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Christian principles good for business, says Chinese executive

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A Chinese businessman has told the BBC how his faith in Jesus Christ has a dramatic impact on the company that he runs.

Wang Ruoxiong (pictured), the chairman and founder of the Tiantai Group, became a Christian seven years ago. He says that Jesus is the firm’s ultimate boss:

"He controls everything. I am merely a housekeeper of Jesus, assisting him in taking care of the company."

Six of the eight members of the property giant’s senior management team are Christians.

Mr Wang says that putting biblical principles into practice in the workplace has brought success to the firm. He underlines the importance of good relationships, highlighting the way that staff members are treated and the way that the company relates to its suppliers.

This, he says, makes the company distinct and creates commercial advantage:

"When the senior managers at the top are willing to use the values in their own work and life, the values are passed down. Eventually they become the shared values of the common employees of the entire company.

"At that time, the company becomes truly irreplaceable."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, commented:

“God’s pattern for human flourishing is not just for our personal, private relationship with Him, but for every area of life. When we put it into practice, it brings blessing.

“It’s humbling and exciting that a Christian businessman in communist China is reminding us of the practical benefit that Jesus brings in very concrete ways.”
 

‘UK anxiety’

The BBC’s CEO Guru programme, which interviewed a number of other business leaders about the impact of faith on their professional life, also heard from Gary Oldham, executive chairman of UK stockbroker The Share Centre.

Mr Oldham says that, while he is open about his Christian identity, he doesn’t “flash the brand” at work, saying, “It can’t be overt.”  He does, however, seek to allow his faith to shape his approach to work. 

Such anxiety about being too “overt” about Christian faith in the workplace may not be uncommon in the UK.

Research carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and published in March highlighted the scale and diversity of challenges faced by Christians.
 

‘Hostility’

The hostility of some workplaces to Christian faith is underlined by several recent legal cases supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

In January 2014, Christian nursery worker Sarah Mbuyi was fired for gross misconduct after she responded to a colleague and explained biblical teaching on marriage and sexual ethics. In June 2015, an Employment Tribunal found that she had been unfairly dismissed.

In 2013, senior occupational therapist Victoria Wasteney was suspended by her NHS Trust employer after she gave a Christian book to a Muslim colleague and offered to pray with her. In April 2015, an Employment Tribunal said that she was wrong to talk about her faith.

At the time, Andrea Williams commented:

“Victoria has been punished and left out in the cold for being honest and open about her faith.

“Are these the kind of workplaces we want, where people are forced to hide their identity and the things that matter most to them? Such an environment is detrimental to meaningful working relationships and ultimately to productivity.”

She continued: 

“The current ‘equality and diversity’ framework is having the opposite effect of what was intended. It is driving different people apart, not bringing them together, by breeding an atmosphere of mistrust in which people constantly feel as if they are walking on eggshells.

“Victoria’s case clearly demonstrates this. What will our politicians do to restore trust in the workplace?”


Related links:
Richard Page talks to BBC News following the publication of the EHRC report

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