Chapter

Oligopoly Dynamics and the Triple Religious Markets in China

Fenggang Yang

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199930890.003.0006
Oligopoly Dynamics and the Triple Religious Markets in China

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This chapter introduces four types of state-religion relations in human history – religious monopoly, pluralism, oligopoly, and a total ban. It argues that religious oligopoly is the most common practice in the world today and applies that understanding to the situation in China. The chapter illuminates the operation of triple markets in China: a red market of legal (officially permitted and regulated) religions; a black market of illegal religious groups and activities; and a grey market of spiritual organizations and practices of ambiguous legal status. This triple market is dynamic, as some groups, such as the Falun Gong, moved from ambiguous to illegal status, while some illegal underground Christian churches have moved into the gray category. The chapter draws upon these findings to challenge and refine dominant theories about the operation of religious markets.

Keywords: religious markets; religious monopoly; religious oligopoly; religious pluralism; triple religious markets in China; underground churches; black market religion; Falun Gong; Qigong; Catholic Patriotic Association

Chapter.  13536 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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