This ethnographic study of a Chinese Catholic village reveals how the rapid penetration of transnational processes into the People s Republic of China during the post-Mao period has redefined and created new social and cultural structures in rural communities. In examining the resurfacing of a Catholic community in a Hakka village in Jiaoling county, Guangdong, the book shows what it means to be part of a global and modern rural village.
The Hakka are members of a Chinese diasporic group that in the past few decades have mobilized international campaigns to strengthen ethnic solidarity. After surviving campaigns of persecution in the Maoist era, Catholic villagers incorporated their village church into the state religious administrative structure while remaining faithful to Catholic traditions. They managed this transformation despite a multiplicity of national and transnational processes that might have deterred them: the privatization of local sectors of the socialist economy; the global movement of people as workers, students, and tourists; and the swift modernization of Chinese production and consumption.
Through a close examination of life-cycle rituals such as weddings, baptisms, and funerals, and community-wide events such as the building of a new church and a celebration of Christmas, the author shows how Catholic villagers pursued strategies to make their imagined futures a reality. For these villagers, Chinese Catholicism has defined a deterritorialized community s boundaries while simultaneously connecting them to the rest of the world through an international religious tradition.