Putting the ‘RC’ in ‘PRC’

Foreign businesses have a hard time in nationalistic, mercantilist China’s market. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg grovels with vomit-inducing displays of Mandarin proficiency and Xi Jinping’s collected works; Marriott Hotels suffers an attack of obsessive-compulsive panda-sucking; Donald Trump tries to help by slapping tariffs on solar panels.

The Christianity industry has been trying to get into China longer than most, starting with the Nestorians 1,200 years ago, the Jesuits in the Ming court, and Victorian-era Protestants saving souls with rice handouts.

Today, US Evangelicals have identified Hong Kong as the super-connector to the Mainland (and some gullible local donors). They have cleverly wooed the city’s pro-Beijing tycoon caste with assurances that Jesus hates the poor and will make His rich worshipers richer, in this world. And they have targeted conservative bureaucrat and professional classes by neatly melding homophobia and other illiberal agendas with supposedly traditional Chinese/anti-Western values. Expansion over the border is enjoying mixed success through franchising, multi-level marketing channels and other small-scale start-ups.

Their more centralized, Rome-based competitors the Catholics have found it especially difficult to set up formally on the Mainland, as their autonomous model is not compatible with a Communist one-party environment. Instead, it oversees an illicit branch network. Meanwhile, Beijing has established a parallel operation that counterfeits much of the branding and IP, and has grabbed a large share of the market.

Beijing is open to a joint-venture – but obviously on its terms, which include a major say in management, including many aspects of the product, distribution and especially appointment of key personnel. Since the Catholics have long seen Bolshevism as symbolizing the ultimate competitive threat in the ideology business, it has always been unthinkable that the Vatican head office would enter into any such partnership. They do, after all, have a 2,000-year history of integrity and principles to protect.

Oh, well – alright then…

Which leads us rather neatly, on the passing of Mark E Smith, to this…


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18 Responses to Putting the ‘RC’ in ‘PRC’

  1. Red Dragon says:

    Well the left footers may have had their “issues” with red China, but they never seem to have had any problem slithering up the greasy pole in Hong Kong. The upper echelons of the so-called “civil service” are infested with them – think Donald, John, Raphael and now Carrie to name but a few.

    Plenty of the blighters in the education sector too, but there they are obliged to vie with an even bigger throng of weirdo evangelical “protestants”.

    What a bloody mess.

  2. Stanley Lieber says:

    Why do some people seem to get such joy out of knocking the Catholic Church?

    Yeah, yeah, it’s an imperfect institution that over the course of two millennia has made a few mistakes along the way. Nostra culpa.

    Yet the good works the Church has accomplished over the centuries, all over the world, in schools, hospitals, poverty alleviation, elder care, charity, human rights and many other social services, not to mention the hundreds of millions of people whose lives have been enriched by gaining a greater understanding of the life and teachings of Christ, is unmatched by any other entity, government or otherwise, in the history of the planet. It’s not even a contest.

    Every day the Church selflessly provides comfort and support to tens of millions of people, including nonbelievers, through the most joyful, most meaningful and most trying events of their lives. I’d like to see how these cynical bastards stack up in that department.

    Maybe they’re just jealous that we have a pope and they don’t.

  3. Boredcaster says:

    Subtle tribute to Mark E Smith much appreciated; the few English millennials in the office here were nonplussed as to who he was when I shared the news this morning.

  4. Older Than Old Timer says:

    The interesting article below appeared in today’s Taipei Times:

    Countermeasures to Holy See-China Relations Urged

    Lawmakers across party lines yesterday called on the government to come up with response measures after the Vatican reportedly made concessions to China on the appointment of bishops — a significant breakthrough for advancing mutual relations between the two.
    The Holy See has asked two Chinese bishops it appointed to stand aside to make way for Beijing-backed counterparts as part of a deal with the Chinese government, Asia News, the official outlet of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, said on Tuesday.
    The Holy See has sent a delegation to China that asked the two bishops to hand over their dioceses to bishops appointed by Beijing, the report said.
    If China and the Vatican have reached a consensus on such appointments, it should serve as a warning to Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said.
    Asked whether the move could create a domino effect with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies with large Catholic populations, Lo said it would not necessarily create a chain reaction, but could affect Taiwan’s relations with those allies.
    The consensus could be a diplomatic crisis for Taiwan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) said.
    New Power Party Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) encouraged the Vatican to pursue dual recognition of the governments on either side of the Taiwan Strait by maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan, while protecting the rights of Catholics in China.
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must watch out for a potential diplomatic setback if the Holy See switches its diplomatic recognition to China, People First Party Legislator Chen Yi-chieh (陳怡潔) said.
    The Vatican is the only European state among Taiwan’s 20 diplomatic allies.
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  5. Joe Blow says:

    @Stanley: they knock the Church because it is an easy target. And they can score a few points to reinforce their leftie/ liberal/ humanist/ progressive/ whatever* image (*delete as required).

