Religious Markets in East Asian Societies

Religious groups in societies experiencing radical changes often occur, grow, and disperse with contextual social changes. Similar to previous cases in Korea and Japan, Chinese religious groups exhibit certain features that are common to transitioning societies, while pertaining particular characteristics. In China, religious groups within the establishment have clear growth, while groups that have been persecuted by the government remain active too. At the same time, there are more groups in grey areas, challenging existing boundaries and notions on religion. Religious groups in the three-color market of religions (red, black, and grey) are experiencing various changes within their respective markets, while often transitioning from one market to another. We witness religious groups shifting boundaries between legal, illegal, and in between categories, even when different theories of religious markets are applied. Some legal groups sometimes act beyond legal boundaries while some illegal groups are gaining support and acceptance from the mass and local governments. Some groups transitioned from illegal to legal or grey areas; some legal groups change to underground or are exploring areas of grey.

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