Beijing (AsiaNews) – “China is still afraid of religious freedom,” a bishop of the underground Church told AsiaNews commenting on the fact that, as of this morning, Chinese media have yet to mention Bush’s participation in yesterday’s liturgical services at the Protestant church in Gangwashi.
“In the preceding days,” the bishop went on to say, “Chinese media said that the American president would have visited a Protestant church. But this morning, Chinese newspapers made reference neither to his church visit nor to his insistence on human rights.”
…The government is increasingly nervous about the growing cooperation between human right activists and religious personalities. The Party’s fear is that religious communities will become the milieu for channelling social discontent. […][Source][Via Vatican Watcher]
I am not quite sure why the Chinese are worried about religious freedom. All they have to do is look around the world and see that religious freedom does not necessarily lead to the toppling of governments or even that much pressure in leading to reform. Once they allowed religious freedom what they will have is a bunch of competing churches with different messages and emphasis, not some monolithic block pressuring for reform. Unfortunately there is no real unity in Christian churches and thus any possibility of what the Chinese government fears is not going to happen. If they are worried about pressure on their one child policy they don’t have much to worry about. Most will just see it as a necessary evil. Your really don’t see much of an outcry here in the U.S. about this policy. There are many population apologists willing to look the other way in regards to forced abortions. With standards of living increasing in China leading to more demands for material goods they will also become more materialistic in seeing larger families as burdensome and getting in the way of obtaining material goods. Religious freedom leads to government secularism not theocracies.