    The Church is a very, very large institution. Nominally it represents over a billion people worldwide. When a number of priests abuse minors, it is easy to attack the Church as a whole, tarring it with a broad brush. When sexual abuse takes place in f.i. the US armed forces or in the world of sports or in the entertainment industry or in academia & education, it is much more difficult to attack those institutions or spheres, because they are fragmented. And you don’t score much points attacking Hollywood anyway. Neither is there a whole lot of money to be extracted from a university or a soccer club.

  6. Knownot says:

    A very good, ironic blog post today.

    – – – – –

    Do you believe in God? – Not, do you. – Should you?

    Carefully analyse the benefits and costs.

    If the answer is Yes, carefully choose one of the available options.

  7. @Stanley Lieber – “a few mistakes”: the Spanish Inquisition, Bloody Mary, indulgence, papal “nephews”, the persecution of Galileo, systemic child sex abuse, support of evil dictatorships, the Crusades, anti-semitism, opposition to female equality, slaughter of witches, the Magdalene Laundries, forcing women to have more children than they want or can afford, opposing effective AIDS prevention – what’s not to love? And yes, they have done some good things too.

  8. Feilo says:

    The current Argentine CEO of the Corporation seems at ease dealing with autocrats and dictators, having done well in its home country.
    Perhaps in the future we may see another first, a chinese Pope. The name, Xi Dada the First.

  9. JFK says:

    @Stanley @Red Dragon – It won’t be long till that tired old cliche of “left footers” will die out with the bigots who spout the phrase. Apparently, the Mick variety of Catholic dug peat with their left foot, and there are still odious chumps around who believe or revel in that myth. The two places in HK where I’ve heard such sectarianism were in the toilets of the FCC and, of course, the OCH – where it belongs, I suppose, not here…

  10. Red Dragon says:

    Oh for goodness’ sake JFK. Pull yourself together.

    I’m sure that you’ll be pleased to know that, after suitable reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot be bigoted towards the Roman church for the simple reason that I don’t give a damn about it. In order to be a bigot, you have to CARE, and I’m afraid I don’t. Like all other similar organisations, the Roman church is merely a grouping of fantasists, some of whom, no doubt, have done good deeds in its name, and some of whom, also in its name, have done much harm.

    I must thank you, however, for educating me about the origin of the term “left footer”, which, rather than believing or revelling in, I simply did not know. So charming does this odious chump (an atheist Anglican, brought up, rightly or wrongly, to view the Bishop of Rome and his followers with a certain degree of suspicion) find your explanation that, you may rest assured, he will continue, from time to time, to keep that tired old cliché alive.

    “Mick variety of Catholic”, indeed. Tut! Tut!

  11. LRE says:

    @Joe Blow
    The Catholic church gets knocked because it’s the richest and longest-running Nigerian email scam in the world. No sympathy for the Devil.

  12. Joe Blow says:

    @LRE: The Pope, as the sovereign of the Vatican and the head of the Catholic Church and as a priest, is not allowed to marry and have a family, owns no personal property and receives a monthly salary of US$ 2500-. He does not fly in private planes, does not have a yacht and is known to carry his own suitcase. Neither does he have a gold toilet.

    If you can point out 1, just 1, other head of state who lives as simple and humble as that, I’ll wash your feet.

  13. Stanley Lieber says:

    As I was saying…

    “Every day the Church selflessly provides comfort and support to tens of millions of people, including nonbelievers, through the most joyful, most meaningful and most trying events of their lives.

    “I’d like to see how these cynical bastards stack up in that department.”

  14. Joe Blow says:

    Good point, Stanley. And I would like to add that the Pope flies Alitalia. How is that for punishment and self flagellation ?

  15. Red Dragon says:

    Is it me, Stanley, or did you say the same thing twice?

    Joe Blow, my life is humbler and simpler than the Pope’s. I grant you that l’m not a head of state, but will you still please was my feet?

  16. JFK says:

    I do love a bit of Anglican baiting!

  17. LRE says:

    @Joe Blow
    Sounds like you’ve already sent in your cheque to Prince N’Pope of Lagos the Vatican. I’m sure the shipment of the unclaimed riches of life everlasting will be winging its way to you just as soon as you pay some extra sundry fees to help it clear customs.

    Prince N’Pope might get a salary of US$2,500 (A tidy $8,400 more a year than Evo Morales) but his food, board and travel allowance is ~US$300million p.a., so on the whole, receiving an extra $30,000 a year just for pocket money is not so much indicative of a pious sacrifice as creative accountancy — a habit no doubt picked up from the Vatican Bank (q.v. Roberto Calvi and Banco Ambrosiano).

    As to the charity — a good long running con requires a bit of speculation for accumulation, and it helps if a lot of the conmen themselves buy into the scam. Think Amway, but without all those tiresome physical products to flog.

    It is instructive to note that the Vatican’s net worth and GDP per capita is a lot higher than all other catholic countries and indeed all countries.

  18. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Red Dragon

    Yes, I said the same thing twice, for the benefit of those sitting in the back of the class.

    May I now repeat my earlier speculation as well?

    “Maybe they’re just jealous that we have a pope and they don’t.”

    I like that one, too.

    God bless!

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