COVID-19 Impacts Chinese Buddhism, State Control, and Soft Power

May 20, 2020

A special report in Religion & Diplomacy sheds light on how Buddhists in China have provided comfort and support to people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also examines the government's control over religions within China and how it has employed Buddhism as soft power, influencing people’s emotions and behaviors as part of its response to the spread of the coronavirus disease.


This essay examines the responses of Han Buddhism to Covid-19 in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). From late January 2020, following the announcement of the coronavirus disease in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, temples have been closed to the public as part of the society-wide lockdown. Nevertheless, Buddhists have found ways to be active in offering prayers and material support for those suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. Their activities follow state administrative institutions for guidance, in other words, control of religion.

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Religion in International Affairs|Responding to Covid-19

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