Catholics and Civil Society in China

2515 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:00am to 11:30pm
Transcript (PDF) (Text)

Most experts agree that Chinese citizens will not enjoy substantial religious freedom until they are free to form unsupervised religious associations and organizations. Between 1949 and 1978, the Chinese government destroyed China's relatively underdeveloped civil society. But since 1978, the Chinese people have rebuilt some of the institutions of civil society, despite strict government limits. The Government generally gives little latitude to religious believers to form private voluntary associations, but in recent years has permitted the formation of a network of Catholic social services, while tightening restrictions on Catholics in other areas.

This roundtable examined recent developments in Catholic institutions of civil society and assessed in what areas future liberalization or additional restrictions are likely to occur.


Sister Janet Carroll, M.M. Program Associate, U.S. Catholic China Bureau

Dr. Richard Madsen, Professor of Sociology, University of California, San Diego