As part of the global effort to alleviate the ecological crisis, ecological civilization has become a dominant movement in China due to the state policy. Within this movement, the Chinese culture is said to be highly ecological and is thus an important asset to environmentalism. This paper seeks to offer a critical evaluation of this view by inquiring into its cultural and religious dimension with reference to Confucian and Chinese Christian thought. It argues that the construction of ecological civilization in China cannot rely only on the official discourses but requires a deeper cultural and religious investigation that helps realize the ecological potentials of the Chinese culture. In particular, it contends that the Confucian concepts of qi
氣 and li
理 can open up a way for humanity to attain unity with the cosmos and live in a path in harmony with nature through spiritual cultivation. It also suggests that the Christology and soteriology of Chinese Christian thinkers can strengthen this path of personal and social transformation by addressing the tendency of human beings to conform to selfish desire rather than the well-being of others. Both the Confucian and Chinese Christian worldviews are indispensable to the construction of ecological civilization by offering substantial insights into the cultural and religious dimension of the movement.
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