eastman, “Nationalist China,” 41–42. 21. Xibo literally means “tin foil,” but was also used as a generic term for various kinds of spirit money with metal components. These were produced separately from plain spirit money, such as huangbiaozhi 黃表紙 (or huangqian 黃錢), hongqian 紅錢 (hongzhi 紅紙), baiqian 白錢 (shaozhi 燒紙), shenzhi 神紙, etc., use of which varied locally and according to the occasion, and the recipient of the sacrifice; see Williams, Outline of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives, 115; Li Jinghan, Ding xian shehui gaikuang diaocha, 322; and Ye Dabin et al., Zhongguo fengsu cidian, 708, 718, 756. 22. Ministry of Finance to University Council, 18 Jan. 1928; University Council to Ministry of Finance, 21 Feb. 1928; DXYGB 1, no. 3 (Mar. 1928): 66; 1, no. 4 (Apr. 1928): 59. In 1929 the government received more than 9.5 million and 25 million yuan from these taxes, respectively (Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao, 737). 23. Ministry of Finance to University Council, 17 Dec. 1927; DXYGB 1, no. 2 (Feb. 1928): 19. 24. Quoted in Ministry of Finance to University Council, 30 Dec. 1927; DXYGB 1, no. 2 (Feb. 1928): 20–21. 25. Quoted in Ministry of Finance to University Council, 18 Jan. 1928. 26. Ministry of Finance to University Council, 1 Mar. 1928; DXYGB 1, no. 4 (Apr. 1928): 61. The Jiangsu and Zhejiang Departments of Finance would retain 300,000 yuan, which represented their income from the current local tax. Of the remainder, half would go to the University Council itself, and half to the localities for educational expenses. Jiangsu-Zhejiang Office for the Collection of the Special Foil Tax to University Council, 25 Feb. 1928; DXYGB 1, no. 4 (Apr. 1928): 38. 27. SSXB, 27 Feb. 1929, 2: 4; 4 Mar. 1929, 3: 4; 6 Mar. 1929, 2: 4; 8 Mar. 1929, 3: 4. 28. Wu Zhaocui, Zhongguo shuizhi shi, 2: 133. The business community’s opposition to the “special assessments” proposed to replace the likin proved a major sticking point in the relationship between the Shanghai merchants in particular and national government figures like Minister of Finance Song Ziwen 宋子文 (T. V. Soong, 1894–1971); see Coble, The Shanghai Capitalists, 55–56; and “Xingzheng yuan Mishu chu song Quanguo shang lian hui deng qingqiu tingban tezhong xiaofei shui

Notes to Pages 202–3


chenghan” (Petition from National United Chambers of Commerce et al. seeking the cessation of special consumption taxes, forwarded by Secretariat, Executive Yuan), 26 Mar. 1929, in Guomin zheng fu caizheng jinrong shuishou dang’an ziliao, 941–44. The idea of “special taxes” was last floated in February 1930, by which time the list of items had grown to nineteen; see “Caizheng bu fushui si song zhengli shuizhi fang’an guanyu caili gaishui shiding han” (Communiqué from Office of Taxation, Ministry of Finance, forwarding a plan for reorganizing the taxation system, with regard to reducing the likin and reforming tax), 15 Feb. 1930, in idem, 950–53. 29. ZYRB, 8 Mar. 1929, 2: 2; Wan Guoding et al., Jiangsu Wujin Nantong tianfu diaocha baogao, 113; “Zhongguo Guomindang zai Suqian de geming yundong,” 42–43. 30. By late 1930 the central government enacted plans to collect a new “consolidated tax” on flour, cotton thread, matches, cement, and tobacco. See “Caizheng bu Tongshui shu zuzhi zhangcheng” (Charter for organizing the Consolidated Tax Office of the Ministry of Finance), Dec. 1930; “Caizheng bu Tongshui shu 1932 niandu juanyan deng wuding tongshui huowu chanxiao shuliang fenlei tongji biao” (Production and consumption figures, by category, of the five “consolidated tax” items, Consolidated Tax Office, Ministry of Finance), 7 Dec. 1932, DAZL, ser. 5, ed. 1, caizheng jing ji, 2: 335–46. Zhonghua minguo ershi niandu guojia putong suiru suichu zong yusuan, the general budget for the Republic of China in 1931, does not list the foil tax as part of the “consolidated” tax or any other national assessment. Neither does Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao list it in tax figures up to 1932 (737). 31. Nanjing tebieshi zheng fu gongzuo zong baogao, 160. 32. Notar, “Viewing Currency Chaos,” 128–37. 33. Jiangsu Party Affairs Rectification Committee to Office of the Secretary, National Government, Jan. 1930; Hebei Party Affairs Rectification Committee to Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party, 11 Jan. 1930 (the initial requests came from the KMT branches in Zhenjiang and Changping counties, respectively); SHA 2: 1033. Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party to Jiangsu Party Affairs Rectification Committee, 14 Feb. 1930, ZYDW, no. 19 (Feb. 1930): 10. Executive Yuan to Ministry of Interior, 1 Feb. 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 34. “Qudi jingying mixin wupin ye banfa” (Plan for banning businesses dealing in superstitious merchandise), 19 Mar. 1930, FGHB, 4: 795. 35. Hangzhou Foil Industry Association to Executive Yuan, Apr. 1930, SHA 2: 1033. It is unclear how the foil makers learned of the speech, which they alleged was delivered during the April 7, 1930, ceremonies commemorating Sun Yat-sen’s death. Zhejiang governor Zhang Renjie reported that Chiang had delivered it to a rural party branch. No such talk was publicized in the Central Daily News, Dagong bao, or the Central Party Affairs Monthly. Nor does it appear in Chiang’s collected works; the entries in those collections imply that he gave few public speeches of any kind in 1930. See Xian zongtong Jiang gong sixiang yanlun zong ji; and Xian zongtong Jiang gong quanji.


Notes to Pages 203–5

36. Hangzhou City Gongchenqiao Merchants’ Association to Executive Yuan, 21 Apr. 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 37. Zhenjiang Foil Industry Workers’ Association to Executive Yuan, 5 May 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 38. Suzhou Foil Merchants’ Association to Executive Yuan, 27 May 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 39. Shanghai Special Municipality Firecracker Industry Association to Executive Yuan, 20 May 1930, SHA 2: 1033. On the Nationalist government’s policy of promoting the movement, see Gerth, China Made, 231–32. 40. Shanghai Merchant Organization Rectification Committee to Executive Yuan, May 1930, SHA 2: 1033. The group, dominated by Shanghai party leaders and representatives of the Central Executive Committee and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, was inaugurated in May 1929 to restructure the Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce and bring local businessmen under the center’s control. The committee dissolved the following June after creating a new chamber packed with members of the party branch’s subordinate organizations (Coble, The Shanghai Capitalists, 63–65). Christian Henriot (Shanghai, 1927–1937, 38–39, 42, 46) notes that the Shanghai party cadres Chen Dezheng and Wang Yansong used the reorganization to diminish the authority of colleagues who were felt to be too conciliatory toward merchant demands. Thus, that the rectification committee argued for the firecracker makers, even in such a climate, is notable. 41. Zhejiang governor Zhang Renjie to Executive Yuan, 28 Apr. 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 42. Hangzhou lishi congbian bianji weiyuan hui, Minguo shiqi Hangzhou, 343–44. 43. 1932 population figure: Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao, 228. 44. Wang Qingbin et al., Di yi ci Zhongguo laodong nianjian, 2: 214, 217, 263–65. 45. Guo Yiquan, “Ruhe tuijin Jiangsu ge xian nongcun fuye.” 46. Chen Yongnian, standing commissioner, Shanghai City Foil Industry Association, to Executive Yuan, 1 May 1930, SHA 2: 1033. 47. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 19 Mar. 1930, NZGB 3, no. 3 (Apr. 1930): IVd.7. 48. Wang Qingbin et al., Di yi ci Zhongguo laodong nianjian, 1: 591, 602. The salary figures provided, originally published in Xin qingnian (New youth), are rates for piecework, not average earnings. The authors do note that factories run by out-oftowners (ke bang ) did not pay on holidays or on days when bad weather stopped production, although they did provide meals. Incense workers in Nanjing earned 5–6 yuan per month, near the bottom range of salaries for male workers in 1930. Government statistics put the average of all Nanjing labor earnings at 10.80 yuan per month (Wang Qingbin et al., Di yi ci Zhongguo laodong nianjian, 1: 599; Bureau of Labor and Commerce statistics in Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao, 277).

Notes to Pages 205–8


49. Wang Qingbin et al., Di yi ci Zhongguo laodong nianjian, 2: 67, 212–18, 262–65, 282; Peng Zeyi, Zhongguo jindai shougong ye shi ziliao, 3: 657; Lin Zhen, Shiyong shoudu zhinan, 6: 32. 50. Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing tebie shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo baogao, 1: 5–6. Officials resolved the matter in favor of the union, ordering 40,000 yuan in compensation to the illegally hired workers. The incenseand-candle matter was, along with demands made by city postal workers, the most significant labor dispute in Nanjing that year. 51. In Wu county, which administered Suzhou city, the local associations of incense and candle makers counted 132 members. The foil producers’ group had only 23 (Wu xian xian zheng fu, sect. 9: 2–8). 52. Ministry of Interior to Capital Police Department and all provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 15 May 1930, NZGB 3, no. 3 ( June 1930): IIc.6–7. 53. Anonymous internal notes on “Draft Method for a Renewed Ban on Superstitious Belief in Divine Authority Among the Masses of Society During Wartime,” Ministry of Interior, 29 July 1939, AH 128: 2152. The notes came from either Minister of Interior Zhou Zhongyue 周鍾嶽 or an assistant. 54. SZMA, yi 2-1: 1666, 99–102. 55. Cochran et al., One Day in China, 147–49. 56. Rugao County Customs Survey, 1932, SHA 12(6): 18264. 57. ZYRB, 29 July 1928, 3: 2. 58. Wang Peitang, Jiangsu sheng xiangtu zhi, 384–85. 59. Shoudu shizheng yaolan, 43–44, 63; Shoudu jingcha gaikuang, 100–102; Lipkin, Useless to the State, 178–81. 60. Quoted in Xue Dubi to National Government, 17 Sept. 1928, AH GMZF reel 324, 2396–402; “Feichu bushi xingxiang wuxi kanyu banfa [A]” (Method for abolishing diviners, astrologers, mediums, and geomancers), 22 Sept. 1928, FGHB, 4: 794–95. Distinguish from a second regulation of the same name enacted in 1932 (see note 93). 61. “Feichu bushi xingxiang wuxi kanyu banfa [A]” (see preceding note). 62. Pochu mixin ge, 8. 63. Ibid., 17. 64. Zhang Xiaoming, Minzhong shizi keben, 1: 23. Regarding the relation of this and other mass education textbooks cited in this chapter to government programs: although a commercial house, Zhonghua Books, published this text, it and other textbook publishers tended to hew closely to the concerns of the Nationalist government during the Nanjing Decade. Often books included notations that they had received the approval of the Ministry of Education or one of the National Education Conferences. (All the texts in this particular series received the approval of the Second National Conference on Education.) In the case of Zhonghua in particular, Christopher Reed (Gutenberg in Shanghai, 238–40) describes how company head Lufei Kui parlayed his KMT connections into a commercial advantage in the


