Chapter Five of The Religious Question in Modern China focuses on government attempts to eradicate religion throughout China. However, it also elaborates on the effects such policies had on rural societies in China. I found the details regarding KMT policies to reconstruct traditional holidays and festivals to be secular and nationalist to be particularly interesting. The way the nationalist government attempted to lower the risk of insurrection, especially in the countryside, was to change the very meaning of traditional cultural events. For example, Nationalists associated Guandi with Yue Fei, Turing him into a national god of martial resistance against the Japanese.
Another interesting detail mentioned in the text was the varying degrees of success of such policies. Urban areas were typically more easily influenced by these new policies while rural areas were more obstinate. However, a dichotomy existed between different regions of the country as well. Northern areas were supposedly more willing to make the switch from organized religion to redemptive societies while southern areas (the text specifically mentions the Jiangnan region and Fujian) were relatively more devoted to tradition.
The KMT’s religious policies definitely left an impact on China as a whole. The whole period following the fall of the Qing Dynasty was especially tumultuous in regard to religion in China as policies detrimental to religion continued to be implemented. In essence, opposition to state religious policies was indeed logical, as attacks on religion were tantamount to direct attacks on local identities, tradition, memories, and culture.