While many people may still think that the majority of Chinese are Buddhist or Taoist, a large number of Chinese actually follow the “minority” religions of Islam or Christianity — and the number of people who follow the minority religions are significant as estimates put the number of followers of Islam at 20 Million to 30 Million and the number of followers of Christianity at 40 Million to 55 Million, or 3% to 4% of the population.
This is a very significant number, as it’s roughly four times the number of orthodox Christians in Greece (which account for roughly 97% of the population) — a country that China is in the process of buying piece by piece. According to this recent article in the Washington Post on how Greece is tapping China’s deep pockets to help rebuild it’s economy. Greece, which had to turn to the European Union and the IMF in April for a 140 Billion payout to stay afloat, is taking on the powerful unions in an effort to ensure that the Chinese can introduce dramatic changes as they invest in major projects, such as the 700 Million transformation of the Mediterranean port of Piraeus that will create a modern gateway that links Chinese factories with consumers across Europe and North Africa.
Greece is courting China for a bevy of other projects, including a sprawling new distribution centre in the industrial wastelands west of Athens, a monorail line, five-star hotels and a new maritime theme park — everything you’d want in a vacation home — or a wedding location! (The island of Santorini has started selling itself as the perfect location for “Big Fat Mandarin Weddings”.) And China is buying.
This will obviously improve port productivity and give those who are shipping into Europe more options, but is there a downside from the Chinese turning Greece into their vacation home?