Faith and Journalism in China | Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson February 6, 2023

China is a fascinating and sometimes mysterious place to many Americans. In America, through newspapers, television, and other media, we often get a one-dimensional sense that Chinese society reflects its government, which is officially atheistic. Ian Johnson’s book called The Souls of China helps us reframe our understanding. In fact, Ian writes that China is in the midst of one of the world’s great spiritual revivals, including the growth of Christianity, Buddhism, Daoism, and other faiths.

We were fortunate enough to recently host Ian at Upper House, where he talked about this spiritual revival. In this interview with Ian, we wanted to learn more about his background, and development as a world-class journalist, and understand what makes him “tick.” We sat down to talk about his story of writing about China and being a foreign journalist there for years, as well as his take on the evolution of spirituality in China.

Ian Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, researcher, and senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has authored multiple books including his newest book, “The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.”