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World of Faith and FreedomWhy International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security$
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Thomas F. Farr

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179958

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179958.001.0001

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Riding the Dragon

Riding the Dragon

The Case of China

(p.273) 10 Riding the Dragon
World of Faith and Freedom

Thomas F. Farr (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

China is the largest and, arguably, the most consequential nation for American interests. It has a huge conventional and nuclear military establishment, is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is a major economic power, and has enormous influence in the Far East, especially in North Korea. Its explosion of religious devotion has disoriented Chinese officials, leading to quixotic attempts at control and management of religious communities. Such efforts, in turn, routinely lead to persecution of Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and Christians. This chapter, centered on the author's travels in China, describes the religious landscape and offers new ways to “think with the Chinese” about their religious “problem.” For American diplomacy, the solution lies in the economy, law, scholarship, education and civil society. The stakes are high: if China cannot come to see the growing percentages of religious adherents as resources rather than threats, the result could be catastrophic—for China, its religious citizens, and U.S. interests.

Keywords:   China, military, religious landscape, persecution, Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, Christians, economy, law, scholarship, education, civil society

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