Category Archives: workplace insights

March 2018 Update

Thanks be to God for His gift of perfect love for us. And we rejoice for Christ has Risen and He Lives!! Hallelujah!!

We have much to praise God and be thankful. Sherri’s surgery went well and there was NO CANCER!! It was somewhat of an adventure to get there. The surgery was scheduled for 8am on the 15th of March. The night before at 8pm the hospital called to say the surgery had been cancelled as the doctor had an emergency and would be out for the next 4-8 weeks! What! Now what do we do?! Fortunately her office called the next morning and by the afternoon they had been able to reschedule Sherri with another surgeon at 4pm on the 20th. Oh so grateful we didn’t have to wait weeks for this to happen! She came out of the surgery well and has had no pain from the very beginning. The hardest part for someone as active as she is would be the restrictions for 6 weeks of no lifting more than 10 pounds and no exercising.

THANK YOU for all your prayers for her. Sherri definitely felt God’s peace even not knowing what the results might be and then very relieved to hear in the recovery room “no cancer”. We also learned her doctor’s emergency turned out to be a good emergency – she had gotten the call for the baby she was adopting!

Another big praise and thanksgiving is for what is happening in China. One of Rolf’s leaders took over the training of the new leader so there are now a total of 5 leaders that will be teaching the “Faith or Fiction” classes. And are you ready for this……they have already lined up 149 people that want to take the class!! PRAISE BE TO GOD!! We could not be more excited although Rolf wishes he could be there with them. Please continue to PRAY for them and their students for God’s protection.

Wish we could be praising about out living situation but as of today we still have not been approved for the apartments we have applied for. In fact the last time Sherri talked to the management company no one had yet been approved! Don’t know what the holdup is and can’t seem to get any real answers. They are still telling us the building will be completed April/May and driving by there, workers are working but completion doesn’t look that near done. Meanwhile we have people that have been waiting patiently, and hopefully continue to wait patiently to buy our townhouse. They will have a house to sell and no one can move forward until we get an answer! So please PRAY for a favorable answer and SOON so we all can make some steps forward.

Meanwhile at this Easter season we celebrate and remember the hope, joy and victory that is ours in Christ! We pray for you “the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13


Leave a comment

Filed under ministry updates, workplace insights

China’s Paramilitary Police

Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken another step to increase his power over the world’s most populous nation in consolidating and tightening his control over the “Paramilitary Police”  by moving the People’s Armed Police (PAP) to the Central Military Commission, of which he is chairman.

Previously, the paramilitary police force of about 1 million officers was controlled by the State Council, which Xi does not directly lead. The move began to go into effect on January 1.

Paramilitary police conduct disaster and kidnapping rescues, special human trafficking and drug trafficking operations, protest control and other duties.

The Nikkei Asian Review said the move was seen as a “hedge against a coup.”

It has been suggested that Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, plotted to carry out a coup against the Xi administration by teaming up with Bo Xilai, a former Communist Party secretary of Chongqing who once was the president’s major rival. Zhou had a strong influence over the paramilitary force.

The South China Morning Post added that the previous structure “gave lower-level authorities the power to deploy the PAP to tackle natural disasters, protests and hostage crises.”

The Communist Party’s People’s Daily reported that the paramilitary police would remain separate from the military.

Assuming control of the People’s Armed Police looks like a continuation of Xi’s reforms, which were given wide news coverage at the recent 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last October.

There, Xi proclaimed a “new era” of Chinese power. Xi has also made strides toward “re-centralizing” China’s economy by rebuilding government-controlled monopolies, fortifying national enterprises, and limiting opportunities for competitors—both in China and abroad.

Meanwhile, Xi has muzzled “dissenting voices” within Chinese society, making the country considerably less free than it was during the time of his predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

Regarding China’s military might, Shanghai-based military affairs commentator Ni Lexiong says Xi now “not only controls the military but also does it in an absolute manner.”

Now Xi is adding control over the “paramilitary police” to the power of his regime.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

One Man to Rule a Billion

Fifty years ago, Chinese dictator Mao Zedong unleashed his “Red Guards” against members of his own Chinese Communist Party accused of having capitalist sympathies. This paramilitary group of Chinese youth carried out “mass killings” in Beijing and other major Chinese cities in the name of Mao Zedong and Communist orthodoxy.