Notes to Pages 209–10

textbook market. He even brought H. H. Kung onto the board as chairman at one point. 65. Nanjing shehui tekan, no. 3 (Apr. 1932): 204. 66. Wang Qingbin et al., Di yi ci Zhongguo laodong nianjian, 3: 180–81. 67. Nanjing tebie shi zheng fu gongzuo zong baogao, 128–29; Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo zong baogao, 76–77. 68. Lipkin, Useless to the State, 216, mentions how such institutes were used as a threat to beggars and an enticement to prostitutes (while conditions essentially remained the same for both). 69. “Lingzhi guangshe youmin xiyi suo” (Order to establish broadly refugee training institutes), JSGB, no. 74 (26 Feb. 1929): 10. For New Policies–era predecessors, see Stapleton, Civilizing Chengdu, 124–28. 70. Jiuji shiye jihua shu, 7. 71. ZYRB, 23 Feb. 1929, 2: 3. 72. Chen Shousun, Shehui wenti cidian, 94. 73. Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo zong baogao, 75; Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 787, 790. 74. “Jiangsu sheng hui jiuji yuan canfei suo zuzhi zhangcheng” (Regulations for the organization of the home for the crippled, Jiangsu Provincial Relief Office), JSGB, no. 329 (6 Jan. 1930): 6. In that same year, the province counted 72 private relief centers and 301 charitable organizations, but of these only fourteen were devoted to tending the disabled, which included wounded war veterans as well as civilians. In general, Jiangsu was the province with the most relief organs, although they were less well funded than Guangdong’s. Jiangsu had more organizations serving the handicapped than any province except Hebei, and although these helped more people in 1930 than in any province save Jiangxi, they did so on an average budget that was the third lowest in the nation ( JSSJ, 8: 123). Services did increase over the decade of Nationalist rule. By 1937, there were 33 government institutions in Jiangsu helping the elderly and the handicapped, and they had accommodated 4,627 persons ( Jiangsu shengzheng shuyao, 1: 50). After the original plans were drawn up, economic constraints forced Jiangsu relief officials to combine homes for the elderly and for the disabled. The statistics therefore count both types of residents together. Numbers from earlier in the decade, however, suggest that the elderly far outnumbered the disabled: in 1930, for example, public and private Jiangsu institutions received 3,618 aged persons and 915 handicapped (Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tongji tiyao, 452–53). 75. Janet Chen, “Guilty of Indigence,” 110. 76. Office of the Secretary, National Government, to Nanjing Special Municipal Government, 31 Aug. 1928, and Nanjing Special Municipal Government to Office of the Secretary, National Government, 7 Sept. 1928, AH 324: 2389. The comment on road building is cited in Lipkin, Useless to the State, 179.

Notes to Pages 211–13


77. Wang Zhen (Wang Yiting), chairman, Shanghai Federation of Charitable Organizations, to National Government, 25 Oct. 1928; Zhang Zhengming et al. to National Government, 25 Oct. 1928; AH 324: 2408–19. 78. Gu Shibai, Preface, to Shen Zhureng, Shenshi xuankong xue, 35. 79. Yuan wrote this in response to another ban, this one enacted during wartime by the Shanghai puppet government under Chen Gongbo 陳公博 (1892– 1946). He also pleaded sympathy, it should be noted, for the unlearned diviners who would go hungry if put out of work; see Yuan Shushan, “Zhi Shanghai tebie shi shi zhengfu Chen shizhang shu,” prefatory matter 3: 10–12. For background on Yuan, see Smith, Fortune-tellers and Philosophers, 5, 290n6. 80. Chen Tiejian and Huang Daoxuan, Jiang Jieshi yu Zhongguo wenhua, 188, 190– 92. Chen and Huang characterize Chiang’s everyday life as “full of conflicts”— between his alleged adopted religion of Christianity, for example, and his residual interest in Buddhism, or his adherence to geomancy. More colorful, and less scholarly, accounts of rumors regarding Chiang’s consultations can be found in Liu Bingrong, Junfa yu mixin, 215–20. Liu also makes claims about other members of the KMT government—for instance, that Kong Xiangxi (H. H. Kung) not only adopted his clan’s belief in the good fortune promoted by the use of certain characters, but came back from his American education armed with an additional arsenal of Western superstitions (ibid., 393–402). 81. Liu Jiwen, Shizheng baogao jiyao, 46; see also Lipkin, Useless to the State, 179. 82. Gotō Asatarō, Shina oyobi Manshū ryokō annai, 764; Wang Nengwei et al., Nanjing jiuying, 111; Shanghai fengtu zaji, 27. The range of late imperial and Republican specialists is described in Smith, Fortune-tellers and Philosophers, 153–56, 205–6, which also cites nineteenth-century missionary John L. Nevius’s description of the range of blind fortunetellers. The account of Wu Jianguang is from Hu Pu’an, Zhonghua quanguo fengsu zhi, vol. 2, pt. 3, 137. 83. Nanjing shehui tekan, no. 3 (Apr. 1932): 204. According to 1934 statistics, Nanjing natives accounted for 28.10 percent of the general population, and Jiangsu natives for 35.54 percent (Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 503). Fiscal year 1927–28 represented the year of greatest change in the Nanjing population (Luo Ling, Jindai Nanjing chengshi jianshe yanjiu, 60). Diviners seemed to reside elsewhere than among itinerant populations. A 1935 survey of the Wangfugang shanty town in Nanjing—the major refugee area in the city—counted only one fortuneteller among 1,193 residents (the survey was conducted by the Nanking University Department of Sociology; cited in Chi Zihua, Zhongguo jindai liumin, 96–97). 84. Panyu and Nanhai (Huang Weifu, “Guangzhou shi bushi xingxiang wuxi kanyu tongji biao”). Another survey that year conducted by the Social Affairs Bureau counted over 800 fortunetellers total. 85. Nanjing shehui tekan, no. 3 (Apr. 1932): 204. 86. Strand, Rickshaw Beijing, 151–52; Hanchao Lu, “Becoming Urban,” 21–25; Chi Zihua, Zhongguo jindai liumin, 113–18. The line between blind fortunetellers and


Notes to Pages 213–17

beggars was often blurry, and people who did prognostication sometimes belonged, willingly or not, to a beggars guild; see Hanchao Lu, Street Criers, 82. 87. Janet Chen, “Guilty of Indigence,” 136–37; for more on the Shanghai petition’s language, see Nedostup and Liang, “ ‘Begging the Sages of the Party-State,’ ” 202–5. 88. Lin Zhen, Shiyong shoudu zhinan, 5: 9. 89. Ministry of Interior to Office of Civil Service, National Government, 10 Nov. 1928, AH 324: 2427–28. 90. “Cang Bo,” and “Qudi buxi xingxiang” (Banning diviners), SSXB, 8 Mar. 1929, 1: 3. 91. Poon, “Refashioning Popular Religion,” 93–95. See also Di Han ( pseud.), “Buxi xingxiang qingyuan weichi?” (The diviners are asking for protection?); and Tie Jun ( pseud.), “Fei hua” (Lies), in Fengsu gaige weiyuan hui, Fengsu gaige congkan, 217, 230–31, respectively. 92. Pochu mixin xuanchuan dagang, 10. 93. “Feichu bushi xingxiang wuxi kanyu banfa [B]” (Method for abolishing diviners, astrologers, mediums, and geomancers [B]), 1932, in DAZL 5, no. 1, wenhua 1, 514. This regulation had the same name as the 1928 version (see note 60). 94. Zhiwei Xiao, “Film Censorship in China,” 236–38. 95. Wang Yuesou, “Suanming” (Fortunetelling), Nanjing wanbao, 9 Oct. 1933, 4. 96. Wu Xizi et al. to Shanghai Municipal Government and notes, 14–26 Dec. 1947, SMA Q6-5-1259. 97. Poon, “Refashioning Popular Religion,” 108–10. 98. Lai Chi-tim, “Minguo shiqi Guangzhou shi.” 99. Major works that address the history of state involvement in medicine and public health during this period are Yip, Health and National Reconstruction in Nationalist China; and Hsiang-lin Lei, “When Chinese Medicine Encountered the State.” Andrews, “The Making of Modern Chinese Medicine,” and Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity, explain the important intellectual and political developments in medical and public-health theory and practice that preceded and influenced Nationalist-era policy. These works expand on Croizier, Traditional Medicine in Modern China. 100. Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity, 11. See C. C. Chen, Medicine in Rural China, 57– 99, on health programs in Ding county. 101. Xu Xiaoqun, Chinese Professionals and the Republican State, chap. 5. 102. For instance, Yu Yunxiu 余 雲 岫 (1879–1954), the leader of the 1929 movement to abolish Chinese medicine, wrote in a petition, “Now while the government is trying to combat superstition and abolish the idols so as to bring the people’s thought to proper scientific channels, the old-style physicians, on the other hand, are daily deceiving the masses with their faith healing” (quoted in Hsiang-lin Lei, “When Chinese Medicine Encountered the State,” 83). For more on Yu, this episode, and his Japanese influences, see Andrews, “The Making of Modern Chinese Medicine,” 2: 18–24. On the exclusion of ritual specialists from the

Notes to Pages 217–21


Institute of National Medicine, see Hsiang-lin Lei, “When Chinese Medicine Encountered the State,” 115–17. On the political allies of Chinese medicine (such as Chen Guofu and Ye Chucang) and the battle overall, see Xu Xiaoqun, Chinese Professionals and the Republican State, chap. 7. 103. ZYRB, 6 Sept. 1928, 3: 2. 104. “Yanjin yaojian shenfang jifang an” (Item strictly banning medicine by divination and prescriptions from the gods), Apr. 1929, FGHB, 4: 795–6. 105. ZYRB, 28 Aug. 1928; Goossaert, The Taoists of Peking, 309–12. 106. Nanjing wanbao, 14 Feb. 1935, 3. 107. Jiangsu customs surveys, 1932–35, SHA 12(6): 18259–64, 12: 527. 108. “Haimen fengsu diaocha” (Haimen county customs survey), 1935, SHA 12(6): 18261. 109. JSSJ, 1: 34, 8: 132, 139. Wuxi counted as the high end of medical services— by 1933 its infirmary had an average annual budget of 2,000 yuan. 110. By 1936 just over half the counties in Jiangsu had set up hospitals under provincial authority. Additional clinics and private hospitals numbered anywhere from four dozen, according to the Chinese Medical Association, to four hundred, according to the provincial government (Chen Guofu, ed., Jiangsu sheng zheng shuyao, 2: 50; JSSJ, 8: 74–75). Physicians of Western medicine were judged to number at least 2,000 province-wide, or almost one for every 17,000 people—well above the national average of one per 82,000, and about 37 percent of the total. By contrast, Sichuan counted one per 760,000 (Yip, Health and National Reconstruction in Nationalist China, 159). This number is based on a survey of 5,390 doctors conducted in 1935; since the total number of registered doctors in 1937 reached over 9,000, the actual number was probably somewhat higher. By contrast a 1931 League of Nations Health Organization report estimated the total number of “practitioners of indigenous medicine” at 1.2 million nationwide (idem, 133, 227n4). 111. Yip, Health and National Reconstruction in Nationalist China, 97. 112. Zhu Yisong and Song Xixiang, Shehui wenti, 8. 113. Quanguo renmin shi’er yao, 20. See Chapter 3 on the origins and probable authorship of this work. 114. Chen Pinyi et al., Minzhong shangren keben, 1: 22–23. 115. Cheng Airu et al., Minzhong gongren keben, 4: 11–12. 116. Zhao Lüqing et al., Minzhong nongren keben, 4: 26–27. 117. Zhu Zishuang, “Nongcun jiaoyu wenti,” 5. 118. Prakash, Another Reason, 34. For missionary articulation of medicine as “magic” in Uganda, see White, “ ‘They Could Make Their Victims Dull,’ ” 1396. 119. Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity, 2–3. 120. Chen Guofu, “Weisheng zhi dao,” 6: 170; idem, “Mixin de xinli,” 10: 64. 121. Zhang Jingfan, ed., “Weisheng changshi yangjiang gao” (Draft lectures on public health common knowledge), ms, n.d., SHA 5: 11230, 6–7; Chen Guofu, “Mixin de xinli,” 10: 52.


