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Where Does the Power Lie?

Mike Falkenstine, President of the China Resource Center, an organization that does Bible distribution in rural churches (registered), recently returned from a trip to China, in which he had the opportunity to seek help from his friends and partners in understanding some of the recent events in China, particularly the cross/church demolition campaigns in Zhejiang.

One friend shared a helpful insight as to the nature of governance in China, and how it allows (or makes room for) the incidents we have seen in Zhejiang. Mike wrote about it on his blog:

One colleague in particular really helped me understand how something like the situation in Wenzhou could happen. His take of Chinese government officials is similar to my own: The top 5% of National level Government leaders are really smart, effective men. They know China's place in the world, understand World politics and are really quite effective. The next 25% of leaders are what he would call 'Bulldogs.' It is this group of leaders who want to be in the top 5%, but have not been chosen for top leadership. They still have quite a bit of influence though and enough muscle to largely push through their agenda.

His friend then pointed out to him that President Xi's anti-corruption campaign is largely directed at these so-called "bulldogs." However, the system still grants tremendous power to these local officials to carry out their will (sometimes for good, sometimes bad) with neither direction nor supervision from the central government authorities.

Mike concludes with these observations about the current situation:

  1. Laws and regulations continue to be unevenly applied.
  2. Registered and unregistered churches all over the country are still operating with unprecedented openness.
  3. The church in China continues to grow, and that is a trend that is not likely to slow in the near future.

As they say, you can read the entire post here.

To read more about this ongoing issue check out the related articles below.

Is There a Campaign against Christianity in China by Brent Fulton

The Greatest Threat to Christianity in China by Brent Fulton

No, China is NOT Nationalizing Christianity by Joann Pittman

Religion and Control in Chinese History by Brent Fulton

When Influence and Wariness Meet by Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio