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The role of popular religion in the Red Spears Movement in modern China, 1925-1942

  • 인문논총
  • 2020, 51(), pp.3-37
  • DOI : 10.33638/JHS.51.1
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : December 31, 2019
  • Accepted : February 10, 2020
  • Published : February 28, 2020

Chae, Jun Hyung 1

1인천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines how did the nationalists and the communist revolutionaries tried to transform local Chinese peasants into modern Chinese nation with the case of the Red Spears, a local self-defensive and religious society of Republican period. It demonstrates how did the various political powers in Chinese territory, including Japanese Imperial forces during the Sino-Japanese war, competing with each other to appeal to Chinese common population. By doing so, the paper explores several issues: how did Chinese peasants develop their local identities into national ones; what was the role of religious doctrines and secular features in the transformation. The paper argues that, regardless of religious beliefs, the secular regulations strongly influenced by Confucian teachings of the Red Spears also should be regarded as an important factor in the lives of the Red Spear Society’s members. It also deserves to note that local commoners’ engagement with the Red Spears resulted not just from their religious transformation, but also from their practical needs for using the Society’s doctrines and organization to resist government’s excessive extraction. It also demonstrates that there were little difference between the Chinese communists’ strategic approach to the Red Spears and that of other political powers, especially Japanese imperial forces, in mobilizing the peasant forces of the Red Spear Society. During the Sino-Japanese War. They both acknowledged the important role of hybrid religious belief of the Red Spears as a core factor in sustaining their solidarity. In utilizing the forces of the Red Spear Society, Japanese imperialist and Chinese communist policy makers tried to avoid provoking the Society with attacking their “superstitious” beliefs.

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