Creating Equality by Consolidating Power

Can you find the tension in the lead sentence from this WSJ story on the annual Communist Party meeting in China? Here it is: “China’s ruling communist elite opened an annual meeting that will focus on policies for spreading the nation’s newfound prosperity more evenly and on President Hu Jintao’s attempts to further consolidate his power.” It still amazes me that so many people still think that centralizing political power is both an effective way to spread out wealth and one that is therefore socially desirable. Continue Reading...

China, Christianity, and the Rule of Law

Earlier this month Forum 18 published an article that examined whether the establishment of a law regarding religion at a national level would be a positive step toward ending the sometimes arbitrary and uneven treatment of religious freedom issues throughout the country. Continue Reading...

Moral Business

Profit is a valid motivation for business and, generally speaking, a company that pursues profits within the bounds of law and morality will be fulfilling its purpose admirably. But profit is an instrumental good rather than a final good, and so there are sometimes extraordinary circumstances that place additional moral obligations on business. Continue Reading...

China-Taiwan Trade Spike

Tension between China and Taiwan is one of the more troubling matters in geopolitical affairs. Now AsiaNews reports that trade between China and Taiwas increased by 15 percent in the first half of 2006. Continue Reading...

China: The Economics of Religious Freedom

Here’s a summary of a piece over at Forum 18: Economics has a large effect on China’s religious freedom, Forum 18 News Service notes. Factors such as the need of religious communities for non-state income, significant regional wealth disparities, conflicts over economic interests, and artificially-induced dependence on the state income all provide the state with alternative ways of exercising control over religious communities. Continue Reading...

Religious Freedom in China

Do economic, political, and religious freedom go together? Rodney Stark, writing in his recent book The Victory of Reason, says that “It seems doubtful than an effective modern economy can be created without adopting capitalism, as was demonstrated by the failure of the command economies of the Soviet Union and China.” He also writes, There are many reasons people embrace Christianity, including its capacity to sustain a deeply emotional and existentially satisfying faith. Continue Reading...

China-Vatican Dispute Addendum

In an earlier post on illicit Catholic ordinations in China, I noted that there appeared to be a rift developing between the Patriotic Association and the rest of the government. Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen confirmed that impression in remarks he made yesterday in Rome, as reported by AsiaNews: The Patriotic Association wanted “it to be a slap in the face, but actually, they were defeated by the clear statement of the Holy See, to which the government responded very mildly”, continued Cardinal Zen. Continue Reading...

China-Vatican Dispute

It’s been in the news for a few days already, but the charges and countercharges continue to fly. Anyone familiar with Catholicism in China knows that the Vatican and the Chinese Communist government have been more or less at loggerheads ever since Mao Zedong drove Catholicism underground. Continue Reading...

Agog and Aghast at Google

A number of bloggers have expressed grave concerns over Google’s decision to accomodate the demands of the communist government in its web search offerings in China. David Mills at Mere Comments writes that Google is “serving a brutal government and helping it oppress its people, even if its service will prove only partially effective.” He complains that Google’s motives are purely pecuniary, and that the company is only acceding to the government’s wishes because “If it didn’t help the Chinese government oppress its people, it wouldn’t make much money in China.” Mills notes that Google is following Microsoft and Yahoo search engines in making these concessions It seems a pretty easy judgment to make: Google is selling out. Continue Reading...

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