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Sacred RightsThe Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions$
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Daniel C. Maguire

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195160017

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195160017.001.0001

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Excess, Lack, and Harmony

Excess, Lack, and Harmony

Some Confucian and Taoist Approaches to Family Planning and Population Management—Tradition and the Modern Challenge

(p.217) 10 Excess, Lack, and Harmony
Sacred Rights


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the significant role that Chinese religious traditions have played in the context of family planning and related issues. It argues that the idea of family planning or population management does not necessarily conflict with the long traditions of the Chinese religions. On the contrary, the compatibility between the modern idea of family planning and how it was conceived according to Chinese traditions is in fact an inherent cultural and spiritual resource that has enabled Chinese people to tolerate, accept, and even support the modern idea of family planning. “Chinese religious traditions” designates the two major indigenous religions: Confucianism and Taoism, which have shaped the Chinese cultural tradition since the Chou Dynasty (1066–256 b.c.e.), during which the classics or scriptures of both religions were composed by their initiators. This chapter focuses on the ideas and beliefs shared by both religions that have been absorbed into the larger contexts of Chinese culture.

Keywords:   Chinese religious traditions, family planning, population management, Chinese religions, Chinese traditions, Confucianism, Taoism, Chou Dynasty, Chinese culture

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