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談中國宗教自由白皮書

2018/4/30 — 12:22

梵蒂岡(圖片來源:維基百科)

梵蒂岡(圖片來源:維基百科)

1) Why did China choose to release of the White Paper on Religious Freedom in early April?

 
Actually the release of this White Paper is not any sort of periodic event.  It is actually only the second White Paper after the first release back in 1997.  Given the ad hoc nature of such a release, it is expected that the Chinese Government would like to serve a particular political purpose which it is now anticipating.  As many of us are aware, the timing of the release of this White Paper coincides with the alleged last mile towards the execution of the Vatican-China Agreement on bishops nomination and appointment (previously some said it will be in late March, now some said it will possibly take place in April), as well as the escalated international concerns over Vatican-China relationship.  By means of this White Paper, the Chinese Government continues to tell lies which are against the real brutal actions of the tyranny to hamper freedom to religion and worship in China.  Therefore, there is a strong argument that the White Paper serves at least three major purposes for the Chinese Government: (a) attempt to mitigate worldwide concerns on China’s tyranny against different religions in China (mainly Catholicism, Christianity, Muslim and Tibetan Buddhism); (b) reassure Vatican that any bishops nomination power in China’s hands will not do harm on the Catholic Church or any Catholics in China, so as to speed up the final execution of the aforementioned Vatican-China Agreement; and (c) draw the red line on the ground saying that all religious groups and affairs in China should always support the leadership of the China Communist Party and refrain from any domination by foreign powers.  Certainly these ideas are all hypocritical.

2) What is your view on the White Paper? Can it help to safeguard religious freedom in China at all? Why?

廣告

This White Paper certainly cannot help to protect religious freedom in China.  Religious freedom, by its nature, is the freedom to embrace transcendental values, faith, hope and love, which precede and transcend over this secular world or political powers.  If the condition precedent to religious freedom is the wholehearted loyalty to a particular human being, to a secular political party or government, or to a specific culture, this will simply mean there is no religious freedom at all.  This White Paper unequivocally mentioned that: (a) all religions should adapt to socialist society, support the leadership of the China Communist Party and the so-called socialist system, insist to follow the so-called socialist road with Chinese characteristics, insist Sinolization of all religions; and (b) all religious groups and affairs in China should refrain from any domination by foreign powers, and any unlawful acts committed by foreign religious organizations and individuals in controlling Chinese religious organizations, in intervening Chinese religious affairs and overturning the Chinese government should always be strictly forbidden and lawfully extinguished.  This is the hard line which has been taken by Xi Jinping consistently ever since his speeches in the 2015 the Party Central United Front Conference and the 2016 National Religions Conference.  The word “Sinolization” here means politically support the leadership of the China Communist Party and work with atheists to contribute to the success of the China Dream, socially adapt to, serve, and owe a duty to the Chinese society as a whole, and culturally accept Chinese characteristics on religious thoughts, customary practices, religious buildings and art etc.  It simply means that “obey Xi Jinping” and “obey the Party” should precede over any faith in God or other transcendental values.  Obviously this is fundamentally against the very notion of religious freedom.

 3) What is the impact of the White Paper on religions in China? How will it affect Catholicism and Vatican-China Agreement progress?

廣告

This White Paper is more or less a reinstatement of most of China’s existing policies on religions.  It also contains certain deceptive paragraphs at the beginning showing how China “respects” religious freedom by quoting Article 36 of Chinese Constitutional Law.  In my view, the detrimental impacts of the tyranny against religions in China have been existing and persisting for many years, and this White Paper simply reinstates the above deceptive lies and further emphasizes the hard line now being taken by Xi Jinping’s regime.  Its impact of Catholicism is to send a clear message to the Church: if the Vatican Church wishes to substantially increase the number of Catholics in China (actually this idea is deceptive as many of them are well under the coverage of the Party-control fake churches), Vatican should now take action to execute the Vatican-China Agreement so as to give up the Pope’s power in nominating bishops in China to the China Government.  This is an obvious trap which Vatican should pay attention and resist as having been consistently practiced in the past few decades.  The White Paper also adopts a luring technique.  It said Protestant Christians in China have increased to 38 million (which is a substantial uplift from 23 million 10 years ago), while Catholics in China still remain at 6 million in number (certainly all the above numbers do not include underground and family church believers).  The hidden message is to exert pressure on or to lure the Vatican Church to urgently seek a breakthrough in terms of quantity, probably at the expense religious faith and humanity ethics.


4) The first White Paper of China was released in 1997, that is 20 years ago. How is the current White Paper different from the first one? What are the key issues of the current White Paper?

Besides quoting per verbatim speeches of Xi Jinping and taking the aforementioned hard lines, this 2018 White Paper, when compared with the 1997 White Paper, also defines clearly the so-called “Independent, Autonomous and Self-Establishment Principle”.  This 2018 White Paper says this principle is a “historical choice” made by the “Chinese people with religious beliefs” in the course of their strive for national independence and social progression, emphasizing on the “shameful history” of Catholicism and Christianity being manipulated by colonialism and imperialism and treated as “alien worship”.  Its hidden meaning is that Catholicism and Christianity “as is” without the leadership of the China Communist Party” and without satisfying the need to build the “China Dream” is not allowed any longer in China, as such would be deemed as colonialist and imperialist attacks against China.  This sort of rhetoric has become more repetitive in this 2018 White Paper when compared with the 1997 White Paper.  Besides, the 1997 White Paper said there were around 100 million religious believers in China, and this number was based on Zhou Enlai’s saying back in 1950’s, while this 2018 White Paper alleged that the number of religious believers in China has doubled to 200 million, and further set forth the number of believers, administrative personnel and religious groups in each of the five main religions in China (Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity).  No matter whether these numbers are genuine or not, the Chinese Government seems to implicitly indicate to the world that atheist or communist movements for so many decades did not yield any meaningful achievement in China.

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