Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Fall 10-26-2021


Liming, Gao. Understanding Religious Tolerance in Yongchang, China. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. October 2021.


Copyright Liming Gao 2021


The formation of China is a process of national integration and a fusion of different beliefs. However, under Chairman Mao (1949-1976) and specifically during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), people were reeducated to focus on Communism and expel remnants of traditional Chinese culture including the various religions. Although, after the Cultural Revolution, China reinstated its policy of religious freedom, there were still strict laws against religion. Despite such circumstances, Chinese people still practice their religious beliefs. The Yongchang area, located in Gansu Province in the northwest of China is a typical region of Chinese culture. At the same time, compared to other parts of China, the Yongchang area’s historical circumstances and geographical location along the Silk Road and Chinese border in ancient times facilitated the absorption of different religious and ethnic cultures to form a mixed regional religious culture. This thesis, through the perspective of Buddhism, aims to understand how Yongchang supports and/or tolerates multiple religions through both a cultural anthropological and a historical/archaeological perspective by understanding how different religions and local people get along. By understanding how Yongchang supports and/or tolerates multiple religions in one area, it serves as an example to understand the formation of China, the Chinese people’s religious ideas, and the contradictions and compromises between the Chinese government and Chinese people.