What now? Listen!!
We have waited for the election of Mr. Xi to his third term. Apart from a small amount of drama with the public humiliation and removal of former leader Hu Jintao nothing unexpected took place among the consensus of China watchers.
Mr. Xi now has his people in place. The surveillance apparatus has been tested and proven by the impressive ability to control 1.4 billion Chinese in enforcing the zero-tolerance Covid mandate.
The emphasis upon Sinicization has been promoted down through the ranks in virtually every sphere of Chinese life from business to religious practice.
The China dream which surely includes Chinese hegemony is now activated. For 30 years the counsel of a previous leader to keep a low profile, hiding capabilities and waiting your time is now past. Mr. Xi and the Party now are prepared to offer the world a choice between traditional Western democracy/capitalism and modern Marxism with modern socialist Xi thought.
In the next 10-20 years the world will choose. Which is most beneficial, advantageous to the masses and to be preferred?
Those of you who have followed W4A for the past 25 years know that we are restrained whenever it comes to political matters and international relationships. We have advocated leaving that to those who live in that space and to keep ourselves focused on building bridges and not walls. In other words “stay in your lane.”
My article here is no change of position. I believe that my opening assessment is fair, accurate and helpful. Each sentence above can be backed up with direct quotes from Mr. Xi and the Party leaders.
One thing I have learned and benefited from over the past 20 plus years is we should listen to what the Party says and believe them. While the Chinese take great pride in their cleverness, they most often do not hide their ultimate agenda. When the leaders say Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the wave of the future, they probably believe what they said.
Those of us who wish to have standing in China for the sake of our work need to not only listen to what we are told but believe what we are being told regarding direction, desired out-comes and red lines whether we agree or not we need to listen.
Let me give two illustrations.
Back in 2006 I was honored to chair the first Chinese Bible Exhibition held in the USA. While waiting for the national leaders to arrive at LAX and preparing to load them into waiting limousines I kept company with the Los Angeles Chinese Ambassador. A few hours later we shared a table at the welcome banquet.
A full month after that event the Ambassador sent me a personal hand written note. It was replete with appreciation for our work and love shown to his country. He made it clear that should we ever have any problems we could count on his office to assist. At the close he added “I noticed that on your business card our rooster only had one foot (when colored in one is Hainan and the other Taiwan) I know you love us to much for us to have a crippled rooster.”
For a busy official to take time write such a note one month following an event spoke volumes. In the minds of Chinese leaders there is zero question as to the ultimate outcome of unification with Taiwan.
Agree? Disagree? We need not question what the agenda of Beijing is!
In 2017 we were enjoying lunch hosted at the offices of United Front in Beijing.
Somewhere between cold dishes and soup our host casually stated “we are hoping all the house churches will apply to register. We know where they are. If they don’t, we are going to shut them down in two years…how is your soup?”
For those who follow such matters you know 2019 was not a pleasant year for many unregistered churches.
Agree? Disagree? My point here is simple. Listen, listen, listen. There are fewer surprises for those who do so.
One of the most essential keys to building bridges is to listen to what we are being told. May be why we have two ears and one mouth.