Notes to Pages 222–28

122. “Ge ji dangbu xuanchuan gongzuo shishi fang’an” (Plan for implementing propaganda work in party branches at every level), ZYDW, no. 9 (Apr. 1929), 3: 4–5; Xian dangbu, qu dangbu, qu fenbu xuanchuan gongzuo renyuan xuzhi, 103, 105. 123. Yu Jida, “Zhongguo Guomindang yu funü” (The Chinese Nationalist Party and women), 1927, KMT 436: 123.17. As explained by Tao Zongyi in the Ming, the term stands for Buddhist nuns (nigu), Daoist nuns (daogu), and female diviners ( guagu), as well as professional matchmakers ( yapo and meipo), mediums (shipo), madams (qianpo), healers ( yaopo), and midwives (wenpo); see Ciyuan (rev. ed., 1987), 27. The term is also applied more widely as a general abuse of lowly and despicable women. 124. Jingsan (pseud.), “Wo jing pole wupo de mofa” (I once ruined an old medium’s witchcraft), in Fengsu gaige weiyuan hui, Fengsu gaige congkan, 73–74. 125. Wang Fan, “Quan zhongdou.” Minzhong zhoubao was published, first in Beijing, then in Shanghai, by the Popular Reader Editorial Society (Tongsu duwu biankan she). 126. Lu Shu’ang, “Xiangcun weisheng jiaoyu shishi fang’an,” 114. 127. Fan Yuansheng, Nongmin de xin shenghuo, 13–15, 43, 64–65. Fan was the secretary and a special economic representative to the KMT Central Political Committee. 128. Hsu, Exorcising the Trouble Makers, 65–72. 129. Duara, “Superscribing Symbols,” 790. 130. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 27. 131. Nanjing wanbao, 6 Apr. 1937, 2. 132. Chau, “ ‘Superstitious Specialist Households’?,” 161–64. 133. This is quite apart from organized religious groups in the PRC, which do constantly engage in rhetorical argument and political negotiation with the central state for their continued existence. 134. See Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, “Putting Global Capitalism in Its Place.”

Chapter 7 epigraphs: Chen Guofu, Zhongguo lisu yanjiu, 1: 9; “Choukai shimin dahui xuzhi,” 7. 1. On the application of this idea to the training of middle school students via Boy Scout programs and daily regimens, including some of the patriotic observances described for the general population in this chapter, see Culp, Articulating Citizenship, chaps. 5 and 6. 2. For example, in Russia’s Economy of Favours, Alena V. Ledeneva articulated the concept to explain why the values of fairness and equivalence on which the common exchange of blat (favors) in Russia depended took it beyond the arena of gift exchange. 3. Party ideology of the 1920s generally traced the notion of xinli jianshe to Sun’s 1917 Jianguo fanglue 建國方略 (Strategy for nation-building).

Notes to Pages 228–33


4. Shao Yuanchong, “Minzu jianshe yu minzu jingshen” (National reconstruction and national survival), Oct. 1933, reprinted in idem, Shao Yuanchong wenji, 2: 367. 5. Manning, “Owning and Belonging.” 6. Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation, 92. 7. On the concept of ritual competition, along with some examples of changing the calendar and banning temple festivals, see Nedostup, “Ritual Competition and the Modernizing Nation-State.” 8. “Linshi da zongtong jiuzhi xuanyan” (Proclamation of the provisional president on taking office), 1 Jan. 1912, in Fan Zhenqiu et al., Zhonghua minguo jianguo wenxian, ser. 1, shiliao, 3: 542. 9. “Gai li gai yuan tongdian” (Cable regarding the change of the calendar and New Year’s Day), 2 Jan. 1912, in Fan Zhenqiu, Zhonghua minguo jianguo wenxian, ser. 1, shiliao, 3: 545. On the Huangdi image in Tongmenghui, see Shen Sung-chiao, “Wo yi wo xue jian xuanyuan”; and idem, “Zhen da han de tiansheng.” On the calendar during the early Republic, see Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 21–22. 10. Ministry of Interior to National Government, 2 May 1928, NZGB 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): VII.1. 11. Zhongguo guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shixing guoli, 5. 12. The general outlines of the 1926–28 conflicts among segments of the party based in Nanjing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and elsewhere are well known. For a detailed account of the debate over situating the capital in Nanjing, see Musgrove, “The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” chap. 1. On early advocacy of the adoption of the Western calendar in Shenbao, by Liang Qichao, and elsewhere, see Leo Lee, Shanghai Modern, 44–46; on broader shifts in chronological thinking (such as the adoption of linear time during the nineteenth century), see Kwong, “The Rise of the Linear Perspective in Late Qing China”; and Duara, Rescuing History from the Nation, 32–48. 13. Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 22. 14. Proposal from Minister of Interior Xue Dubi to National Government, 2 May 1928, NZGB 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): VII.1–5. 15. Zhongguo guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shixing guoli, 25. 16. Zhongguo guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shiba niandu Zhong yang xuanchuan bu buwu yilan, 1: 72. KMT 436: 187. 17. Ibid., 30–31, 34–35. 18. Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution, 162; Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 149–50, 159–62, 168–69. 19. For an evocative description of how “layered” calendars operated in the life of Shanxi gentryman Liu Dapeng, see Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 67–68. 20. SSXB, 21 Feb. 1929, 4: 1.


Notes to Pages 233–35

21. For developments over the course of the year, see He Yingyin, “Wanxing jieyue yundong an” (Proposal to execute thoroughly the frugality movement), passed 3 Mar. 1930, Third Plenary Session of the Third Central Committee, KMT; and Zhu Jiahua, “Gaijin renmin yule fangfa biyu jiaoyu zhi jingshen an” (Proposed method for reforming the people’s entertainment to spread the spirit of education), passed in principle 18 Nov. 1930, Fourth Plenary Session of the Third Central Committee, KMT; in Zhongguo Guomindang lijie lici zhong quan hui, 164–65, 214–15, respectively; and Zhongguo Guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shixing guoli. 22. SSXB, 28 Dec. 1929, 2: 4. These last slogans caused problems with some Japanese merchants in the Zhabei district of Shanghai, who objected and refused to distribute the calendars. 23. ZYRB, 25 Aug. 1929, supplement, 7. 24. Dagong bao, 1 Jan. 1930, 4; also Xin Leng (pseud.), “Xin nian de hua” (New Year’s conversation), ibid. The China Times also ran a pessimistic New Year’s cartoon depicting the “Four Heavenly Kings” it hoped would not manifest themselves: War, Disaster, Banditry, and Taxes (SSXB, 1 Jan. 1930, 4: 2). 25. Chen Guisun et al., General Confucian Society to Executive Yuan, 15 July 1931; Society for the Research of the Calendrical System to Executive Yuan, n.d.; Lu Xianghu to Executive Yuan, Aug. 1932; Northeast Foreign Relations Research Committee to Executive Yuan, 7 Jan. 1933 (all in SHA 2: 1081); Wang Kangyuan to National Government, Aug. 1928, AH reel 294: 1146–65. On the conference, see SSXB, 29 Dec. 1929, 2: 3. The General Confucian Society was founded in 1913 and eventually counted Kang Youwei as one of its members. 26. To provide just a few examples: Zhou Zuoren, “Tan suishi fengsu de jizai” (On the records of yearly customs), Minjian yuekan 1 (1932): 1– 4; Wu Jingheng, “Yangli yu yinli” (The solar and lunar calendars), ZYDW, no. 30 (Feb. 1931): 463– 44; Ji Peng, “Yinli nianguan yu pochu mixin” (The closing of the lunar year and eradicating superstition), Minzhong daobao 2, no. 5 (29 Jan. 1937): 12–16; Wang Zemin, “Gailiang guonian” (Reforming New Year’s), Minzhong daobao 2, no. 6 (5 Feb. 1937): 30–35; Chen Guofu, Zhonghua guomin shenghuo li (this was the final iteration of several versions; see Chen Guofu xiansheng lisu sixiang, 1: 245–77). 27. Following the 1930 party propaganda effort, for example, KMT officials in Wu county, Jiangsu, ordered the local merchants’ organization to keep members from celebrating the Lunar New Year, singling out in particular the practice of “summoning the God of Wealth with gongs and drums” (Wu County Propaganda Committee to Wu County Merchants Association, 6 Feb. 1931; Wu County Merchant Association draft communiqué to member store owners, 9 Feb. 1931; SZMA, yi 2-1: 1077, 15). On such practices and business and household rituals, see Ye Dabin et al., Zhongguo fengsu cidian, 511; Wang Yousan, Wu wenhua shicong, 2: 202; Wu xian zhi (1933), in Ding Shiliang and Zhao Fang, Zhongguo difang zhi minsu ziliao huibian, Huadong, 1: 377; and Li Qiao, Zhongguo hang ye shen chongbai, 63. In Suzhou the

