As our dynamic world is changing essentially, it is not so surprising to see female winners in today’s modern-capitalism world. One of the female leaders who amazed and impressed me is a Chinese billionaire property magnate, Zhang Xin. She has been named one of the world’s most powerful women and has played a large role in transforming Beijing’s architectural landscape. Zhang Xin is even a member and Young Global Leader of World Economic Forum, Davos, as well as a trustee of China Institute in America and a member of Asia Business Council. Over the hard-working last two decades, she was able to accumulate the wealth of $3.8 Billion USD up to date.
Certainly, I am not here to summarize her accomplishments or how she was able to become a person who she is today. Recently, I read an article about her and she was talking about the relationship between religion and social problems of China. She also claimed that she values the religion more than money as emphasizing she is a non-materialist now. But I was not fully convinced by her comments and opinions because how can you consider yourself as a non-materialist when you have over billions of dollars worth of wealth? I wanted to understand the perspective of one of China’s richest people in a society that is suspicious, even scornful, of some of its wealthiest citizens.
At age 45, Ms. Zhang is reinventing herself as a moral and modest Baha’i convert who has transcended materialistic pursuits and now wants to focus on charity and education. “Baha’i has transformed me,” she says.
She hopes that religion, and Baha’i in particular, can help China to bridge the gap between fast economic growth and spiritual development that lags behind. A new religion with about six million believers globally, Baha’i emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind.
It’s curious to hear Ms. Zhang, of all people, lament the results of materialism in modern China. After all, she’s lived the China Dream more exuberantly or abundantly than almost any other woman in the country.
Ms. Zhang never lets her musings on religion stray into the realm of politics. She claims to be apolitical, and doesn’t believe that changing the political system will lead to a better society. She says that the revolution in Egypt didn’t really change its society, citing the sexual assault on CBS correspondent Lara Logan immediately after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president. It doesn’t make any difference if it’s a democracy or a dictatorship, she says. “The real change comes when people’s hearts change. When everybody has a better heart, the whole society will change.” ( which I learned from a leadership class. lol)
Ultimately my question goes how much of strong positive impact can the religious beliefs leave to China’s citizens to help the economic growth?