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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
11/10/2008 CHINA
China announces “action plan” on human rights
07/27/2012 SRI LANKA
Colombo adopts plan for refugees and former Tamil Tigers
by Melani Manel Perera
11/27/2012 CHINA
Wen Jiabao and NY Times still at odds over corruption accusations
07/01/2010 CHINA
First labour victory as Beijing hikes wages

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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