Notes to Pages 236–37


festival is called Greeting the God of the Five Directions (Wulu [cai ]shen ying) and is held on the fifth day of the first lunar month. In 1929, Shanghai city authorities complained that traditional accounting practices posed a particular impediment to enacting the new calendar (Shanghai Municipal Government to Executive Yuan, 30 May 1929); on promoting the new quarterly business cycle, see Ministry of Economic Affairs (Gongshang bu) to Executive Yuan, 5 Dec. 1928; SHA 2: 1080. 28. Geo. W. Missemer, “China Would End the Lunar Calendar,” China Weekly Review 51, no. 8 (25 Jan. 1930): 298. 29. Ministry of Interior to National Government, 2 May 1928, NZGB 1: 2 (1 June 1928) VII: 3; Minister of Interior Yang Zhaotai and Minister of Education Jiang Menglin to Executive Yuan, 1 Mar. 1930, NZGB 3: 5 ( June 1930): IIc.15. Carol Gluck ( Japan’s Modern Myths, 87) notes that popular adoption of the major new national holidays, which lagged for a number of years after the Japanese government abolished the lunar calendar in 1873, picked up considerably in the final years of the Meiji period. 30. This was the case even in political circles: Li Pusheng remembers how during the Beiyang period the KMT elder and educator Zhong Rongguang was able, by sheer force of authority, to make schools in Lingnan county, Guangdong, hold class during the Lunar New Year. Li also remembers racing to get back to school on Lunar New Year’s Day, having returned home the previous night to help with ancestor worship and join in the traditional meal (Li Pusheng, “Yanjin chunjie fangjia de Zhong Rongguang xiansheng” [Mr. Zhong Rongguang, who strictly forbade New Year’s vacation], Chuanji wenxue 6, no. 3 [Mar. 1965]: 31). 31. B. Y. Lee (Li Bingyou), “China’s Success on ‘Abolishing’ New Year,” China Weekly Review, 51, no. 10 (8 Feb. 1930): 348. 32. Shibao, 20 Feb. 1931, 1: 3. 33. Yao Ying, “Nanjing de chuntian” (Nanjing’s spring), in idem, Jing hua, 41. 34. Standing Committee, Party Affairs Rectification Committee of Jiangsu Province, to KMT Central Committee, 3 Feb. 1930, copied in National Government to Executive Yuan, 13 Feb. 1930, SHA 2: 1080. The committee had been sent by the KMT Central Executive Committee in late 1929 to take over management of the provincial party, which lay in tatters after KMT leftists participated in armed uprisings in Liyang and other spots in southern Jiangsu that fall. Matters had come to a head when the Jiangsu commissioner of civil affairs, Miao Bin, had several members of the provincial party executive committee arrested on suspicion of involvement in the strife and even went so far as to place the provincial governor, party elder Niu Yongjian, under house arrest (Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 98– 100; So Wai-chor, The Kuomintang Left in the National Revolution, 169, 176–77). 35. Standing Committee, Party Affairs Rectification Committee of Jiangsu Province, to KMT Central Committee, 3 Feb. 1930, copied in National Government to Executive Yuan, 28 Feb. 1930; Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 14 Apr. and 26 May 1930, SHA 1080.


Notes to Pages 237–38

36. “Tuixing guoli banfa” (Methods for promoting the national calendar), in Department of Civil Service, National Government, to Executive Yuan, 18 July 1930, DAZL, ser. 5, pt. 1, wenhua, 1: 435. 37. Ministry of Interior to Executive Yuan, 12 Feb. 1931; Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party, 17 Feb. 1931; SHA 2: 1080. 38. Nanjing tebie shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, ed., Nanjing tebie shi zhengfu gongzuo zong baogao, 159; Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo zong baogao, 11. 39. Ministry of Interior order to all provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 21 Nov. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 8 (Dec. 1928): IIc.18–19. 40. In 1928, for example, counties were supposed to pay the central government a fee of 10 yuan a year for their calendars. First, there was difficulty in getting the Ministry of Finance to front funds to print the 1929 calendar in sufficient quantities (200,000 copies) for government offices nationwide (Executive Yuan to Ministries of Education and Finance, 15 Nov. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 8 [Dec. 1928]: II.119; Ministry of Interior to Ministry of Finance, 6 Dec. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 9 [ Jan. 1929]: IIIb). Then the county governments failed to pay their fees, and the central government decided to provide only one copy to each county, which was then responsible for its reproduction (NZNJ, F: 21; “Fangyin guomin li zhanxing banfa” [Temporary measures for reproducing the national calendar], 4 Dec. 1929, NZGB 3, no. 1 [Feb. 1930]: IIIb.1). 41. Shanghai Municipal Government to Executive Yuan, 30 May 1929; Ministries of Finance and Interior to Shanghai Municipal Government, 8 June 1929; SHA 2: 1080. 42. Ministry of Interior to provincial Departments of Civil Affairs and Nanjing Special Municipality Public Security Bureau, 18 June 1928, NZGB 1, no. 3 (1 June 1928): IIIc.43. Republican-era almanacs were not only published “in huge numbers” but barely varied in form from late imperial versions (Smith, Fortune-tellers, 275). 43. Smith, Fortune-tellers, 275. On Clause 167 of the Criminal Code, which stipulated jail time or a fine for the abuse of “any flag or emblem of the Republic,” see Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Nationalist Party, to Zhejiang Province Executive Committee, 24 Apr. 1930, ZYDW, no. 21 (Apr. 1930): 51–52; and Yu Tinn-Hugh, The Chinese Criminal Code, 114. Sample almanac titles that crossed the lines between new and old regimes and alarmed party officials include the “Complete 200-Year Lunar-Solar Calendar,” “Practical 100-Year National Calendar for Daily Popular Use,” and even the “Imperially Ordained 10,000-Year Calendar of Essential Astrological Knowledge” (Bureau of Propaganda, Nationalist Party, to National Government, 13 Nov. 1929; Department of Propaganda, Zhejiang Province Executive Committee, to National Government, in National Government to Executive Yuan, 24 Dec. 1929; SHA 2: 1080).

Notes to Pages 238–41


44. Zhongguo Guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shiba niandu Zhong yang xuanchuan bu buwu yilan, 1: 71–72. 45. Zhongguo Guomindang, Zhongyang zhixing weiyuan hui, Xuanchuan bu, Shixing guoli, 34–35. 46. George W. Missemer, “Some Reflections on Chinese New Year,” China Weekly Review 55, no. 13 (28 Feb. 1931): 457. 47. Zhao Lüqing et al., Minzhong nongren keben, 3: 4–6. 48. JSGB, no. 329 (6 Jan. 1930): frontispiece. 49. “Shiliu niandu xuexiao li” (Calendar for the 1927 school year), DXYGB 1, no. 2 (Feb. 1928): 41–44. The officials gave no explanation for why they retained Double Ninth, which they “translated” to the solar calendar date of October 4. 50. Ministry of Interior to National Government, 2 May 1928, NZGB 1: 2 (1 June 1928): VII.3. 51. Minister of Interior Yang Zhaotai and Minister of Education Jiang Menglin to Executive Yuan, 1 Mar. 1930, NZGB 3, no. 5 ( June 1930): IIc.13. 52. Respectively, Yuanxiao (the fifteenth day of the first lunar month), Shangsi (the third of the third), Duanyang (aka Duanwu, the fifth of the fifth), Qixi (the seventh of the seventh), Zhong yuan (the fifteenth of the seventh), Zhongqiu (the fifteenth of the eighth month), Chong yang (the ninth of the ninth), and Laba (the eighth of the twelfth). The National Government rejected the inclusion of the Double Seventh holiday and asked that some of the other names be updated to remove references to the stems-and-branches mode of reckoning time (therefore Duanyang became Chongwu, Chong yang was changed to Chong jiu, and Yuanxiao became Shang yuan). Again there was one exception to the pattern of removing such references: the center ordered that Shangsi be altered to Xizhen, presumably because of classical references to the xi cleansing ritual. See NZNJ, F: 22–23; Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Education to Provincial Offices of Civil Affairs and Education, and to Municipal Departments of Education and Social Affairs, 28 May 1930, NZGB 3, no. 5 ( June 1930): IIc.11–12. 53. “Geming jinian ri jianming biao” (Brief explanation of revolutionary holidays) (revised 15 Nov. 1934), ZYDW, no. 76 (Nov. 1934): 906. 54. Glosser, Chinese Visions of Family and State, 82–90. 55. ZYRB, 27 July 1928, 3: 2; 19 Aug. 1928, 3: 1. 56. ZYRB, 11 Aug. 1929; Poon, “Refashioning Festivals in Republican Guangzhou,” 214. 57. “Qingxiang tiaoli” (Articles regarding the countryside purge), National Government, 18 Sept. 1929, in Susheng gongbao faling ji (Collection of laws and orders from the Jiangsu Provincial Government Gazette), Minzheng 49–60; KMT 442: 9.2. See also Barkan, “Nationalists, Communists, and Rural Leaders,” 244–51, 503; and Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 116–25. 58. “Shoudu jingchating qudi tuanti youxing guize” (Capital Police Department guidelines to clean up group marches), Mar. 1931, FGHB, 4: 397. Charles Musgrove


Notes to Pages 241–46

(“The Nation’s Concrete Heart,” 313–32) describes the impact of student protests on Nanjing’s streetscape. For accounts of street unrest in Shanghai and crackdowns, see Wasserstrom, Student Protests in Twentieth-Century China, 156–64; and Wakeman, Policing Shanghai, 82–84. 59. Rugao customs survey (1932), SHA 12(6): 18264; Liyang customs survey (1932), SHA 12(6): 18262; Nanhui customs survey (1932), SHA 12(6): 18263. 60. Gu Yuzhen, Suzhou fengsu tan, 62–63. 61. Zhongguo Guomindang yu Zhongguo nongmin, 104–5. 62. Lu Boyou, Pochu mixin. 63. “Tuixing guoli banfa,” 435 (see note 36 to this chapter). 64. Zhongguo Guomindang Zhong yang zhixing weiyuan hui Xuanchuan bu shiyi yuefen gongzuo baogao, 43–44. The economic role of temple festivals was also the main topic of the 1933 provincial survey conducted by the Shandong People’s Training Department (Flath, “Temple Fairs and the Republican State in North China”). 65. Chen Guofu, “Miaohui xuyan,” 4: 201. 66. Chen Guofu, Suzheng huiyi, 83. 67. Ibid. 68. On Zhenjiang and Nanjing, see ZYRB, 19 Aug. 1928, 3: 1, and 11 Aug. 1929, 2: 3, respectively; on Guangzhou, see Poon, “Refashioning Festivals in Republican Guangzhou,” 214. 69. Weller, Unities and Diversities in Chinese Religion, 75–85, 134–42; see also idem, Resistance, Chaos and Control in China, 169–71. 70. Poon, “Refashioning Festivals in Republican Guangzhou,” 214. 71. In early 1928 Xue Dubi asked the National Government to promote frugality as one of the virtues members of the new government should strive for (Minister of Interior Xue Dubi to National Government, 16 Apr. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 [1 May 1928]: IVa.14–16). Two years later, the KMT itself launched a major propaganda campaign for both officials and the general public; see “Wanxing jieyue yundong an” (Thoroughly executing the frugality movement), ZYDW, Mar. 1930: 90–91. 72. Zhou Buguang, Mixin de pochu, 15. 73. Teiser, Ghost Festival. 74. Qitao Guo, Ritual Opera and Mercantile Lineage; Weller, Unities and Diversities in Chinese Religion, 75–77. 75. Hu Pu’an, Zhonghua quanguo fengsu zhi, 8; Chen Naixun and Du Fukun, Xin jing bei cheng, 3: 52. 76. Pan Zongding, Jinling suishi ji, 12a. Lianhualao is probably a local rendering of lianhualuo 蓮花落, the type of narrative folksongs often sung by beggars or in some locales the subspecialty of blind beggars in particular. 77. For example, Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 312–20; Zhu Qin, Jinling guji tukao, 244; Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Xin Nanjing, 14. 78. Shicheng shan zhi, 4a, mentions the temple’s role in Tiantai study around the time that Nanjing served as the Ming capital; for popularly spread stories linking

