A few years ago, a Kyrgyz Christian entrepreneur started a cattle farm in his father’s home village, creating many jobs for the villagers. He also sponsors soccer teams for the village youth, gives out free coal to old people in the winter, and quickly became a respected benefactor of the community. His farm raised cattle for meat exports and milk for the domestic market. When there was a surplus of milk, he wanted to build a plant to produce powdered milk for the vast Chinese market. After China’s 2008 milk scandal, it would be easy to find Chinese investors. Moreover, the project would benefit the village. He went to China and returned with a business plan.
Much to his surprise, the village elders rejected his proposal outright: “We want nothing to do with the Chinese! They will take over our resources and ruin our environment!” The village leaders had never met or dealt with Chinese people before, but had heard all the bad press.
The Chinese government has a lot of work to do before the OBOR dream can be realized. Will they be able to change the behavior of Chinese business people? Let us pray that Christians from China will be redemptive agents to bridge the two countries as they share the Good News through their lives and how they work.