Party Spirit: Producing a Communist Civil Religion in Contemporary China

The Chinese Communist Party is confronted with a growing gap that separates the rhetoric about socialism and party rule from the individualism and materialism caused by capitalism and opening up to the outside world. In response, the Party has developed strategies that draw on an understanding of the dedication to the Party that is specifically religious, yet does not require belief, conviction, or faith in a doctrine. These strategies revolve around the Leninist concept of ‘Party spirit’, which, paradoxically, has been turned into a commodity that can be produced, supplied, and consumed.