Notes to Pages 246–50


the Nanjing temple to Jiuhuashan, see Pan Zongding, Jinling suishi ji, 12b; and Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 83. 79. Hu Pu’an, Zhonghua quanguo fengsu zhi, 8. 80. Tea also played a significant role at Miaofengshan near Beijing; it was not simply one commodity sold as a refreshment and souvenir among the other supplies and services on offer for pilgrims, but the donation of tea was marked as a meritorious deed by local pious associations (xianghui 香會); see Naquin, “The Peking Pilgrimage to Miao-feng Shan,” 340, 343. 81. Chen Naixun and Du Fukun, Xin jing bei cheng, 3: 52. Shao bai xiang shao rou xiang literally refers to two types of special offering during pilgrimage: one to alternately walk and prostrate oneself (often with the aid of wooden pattens on the hands), and the other to hang censers directly from the flesh. 82. Shryock, The Temples of Anking and Their Cults, 84. 83. Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 1152–53; Chen Naixun and Du Fukun, Xin jing bei cheng, 3: 53; Pan Zongding, Jinling suishi ji, 12b. 84. Nanjing tebie shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing tebie shi zheng fu gongzuo zong baogao, 160. 85. “Nanjing shi zhengfu gongzuo baogao, 1929.8” (August 1929 work report, Nanjing municipal government), SHA 2: 137. 86. ZYRB, 11 Aug. 1929, 2: 3; Minsheng bao, 11 Aug. 1929, 5. 87. In fact, after March 1929 the Nanjing police department fell under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior, although the municipal government won back some right to direct its activities (Lipkin, Useless to the State, 43). 88. “Nanjing shi zhengfu gongzuo baogao, 1929.8” (see note 85 to this chapter). 89. Wang Yunjun, Minguo Nanjing chengshi shehui guanli, 107–9; Lipkin, Useless to the State, 82–85. 90. Nanjing shi difang zhi bianzuan weiyuan hui, Nanjing fang di chan zhi, 112–17. 91. Lipkin, Useless to the State, chap. 5, esp. 178–86. 92. Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Education to Provincial Offices of Civil Affairs and Education, and to Municipal Departments of Education and Social Affairs, 28 May 1930, NZGB 3, no. 5 ( June 1930): IIc.11–12 93. ZYRB, 25 Aug. 1934, 2: 3. 94. Ibid. 95. Jiangsu customs surveys, 1932–35, SHA 12(6): 18259–64, and 12: 527. 96. Jiangning zizhi shiyan xian xian zhengfu, Jiangning xianzheng gaikuang, 46– 47. A 1931 provincial survey claimed that the level of education in the county was “not exemplary” and that its inhabitants were “fond of superstition and frequently held feasts and plays for the gods” ( Jiangsu sheng minzheng ting, Jiangsu sheng gexian gaikuang yilan, 14). 97. Yip, Health and National Reconstruction in Nationalist China, 97. 98. Xingzheng yuan, Nongcun fuxing weiyuan hui, Jiangsu sheng nongcun diaocha, 84.


Notes to Pages 251–53

99. One of the best explorations of this issue can be found in Chau, Miraculous Response, esp. chaps. 9 and 11; see also idem, “The Politics of Legitimation and the Revival of Popular Religion”; Mayfair Mei-hui Yang, “Spatial Struggles”; and Feuchtwang and Wang, Grassroots Charisma. Republican examples are found throughout DuBois, The Sacred Village, and a fine outline of the essential rules of village religio-political power structures is Duara, Culture, Power, and the State, 118–38. 100. Hu Ying, “Qiu Jin’s Nine Burials.” 101. Xin qingnian (New Youth) 6, no. 6 (1 Nov. 1919), quoted in Li Shaobin, Minguo shiqi de xishi fengsu wenhua, 230. 102. The role of Chinese Christians in modeling new-style funerary ritual should not be discounted (on their part in civic ritual of the early Republic more generally, see Dunch, Fuzhou Protestants, chap. 4). 103. Memorial service for Tang Jisheng, location unknown, 16 June 1926; reproduced in Zhongguo di’er lishi dang’an guan, Lao zhaopian, 2: 448. 104. Rites and Uniforms Design and Oversight Committee, University Council Minister Cai Yuanpei, and Minister of Interior Xue Dubi to National Government, 22 Oct. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 7 (Nov. 1928): IV.13–14; also ZYRB, 28 Oct. 1928, 2: 3. From April to July 1928 different regulations on wedding and funeral spending emerged from Xue Dubi’s Ministry of Interior, Li Zongren’s Wuhan Branch Political Council, and the Jiangsu Public Security Administrative District, then run by Niu Yongjian. See Minutes of the 7th Meeting on Ministry Affairs of the Ministry of Interior, 14 Apr. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 1 (1 May 1928): V.13; “Tongling junzheng jiguan guanhun sangji wu chong jiejian feizhi wuwei chouzuo yanjin yeyou dubo an” (Order to military and civil offices to uphold frugality and ban meaningless feasting on weddings, funerals, ancestor worship, and capping ceremonies, and to severely forbid gambling and frequenting brothels), 1 June 1928, Zhong yang zhengzhi huiyi Wuhan fenhui yuebao 1, no. 1 ( July 1928): 19; “Gongan chu hunsang qingdiao kuizhang xianzhi tiaoli” (Public Security District regulations restricting gift-giving on weddings, funerals, and other occasions of celebration or mourning), JSGB, no. 31 (7 May 1928). 105. ZYRB, 28 Oct. 1928, 2: 3. 106. “Qudi tingjiu zhanxing zhangcheng” (Temporary regulations for restricting the holding of coffins), 19 Apr. 1929, FGDQ, 1098. 107. “Nanjing shi hunsang yizhang zhanxing banfa shixing xize” (Nanjing City’s detailed outline for executing the Temporary Plan for Wedding and Funeral Rites), 1930, DAZL, ser. 5, pt. 1, wenhua, 1: 438–39; Shanghai Special Municipality Merchants’ Organization Rectification Committee to Executive Yuan, 21 Oct. 1929, SHA 2: 1027. 108. “Nanjing tebieshi shi zhengfu Gongan ju fagei banyun lingjiu huzhao guize” (Public Security Bureau, Nanjing Special Municipality Municipal Government, guidelines for issuing permits for the transport of encoffined corpses), Nanjing tebie shi shi zheng fu fagui huibian, 514–16. The permit fee was only 0.10 yuan, but a

Notes to Pages 254–55


1 yuan stamp tax was assessed in addition. Persons caught without permits were to be fined 1–5 yuan. Other local authorities who expressed concern about the wastefulness and superstition of funeral rites included Ye Suzhong and Li Chaoying of the Zhejiang KMT (Zhejiang Party Central Committee to Executive Yuan, 27 Oct. 1928, SHA 2: 1027), and the Hankou city government and party branch (Quanguo neizheng huiyi mishu chu, Quanguo neizheng huiyi, 466; Temporary Rectification Committee of the Hankou Special Municipality Party Branch to Executive Yuan, 24 Nov. 1932, SHA 2: 1027). 109. The term gongmu originally appeared in the Zhouli, referring to the tombs of nobility (Ciyuan, 169). KMT officials used it to mean cemeteries open to all, primarily but not exclusively run by the government. The term was also adopted to describe burial grounds collectively built by several clans, for example, in the 1930 Suian xianzhi (Gazetteer of Suian county, Zhejiang), in Ding Shiliang and Zhao Fang, Zhongguo difang zhi minsu ziliao huibian, Huadong, 2: 631. 110. On post-Taiping burials, see Wooldridge, “Transformations of Ritual and State in Nineteenth-Century Nanjing,” 245– 46; on the Red Cross, see Reeves, “The Power of Mercy,” 148–51. 111. Rowe, Hankow: Commerce and Society, 235. Rowe (265) notes that although some huiguan communal cemeteries ( yizhong ) were intended simply as temporary resting places until the coffin could be sent home, “there is little evidence, however, that this last step was regularly accomplished.” On Zhang Jian, see Qin Shao, “Making Political Culture,” 68; for Nanjing examples, see Nanjing shehui tekan, no. 2 ( Jan. 1931): 52–55. On Buddhist burial, see Welch, The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 204; for an early Republican Muslim example, see Yangzhou zong jiao, 267. 112. Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity, 84–85, 174. 113. “Qingming jie qian juxing yanmai yundong bing tichang gongmu” (To carry out a reburial campaign prior to the Qingming festival and also promote public cemeteries), JSGB, no. 91 (23 Mar. 1929): 1–2. 114. “Gongmu tiaoli” (Regulations for public cemeteries), Oct. 1928, NZGB 1, no. 7 (Nov. 1928): 22–23; FGDQ, 1097–98. 115. Archives on “Guozang muyuan tiaoli” (Regulations for national cemetery), Apr. 1935–May 1937, AH 129: 042. A site and design were selected, but due to war the plan never came to fruition. 116. “Wuxi shi zhengshou chu shoushe Di yi gongmu jihua gaiyan, jianshe gongmu liyou, diwei jiegou fenqu, yusuan yujia dan, zhangzheng fu diwei lantu” (Explanation of the plan for the Number One Public Cemetery, drawn up by the Wuxi City Administrative Office, and including reasons for construction, location and layout, budget and estimated costs, and blueprints), Jan. 1930, SHA 12(6): 18235. 117. For the Shanxi case, see “Jingji zu shencha geding jianyian yijianshu baogao biao” (Table of proposals and opinion papers reviewed by the economics group [of the Central Committee]), ZYDW 3, no. 3, special issue (Aug. 1930), 122. Regarding Zhenjiang, see “Sheng gongan ju chengbao banli gongmu ji xinzang wenti”