In the southern region of Guangxi, these violent pogroms escalated to the point of cannibalism—with teenagers killing their school principals and eating them in celebration of their triumph over “counter-revolutionaries.”

While there is no official count of the number of people murdered during these purges, historians estimate that millions—even 30 million or more—may have perished in the decade-long “Cultural Revolution” that began in May 1966.

The bloodbath of the “Cultural Revolution” was so horrific that Chinese leaders amended the country’s Constitution in 1982 to “prohibit one-man rule” after Mao’s death.

Instead of being governed by the “whims”of the chairman of the Communist Party, the government is now allegedly run by the “collective will” of the Standing Committee of the Politburo—a group composed of “five to nine” top Communist officials.

Disturbing reports out of Beijing, however, indicate that the Communist Party is “abandoning” this collective leadership model. President Xi Jinping has “consolidated” more power than any Chinese leader since Mao.

He has assumed “seven” top government positions. He is the General Secretary of the Communist Party, (1) the president of the People’s Republic of China, (2) the chairman of the Central Military Commission, (3) the chairman of the Central National Security Commission, (4) the head of the Joint Operations Command Center, (5) the leader of the Central Leading Group for Military Reform, (6) the leader of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, (7) and the leader of the Central Leading Group for Internet Security and Information.

At least seven provincial-level party bosses have publicly proclaimed Xi as the “core leader” of China. This title hasn’t been used in China since the retirement of Deng Xiaoping in 1989, and it is widely seen as a sign indicating a “Maoist-style cult of personality.”

While ultimate power in China still rests with the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Xi has reduced the number of people on this committee from nine to seven and has used his political influence to ensure that these seven people are all members of his own inner circle.

Only three years into Xi’s presidency, the Standing Committee of the Politburo issued a public statement demanding “unwavering loyalty” to the person of Xi Jinping.

In addition to practically anointing Xi as “Chairman of Everything,” the Chinese government is financing a media campaign designed to update Xi’s image for the social-media generation.

Officials from the Communist Party of China have hired Sameh al-Shahat, the founder of British communications consultancy China-I Ltd., to advise them on how to produce publicity films to promote Xi to younger audiences.

This government-sponsored propaganda campaign relies heavily on Mao-era imagery, prompting worries of an emerging “cult of personality” and a coming era of “dictatorial” rule!

As China approaches the final stages of its planned “hundred-year marathon” toward global domination, it is reverting to the “one-man” leadership model it had during the 1949 Communist Revolution.

If this “consolidation of power” continues unabated, Xi Jinping could emerge as a political figure whose “role in history” outweighs that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping combined!

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

China Preparing for War

For the first time in the history of the modern Chinese state, the leader of the Communist Party has personally dictated military action to the People’s Liberation Army.

“Here I give my orders,” announced Chinese President Xi Jinping to thousands of assembled troops. “The military at all levels should strengthen military training and war preparedness.”

Speaking to more than 7,000 Chinese servicemen, the Communist Party’s general secretary ordered all members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to ready themselves for the outbreak of war.

In the clip showing Xi’s speech, the camera regularly takes in the vast array of soldiers and military equipment. The magnitude and regimentation of those present reinforces the power wielded by this East Asian country.

Christina Zhao of Newsweek reported that during his speech, Xi encouraged the troops to “enhance their military training and combat readiness” to “grasp the capability to win battles” as dictated by the Chinese Communist Party.

The president’s direct orders to the PLA are another big step for Xi in securing power for both himself and his nation.

“This is the first time since the founding of the country that instructions on military training have been directly issued by the chairman of the Central Military Commission,” said Xu Guangyu, a retired major general and adviser of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, speaking of President Xi. “It shows that improving combat readiness is now a strategic mission for the Chinese military.”

This news falls in line with the rise of Xi Jinping as Asian strongman.  During his first term in office, Xi has accumulated more power than any Chinese leaders since Mao.

“It would be easy to view Xi’s rise as the result of an ambitious individual maneuvering to make himself an authoritarian,” he wrote.

“But his rapid ascent could not have happened without the full consent and assistance of the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese elite see that the global order is unraveling. They see American power declining and leadership vacuums opening up. They see that the international stage is primed for conflict, that there is a chance for China to take advantage of the volatility and to emerge as a superpower.”

