Tag Archives: bribes

Christianity in China – August 2014 Update

China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, has chosen to follow more closely in the paths of Chairman Mao. Hopefully he will no go to those same extremes – genocidal extremes – but now a political policy of retribution against foes and a collateral cleaning up of nationwide bribes and corruption. I keep up with Gordon Chang for my news.

The purge includes religion. China is trying to invent a new “Christianity.” They have tried this before with poor results. Religions that are invented generally collapse. Recently there has been destruction of church buildings and imprisonment of Christian leaders.

But as usual the church under pressure goes underground. There is a 3-Self Church which tries to endorse communist policy. Believers have their ways of handling this: (1) Ignoring it while practicing privately the true faith (2) Actually following it with meager attendance, or attendance that makes a public show for public purposes and (3) Disappearing completely underground. I made no attempt to visit underground churches while living in China lest I bring the wrath of the state down upon them.

Bibles have been confiscated in greater numbers than just a few years ago. However, both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches have increased their membership and attendance. And some leaders of the latter have openly endorsed the new Pope Francis which is also “illegal.”

Since religion is always personal it is almost impossible to make it anything else. Considering that government pressure against private disagreement has always backfired, one wonders why they continue it? Communist leaders have long recognized that Christian Chinese families are better citizens, pay their taxes and cause fewer ills. So it may actually be harder to make a public spectacle of them on a local level.

When I was in China and followed day and night for 5 weeks, it got to the point of being amusing. I was living a clean life. Eventually I received something of a public “apology” right before I left town. Anything like an apology is difficult for the Chinese because their government tells them they know everything and due to the communist system, they can’t possibly make a mistake.

It is true. Your life may be the only Bible some people can ever read. Meanwhile, Chinese Christians throughout the land are the real Bible of that country and there are millions of them, perhaps as many as 100 million. Pray for them.

More Facts Q&A about China

Is it true the Chinese have only one child? Well, yes and no. Rich people can have a 2nd child or even more but they have to pay fees. Farm families can have more than 1 child. Childless couples can adopt but the minorities (like Mongolians or other ethnic groups) are limited in the number of adoptions Preference is given to Han Chinese. Even with all these laws, the Chinese still have 2.3 children per household. Because men earn so very much more money than women, a couple that has a girl child can, after a few years, have a boy to support them in their old age. They have no social security but they do often have small pensions. Forced abortions are not as frequent now, but women will often abort a baby girl. Consequently the ratio of men to women is 118:100. The Chinese do not have disabled children if they can help it because there are no social services in most cities for them.

Are Chinese children smarter than American kids? Chinese children study much harder. They go to school longer hours, and frequently they attend private school several times a week. They have no team sports or after school activities. They stay in college 2 more years than we do. So they appear smarter. But in school they have limited information. They focus on math, science and languages. There is almost nothing about Western history, social sciences, culture and much of what they are required to read is falsified or distorted. For example, a recent textbook I saw about America indicated that all black people live in abject poverty. Every attempt is made to picture our nation as cruel and so awful no one would want to be here, however, the Chinese still say what they want is “to come to America” more than any other wish.

So how do they field sports teams? Gifted athletic children are taken from their homes at an early age and put in sports schools away from their families and trained for sports performance. These children are as young as 5 years old. They can go home a few times each year.

What do they do for fun? People work many longer hours than Americans, and except for construction jobs, these jobs are all low-effort. They have a 2 hour lunch which they use for a nap; all businesses have beds for noontime naps. They have TV, games, and they play sports with their families. I saw people playing badminton on the street (no net, no court) on their lunch hour. They like to hike.

Do Chinese have freedom of speech? In their personal lives the Chinese speak freely, otherwise all information is tightly controlled. NO one is permitted to criticize the government in any way. TV, radio, textbooks are all confined to what the government (Communist) wants people to know. This also applies to religion. The law says there is freedom of religion but in actual fact, not so. Google blocks any search for democratic ideals, truth, or facts. You could probably not locate your own church’s website online. Anything critical of the Beijing government, that mentions the protesters in Tibet and other areas of China, and violations of human rights are blocked.

Are Chinese all very short? They used to be but with so much more food and better nutrition they are growing taller each year. They are still several inches shorter than American kids of the same age.

