It is not just that seeking to placate the public at home with braggadocio overseas will make it harder still for China to garner allies and respect. There is a deeper problem. Many countries around the world admire, and would like to emulate, the undemocratic but effective way that China has managed its decades of growth. If China’s domestic politics look less stable, some of that admiration will wane. And even if things can be held together, for the time being, admiration for China does not translate into affection for it, or into a sense of common cause. Economically and militarily, China has come a long way towards regaining the centrality in Asia it enjoyed through much of history. Intellectually and morally, it has not. In the old days it held a “soft power” so strong, according to William Kirby of Harvard University, that “neighbours converted themselves” to it. Now, Mr Xi may know how to assert himself and how to be feared, at home and abroad. But without the ability to exert a greater power of attraction, too, such strength will always tend to destabilise.
3. What kinds of local representation or institutional support would you need available to you to help you navigate any unforeseen obstacles and explain the laws and contract provisions in order to conduct business and protect your assets?
4. What are some of the limitations (economic, infrastructure, technological) in establishing this exchange relationship (for example, currency fluctuations, or import/export timelines)?
5. What opportunities and limitations are there for communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ? What would be a focus for prayer? Be sure to review the Operation World link above.