In such tenuous times as the world finds itself in, China knows that it needs a strongman to guide it toward greater “global dominance and power.” It takes a streamlined chain of command to effectively play on the world stage.

Xi’s success in cementing power over his nation’s military and foreign policy is worth watching closely. For any nation destined to play a decisive role in shaping history, an ambitious leader with the power to steer his nation is key.

Be on the lookout for China and its allies to continue to expand their military power, reinforce their governments, and prepare for coming global conflicts!

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

February 2018 Update

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21.

February has been a challenging month for us.We are very grateful we were able to get away for our annual trip to Florida and leave it all here for a couple of weeks. We enjoyed family, friends, warm weather and a time to relax and refresh.

We are still waiting to be approved for the apartments we want to move to. It is a long process and a lot of waiting! The application is in. They were to be submitted no earlier than Feb 1 and we emailed it in at 12:03am on the 1st so we are near the top of the list for “first come first serve.” The hold-up is for them getting answers back for background and financial checks. There shouldn’t be any known reason why we wouldn’t qualify but until we get that official word accepted we wait and it has been a long one since we started this! Keep those prayers coming please! (We just spoke with the apartment management company and it seems our bank is holding up the works by not getting back to them in a timely fashion!)

Meanwhile Sherri is going to be having surgery on March 15th for a total hysterectomy. This of course was not part of our plans especially with the hope to be getting ready to move in April or May. This all started back in mid-November with some hip issues and an MRI to see what was going on. It revealed some arthritis and wearing of the hip but also some cysts on her ovary. So then an ultrasound was recommended. From there it went to being referred to an oncology gynecologist, who tried to get a pelvic biopsy (and we won’t go into that!) to another MRI. The MRI showed some questionable issues so surgery is where we are at right now. Please PRAY for biopsies to be negative and good healing.

Before we even knew for certain Sherri would need surgery to be fair to Rolf’s school in China he had to make the hard decision to delay his return until fall rather than having to inform them at the last minute he wouldn’t be able to return end of March as planned. This was very difficult for him. He was very much looking forward to getting back to the ministry there and anxious to train a new leader that has been waiting for him to come back. We do PRAISE God that the ministry continues even without him being there. He has four leaders in place who have been teaching and discipling with the “Faith or Fiction” curriculum. Please PRAY God’s protection on them as they continue the classes. And PRAY the school will look forward to Rolf returning in the fall.

A lot of changes and a lot of things up in the air for us. We really need your prayers and support right now as we work through all this. We have done all we can do in preparation of these situations and have been made very much aware that in the end we are not the ones in control! And we thank God that He is!! We are very grateful, too, He has put you, our team, alongside us. Thank you for being there for us.

“Trust in the Lord forever, For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:4 NASB.

Leave a comment

Filed under ministry updates, workplace insights

China’s Zen Generation

China’s government-run newspaper “Global Times” complained in a piece published that Millennial’s of the “Zen generation” are “indifferent” to communism, a sign that Xi Jinping’s efforts to impose “Marxist” ideology on young Chinese people are failing.

“They are not inspired by any patriotic drive or the Party’s political catchphrases. They are simply indifferent,” the Global Times laments.

Under Xi, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has invested heavily in youth-centered propaganda, including producing rap videos about communism, organizing “mass dating” events where Communist Youth League members can meet state-approved potential mates, and doubling down on textbooks and academic study that promote Chinese military belligerence. Chinese officials have also cracked down on non-Mandarin language and religions considered rivals to “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Yet the Global Times admits in a report on the “Zen-generation” that these efforts appear to be, in part, failing. “People who call themselves Zen-generation, either seriously or half-jokingly, are seemingly fine with anything that happens to them,” the article notes, suggested that these individuals refuse to put effort into anything, including work and relationships.

“Once someone becomes their ex, they won’t even bother to delete or block them from their social networks,” the Times notes with horror.

These millennial’s “reject a bustling and competitive society and instead choose to practice patience, tolerance and inner peacefulness.”

The Chinese Communist Youth League has identified this as a threat and a “total tragedy.”

“Only when the young have ambitions and are responsible can a nation have prospects,” the Youth League said in an article on the topic posted on social media and quoted by the Times. The newspaper notes that communists may indeed have something to be worried about, that “this new trend is a passive reaction against the rapid reforms, changes, and developments of modern-day Chinese society.”