Is it true that American manufacturers have sweat shops and pay low wages? Some companies in the big cities are shameful employers; others are run much better. No employee has any benefits other than a vacation and wages which means products are very cheap.
Why doesn’t China stop pollution? I read that it is killing people. You are right; pollution is killing the waterways, the air quality, and then the people. 20% of San Francisco’s pollution comes from China. Very strict laws are simply NOT obeyed and government employees do not enforce them. In every town there are local officials who ignore Beijing’s commands on literally everything.

Do the Chinese ever come to America? No, not often. A non-business Visa is nearly impossible to acquire. Visitors to America must pay a $50,000 fee to the government when they leave China and if they stay here the money reverts to the government. Even then 30& of the Chinese do stay in America anyway. Some students enter with fewer restrictions. It helps to have contacts in government to get out of China.
Are Chinese different from Americans? Yes, very. The Chinese are highly focused and motivated. They are not friendly but they are very kind They have many false assumptions about the West but they do want to know Westerners. This limits to some extent their ability to get to know and understand Westerners.

Is it true the Chinese have only one child? Well, yes and no. Rich people can have a 2nd child or even more but they have to pay fees. Farm families can have more than 1 child. Childless couples can adopt but the minorities (like Mongolians or other ethnic groups) are limited in the number of adoptions Preference is given to Han Chinese. Even with all these laws, the Chinese still have 2.3 children per household. Because men earn so very much more money than women, a couple that has a girl child can, after a few years, have a boy to support them in their old age. They have no social security but they do often have small pensions. Forced abortions are not as frequent now, but women will often abort a baby girl. Consequently the ratio of men to women is 118:100. The Chinese do not have disabled children if they can help it because there are no social services in most cities for them.

Are Chinese children smarter than American kids? Chinese children study much harder. They go to school longer hours, and frequently they attend private school several times a week. They have no team sports or after school activities. They stay in college 2 more years than we do. So they appear smarter. But in school they have limited information. They focus on math, science and languages. There is almost nothing about Western history, social sciences, culture and much of what they are required to read is falsified or distorted. For example, a recent textbook I saw about America indicated that all black people live in abject poverty. Every attempt is made to picture our nation as cruel and so awful no one would want to be here, however, the Chinese still say what they want is “to come to America” more than any other wish.

So how do they field sports teams? Gifted athletic children are taken from their homes at an early age and put in sports schools away from their families and trained for sports performance. These children are as young as 5 years old. They can go home a few times each year.

What do they do for fun? People work many longer hours than Americans, and except for construction jobs, these jobs are all low-effort. They have a 2 hour lunch which they use for a nap; all businesses have beds for noontime naps. They have TV, games, and they play sports with their families. I saw people playing badminton on the street (no net, no court) on their lunch hour. They like to hike.

Do Chinese have freedom of speech? In their personal lives the Chinese speak freely, otherwise all information is tightly controlled. NO one is permitted to criticize the government in any way. TV, radio, textbooks are all confined to what the government (Communist) wants people to know. This also applies to religion. The law says there is freedom of religion but in actual fact, not so. Google blocks any search for democratic ideals, truth, or facts. You could probably not locate your own church’s website online. Anything critical of the Beijing government, that mentions the protesters in Tibet and other areas of China, and violations of human rights are blocked.
Doesn’t loss of human rights bother the Chinese people? Yes it does, but only a few years ago they were starving. Chairman Mao’s foolishness caused 30 million people to starve to death. Their standard of living is so much better now they don’t want to contest the government. But this will change.
Do they earn more money since they work so much longer? No, average wages are $100-$150 per month. Government (Communist) workers earn 3 to 5 times that much. Farm families earn less than that and 65% of the Chinese are still rural.

I have heard that China is now a capitalist country. The Chinese will say no, but I have to agree. The nation is one giant yard sale on weekends as people earn extra money. The epidemic of corruption by officials is the big problem. Bribes are demanded to do the smallest thing at all levels. If anything destroys China it will be corrupt officials. Resentment against these people is growing alarmingly and there have been unpublicized protests.

