(2009) JLP 59: 1-27
Religion, as a kind of social control, plays a role in the construction of social order. It contributes to shaping or influencing the formation of local legal culture, to the generation of various norms, and to the production of social controllers, and it affects dispute settlement. Religious social control in the social grass-roots of China has developed an intricate form as a result of the interaction between plural religions and multi-ethnicity, which in turn speeds up the formation of legal pluralism. This article, based on the analysis of specific cases and ethnographic materials, examines the dynamic relationship between religion, the state law and other social controls within the perspective of legal pluralism. The paper also discusses whether religion will destroy or hinder the process of building legal unity in the multiethnic society of China.