Friday, March 16, 2007

Beijing Hotels Should Have Bibles for the Olympics Says Advisor

Last week, the National Post ran a series from the recently published book by Joshua Kurlantzick entitled, "Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World." The author notes how China is building international favour and effectively disarming criticism of its human rights offenses and lack of freedom through a deliberate strategy of appearing benign and unthreatening.

This strategy is readily apparent in a story that came out last week in Reuters of how Liu Bainian, vice-president of the China Patriotic Catholic Association was quoted as saying that Bibles need to be put in the hotel rooms during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His comments reportedly took place on the sidelines of the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body. The Xinhua news agency quoted Liu as saying, "The service can help clear up foreigners' misunderstandings of China in the area of religion."

Such a move could have very good propaganda results and I would not be surprised to see it happen. It would have no effect on the spread of Christianity in China and would provide the Chinese government with something to point to as evidence of their claimed tolerance of religion. And I can predict that there will be those who will fall for it.

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