Notes to Pages 255–57

(Report of the provincial Public Security Bureau on handling the problem of public cemeteries and new burials), JSGB, no. 330 (7 Jan. 1930): 4–5. Comment on prices from Buck, The Chinese Farm Economy, 34. 118. Nanjing Municipal Government to Executive Yuan, 15 Dec. 1928; Nanjing Municipal Government to Executive Yuan, 18 Jan. 1929; SHA 2: 1243. 119. Ministry of Health to Nanjing City Bureau of Health (draft), 19 Mar. [1929], SHA 12(6): 18318. 120. ZYRB, 28 July 1929, 2: 4, and 30 July 1929, 2: 4. 121. Liu Jiwen, “Qing zhongyang faqin jianshe shoudu” (A request that the center issue funds for constructing the capital), ZYDW, special issue for the third full meeting of the Third Plenum of the KMT Central Committee (Mar. 1930): 108. One of these was empty space in a pre-existing charitable burial ground (Nanjing tebie shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, ed., Nanjing tebie shi zheng fu zong baogao, 162; Nanjing shi zhengfu, Mishu chu, Bianyi gu, Nanjing shi zheng fu minguo shijiu nian gongzuo zong baogao, 9). 122. Nanjing Municipal Government Bureau of Public Health to Ministry of Health, 28 Oct. 1930, SHA 12(6): 18318. 123. Nanjing Municipal Government Bureau of Public Health to Ministry of Health, 29 Nov. 1930, SHA 12(6): 18318; Liping Wang (“Creating a National Symbol,” 41) cites a figure of 1,500,000 yuan, appropriated for the entire project; a figure of 6,000,000 yuan, probably inflated, can be found in Wu Xiangxiang, Nanjing, 81. 124. Nanking’s Development, 42–43; Nanjing shehui, 3: 28. Contrast the ruthless efficiency with which the post-Boxer allied Tianjin Provisional Government moved graves (Rogaski, Hygienic Modernity, 174). 125. Shoudu shizheng yaolan, 102–3. This calculation was based on an estimated death rate of 12,000 per year, which somewhat exceeded the actual rate. The average death rate in Nanjing for 1931–33, for instance, stood at 9,854 per year (Guomin zhengfu, Zhuji chu, Tongji ju, Zhonghua minguo tong ji tiyao, 379). 126. Shanghai Municipal Government, Bureau of Health, to Bureau of Education, 8 Apr. 1935, SMA Q235-1-310. 127. For example, the records of the Suzhou Chamber of Commerce include a letter that Zhong Lan’gao, a businessman originally from Bishan county in Sichuan, wrote the chamber specifically to warn its members of the impending new tax (SZMA, yi 2-1: 1077). 128. “Gongmu zhanxing tiaoli” (Temporary regulations for public cemeteries), 30 Oct. 1936, FGDQ, 5: 150–51. Among the charities registering a public cemetery was one run by Xiong Xiling in Beiping (see Xiong Xiling, “Wei zunzhao gongmu tiaoli”). 129. “Wuxi shi zhengshou chu” (see note 116 to this chapter). A Central Daily News item of three months earlier described how “seventeen or eighteen” resident monks had fought off a bandit attack on the temple (ZYRB, 27 Oct. 1929, 2: 1).

Notes to Pages 257–59


130. Wuxi gailan, 4: 7. Wuxi’s was not the only Jiangsu public cemetery placed near a temple—Suzhou’s was to be next to the famous Hanshan si, and Jiangdu’s lay near the Wuwang miao (Suzhou No. 1 Public Cemetery plan and blueprint, Oct. 1929; Jiangdu county public cemetery plan, 2 May 1930, SHA 12[6]: 18325). In all cases authorities claimed that this was the only suitable property they could find, away from residences and schools, and the scattered placement of temples in the suburbs of Jiangsu’s small cities made the coincidence hard to avoid. There is no indication in the records that the choice was deliberate, although it is possible that, as with the proximity rules, local officials found the procedures of land acquisition easier to circumvent when temples were involved. 131. “Shanghai Chang’an gongmu zhangcheng” (Charter for the Eternal Peace Public Cemetery, Shanghai), 17 Aug. 1930, SHA 12(6): 18325. 132. “Wuxi shi zhengshou chu” (see note 116 to this chapter). 133. Although many commercial cemeteries doubtless displayed Sun portraits and national flags, a separate martyr’s shrine seems a feature of the government designs. Compare Shanghai’s Eternal Rest Cemetery, which had a board of directors composed of leaders from the textile, banking, and newspaper industries and which offered Qingming ceremonies, would prepare individual ritual implements and food offerings for a fee, and set aside places specifically “for worship and sutra readings.” Plots in the Perpetual Rest Cemetery, also in Shanghai, were divided up according to province. Both lacked martyr’s shrines. See “Shanghai Chang’an gongmu zhangcheng (Charter of Eternal Rest Cemetery, Shanghai), 17 Aug. 1930; Shanghai sili Jiuan gongmu lantu (Blueprint for the privately established Perpetual Rest Cemetery, Shanghai), 1929–30?, SHA 12(6): 18325. 134. Chen Rizhang, Jing Zhen Su Xi youlan zhinan, 3: 13–14, describes a KMT Martyrs’ Shrine in a recently converted Shao Yong shrine; Rui Lin et al., Wuxi daoyou, 12, places this near the temple. A 1943 city plan of the occupation government again called for the construction of public cemeteries near Qingshan, suggesting that the full plan awaited completion (Gu Peilin, “Minguo shiqi Wuxi de ji ci chengshi jianshe guihua,” 39). 135. The ever-present notion of political tutelage and three-stage revolution presents another complication to the idea of state as “meta-ancestor.” Although the immediate effect of attempts to create collective funerary and marriage ceremonies during the New Life Movement, for example, was to insert the party-state into everyday life, the KMT’s claimed purpose was to create national and group unity, a notion open to varying interpretations from other parties. 136. On these points, see Liping Wang, “Creating a National Symbol”; and Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 231–33. On linking Nanjing as capital to Sun, see “Guomin zhengfu ding du Nanjing xuanyan” (Proclamation of the National Government’s choice of Nanjing as the capital), 18 Apr. 1927, DAZL, ser. 5, pt. 1, zhengzhi, 1: 1.


Notes to Pages 259–61

137. Sun required loyalty oaths from members of the Chinese Revolutionary Party (Fitzgerald, Awakening China, 184). 138. “Zongli jinian zhou tiaoli” (Guidelines for weekly remembrances of the Party Leader), Feb. 1926, revised Aug. 1927, Jan. 1931, and May 1933, FGHB, 12: 158–59. On the 1926 dispute, see Sun Zhongshan jinian guan, Minguo mingren yu Zhongshan ling, 57. 139. “Geji dangbu lianchang dangge zhanxing banfa” (Temporary method for party branches of all levels to practice singing the party anthem), 21 Feb. 1929, FGHB, 12: 159–60. 140. KMT Organization Department to National Government, 8 Aug. 1927, AH GMZF, reel 332, 373–74. 141. “Ge sheng ji ge xian shi dangbu yu zhengfu lianhe juxing Zongli jinian zhou” (Order for provincial, city, and county party branches and governments to hold Sun Yat-sen remembrance ceremonies together), 11 Apr. 1934, ZYDW, no. 69 (Apr. 1934): 271; Ministry of Interior, Jiangsu KMT Department of Rites and Ceremonies, and Ministry of Personnel to National Government, 25 June 1935, AH GMZF, reel 332, 487–88. 142. “Zongli jinian zhou yi gui” (Ceremonial guidelines for Sun Yat-sen memorial meetings), 2 Apr. 1936, FGDQ, appendix 879–80. 143. Culp, Articulating Citizenship, 228–33. 144. “Geming jinian ri jianming biao” (Brief chart of revolutionary holidays), “Geming jinian ri shilue ji xuanchuan yaodian” (Brief histories of the revolutionary holidays and propaganda points), (both 10 July 1930), FGHB, 12: 163–68; “Zongli danchen jinian dahui di yi ci zhoubei hui jilu” (Minutes of the first preparation meeting for the rally commemorating the anniversary of the Party Leader’s birth), 4 Nov. 1927, AH GMZF, reel 132, 449–57. 145. ZYRB, 7 July 1928, 1: 3. 146. Liping Wang (“Creating a National Symbol,” 30–31, 49–50) notes, for example, the difference between the original memorial services in Beijing in 1925, which featured impromptu marches and massive crowds, and the carefully orchestrated proceedings in Nanjing; see also Harrison, The Making of the Republican Citizen, 220–29. 147. “Gongji shiji” (Record of the public offering), Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an, 377–83. 148. “Feng’an yishi, fang’an zhi guiding” (Rules for the ceremony and plan for the interment), 17 Apr. 1929, Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an, 332–38. For rules of public behavior at the sending-off in Beijing, see Liping Wang, “Creating a National Symbol,” 50. 149. Liping Wang, “Creating a National Symbol,” 51–52; “Feng’an shiji” (Record of laying the body to rest), Nanjing shi dang’an guan and Zhongshan lingyuan guanli chu, Zhongshan ling dang’an, 384–89. 150. Nedostup, “Two Tombs.”

Notes to Pages 261–64


151. ZYRB, 24 Feb. 1929, 1: 4. 152. “Baocun Jiangdu jiu huanggong gaijian jinian Zongli changsuo” (Preserve the old imperial palace in Jiangdu county and convert it into a place to remember the Party Leader), JSGB, no. 65 (14 Dec. 1928): 48–49; see also no. 262 (15 Oct. 1929): 7– 8; no. 330 (7 Jan. 1930): 11–12; Xu Qianfang, Yangzhou fengtu jilue, 31. 153. “Yuan ling chizhi lexian banli Shousheng an gaijian yingshi jinian tang” (Executive Yuan order to handle the conversion of the Shousheng an to a heroes’ memorial hall within the prescribed period of time), JSGB, no. 330 (7 Jan. 1930): 12. 154. ZYRB, 14 Aug. 1928, 3: 3; also 25 Aug. 1928, 3: 3. 155. Bu Wu, “Zhongshan jinian ta” (The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Pagoda), Taizhou mingsheng guji, no. 2 (Oct. 1985): 12–13. For temple conversions in Tai county, see in the same issue of Taizhou mingsheng guji, Xiao Dun, “Wenchang ge” (The Wenchang Pavilion), 23–24; and Tai Sun, Deng Yue, and Zhang Sheng, “Chenghuang miao” (City God Temple), 63–64. See also Minguo Taixian zhi gao, 1: 19–21, 37. It was decided to construct a Sun memorial at the first county-wide general administrative meeting of the KMT county government and party branch, held on 9 Mar. 1928 (Minguo Taixian zhi gao, 1: 36). On bell symbolism, see Fitzgerald, Awakening China, 31. Qin Shao (“Space, Time, and Politics,” 117–18) has noted that in provincial towns such as Nantong clock towers had served as markers of modernity and objects of curiosity since they were first erected by reformers during the 1910s. 156. Wu County Government and Party Branch to Wu County Chamber of Commerce, 29 June 1937, SZMA, yi 21-1189, 55. 157. Respectively, Szonyi, “The Illusion of Standardizing the Gods”; Duara, “Superscribing Symbols”; and Watson, “Standardizing the Gods.” Duara also talks about the shift in frameworks between the imperial and Republican eras in Rescuing History from the Nation, 97. 158. “Ling ge daxue ge sheng jiaoyu ting ji ge tebieshi jiaoyu ju wei feizhi chunqiu si Kong jiudian you” (Order to each university district, provincial department of education, and special municipality bureau of education to abolish the old rites of spring and autumn sacrifices to Confucius), DXYGB 1, no. 3 (Mar. 1928): 22–23, also 58–59. 159. Ministry of Interior to Provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 25 May 1928, NZGB 1, no. 2 (1 June 1928): IIe.26. 160. His position was that “Confucius wasn’t a man of religion, therefore ‘the Confucian religion’ (kong jiao) is not a real word” (Cai Yuanpei, “Zai zhi Xin qingnian jizhe han” [Another letter to the reporter from New Youth], quoted in Shao Wanyuan, Zhongguo jindai sixiang jia de zong jiao he guishen guan, 306). 161. Connerton, How Societies Remember, 52. 162. Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 329–30, Lin Zhen, Shiyong shoudu zhinan, 4: 1; “Wen miao yu wumiao” (The civil and military temples), in Chen Jimin, Jinling changgu, 48–50; “Nanjing shi Guan Yue miao diaocha biao” (Survey report on


Notes to Pages 264–67

Guandi and Yuefei temples in Nanjing city), 22 June 1935, SHA 12: 528; Lu Haiming and Yang Xinhua, Nanjing minguo jianzhu, 46. 163. “Lingzhi feizhi Guan Yue sidian” (Order to recognize the abolition of sacrifices to Guandi and Yue Fei), JSGB, no. 49 (3 Sept. 1928): 27. 164. Hua E, “Xiejin ge xian minzhong jiaoyu shenghuo shi,” 21. 165. Liu Zhichang, “Ge sheng wenmiao de liyong” (Uses for provincial civil temples), ZYRB, 25 Sept. 1929, supplement. 166. “Gaijin shehui jiaoyu jihua” (Plan for improving social education), 1930, FGDQ, 4252–56. 167. Mao Zongzhen, “Qingpu xian nongmin jiaoyu guan jinxing jihua” (Plan for executing the Qingpu county farmer’s education center), Minzhong jiaoyu yuekan 1, no. 12 (1929): 41–52. 168. Ministry of Interior to All Provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 4 Sept. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 9 (Oct. 1929): IIIa.1–3. 169. Anderson, “Replica, Aura, and Late Nationalist Imaginings,” 3–4. I thank one of the anonymous readers of this book for bringing this piece to my attention. 170. Thus in a way this was an opposite process to Ming efforts to destroy images of the sage, which were meant to focus attention back on the rites (Sommer, “Destroying Confucius”). 171. Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Nationalist Party, 7 Sept. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 9 (Oct. 1929): V.2–3. 172. Ministry of Interior to All Provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 4 Sept. 1929 (see note 168 to this chapter). For the history by which the main disciples and savants were enshrined from the Song to the mid-Qing, see Thomas A. Wilson, in “Ritualizing Confucius/Kongzi,” 79–85. 173. JSGB, no. 308 (9 Dec. 1929): 10–12. 174. Anhui Confucius temple surveys, 1934–36, SHA 12: 3004. 175. Neizheng bu, Beiping tanmiao guanli suo, Kongmiao Guozijian jilue. 176. Harrison, The Man Awakened from Dreams, 146. 177. Geisert, Radicalism and Its Demise, 163. 178. Yunnan Provincial Government Committee Member Sun Guangting to Executive Yuan, “Fei Kong si kangyi” (Opposing the abolition of sacrifices to Confucius), 5 Nov. 1928, SHA 2: 1048. Sun retired from government the following year. 179. Professor Chen Chaojue, Anhui University School of Literature, to Executive Yuan, June 1934. Chen had been a longtime fixture in the modern middle and normal schools of Anhui before taking his university position. During the war he joined the Hunan provincial government and was named to an editorial post in the Chongqing Ministry of Education (MGRW, 1051). Yu Shiyuan, Henan Sixth District Business Tax Office, to Executive Yuan, 3 Mar. 1933, SHA 2: 1048. 180. Ministry of Interior to Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Nationalist Party, 26 Aug. 1935, NZGB 8, no. 18 (Aug. 1935): 212.

Notes to Pages 267–69


181. Huoshan County Government to Executive Yuan, 28 Apr. 1933, SHA 2: 1044; Ministry of Interior to Provincial Departments of Civil Affairs, 24 Dec. 1929, NZGB 2, no. 12 ( Jan. 1930): IIIc.14–15 (regarding a request from would-be patriots in Japanese-controlled Taiwan to sponsor a shrine to Zheng Chenggong). Confusion was understandable when high-level KMT officials occasionally provided inscriptions for refurbished shrines—for instance, Jiangsu Minister of Education Zhou Fohai furnished one for a renovated Huaian shrine to General Guan Tianpei, a hometown hero of the Opium War (Mao Dinglai, “Guan zhongjie gong ci”). 182. Yu Shiyuan, Henan Sixth District Business Tax Office, to Executive Yuan, 3 Mar. 1933, SHA 2: 1048. 183. Yao Ying, Jing hua, 136; Dai’s invocations for the ceremonies can be found in Dai Jitao xiansheng foxue lunji. Dai also invited the Panchen Lama to perform a ritual in a government hall on Christmas Eve, 1932 (Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists, 178), and after the thirteenth Dalai Lama’s death in 1933, he sponsored a memorial ceremony for him on the grounds of the Examination Yuan (Yao Ying, Jing hua, 178–79). See Tuttle, idem, 160–92 passim, on links between Tibetan Buddhism and the KMT government in the 1930s. 184. Dai Jitao, “Renwang hu guo fahui fayuan wen” (Dharma-prayer for the Benevolent Kings Who Protect Their Countries Dharma-Meeting), 16 Nov. 1931, in Dai Jitao xiansheng foxue lunji, 116–18. The outbreak of war changed at least one aspect of Dai’s ritual activity: the dharma assemblies grew considerably larger and more public, gaining openly acknowledged sponsorship from other Buddhists in politics, such as President Lin Sen (Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists, 215). 185. Nedostup, “Two Tombs.” 186. Shenbao, 5 Apr. 1937, 11. 187. Zarrow, “Political Ritual in the Early Republic of China,” 172–73. 188. NZGB 8, no. 16 (15 July 1935): 139–41; Nanjing City Yue and Guan Temple Survey, 22 June 1935, SHA 12: 528. 189. Kong Demao and Ke Lan, The House of Confucius, 125–26; and Kong Decheng to National Government, 23 Aug. 1928; Kong Xiangxi to National Government, Aug. 1928; Draft order to Shandong Provincial Government, 30 Aug. 1928; Chiang Kai-shek to National Government, 1 Sept. 1928; etc., all AH GMZF, reel 259. Kong Xiangxi, later governor of the Bank of China and minister of finance, was minister of commerce and industry at the time. 190. Guowen zhoubao 7, no. 32 (18 Aug. 1930), unpaginated; Executive Yuan to Office of the Secretary, Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Nationalist Party, 9 May 1931, KMT 446: 36. 191. Executive Yuan communiqué no. 3221 to Office of Personnel, National Government, July 1935, AH GMZF 259: 222–24; see also Jun Jing, The Temple of Memories, 39; on the relationship between the Confucian cults of the state and of his descendants, see Thomas A. Wilson, “The Ritual Formation of Confucian Orthodoxy.”


Notes to Pages 270–72

192. Suk-jung Han, “The Problem of Sovereignty”; Young, Japan’s Total Empire, 285–86; Mitter, The Manchurian Myth, 93–100; Duara, Sovereignty and Authenticity, 64– 65, 102. 193. Suk-jung Han, “Puppet Sovereignty,” 281–82; Nanjing wanbao, 2 Apr. 1935, 2. 194. On the latter, for instance, after the final rout of the CCP soviet centered in Ruijin, under the supervision of Jiangxi Governor Xiong Shihui authorities rewrote curricula to emphasize party ideology and the nascent New Life Movement. Sun Yat-sen People’s Schools, for students aged 17 to 50, were set up to replace the CCP’s Lenin Elementary Schools (William Wei, Counterrevolution in China, 76–81, 138–39). 195. Leibold, Reconfiguring Chinese Nationalism, 120–28. 196. Wakeman, “A Revisionist View of the Nanjing Decade.” In fact, Wakeman uses “Confucian” much more loosely, as a rough synonym for “Chinese systems of cultural authority,” and he does not argue for the centrality of any of these organizations in the New Life Movement as a whole (rather than in the KMT’s security apparatus). The best evidence of the mongrel nature of the “Confucian” ideology of the New Life Movement is to be found in Dirlik, “The Ideological Foundations of the New Life Movement.” 197. Dai Zhuanxian (Dai Jitao), “Guomin wenhua fuxing de kaishi” (Beginning the revival of national culture), ZYDW, no. 73 (Aug. 1934): 671–74. 198. Wang Jingwei, “Jinian Kongzi danchen zhi yiyi” (The meaning of commemorating Confucius’ birthday), ZYDW, no. 73 (Aug. 1934), 668–671. 199. “Xianshi Kongzi danchen jinian banfa” (Method for remembering the birthday of the Former Teacher Confucius), ZYDW, no. 72 ( July 1934): 555–56; “Guanyu Zongli yixiang yu Kongzi yixiang xuangua paili cixu ji jinian ge wenti” (On the problems of the memorial song and the order in which the portraits of the Premier and Confucius should be hung), ZYDW, no. 73 (Aug. 1934): 613. 200. Although the Central Daily News claimed, extravagantly and improbably, that the 1936 Huangdi remembrance in the northwest occurred in a “sea of humanity” of some 10,000 people, more typical was that year’s Ming Taizu observance, before an audience of 600 (ZYRB, 6 Apr. 1936, 1: 2, 1: 3; also Nedostup, “Two Tombs”). 201. Executive Yuan to National Government re: petition of Ke Huang to Fifth Central Committee Plenary Meeting, 26 Feb. 1935, AH GMZF 259: 50–57. 202. “Kongzi danchen yu shuizai” (Confucius’ birthday and the floods), Guowen zhoubao 8, no. 35 (1931): 4. 203. Hu Shi, “Xie zai Kongzi danchen jinian zhi hou” (After the Confucius memorial), Duli pinglun, no. 117 (9 Sept. 1934), reprinted in Deng Weizhen, ed., Duli pinglun xuanji, 6: 241–47. 204. Asad, “Religion, Nation-State, Secularism,” 185–87. 205. Zhou Buguang, Mixin de pochu, 28; Changshu ren (pseud.), “Sun ling yu xiao’er de hunpo” (The Sun Mausoleum and the souls of young children), Geming

