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Global Chinese Catholicism 

Pilote Research Project



This research project explores the lived realities of Chinese Catholics established around the world as well as interactions among them and with Chinese Catholics in China.

While most of the literature on Chinese Catholicism focuses either on its history in mainland China or on its complicated relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, this research project turns the spotlight on the many Chinese Catholic communities that have long been evolving in Sao Paulo, Milano, Melbourne, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, etc. Often, those communities are presented as a result of past migrations or as a mere attempt to preserve a particular ethno-religious identity. Thus, little attention is given to their on-going transformation and development – nor to their relations to other Chinese catholic communities present either around the globe or in mainland China. Furthermore, while social scientists have been paying a renewed interest in the Chinese diaspora and its religious dimensions, little attention has been oriented toward global Chinese Catholicism. Therefore, this research project intends to not only investigate the diversity of global Chinese Catholic communities but also their current evolutions and networking.


To explore the transformation of Global Chinese Catholicism, researchers are invited to consider the following questions:

  • What are the main features of Chinese Catholic communities present around the world? Which kind of ‘Chineseness’ are they producing and displaying? How are regional Chinese languages (Cantonese, Hokkien, etc.) and distinctive rituals (Lunar New Year, etc.) shaping their collective identities – as well as their relationship to specific regions of the People’s Republic of China (Provinces in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao)?

  • How is the Catholic religion passed on within families? What are the consequences of a settlement outside the country of origin on the transfer of the faith to the following generations? Does the secularization of certain countries have an influence on the passing on of the Catholic religion?

  • How do ethnically Chinese laypeople, extended families, and clergy members interact and shape those Chinese Catholic communities and their transnational interactions? How are they mobilizing new technologies and digital platforms to form and reform their communities and networks? 

  • How are Chinese Catholics living in Manila, Paris, Mexico, etc. negotiating their ethno-religious specificities with local governmental and ecclesial authorities? How do they respond to local socio-political and theological ideologies defining plurality as well as social and religious coexistence?

  • What are the transnational networks and circulations that global Chinese Catholicism generates (migrations for work, study, marriage, etc.)? How is the new global importance of China impacting those networks? (For instance, Chinese Catholics from mainland China going for pilgrimages to Rome, Paris, Saigon, Manila; the influx of Chinese priests and nuns from mainland China serving those Global Chinese communities).   

  • How is the growing international presence of China transforming those Chinese Catholic communities? Which kind of new economic, political, religious opportunities and challenges does it bring? How are global Chinese Catholic communities responding to renewed anti-Chinese sentiments that the growing presence of China and the Covid-19 pandemic can generate?

This research began as a collaborative project sponsored by ISAC and BRINFAITH to foster social scientific study of Global Chinese Catholicism. While Phase I (an E-Workshop in Dec. 2021) is completed, Phase II (a series of webinars) remains active, and we are now working on Phase III, the construction of a digital collection of Spring Couplets (春联) that many Chinese Catholics around the world hang on their door shortly before the Chinese New Year.  

To stay informed and connected with this research project, please register: 


For more information about this research project, please send an email to:



Eva Salerno and Angeline Wong

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Phase II of this collaborative project - 2022-Onward 

The bi-monthly webinar is designed to give room to various research on Global Chinese Catholicism, expend our scholarly conversations, and support on-going research initiatives. 

Each time, one researcher presents her/his research on Global Chinese Catholicism, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. To accommodate different time zones, the webinar doesn't not have a fixed schedule. 

If you are interested in presenting, please contact Eva Salerno and Angeline Wong:


  • 18 February 2022 (8PM Singapore Time): "A Missing Piece for Global Catholicism? Marian Adoration in Protestant Women’s Literature for Republican China" - by Dr. Yun Zhou, lecturer in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.

  • 4 April 2022 (4:30PM Singapore Time): "The Ancestors’ Rites in the Taiwanese Catholic Church" - by Dr. Marco Lazzarotti, a Junior Fellow at the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities "Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe" Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

  • 15 June 2022 (8:30 PM Singapore Time): "Behind the Glitter of Chandeliers and Mansions in Manila’s Chinese Cemetery" by independent researcher Leonard Yeo and Ateneo de Manila's student Justin Tembresa. 

  • 25 October 2022 (8 PM Singapore Time): "Ayer Salak: A Chaozhou Catholic village in Malaysia" by Lee Kam Hing, Professor at the History Department, University of Malaya.

  • 13 July 2023 (8 PM Singapore Time): "Human Formation in the Training to Priesthood, An Exploration of Mental and Psychosexual Health of Chinese Seminarians" by Fabio Favata, PIME Missionary. 


Phase I of this collaborative project - 2021


  • Wednesday, 8 December 2021


8.00 p.m. (Singapore Time) : Opening Remarks: Eva Salerno and Angeline Wong 

PANEL 1 - Moderator: Jonathan Tan

8.05 p.m.: 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines:

China and the Chinese Connections

Teresita Ang See (Past President of Philippine Association for Chinese Studies; Executive Trustee, Kaisa Heritage Center, Philippines)

8.25 p.m.: Chinese-Filipino Catholicism: Fusion or Confusion?

Fr. Aristotle C. Dy  (School President, Xavier School, Philippines)

8.45 p.m.: Q&A Session


  • Thursday, 9 December 2021


PANEL 2 - Moderator: Michel Chambon


8.00 p.m. (Singapore Time): The Pastoral Work of the Catholic Clergy with regard to the Chinese Diaspora in Lyon (France)

LIVE Yu-Sion (Sociologist, Université de La Reunion, France)

8.20 p.m.: Making Nuns in Manila

George Bayuga (Instructor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, United States) 

8.40 p.m.: Q&A Session


  • Friday, 10 December 2021


PANEL 3 - Moderator: Bernardo Brown

8.00 p.m. (Singapore Time): Hakka migrants and Chinese Catholics in Jamaica

Zichan Qiu (Research Assistant, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Ji Li (Assistant Professor of History at the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)


8.20 p.m.: Dialogue in a Multireligious and Political Ecosystem: Understanding Catholic Relations with Other Religions in Mainland China

Stephanie M. Wong (Assistant Professor of Theology, Valparaiso University, Indiana, US)

8.40 p.m.: Q&A Session

9:45 p.m.: Concluding Remarks, David Palmer BRINFAITH 

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