Universal Church of the Way and its Virtue

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Universal Church of the Way and its Virtue
万国道德会 Wànguó Dàodéhuì
Wanguo Daodehui.svg
Type Confucian church
Classification Chinese salvationist religion
Founder Jiang Shoufeng
Origin 28 September 1921
Tai'an, Shandong
Members 1930s: 8 million (25% of Northeast China's population)[1]
Other name(s) World Ethical Society, World Morality Society

The Universal Church of the Way and its Virtue (or Church of the Dao and the De; Chinese: 万国道德会 Wànguó Dàodéhuì) is a Confucian church and one of the prominent religions of redemption of China,[2] founded in Shandong in 1921 by Jiang Shoufeng (1875-1926), a member of the China-wide Confucian Church (Kongjiaohui 孔教会).[3] Kang Youwei, himself the founder of the China-wide Confucian Church, was appointed as well as the leader of the Wanguo Daodehui.[3] The movement was concerned with a reconstitution of morality, at a time in which people no longer understood what morality means because of the decline of religion.[3] By the 1930s the church was widespread in Manchuria.[4]

A great contribution came from Shoufeng's song, Jiang Xizhang (1907-2004), an intellectual prodigy who composed commentaries on the Confucian classics before the age of ten.[5] Father and son composed vernacular versions of the classics in order to disseminate Confucianism among the Chinese masses.[5] After the World War I, Xizhang wrote a leaflet, the Xizhanlun with anti-war teachings inspired by the content of the world religions.[5]

Wang Fengyi was a talented and charismatic man of humble origins who led the church in the 1930s,[6] and his teachings have also been adopted by the contemporary Beijing-based Confucian group Yidan xuetang (一耽學堂).[7] Other prominent members of the association were Kong Decheng (1920-2008), Confucius' first descendant in direct line.[7]

Contemporary development

In mainland People's Republic of China, although unregistered and as such theoretically not legal, the Church of the Way and its Virtue is extremely active as an "underground" movement like other folk religious sects and Confucian churches.[8][9] It is spread especially in northeast China (Manchuria),[8] where the members preach filiality and Wang Fengyi's healing methods.[9]

See also


  1. Ownby (2008). § 23: «the Daodehui eight million in Manchukuo alone (a quarter of the total population) in 1936-1937.»
  2. Billioud (2015), p. 27, 79.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Billioud (2015), p. 130.
  4. Kiely, Goossaert & Lagerwey (2015), p. 688.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Kiely, Goossaert & Lagerwey (2015), p. 696.
  6. Kiely, Goossaert & Lagerwey (2015), p. 697.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Billioud (2015), p. 182.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Billioud (2015), p. 298.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kiely, Goossaert & Lagerwey (2015), p. 45.