SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Lu, Junda (2022) 'Chinese Roots of Political Religion: Statism in Modern China, 1897-1924.' The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 14 (2020-2021). pp. 160-182.

Text - Published Version
Download (736kB) | Preview


The concept of “political religion” has not been adequately applied to the study of political thought in modern China. This article intends to demonstrate the theoretical potential of political religion in deepening our understanding of Chinese political thought by offering a preliminary analysis of the evolution of statism in China at the turn of the twentieth century. As a political aspiration of constructing a strong China in the modern world, statism has led many Chinese political thinkers to imbue the search for ways of strengthening the state with eschatological fervour. By examining the thoughts of Liang Qichao, Sun Yat-sen, and early Chinese Marxists, I argue that the persistent theme of viewing a strong state as the guardian of Chinese civilization and the trailblazer for future humanity has contributed substantially to the popularization of the political religion of Marxism-Leninism. The tenacity of statist ideals in today’s party-state can also be seen as having inherited the religiosity of the quest for a modern China that began in the early twentieth century.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: political religion, statism, Marxism-Leninism, totalitarianism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies
SOAS Open Access Journals > The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research
ISSN: 25176226
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 14:07

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item