The article is a rare admission of failure for the Chinese government, though the piece does argue that the “Zen generation” youths are a “minority” compared to zealous communists.

Yet China has become a nation with more Christians than Communist Party members, where the Communist Youth League is forced to remind young people that Christmas is “China’s day of shame” while banning party members from believing in any religion at all.

Beijing’s efforts to attract young minds to communist have become increasingly desperate, suggesting significant concerns at the highest levels of power regarding the appeal of old Marxist ideology.

Chinese officials have published a library of rap videos to promote communism, from the clumsily titled “The Reform Group is Two Years Old”—celebrating the establishment of Xi’s anti-corruption reform group—to the tune “Marx is a Millennial.” Xi makes his rapping debut in the former video.

In March 2017, the Chinese government ordered schools to supplement these propaganda efforts with new curricula designed to inspire young people to identify with communism.

“When we investigate at colleges and universities, we find that attention levels at thought and political theory classes are not high. People are there in body but not in spirit,” Chinese Education Minister Chen Baosheng said at the time. “Students needed to be led by the core values of Chinese socialism to ensure their healthy moral growth.”

Chen specifically demanded schools take a “trendy” approach to Marxism.

The Communist Youth League has added social elements to this by organizing dating events in which all participants are carefully vetted for party unity, ensuring that any relationship that begins at such an event will unite two ardent communists. Communist officials also recently announced that they had purchased control of a popular hologram “pop star” who would now be used to “instill correct thinking into the younger generation with her singing.”

Chinese ‘Zen-Generation’ Teens Choosing Smartphones over Communist Values

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Serving a New Generation

Serving a New Generation
By Brent Fulton ⋅ Dec 27, 2017 ⋅ Topic: Serving  From the series Looking Back

Over the past few months we’ve been looking back at the 20 years since “ChinaSource” was founded. This trip down memory lane has reminded us how transformational these two decades have been for China. Urbanization, steady economic growth, the emergence of a middle class, and major advances in education, health, and infrastructure have accomplished in 20 years what has taken other nations 100 years or more.

This period has been transformational for China’s church as well. When “ChinaSource was launched, it was to serve primarily Western organizations as they sought ways to advance the gospel in China. For many this involved providing basic theological training for rural church leaders or serving in newly opened seminaries under the China Christian Council. Others taught English or other subjects on university campuses or sent development workers to ethnic minority areas where there were no known Christians.

In the decades since, a new generation of believers has emerged. Children of the rural church leaders who were some of the first recipients of training from outside have grown up and made their way to China’s cities. There they are serving as a bridge, planting new kinds of churches while still keeping one foot in the countryside. Curious students who came to Christ while in college have gone on to launch their careers, start families, and participate in starting fellowships that have developed into independent urban churches. New Christians from minority areas are now being mobilized to reach other ethnic groups with the gospel. Meanwhile, believers from both urban and rural backgrounds are joining hands to prepare and send missionaries from China to the nations.

Those who have been privileged to serve during these transformational decades can only marvel at God’s miraculous work in China. In many ways China is a different place, and the church we now serve is different as well.

The challenge going forward—“for ChinaSource and for hundreds of other organizations engaged in China“—is to rethink what it means to serve in this new era. China’s church is better resourced, has more opportunities, and is well positioned for influence in ways that couldn’t even have been imagined 20 years ago. Chinese believers are going global as they engage more routinely with organizations and institutions overseas. It is not uncommon to find Christians from China appearing in leadership positions in these international entities.

Serving remains a core value of “ChinaSource“, and we continue to strive to help others find ways to serve effectively in China. But, whatever role one plays, serving today must mean serving with the church in China. China’s Christians are the ones who are at the forefront of new approaches and new opportunities. Serving today means coming alongside this generation in a mutually supportive way. The challenge for the future is learning together how God will use his global church to further his transformational mission in and through China.

This is the final piece in the “Looking Back” series that we began in September to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “ChinaSource.” You can read the entire series here.

Brent Fulton
Brent Fulton is the president of ChinaSource and the editor of the ChinaSource Quarterly. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of… View Full Bio

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, chinese religions, workplace insights