Daoist China
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Daoist China

Governance, Economics, Culture

Paperback $27.95, plus S&H PDF download $15

By Livia Kohn
150 Pages
July 2018
ISBN 978-1-931483-35-3


Traveling in China today and walking about in various cities, it is easy to observe the continued unbridled construction of huge, megalithic high-rise complexes in vast stretches of the country, complete with the untrammeled despoiling of nature and intensification of pollution, as well as the ever increasing vibrancy of the Chinese people, glued to their cell phones and actively connected online, always moving about and hustling for yet another deal.

At the same time, using the internet without a VPN and talking to academics at various universities, it becomes obvious that there is a massive increase in repressive measures by the state, the tightening of the intellectual control of both content and expression, the fluctuating inaccessibility of information sources that used to be perfectly fine. What, the question arises, is going on here? Where stands China today and where is it headed from here? And what, in all of this, is the role and place of Daoism? These sixty vignettes on “Daoist China” present different aspects of life in China, in each case describing the current situation and connecting it to the role and changing facets of Daoism today, focusing in turn on dimensions of governance, economics, and culture.


Daoist China offers a fascinating and unique perspective on contemporary China from one of the world’s foremost scholars of Daoism. Through a series of accessible and insightful vignettes, It describes key aspects of China’s extraordinary transformation, and explains their effect on the lives of modern Chinese Daoists.

—James Miller, Duke Kunshan University


Daoist China is a thoroughly informative and wonderfully readable work serving two purposes.  It is an introduction to Chinese society and culture generally, but it also focuses specifically on the place of active Daoist practice, key sites, and leading figures in current Daoism. Although I have done field research on Daoism in China for the last 20 years, I found this work full of a wealth of information, clarity of insight and description, and punctuated throughout with the signs of direct lived experience. Daoist China is highly recommended for anyone planning to visit China, live in China, or study particularly its indigenous spiritual tradition of Daoism. Livia Kohn has the expertise, powers of perception, and experiential knowledge needed to be the most remarkable and desirable of guides to Daoist China.

– Ronnie Littlejohn, Belmont University