Jesus More Popular Than Mao On China’s Social Media

According to a survey reported on by Foreign Policy, God, Jesus, the Bible, and other Christian topics show up more often in Weibo search results in China, than do topics related to communist leaders and the Chinese Communist Party. (Weibo is the approved alternative to Twitter in China.)

Christianity on Weibo, ChinaFor people who have never been to China, such an infograph can be hard to appreciate fully. Discussions are heavily monitored on Weibo by a legion of Fifty-Centers (citizens paid by the government to monitor social media and to astroturf), and by key word screening conducted by both Weibo and the Chinese government. Posts on off-limit topics are routinely deleted, and people have been hauled off to jail for comments deemed detrimental to the state.

While the infograph may or may not be an indication of a vibrant Christian community in China, it should not be seen as an indication that Christians can operate freely and without hindrance in China (stories like this should disabuse such a notion). Rather, it is an indication that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are more afraid of discussions regarding its own role in China than they are of discussions regarding Christianity. Given the scarcity of hits garnered by topics related to the the CCP on Weibo, either most political comments on Weibo are deleted because they are negative in nature, or the CCP has become so paranoid that it is simply deleting all political commentary on Weibo as a general rule, just in case. (This is quite likely.)

Either way, it is remarkable that Jesus is discussed more often on Weibo than is China’s leader, Xi Jinping.


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Photo Of The Day: Cherry Blossoms, Arashiyama

cherry blossoms, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

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Sure, Romney Was Right About A Lot of Things–So What?

One common meme on Twitter and on conservative blogs nowadays is that Mitt Romney was right about many things during the 2012 election campaign, while Obama, the Democrats, or the MSM were wrong. (The latest posting in that vein can be found here.)

Such an observation is neither enlightening nor helpful in any meaning way. Obama, the Democrats, and the MSM were (and are) wrong about just about everything, and it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a trained monkey) to figure this out. At the same time, it could be said with equal accuracy that Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, yours truly, and even (heaven forbid) Ron Paul were right about even more things than Mitt Romney was in 2012. However, all share something in common with Mitt Romney: None were elected president.

In this one respect, it is important to remember the important things that Romney got wrong in 2012. Romney was the man who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, who lost the election that no one said could be lost. He did this by focusing on the bad economy and on his own management skills, rather than on a conservative message and the need for leadership and vision. Essentially, he thought that all he had to do was dwell on Obama’s failures, and let Obama beat himself. In this important sense, Romney may have offered a positive countenance, but he did not in any way offer a positive message that would inspire people to vote for him. While Romney failed at messaging, his failures in running a ground campaign during the general election and a GOTV campaign on election day were even more spectacular, belying his reputation as a good manager.

While some people may complain that it takes different skills to run successfully for office than it does to serve successfully in office, if one cannot run a successful campaign, it makes no difference here nor there. The bottom line is that Romney has only run one successful election campaign in his entire career, against a string of rather high-profile failures. Given his manifest incompetence at running for office, it serves no purpose at all to pretend that he has any great wisdom in politics or anything to offer when it comes to current political debates. He has the ignominy of being the man who lost to one of the most incompetent presidents who has ever served in office, to a president who had less than a fifty percent approval rating on election day. When weighed in the balance, this failure counts for much more than any successes Romney might have accomplished in his political career.

Romney’s fecklessness cost America four more years of hardship and misery, so let’s stop talking about how “right” he might have been on this or that issue. It is time for us to move on.

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Photo Of The Day: Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms

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Chinese Christians Form Human Shield Around Church To Prevent Demolition

Thousands of Christians in Wenzhou, China, have mounted a vigil around their local church in order to protect it from demolition. One would naturally expect a church building in China to be demolished if it belonged to the illegal house-church movement. However, in this case, the church is part of the Three-Self Movement, and was built with permission from local authorities.

According to the Telegraph,

Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (£2.91 million) and almost six years to build.

Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: “Demolish” and “Illegal construction” onto its towering facade.

The threat triggered a furious reaction in Wenzhou, a booming port city known for its vibrant Christian community, said to be China’s largest …

Parishioners believe their church was targeted after Xia Baolong, the provincial Party chief, visited the region and was unimpressed by the prominence of a church built to house thousands of worshippers.

“His behaviour is illegal. He has abused his power. The construction of the church is not against the law,” said Wang Jianfeng, a 47-year-old man from a nearby congregation who was among hundreds of people gathered on the steps outside on Friday in a show of force …

The dispute over Sanjiang has highlighted the ongoing difficulties facing China’s fast growing Christian community. In 1949, when the Communist Party took over, it boasted around one million members. Today, there are thought to be more Chinese Christians than Communist Party members, with up to 100 million mainland believers, according to some estimates.

Wenzhou church vigilOfficially, the Three-Self Movement is called the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement”. Three-Self Churches have this name because they seek to avoid the three “evils” of “imperialistic” western churches–foreign control, foreign money, and foreign missionaries. While the initial establishment of the Three-Self movement was an effort to find a way for churches to be allowed to operate openly in Communist China, the movement was quickly subverted. It is now overseen directly by the government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Since Christianity is thought of as a harmful superstition, the official goals of the movement, as promulgated by the CCP, are to bring Christians in China under the supervision of the CCP and to slowly wean them from the Christian faith, bringing their thinking in line with communist orthodoxy. Ideally, according to the thinking of party officials, the Three-Self Movement would dwindle down to nothing as the hardcore believers died off and as others are discouraged from attending.

Bibles are allowed in Three-Self Churches. However, not everyone agrees that the Bible translation used in Three-Self Churches is correct, and there is a dire shortage of sound discipleship and training materials. In principle, sermons and training materials are subject to party censorship, and must be in agreement with teachings that the communist authorities have decided to allow. Any kind of evangelism is officially forbidden. There is also tight government surveillance of pastors and church members. CCP cadres who become church members are automatically expelled from the party and may face other disciplinary actions, and church members can find themselves subject to persecution, even though they attend a legal church.

Despite the efforts of the CCP to control the Three-Self Movement, there is a strong relationship between the Three-Self Movement and the illegal house-church movement. Many Three-Self pastors and church workers are de facto leaders of the house churches. There is also the sense among many people in the CCP that in some cases the Three-Self Movement has gotten out of control, and is no longer fulfilling the goals the party has for it. This is no doubt the root of the current conflict in Wenzhou.

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Photo Of The Day: The First Flowers Of Spring

first flowers of spring

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Obama Sock-Puppet Sebelius Left Speechless Upon Hearing Of Obamacare’s Unpopularity

An Oklahoma reporter confronted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the unpopularity of Obamacare. Her response was just priceless:

The reporter tried to throw her a bone by saying that there must have been audio problems, but then she replied that she could hear him just fine. There must have been no pre-approved talking points to cover such a circumstance.

(H/t The Weekly Standard)

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