What is the secret for success in working in China? Initially, there are three questions you have to answer. First, is this God's will; does God want me to do this? If you wanted to do something in China in 1960, you couldn't get a visa. God did not open the door for you. Second, do people have a need for what I want to do? There must be a demand from the society, from the people. It must come from the people, not be something you created or want to sell to the people. Demand and supply make for good business. The same is true for us; there must be a demand. Third, is this good for society? People may not recognize this need, but what you want to do must be good for the entire society. You must meet these first three criteria: God opens the door, people want what you have to offer and it is good for society as a whole.
Second, how do you go about it or who should do it? China has never had a shortage of people, but it does not have enough people who have an idea of the truth, or who have a clear idea of how to accomplish a project. In China, there are many scholars, the so called elites. They tend to be very proud of themselves. "We know many things; we know about the whole world," they think. Yes, to some degree they do, but if you ask them, "How could you realize your idea?" they have no suggestions. They may understand something is wrong, but they cannot bring about change. They cannot make a differenceeven a little bitin society. It is all just talk.
I have been dealing with these people for many, many years. They have good ideas, but that's it. So how can we understand China and make sure change will occur? Now, I do not mean the Chinese do not have an approachthey doand you have to rely on them to get ideas as well as to realize them, instead of yourself.
Sometimes Chinese people will have an idea; they open their eyes, open their minds, they receive truth. They want to sacrifice themselves, to do something for Jesus. This is very good. They may even know how to do it, but are unable to function, or they feel that technically they cannot do it. In this case, I would say you should lead them to understand that what they want to do is the right thing. You should give them support. Help them to take action, to do things as you would do them. But remember, the purpose is to accomplish the projectnot make yourself a hero. Realize that it is more efficient if you use Chinese people; realize they are gold. Then, the results will be much better and society will see results that are more tangible than if a foreigner had carried out the work. The foreigner needs the support of the Chinese. Alone, he cannot move one stepit is all teamwork.
The third topic is how to interpret China. China is different, and the first thing you have to understand in China is that everything is a political issue. Nothing is simple. Politics are different from the U.S., so when you go to China, you need to understand the whole political issue. You may understand a specific policy that is specific for your industrythat's the easiest thing to understand. But the law or policy is not what is most important; rather, it is the political environment. This is difficult, even for us Chinese. The government never tells the people what they want or what they really think; they just make things happen. The people are left guessing. Some people work hard trying to interpret laws and policies but the results can be misleading. Many, many times we Chinese get lost in the interpretation of the laws.
China is a highly centralized country. The decision makers sometimes need to show people what they should do; they need to show the international community want they want. With their policies, they must include a step which is very, very necessary. Within China, it is normal to have the leaders from all over China go to Beijing, or to each region, area or city, on a yearly basis. The decision makers close the door and tell these leaders exactly what the policy is or what it means. Why is this necessary? The leaders have a document, but it is not enough. You must explain it to them: "Here is the document, the real meaning is 'ABCD .'" Then the people understand; otherwise, people often have no chance to understand the real meaning. This is how the decision makers work. If you get used to this process, you will understand what a document or law means. Otherwise you may think you are following the document, but you may miss something really important. Even in the technical documents there can be policies like taxation or economic policy. Everyone tries to explain these, but I don't know how many get the real point and that is a problem. We all need to update our knowledge and understanding to be sure we understand the real meaning of a policy or law. Everyone should do thisincluding myself.
The last thing is the culture. The culture is the foundation of the country and its people. It is invisible and everyone understands that. The culture plays a role even greater than policy or political issues. Culture is never seen and never taught; yet, the people obey it. The culture is the most important.
If you understand these things and put them into practice, you will reach your goals.