Mar 1, 2012

Chinese Law and Religion Monitor

Chinese Law & Religion Monitor
July – December 2011Chinese Religion and Law Cover-2011-12[3]
Vol. 7, No. 2
Editor’s Note 
By “Bob” Xiqiu Fu
In the second half of 2011, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of religion all continued to deteriorate. Large numbers of rights activists and political dissidents were silenced as a result of the cruel persecution they suffered in the first six months of the year. Regrettably, in the face of the Chinese Communists’ almost savage “big stick” dollar-diplomacy, the heads of most governments in the international community have maintained a public attitude of cowardly silence and trying to curry favor with the Chinese Communist government.
This Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Chinese Law and Religion Monitor contains five articles as well as documents pertaining to a house church that has been banned by the government and the church’s petition. The contents of this issue cover international religious freedom, civil rights, Europe’s Islam problem, and China’s house churches as well as information about specific cases. The aim is to explore problems at the intersection of the rule of law and religious freedom with civil society and the political structure and to explore constructive solutions to these problems.
As our earlier issues, this issue is also available on
1. Prof. P. Coertzen, of South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch, in “Religious Freedom and a South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms,” explores what freedom of religion means in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country like South Africa, what the government’s role is and what contributions Christianity can make.
2. Pastor E. Perez Romero, director of ChinaAid’s Los Angeles office, in “Religious Freedom, Civil Disobedience and Civil Society,” uses Biblical teaching to show that religious freedom is bestowed by God and that when obedience to God means disobedience to man the use of civil disobedience is appropriate, and discusses some issues and makes some suggestions for how the church, by using the Gospel, can bring culture in civil society to new heights. July – December 2011 Vol. 7, No. 2 4
3. Prof. Ou Dongming, of Sichuan University’s South Asia Institute, and Prof. Hu Yu, of Southwest University of Science and Technology, in “Islam and Liberal Citizenship--Analysis on Tariq Ramadan’s Views on Western Muslims,” look at the growth of Islam in Europe’s democratic societies and the challenges it has brought, exploring and analyzing the paradoxical theory of European Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan: Europe’s Muslims can integrate with Western society if they just hold onto the principles of their faith while at the same time leaving behind those cultural values and customs that are seriously outdated. The authors pointedly ask: how is it possible to introduce new ideas to a faith-derived culture while maintaining the principles of the faith?
4. Liu Peng, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ American Studies Research Institute and director of the Beijing Pushi Institute for Social Sciences, in “House Churches: Problems and Solutions,” looks at the new cycle of church-state conflict triggered by the persecution of Shouwang Church and gives a comprehensive overview that profoundly explores the history, current status and operations mode and principles of house churches and sums up with some proposed solutions to the problem of house churches.
5. Yang Kaile, a house church and church-state relations expert, in “The imperative for innovation in management of house churches,” raises the need for the government to change its thinking about house churches, to be innovative in its management of religion, and to give up its rigid and outdated guiding principles and the resulting handling methods― such as “illegal Christian meeting sites,” “they are the enemy” mentality, spy penetration idea” and “reeducation for conversion”.
6. “Documents Banning the Shangxi House Church in Lizhou District, Guangyuan city, Sichuan province and the Church’s Petition” contrasts the policy and actions of the government in banning the house church with the house church’s respect for the government while striving to argue its position in accordance with the law. The house church’s common desire and bottom line: “We are doing this simply for our faith! We want to meet together!”
In short, these six papers all focus on this central theme: religious freedom is a global issue and the Chinese government should learn from international models, update its thinking, and grant the fundamental rights and freedoms that the rule of law bestows to house churches.
In the past five years, five people have had a profound impact on China’s religious freedom, rule of law and development of civil society. As a consequence, they have been cruelly persecuted. We need to pay attention to their cases and the international community needs to intervene. They are: Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has long been missing in government custody; blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng of Linyi District, Shandong province; constitutional rights scholar and Christian Dr. Fan Yafeng, who has long been held under house arrest; Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang, serving a 15-year prison sentence in Xinjiang; and imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
China Aid Association will continue striving for improvements in religious freedom, human rights and the rule of law in China. To do this, we need the joint efforts of all parties at home and abroad, to explore theory and practice, and effectively promote the development of civil society in China.
Editor: Pastor Xiqiu “Bob” Fu, founder and president, China Aid Association 
December 31, 2011 
Texas, USA 
Pastor Bob Fu 
Editor-in-chief, founder and president of China Aid Association

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