Why Americans need not fear China

My time in China as “Meiguo Laoshi” (American teacher) has put me in the path of many Chinese of all ages, skills, ambitions and opinions. I enjoy their energy, their focus, their refusal to be westernized only so far, and their calm resolve to carve out fruitful lives in spite of the smog of political oppression. I’ve also made friends close enough to share their frustrations. They cautiously tell me of threats and evils going back many years, of human rights violated yet granted in a Constitution not upheld, and vacuous press reports about events that are mis-or-not-reported at all. Meanwhile my friends at home often ask me, what real danger does America face from China? I’ve spent several years molding my answer.

First and foremost, the Chinese are not team players and are reared to be intensely competitive one-on-one. The modern world is based on mutual security and satisfaction, not Slap Down WWF economics where there are bloodied winners and losers. The New Flat Earth a la Thomas Friedman demands win-win for everyone with a manageable, general peace. Team play will continue to be a challenge to them. When you watch the coming Olympics notice the clues that the Chinese excel at individual sports, not team sports; even gymnastics is a group of A+ individuals, not really a team.

The Chinese consume too many years learning 6,000 Chinese characters (both modern and traditional) for which other nations have no stomach. Then they must learn English, the language of money worldwide which puts them three years behind a similarly motivated child anywhere. By concentrating on language, math, and science they are generally ignorant of history and social systems, those very lessons they now need. Chinese rote learning perfects old tasks but trains no one to think outside the box in the years when they are the most teachable.
Chinese stubbornness is a constant frustration. Anything they want to do, whether you approve or not or whether it is right or wrong is justified by saying, “This is the Chinese way.” Bribes are wrong and destroy public confidence in the process but that is the Chinese way. Emperors had concubines so I can have some extra girlfriends. This is the Chinese way. Landlords exploited the peasants, and that led to the debacle of the 20th century. Now they have substituted foolish emperors and wicked landlords with faceless functionaries lolling in pristine concrete office buildings. So for all their 4,000 history of which they are so proud, virtually nothing has changed except the names on the backs of the players jackets. It’s the Chinese way.
The Chinese have a fatal flaw, their obsession with saving face. It is political correctness at the extreme and a form of self deception to keep an uneasy peace. No one is benefited by covering up the truth especially when it involves global policy decisions. If you never do wrong, or are wrong, you never need to be forgiven and an unforgiving nation is one that cannot or will not change.
But how can China change? Chairman Mao outdid the venality of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Edie Amin, and countless other 20th century genocidal maniacs and yes, it is embarrassing to have this bloody past but mistakes are the learning tools for a better future. As long as China wears the ancient Emperor’s Clothes so well, she can hardly expect to need new ones and she will handle the future cautiously.
The Chinese believe the customer is never right. My personal horror stories of doomed transactions entail someone insisting on his way when it was inappropriate. The toy recalls, which Beijing bureaucrats foolishly call Protectionism, hopefully taught an important lesson about quality control. It’s okay to lose face because you retain customers. Without customers China is dead; given the low rate of wages she cannot afford to sell only to herself anymore. They believe all things Chinese are better, know better, and do better. But this is bravado. Every nation produces a ruling class – the world’s brains. Never count the other guy out.
Finally, as my Chinese tutor put it, China needs a moral code, not merely secular humanism based loosely on ethics, a voluntary system of honorable dealings with others. It is a flawed concept because it is only Carrot – Enlightened self-interest – without a Stick. Morals, based on accountability to a Just God, are the Ultimate Stick, and with that stick public and private governance is possible.
What China does have is guns, missiles, planes, trained military and nervous leaders so we must be cautious about a war. But to assume that millions of mindless citizens will die for China is also wrong. Communism is not native to China. It was imported by the Soviets and at great cost. 30 million died at the hand of Mao and his psychotic ambitions. There are many in China now too savvy to “die for China” when it means only “die for the self-indulgent bureaucrats” in control. Corruption is the crack in the dike, and a people who are raised to compete on an intense personal level cannot justify huge profits for those who do not work. At the very least, Man, you should earn your bribe!
Western capital economics offers the individual an alternate sense of worth. If there is ever a war to be fought it will be in the spirit of the Chinese man and woman who sense, deep down, that communism does not compute. It can be tolerated and adjusted to but it can no longer demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Now if you want to be fearful, fear the spinelessness of Americans. We have a whole different set of problems with a weak president and an unpopular Congress given to piling up debts on us. THAT is our new sacrifice.