Notes to Pages 272–76


pinglun (The revolutionary critic), no. 6, reprinted in Geming pinglun quanji (Complete collection of the Revolutionary Critic) (n.p., 1928), 42; Liu Xiyuan, “1928 nian Nanjing de shehun fengbo.” 206. Zhou Buguang, Mixin de pochu. Liu Xiyan (“1928 nian Nanjing de shehun fengbo”) provides other variations, all along the same lines. 207. Haar, Telling Stories, 316. 208. Smith, “Talking Toads and Chinless Ghosts,” 423–24. 209. Zhou Qicai, “Xunzheng shiqi de minzhong jiaoyu,” 5. 210. Liu Xiyuan, “1928 nian Nanjing de shehun fengbo,” 165. 211. SHA 2: 1033. 212. FGHB, 4: 376. 213. Although numerous mints produced coins with Sun’s portrait after 1927 (China Year Book 1929–30, 290), notes with his image really became standard only after the 1935 banking reforms centralized currency issues from three state banks (Notar, “Viewing Currency Chaos,” 133). 214. This does not mean that I think that this is evidence that people were worshipping Sun as a cult figure. In more recent times offerings to the spirits of late political leaders have been extremely localized; Adam Chau (Miraculous Response, 51) expresses skepticism that one temple with statues of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Zhu De he encountered in northern Shaanxi was part of an established cult. 215. Poon, “Refashioning Festivals in Republican Guangzhou,” 216–21. 216. Zhang Jingru and Bian Xingying, Guomin zheng fu tongzhi shiqi Zhongguo shehui zhi bianqian, 243. 217. Communication to Women’s Morality Society of Daoyuan, July 1936, SHA 257: 65. See also Chapter 2. 218. Verdery, The Political Lives of Dead Bodies, 50. 219. Anderson (“Replica, Aura, and Late Nationalist Imaginings,” 4–6, 11–13) observes both these phenomena in the Philippines. Michael Szonyi (Cold War Island, 181–97) shows that national heroes on Jinmen come to be commemorated very differently by locals and by troops and officials. 220. Ye Chucang and Liu Yizheng, Shoudu zhi, 1136. 221. Baoshan xianzhi (Gazetteer of Baoshan county), 1931, in Ding Shiliang and Zhao Fang, Zhongguo difang zhi minsu ziliao huibian, Huadong, 1: 23, 73. Also Chuansha xianzhi (Gazetteer of Chuansha county), 1937; and Funing xianzhi (Gazetteer of Funing county), 1934, also in Ding Shiliang and Zhao Fang, Huadong, 1: 23, 543. The military band, it turned out, was the most popular new custom. 222. Gu Yuzhen, Suzhou fengsu tan, 35; Wang Peitang, Jiangsu sheng xiangtu zhi, 374–76. 223. In his preface to the published compilation, Mao Dun gives no reason for picking this particular date. The choice seems hardly coincidental, however: the original call for contributions noted the editors’ willingness to receive pieces “about supernatural happenings on May 21 concerning various local customs, practices,


Notes to Pages 276–81

superstitions, etc.” “After all,” Mao noted of such material, “aren’t lies and rumors another aspect of life in China?” See Preface, Mao Dun, Zhongguo de yi ri, 3; and “Appeal for Contributions to One Day in China,” in ibid., Appendix A, 267. 224. Shilang (pseud.), “Pusa shangle shen” (Possessed by a god), in ibid., 4: 31. Translation adapted in part from Cochran et al., One Day in China, 150. “Make use of trash” was a common New Life slogan linked to frugality, use of native products, and productivity. See, e.g., “Xinyun shi nian” (Ten years of the New Life Movement), Xin shenghuo yundong shiliao, 235. 225. Chen Lijiang and Chen Youduan, “Nongmin duiyu wenhua fanying xinli zhi diaocha yu yanjiu,” 84–86. 226. Gu Jiegang, “Lun Zhongguo de jiuli xinnian,” 2–3.

Chapter 8 1. Recent scholarship has made clear the merits of comparing political systems and ideas across the long twentieth century in China; an excellent case for this approach as well as a summary of important scholarship on citizenship—relevant to points 2 and 3—can be found in Culp, Articulating Citizenship, 276–300. 2. Ministry of Finance to Executive Yuan and Ministry of Economic Affairs, 14 July 1943, which applied the highest tax rate of 80 percent (for tinfoil) to all kinds of spirit money, even plain huangbiao, which had previously been taxed at the wartime rate of 5 percent for plain paper goods, AH 64: 346; Drafts, commentary and final version of “Qudi mixin yongzhi banfa”(Method for banning paper for superstitious use), 27 June to 28 Dec. 1945, AH 129: 114; Beijing jingji xueyuan, Caizheng jiaoyan shi, Zhongguo jindai shuizhi gaishu, 227, 271, 285, 295, 297. The Communists also enacted similar taxes in the Shaan-Gan-Ning soviet and in the postwar “liberated areas” of Manchuria. “Jiaqiang chajin shehui qunzhong shenquan mixin banfa” (Method for a renewed ban on superstitious belief in divine authority among the masses of society), 5 Sept. 1939, and internal drafts and notes, Ministry of Interior, Aug.–Sept. 1939, AH 128: 2152; also Executive Yuan to Ministry of Interior on the problem of people establishing altars, 20 June 1940, AH 128: 2187; and DuBois, The Sacred Village, 133–35, on official attitudes toward Yiguandao. 3. Dharma Society for Protecting the Nation and Disaster Relief to Executive Yuan, 25 Apr. 1939, May 1939, and June 1939, AH 67: 1386. Dai was chairman of the group, and the managing director was Zhang Ji, a party elder and a longstanding member of the Central Supervisory Committee of the KMT, who also served in the national government and other central government posts. He also was a frequent partner of Dai’s in the “customs coalition,” supporting the medal for Zongyang (see Chapter 5) and measures to honor culture heroes (see Chapter 7). Other leaders were Qu Yingguang 屈映光 (1883–1973), a former Beiyang government official who had received Chan ordination in 1929 and served as a relief official in the Nationalist government, and Chen Qicai 陳其采 (1880–1954), who had

Notes to Pages 281–83


been involved with running the Bank of China and other major financial institutions since the 1911 Revolution and who had served in local positions in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Shanghai. See also Tuttle, Tibetan Buddhists, 215–16; and Xue Yu, Buddhism, War and Nationalism, 115–16. 4. E.g., Juexian, “Senglu wuzhuang huguo lun” (On the sangha taking up arms to defend the country), Fo hai deng 2, no. 4: 5–14, quoted in Xue Yu, Buddhism, War and Nationalism, 72. 5. Office of the Secretariat, Central Committee, KMT, to Ministry of Social Affairs, 7 Aug. 1939; Report of Xinlü County KMT Executive Committee, Sichuan, 16 May 1939; Guizhou Provincial Executive Committee, KMT, to Bureau of Social Affairs, Feb. 1939; “Kangzhan shiqi buxiang congye ren xunlian banfa” (Method for wartime training of persons in the profession of fortunetelling), n.d.; provincial and county reports, Henan and Sichuan, Jan.–July 1940; all in SHA 11: 454. 6. Xie Zhen to Chiang Kai-shek, 21 Dec. 1945, and Shi Pengfan to Chiang Kaishek, 21 Mar. [1949?]; SHA 1: 1747. A foursquare (四方紙) charm is created by folding a piece of paper in four and, with a single cut, producing ten characters; in this case the ten were 介石回北平朱毛二命亡: “[ Jiang] Jieshi [will] return to Beiping; both Zhu [De and] Mao [Zedong] meet defeat.” 7. Palmer, “Tao and Nation.” 8. The first round of debate on the Chinese public centered on the applicability of the Habermasian concept of civil society and the public sphere, heavily driven by underlying questions of China’s possible democratization; see the Modern China issue on the topic (19, no. 2 [Apr. 1993]): Philip C. C. Huang, “ ‘Public Sphere’ / ‘Civil Society’ in China?”; Rankin, “Some Observations on a Chinese Public Sphere”; Rowe, “The Problem of ‘Civil Society’ in Late Imperial China”; Wakeman, “The Civil Society and Public Sphere Debate.” Among the works that addressed this debate and advanced inquiry into local frameworks are Strand, Rickshaw Beijing; and Goodman, Native Place, City and Nation. For an excellent overview of scholarship on the “public,” see Lean, Public Passions, 5–13; Lean’s work is also an example of the new turn in measuring the public, as are Goodman, “Appealing to the Public”; and Wen-hsin Yeh, Shanghai Splendor. 9. Paul Katz calls for just such a project in “Religious Life of a Renowned Shanghai Businessman,” where he outlines directions in recent scholarship on Beijing temples as well as his own work on Wang Yiting that lead the way. On a much broader level, Kenneth Dean argues for a consideration of ritual events and their local circuits as “public spheres” of a sort apart from the Habermasian model (“Ritual and Space”). 10. Perry, “Moving the Masses,” 123. 11. Here Perry cites the work of Paul Cohen: “Remembering and Forgetting National Humiliation in Twentieth-Century China.” 12. Li Shiwei (Zhonggong yu minjian wenhua, 63–65, 204–7) describes how the Jiangxi soviet organizers eventually restrained their antisuperstition campaigns so


Notes to Pages 283–86

that they would not interfere with village organizing; by contrast, political conditions were strong enough in the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region by 1945 to launch an eradication campaign against spirit mediums. 13. Herzfeld, Cultural Intimacy, 93–110. 14. International Herald Tribune, Apr. 5, 2006 ( 2006/04/05/news/taiwan.php, accessed 2 Sept. 2008); CCTV, 20 Apr. 2007 (, accessed 2 Sept. 2008). Soong paid a visit to Huangdi’s tomb site during his first visit to China in 2005, an act that in essence brought the political circle back to the prerevolutionary KMT (although, of course, this link was not mentioned in the press; see, e.g., http: // 183810.html, accessed 2 Sept. 2008, which instead quotes an anonymous bystander remarking that the act demonstrated “the psychological cohesion of the Chinese nation”). 15. The signal study that demonstrates this is Wedeen, Ambiguities of Domination. 16. Reports on “Chajin buliang fengsu” (Banning bad habits), 1944–46, and Ministry of Interior cable Yu 857, 30 Aug. 1945, AH 129: 84–100; also Friedman, “Civilizing the Masses.” 17. Katz, “Religion and the State in Post-war Taiwan,” 94–98; on state promotion of Confucianism, see Jochim, “Carrying Confucianism in the Modern World,” 56–58. 18. Jones, Buddhism in Taiwan, chap. 4; Laliberté, “Religious Change and Democratization in Postwar Taiwan,” 161–62. 19. Problem of Disposing of Japanese Temple Property Rights, Department of Finance, Taiwan Provincial Government, Sept. 1958, AH 275-5: 1492. On “Japanization” of temples, see Jones, “Religion in Taiwan at the End of the Japanese Colonial Period,” 24–28. 20. Katz, “Religion and the State in Post-war Taiwan.” 21. Weller, Alternate Civilities, chap. 5; Laliberté, “Religious Change and Democratization in Postwar Taiwan.” One could point out, for instance, that the growth of redemptive societies and the founding of the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Association (Ciji gongde hui 慈濟功德會) predate the CCK era, although the period of substantial growth in both cases did begin in the late 1970s and 1980s. 22. Jordan and Overmyer, The Flying Phoenix, 243n29. According to some sect leaders, KMT politicians also utilized the group for vote getting even while it was still interdicted (Yunfeng Lu, The Transformation of Yiguan Dao on Taiwan, 63–64). 23. Lee Fong-mao, “The Daoist Priesthood in Secular Society,” 133–34. 24. Mayfair Yang points out that the evolutionary thought of American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan—disseminated via Marx, Engels, and Stalin— influenced Chinese Marxist classifications of religion, customs, and peoples in the 1950s (“Introduction,” in Chinese Religiosities, 22–25).

Notes to Pages 286–92


25. Gao Wangzhi, “Y. T. Wu”; Madsen, “Catholic Revival During the Reform Era,” 164–66; Potter, “B