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» 06/13/2012
CHINA
Beijing's plans to defend religious freedom and human rights are but "empty words"
China makes public its second National Human Rights Action Plan, which acknowledges that the country has a "long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy human rights." Freedom of religion and expression are formally protected, but "as usual," these are "empty and meaningless words." The authorities "spend time and money only to control religions, not help them."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - China formally announced its second National Human Rights Action Plan for the years 2012-2015, saying it has a "long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy human rights." The new plan includes a set of guidelines, "empty words as usual," an expert told AsiaNews. "They are very good on paper but they show their real nature in their deeds."

The plan provides dissidents, activists and believers from all religions a formal basis to file complaints against local Communist officials. The new version follows that of 2009, which did not improve substantially the situation in terms of human and religious rights.

Various experts believe that it is unrealistic to expect the second edition to bring any change to the country or Tibet, where the rights of the local population are systematically violated.

Tibet is indeed a clear example of the problem. Since 2008, when clashes broke out in Lhasa between residents and Communist authorities, the Tibetan government has proceeded to arrest about 7,000 political activists. At present, nothing is known about them, except that a few are released from time to time.

According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, 2009 has gone down as the worst year in Tibet's recent history. It is also the year when the first Action Plan was issued.

Under the new plan, the state plans to help religions, guarantee freedom of expression and worship, and even provide funding for places of worship destroyed by natural disasters or in ruin as long as they are Muslim Chinese places and not Uygur, or Buddhist sites.

"All this is utter nonsense," said Dr Anthony Lam Sui-ky, a researcher at the Holy Spirit Study Centre of the Diocese of Hong Kong.

"On paper, Chinese leaders are always good, but in reality local governments do as they please," the great expert on the Church in China told AsiaNews.

"It matters not what they write in official documents. People don't have access to religious freedom or human rights," he lamented.

"In some areas, like Guangdong in the rich south, the government has helped some churches with some money for renovation," Lam said in relation to public funding for religions. However, "The truth is that the government wants to control the Church and is spending a lot of money on imposing security constraints and controls on the clergy and believers."


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See also
11/15/2013 INDONESIA
Indonesian bishops to promote programmes for addicts' "physical and moral" rehabilitation
by Mathias Hariyadi
07/27/2012 SRI LANKA
Colombo adopts plan for refugees and former Tamil Tigers
by Melani Manel Perera
11/10/2008 CHINA
China announces “action plan” on human rights
05/26/2015 CHINA
China’s ruling Communist Party warns its members that harbouring religious beliefs will be punished
11/27/2012 CHINA
Wen Jiabao and NY Times still at odds over corruption accusations

Editor's choices
LEBANON
Muslims defend Christians’ freedom in Beirut DeclarationFreedom of religion, education and opinion are defended by quoting the Qur’ān, which is the basis for the rule of law, not a religious state. Lebanese Sunnis slam violence committed in the name of God. The full declaration is reprinted here.
LEBANON
Islamic Makassed launch doctrinal battle against Muslim extremism
by Fady NounOfficial reference point for Lebanon’s Sunnis approves a document entitled "Beirut Declaration on Religious Freedom". Speculation over whether Dar el-Fatwa will succeed in gradually regaining control of Islamic religious teaching in the nation’s mosques.
HONG KONG – CHINA
For Card Zen, removing crosses in Zhejiang is an insult to the faith of CatholicsHong Kong’s bishop emeritus has come to the conclusion that the campaign to dismantle crosses and religious buildings is part of a broader, nation-wide strategy, and constitutes regression in terms of the mainland's religious policy. Catholics and Protestants in Hong Kong now fear that it might happen to them. In Zhejiang, another 15 religious buildings are slated for destruction by 1 September.

Dossier

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