View From the Wall
The Road to the Protection of Human Rights of the Chinese People
Changes have occurred in China. The boundaries of acceptable behavior have begun to be more clearly defined by the rule of law. This has been especially noticed in the economic domain: the protection of the rights of the consumer. However, in other areas changes have not been so evident: areas of speech, the press, religion and the establishment of social organizations. Recently, and increasingly, people's understanding of human rights is also changing in significant ways.
"With China at the crossroads looking for new direction and partners, there is a chance for a fresh start." The author explains that "it is high time for the churches to act with vision and courage and adopt a more conciliatory approach towards the government. They should let go of the past and see themselves—and project an image to others—no longer as passive victims of political oppression, but rather as responsible members of society who wish to engage and contribute. The church is a growing social force, and should work with a concerted effort to win respect and trust from the government and society at large."
"A Letter from Birmingham Jail," by Martin Luther King Jr., The Christian Century, June 12, 1963, p. 767.
Reviewed by Scott Becker
A Contribution to Civil Society in Contemporary China
Dedication and commitment on the part of Christians in China to respond in charity, mercy and compassion to the needs of their neighbors springs, as it does for Christians everywhere, from their basic understanding and acceptance of Christian doctrine and biblical teachings. Catholic Social Thought informs the way the Catholic church responds to the needs in China.
Slowly, incrementally, it has been happening. Starting in the coastal regions and moving inward, beginning in economics and spreading to the rest of life, people in China have been learning of their rights their rights as citizens of a sovereign state and as humans in the international community.
Editor's Note: This editorial originally appeared in "Civil Rights Movement in China" (ChinaSource, 2005 Spring).