Archive for the ‘religious freedom’ Category

Dalai Lama: China Unfit To Be Superpower

December 5, 2008

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.

After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China “deserves to be a superpower” given its huge population and economic and military strength.

“Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking,” he told a press conference in Brussels.

AFP

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press ... 
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press at the EU Parliament in Brussels. China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.(AFP/John Thys)

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

He cited the problems of Tibet and separatist factions in the southwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang as areas where such a moral authority should be displayed. He also named Hong Kong and reunification with Taiwan.

He said he continued to have confidence in the Chinese people while doubting the government wanted serious talks on Tibet’s future.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081204/wl_asia_a
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Catholic Bishops Will Challenge Obama, Lawmakers, Nation on Abortion

November 12, 2008

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.

Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary, Ind., front left, and Archbishop ...
Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary, Ind., front left, and Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis, right, pray during the semi-annual meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 in Baltimore. The bishops discussed today Catholic politicians and abortion rights.(AP Photo/ Steve Ruark)

In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.

And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., singled out Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.

“I cannot have a vice president-elect coming to Scranton to say he’s learned his values there when those values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Martino said. The Obama-Biden press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Diocese of Kansas City in Kansas said politicians “can’t check your principles at the door of the legislature.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081112/ap_
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China on balancing beam ahead of Olympics

March 16, 2008
by Dan Martin

BEIJING (AFP) – The Beijing Olympics were supposed to mark China‘s debut as a modern nation that commands respect, even admiration, but instead of that dream, the country’s leaders face a PR nightmare.

In this image made from video and provided by APTN, authorities ...
In this image made from video and provided by APTN, authorities walk down an avenue, Friday, March 14, 2008, in Gansu Province, Xiahe, China. Police fired tear gas to disperse Buddhist monks and others staging a second day of protests Saturday in western China in sympathy with anti-Chinese demonstrations in Lhasa, local residents said.(AP Photo/APTN)

A crackdown on unrest in Tibet has added to mounting pressure on China over human rights and other issues that threaten to tarnish the coming-out party, pushing its Communist leaders into an uncomfortable corner, analysts said.

“This is the worst thing that could have happened for China,” China scholar Jean Philippe Beja said of deadly unrest in the Tibetan capital Lhasa that has forced an army lock down of the city.

“The Chinese and Tibetan leaders are facing a no-win situation,” said Beja, of the Centre for International Research in Paris.

With five months to go before the world’s athletes begin competing here, China’s communist government finds itself teetering on a political balance beam, observers and dissidents said.

Aside from Tibet, China is under fire for its tough rule in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region, for restricting press and religious freedoms, and its support of Sudan, which is blamed for the massive bloodshed in Darfur.

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 http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080316/sp_wl_afp/
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Religious freedom still a distant dream for Montagnards

January 7, 2008

By Nguyen Hung
Asia News
January 5, 2008

During the Christmas season there were persecutions threats and arrests in the North of the country. Many Christians, Catholic and Protestant, do not dare declare their faith because they are discriminated against in the workplace and threatened by police.

Lang Son (AsiaNews) – In a globalised Vietnam which boasts increased foreign investment, ethnic minorities are being discriminated against also because of their religious views.  “Oppression, threats and terror” are still being waged against Catholics (and Protestants) in many of the nation’s mountain regions.

The Vietnamese Constitution (dated 1982) states that “Vietnamese citizens have the right to religious freedom.  Each person has the right to follow or not follow a religion”.  But this article is barely enacted in the large residential areas.  In the rural and mountain areas of Lang Son, however, local authorities are threatening Montagnards who dare participate in religious service with prison.

Lang Son diocese was established in 1659 and is located in the North of Vietnam on the border with China. The total population is over 1, 15 million, with just 6 thousand Catholics, almost all from ethnic minorities.  But only about half of the number of Catholics living here are able to attend church on Sunday or pastoral activities. The rest do not even have the courage to declare themselves Catholics because of continuous discrimination.  A Catholic of the H’mong ethnic group tells AsiaNews: “We do not dare to affirm that we are Catholics because the local authority suspects us and threat that they will bring us to the prison”.

A young man reveals that “It is difficult to look for a job in the province if your curriculum vitae or your religious back ground are Catholic or Protestant. Of course you are not able to work for government offices or state organizations. So your future or your children’s future remains bleak and uncertain”.

“Though the government has said that the law of religions will be renovated and reformed, – adds another young Catholic – it still hasn’t been implemented. Especially in rural and mountainous areas, if the minority people enter any “religions’ activities”, it means that the person will be confronted with serious difficulties and obstacles in their daily lives. Local authorities still see religion as a taboo”.

