Zhang, the former journalist who brought the students to the square, has taken a different path. Once, he preached for democracy; now he preaches for Jesus. Formerly No. 17 on Beijing’s most-wanted list, Zhang today is a pastor at a Chinese church in Fairfax, Va.
After the clampdown, Zhang spent two years in hiding, much of it in a remote mountain cabin near the frozen Russian border, where he lived off wildlife that he caught. He also spent a month in a Russian prison. It was at that time that he found God.
“I read the Bible and began to know God,” Zhang remembers. “I gained sustenance from it. People really needed God then. They needed a future. I couldn’t see the future with my bare eyes.”
Zhang finally escaped China through Hong Kong and sought asylum in the United States. These days, he throws himself into ministering his flock. He is planning to build a 16,000-square-foot church for his congregation, which currently numbers about 300.
Shanzhai, which literally means “mountain fortress” and implies banditry and lack of state control, refers to China’s vast array of name-brand knockoffs. Shanzhai versions of Apple Inc.‘s iPhone, for example, include the HiPhone, the SciPhone and the deliberately misspelled citrus-themed iOrgane.
Recently, the definition of shanzhai has expanded. On China’s Internet, blogs, bulletin boards and news sites carry photos of automobiles jerry-rigged to run on railroad tracks (“shanzhai trains”), fluffy dogs trimmed and dyed to look like the national mascot (“shanzhai pandas”) and models of the Beijing Olympic Games’ National Stadium made out of sticks (“shanzhai Bird’s Nest”). . . .
Once a term used to suggest something cheap or inferior, shanzhai now suggests to many a certain Chinese cleverness and ingenuity. Shanzhai culture “is from the grass roots and for the grass roots,” says Han Haoyue, a media critic in Beijing, who sees it as a means of self-expression. “It gives people another choice and the possibility of resisting dominant cultural values.”
Chinese authorities appear to regard shanzhai warily, especially when it comes to intellectual property issues. “The shanzhai culture as a celebration of the DIY [do it yourself] spirit or as a parody to mainstream culture can add fun to our daily lives,” said one recent editorial in an official state newspaper. “However, we should remain vigilant against it as a justification for rip-off products.”
[T]here are railroad kings, copper kings, tobacco kings, etc. It is, however, manifestly improper and incongruous that the people should possess a higher title than their President, who is the head of the nation. To make it even, I would suggest that the title “President” be changed to “Emperor,” for the following reasons: First, it would not only do away with the impropriety of the chief magistrate of the nation assuming a name below that of some of his people, but it would place him on a level with the highest ruler of any nation on the face of the earth. I have often heard the remark that the President of the United States is no more than a common citizen, elected for four years, and that on the expiration of his term he reverts to his former humble status of a private citizen; that he has nothing in common with the dignified majesty of an Emperor; but were the highest official of the United States to be in future officially known as Emperor, all these depreciatory remarks would fall to the ground. There is no reason whatever why he should not be so styled, as, by virtue of his high office, he possesses almost as much power as the most aristocratic ruler of any nation. Secondly, it would clearly demonstrate the sovereign power of the people; a people who could make and unmake an Emperor, would certainly be highly respected. Thirdly, the United States sends ambassadors to Germany, Austria, Russia, etc. According to international law, ambassadors have what is called the representative character, that is, they represent their sovereign by whom they are delegated, and are entitled to the same honors to which their constituent would be entitled were he personally present. In a Republic where the head of the State is only a citizen and the sovereign is the people, it is only by a stretch of imagination that its ambassador can be said to represent the person of his sovereign. Now it would be much more in consonance with the dignified character of an American ambassador to be the representative of an Emperor than of a simple President. The name of Emperor may be distasteful to some, but may not a new meaning be given to it?
Doubles table tennis is so entertaining because it defies the laws of geometry. As anyone who’s played in a rec room fully understands, a Ping-Pong table simply isn’t big enough to accommodate four people. The key skill that every doubles team must master has nothing to do with shot-making or defense. Rather, it’s having the agility to get the hell out of the way of your partner.
In doubles table tennis, partners must alternate shots. That means the goal of any team is to sow confusion in the enemy—to make it so the player whose turn it is to hit has to get through his or her partner to do so. The highlight of a doubles match is when partners kick, trip, or smash into one another. I once saw a Malaysian duo knock heads so hard the match was delayed nearly half an hour. Also fun: when one player swings for the ball and hits his or her partner instead.
Sadly, at the Olympic level, the players are too accomplished for this to happen. Maybe it’s just as well, then, that doubles has been eliminated as an Olympic event.
“Love your neighbour to the point of denying yourself” is the ethical core of the Gospel. “Fight selfishness; serve the people” is the ethical core of Mao Tse-Tung Thought. “By their fruits you shall know them” is the decisive criterion of the Gospel. Marxism has sworn by the same test of “fruits” or “practice,” and in the case of China at least has both preached and practiced “continuing revolution” in its name. . . .
The social and political transformations brought about in China through the application of the Thought of Mao Tse-Tung have unified and consolidated a quarter of the world population into a form of society and life-style at once pointing to some of the basic characteristics of the kingdom of God. . . .
Christians . . . have to free themselves from the parochial Western context in which many of their Churches have developed and realize that the Gospel might be more powerfully expressed and fulfilled in the new type of society which is promoted in China.