Christianity and the Transformation of Physical Education and Sport in China: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Christianity and the Transformation of Physical Education and Sport in China

1st Edition

By Huijie Zhang, Fan Hong, Fuhua Huang


126 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367340087
pub: 2019-05-20
Hardback: 9781138628212
pub: 2017-06-21
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Despite the popularity of sport in contemporary China, the practice of physical education is not indigenous to its culture. Strenuous physical activity was traditionally linked to low class and status in the pre-modern Chinese society. The concept of modern PE was introduced to China by Western Christian missionaries and directors of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). It then grew from a tool for Christian evangelism to a strategic instrument in Chinese nation-building.

This book examines the transformation of Chinese attitudes toward PE and sport, drawing on the concepts of cultural imperialism and nationalism to understand how an imported Western activity became a key aspect of modernization for the Chinese state. More specifically, it looks at the relationship between Christianity and the rise of Chinese nationalism between 1840 and 1937. Combining historical insight with original research, this book sheds new light on the evolution of PE and sport in modern China.

It is fascinating reading for all those with an interest in sports history, Chinese culture and society, Christianity, physical education or the sociology of sport.

Table of Contents


1. Christianity and Modern Sport: a Cross-cultural Context

2. Christian Missions and the Emergence of Western Physical Education and Sport in China (1840–1908)

3. Christian Missions and the Expansion of Western Physical Education and Sport in China (1908–1919)

4. Rising Nationalism and the Diminishing Role of the Christian Institutions in Chinese National Physical Education and Sport (1919–1928)

5. Nationalism and the Indigenization and Modernization of Physical Education and Sport in China (1928–1937)

6. Missionary Schools, the YMCA and the Modernization of Chinese Sport: Cultural Imperialism and Nationalism

About the Authors

Hujie Zhang is a lecturer at Jiangxi Normal University, China. Her main research interests are in the areas of sports history, especially in Christian involvement in sport in modern China and traditional sport.

Fan Hong is Professor in Asian Studies and the Deputy Dean of Bangor College, Bangor University in UK. Her main research interests are in the areas of culture, politics, gender and sport and she has published extensively in these areas.

Fuhua Huang is a lecturer at Jiangxi Normal University. His main research interests are globalization and sport, professionalization and commercialization of sport, sport history and traditional sport.

About the Series

Routledge Focus on Sport, Culture and Society

Routledge Focus on Sport, Culture and Society showcases the latest cutting-edge research in the sociology of sport and exercise. Concise in form (20,000-50,000 words) and published quickly (within three months), the books in this series represents an important channel through which authors can disseminate their research swiftly and make an impact on current debates. We welcome submissions on any topic within the socio-cultural study of sport and exercise, including but not limited to subjects such as gender, race, sexuality, disability, politics, the media, social theory, Olympic Studies, and the ethics and philosophy of sport. The series aims to be theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded and international in reach, and will include a diversity of methodological approaches.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / China
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sociology of Sports