ON THE MORNING of 20 August 2018, the priests of Tianshifu 天师府, a Daoist temple in Longhushan龙虎山, Yingtan prefecture, Jiangxi province, carried out the first ever national flag-raising ceremony in their temple square. A vice-mayor of Yingtan presided over the ceremony. Also present were the local head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD) 统一战线工作部, the abbot of Tianshifu (who happens to be a vice-chairman of the Political Consultative Conference of Yingtan Prefecture), local governmental officials responsible for religious affairs, and all Daoist clerics under the leadership of the Longhushan Daoist Association.1 In late September, when Xie Shengjin was doing fieldwork at Longhushan, several Tianshifu priests told him that they were glad to participate in this ceremony and felt proud to play a role in promoting patriotism.
Forum: Directing The Way
IN SEPTEMBER 2018, after several years of rapprochement, the Vatican signed a provisional agreement with the People’s Republic of China’s government to share authority in the appointment of Chinese Catholic bishops. For nearly all of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) history, the Catholic Church in China has been divided into two: the state-affiliated Catholic Patriotic Church and an underground church that only recognises the authority of the Vatican. Rome has not recognised bishops appointed by the Patriotic Church, and vice versa. One rare example of dual recognition was the 2012 consecration of Thaddeus Ma Daqin 马达钦 as coadjutor/auxiliary bishop in Shanghai. However, Ma quickly resigned from the Patriotic Church — he was placed under house arrest, while the Shanghai seminary and diocesan publisher closed and local priests and nuns were sent to ‘re-education classes’ the following year.