During the Christmas period there were a series of attacks on religious communities in the North.  On 24th December, police raided a gathering in the village in Son La province, North Vietnam, where people were praying together on the occasion of Christmas. A young man from the nearby Phu Tho province attending the meeting was brutally beaten and taken away. Police falsely accused him as a criminal for whom they were hunting. However, he was set free later after a protest led by the villagers.

On Christmas day, Father Joseph Nguyen Trung Thoai, Chancellor of Son Tay Bishop’s office, was arrested on the way to Co Noi to celebrate Christmas Mass. He was held in police custody to prevent him celebrating mass. Again, he was only set free after a protest of the villagers.

In the village of Muong La, police did not dismiss a Christmas prayer gathering held in a private house. However, they did prevent anyone outside the village from joining the gathering. A group of people who had to walk 40 km to attend Christmas Mass were forced to go back to their tribe.

For decades now groups of Montagnards, be they Catholic or Protestant, have been subjected to persecution at the hands of the Vietnamese government.  They have long been suspected of having collaborated with the United States during the Vietnamese war,  Often the persecution is exacerbated by the expansion of Vietnamese towards Montagnard territory, expropriating lands and leading to mass arrests,

 “Local authorities – a young H’mong explains – have always been prejudice towards us.  They think that our religious activities are a cover for complotting or conspiracy.   But we Catholics, just like so many other Vietnamese, only want to contribute to the development of our nation”.

Buddhist monks clash with police during protest in Cambodia

December 18, 2007

 
Buddhist monks clashed with Cambodian police officers Monday in Phnom Penh. (Tang Chhin Sothy/Agence France-Presse)
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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP): Dozens of Buddhist monks kicked, punched and hurled bottles at baton-wielding police in Cambodia’s capital Monday at a demonstration to demand religious freedom for monks in neighboring Vietnam.

The clashes erupted as about 40 monks approached the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh to submit a petition against authorities’ alleged mistreatment of Buddhist monks in the communist country.

The protesters accused Vietnamese authorities of arresting and defrocking several ethnic Cambodian monks over the past few months.

Authorities let only a few state-sponsored religious organizations operate in Vietnam, a situation that has led to altercations there with some groups including Buddhists.

A large part of southern Vietnam, known in Cambodia as Kampuchea Krom, used to be part of Cambodia’s Khmer empire centuries ago. Many ethnic Cambodians still live there.

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http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/12/17/asia/AS-GEN-Cambodia-Monks-Protest.php#end_main

Related:
https://johnibii.wordpress.com/2007/12/17/cambodian-monks-fight-police-at-vietnam-embassy/

China defends its record on religion

September 20, 2007

By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – China defended its record on religious freedom Thursday, saying all Chinese can worship as they choose with no restrictions, and it blasted a U.S. government report that said Beijing persecutes some believers.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said a recent U.S. government report on religious freedom “flagrantly interfered in China’s internal affairs” and “contained groundless accusations about China’s religious and ethnic policies.”

“China expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” Jiang said in remarks posted on the ministry’s official Web site.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070920/
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Executive Summary Intl Religious Freedom Report 07

September 15, 2007

 Executive Summary Intl Religious Freedom Report 07
Saturday, 15 September 2007, 9:43 am
Press Release: US State Department 

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
2007 Executive Summary: International Religious Freedom Report 2007
The Annual Report

The purpose of this report on religious freedom is to document the actions of governments—those that repress religious expression, persecute innocent believers, or tolerate violence against religious minorities, as well as those that respect, protect, and promote religious freedom. We strive to report with fairness and accuracy on abuses against adherents of all religious traditions and beliefs. The governments we report on range from those that provided a high level of protection for religious freedom in the broadest sense (those that “generally respected” religious freedom) to totalitarian regimes that sought to control religious thought and expression and regarded some or all religious groups as threats.
  
The promotion of religious freedom is a core objective of U.S. foreign policy and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s mission.

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http://www.mediaforfreedom.com/ReadArticle.asp?ArticleID=4514

Related:
Iraq, Egypt, China slammed in US religious freedom report

Iraq, Egypt, China slammed in US religious freedom report

September 14, 2007

by P. Parameswaran

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Religious freedom conditions have worsened in insurgency-wracked Iraq as well as Egypt, while communist China has embarked on a crackdown on foreign missionaries ahead of the Olympics, the US government warned in a report Friday.

The State Department’s annual report on religious freedoms around the world also noted “continued deterioration of the extremely poor status of respect for religious freedom” in Iran and highlighted “serious problems” in Pakistan.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070914/wl_mideast_afp/
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