Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, April 28, 2008

H. Res. 821 on China and religious freedom

Rep. Thad McCotter, of Michigan, has introduced H. Res. 821, "Condemning Communist China's discrimination, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and execution of its prisoners of conscience".  Here's the bill text.  Here're the opening paragraphs:

Whereas according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom's (`USCIRF') 2007 Annual Report, `All religious groups in China face some restrictions, monitoring, and surveillance, ... and religious freedom conditions deteriorated for communities not affiliated with one of the 7 government-approved religious organizations, ... and those closely associated with ethnic minority groups. Religious communities particularly targeted include ... `underground' Roman Catholics, `house church' Protestants, and various spiritual movements such as Falun Gong';

Whereas according to the USCIRF 2007 Annual Report, in Communist China, `There continue to be reports that prominent religious leaders and laypersons alike are confined, tortured, `disappeared', imprisoned, or subjected to other forms of ill treatment on account of their religion or belief';

Whereas according the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China's 2007 Annual Report, `The Commission noted a more visible trend in harassment and repression of unregistered Protestants for alleged cult involvement starting in mid-2006 ...' and `an increase in harassment against unregistered Catholics starting in 2004 and an increase in pressure on registered clerics beginning in 2005';

Whereas according to the United States Department of State's 2006 Country Report on Human Rights practices in China, `Government officials continued to deny holding any political prisoners, asserting that authorities detained persons not for their political or religious views, but because they violated the law; however, the authorities continued to confine citizens for reasons related to politics and religion';

Whereas according to Chapter II Article 36 of the constitution of Communist China, `No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion';

Whereas according to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, `Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance'; . . .

I don't know how "politic" this kind of stuff is.  Still, I say "bravo".  Also, I don't know whether it makes sense to boycott the 2008 Olympics entirely, or if the cause of human rights in China is better served through "engagement" (or, "massive transfers of money through consumer spending") or condemnation.  At the end of the day, perhaps the best course is the former.  Still, this is a powerful image:


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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