China has introduced the new seven-man team that will run the world's most populous country for the next 10 years.
The once-a-decade transition in the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Partyis important to China's 80 million Christians. They have enjoyed greater openness and toleration during the past 20 years, yet still must navigate a complicated relationship with a government which has no tolerance for competition.
To discuss what the new Standing Committee leadership means for China's Christians, Open Doors News (ODN) turned to Brent Fulton, Ph.D and president ofChina Source, a Hong Kong-based nonprofit formed in 1997.
ODN: What element of the transition do we need to be most aware of?
Fulton: The fact that they're having this Party Congress and moving toward a more orderly, more rational way of governing the country is significant. I think it bodes well for Christians and everybody in China—if they're able to really follow through on what China's trying to do.
ODN: What significance for Christians is to be found in the survival of the position of propaganda czar in the Standing Central Committee?
Fulton:It's not surprising. … As social media in China has proliferated, people are being more vocal about their complaints, and the government is feeling more and more pressure to respond to that. At the same time, freedom of expression in China, within certain limits, has continued to grow—as long as people don't directly attack the party, get involved with politics, or do something to embarrass a leader. … And for the Christians, that has translated into not only more publishing, but also on the internet, there's ...