Bush, religion and China

Incredible, did God tell him to do this too?

Bulk of His China Trip Focuses on Trade and Security Issues

By Peter Baker and Philip P. Pan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 20, 2005; Page A18

BEIJING, Nov. 20 -- President Bush challenged China's repression of religion Sunday as he opened a diplomatically sensitive visit here, but he kept most of his focus on an economic and security agenda that included a multibillion-dollar sale of U.S.-built airplanes.

In his first public appearance, even before the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Bush attended a service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church to send a message about free expression of faith in a country that harshly smothers it. The president has been offended by the recent harassment of religious people trying to practice their faith without state approval at underground churches, aides said.

You what???????????? 8O

"My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly," the president told reporters outside Gangwashi Church, a modest brick building and one of a handful of official Protestant churches in Beijing. "A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths."

Bush later made a similar appeal during a joint appearance with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall. "It's important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China and we encourage China to continue making their historic transition to greater freedom," the president said. Hu insisted that China has steadily expanded freedom. "Notable and historic progress has been made in China's development of a democratic political system and human rights," he told Bush.
Sorry to have a crack at your leader Cousins , but damn me

This man is the President? How the hell did that happen? He travels halfway round the world to China , to criticise the Chinese governments lack of 'religous tolerance' in supporting a religion foisted on them by 19th Century missionairies?

For comparison , I have precised two travel advisories from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

One precis , is of course those dastardly god-damn Jesus hating commies

The other belongs to a valued ally in T. W. A. T. , a friend of the US , and home of substantial US investments, including alleged investment ties with the Bush family.

Can you guess which is which?

The public practice of any other form of religion, or proselytising, is not permitted. The importation and use of religious books and artefacts are forbidden.

Codes of behaviour and dress are also enforced rigorously. You should respect them fully.

Homosexual behaviour and adultery are illegal and can carry the death penalty.

There are severe penalties for drug offences, including in some cases the death penalty.

There are restrictions on undertaking certain religious activities, including preaching and distributing religious materials.

Homosexuality is not illegal although there are no laws specifically protecting the rights of homosexuals.
China said

China was willing to discuss its human rights "on the basis of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in internal affairs", said Liu, the spokesman.
Which is a typical overly formal Chinese way of saying "Ram it you cheeky beggar . the only reason we're even dignifying your crap with a response, is we want all those Boeing Aircraft , with the dual-use avionics suites"

I will be very impressed , when Bush says the same thing in a country whose citizens have exported, financed and enacted terror globally.

But I guess that just won't happen .
Yes PTP, Geroge Bush should be telling both Saudi Arabia and China to be more tolerant of minority religions.

But there could be a small chance that in light of the President's comments the Chinese could ease their persecution of Chinese Chirstians or would you prefer that Chinese Christians suffer for their religion because:
A) Their faith was foisted upon them by a bunch of western imperialists and
B George Bush championing their cause?

Also I could be wrong ..... but I just don't think Communism is native chinese concept.
At least Chinese Christians are allowed in some part , to pursue their religion, all be it heavily state supervised. That is not the case in Saudi Arabia.
From China Daily via The Statesman:

BEIJING, Nov. 20. — US President Mr George W Bush’s appeal to China today to expand religious, political and social freedom was met by his counterpart Mr Hu Jintao’s firm assertion that Beijing would not ape western-style political system and will improve human rights according to “the actual situation.” Mr Hu also said that China will not allow “independence” of Taiwan while agreeing to crack down on intellectual piracy, gradually balance trade currently favouring Beijing and make currency reforms.

“China will continue to build up democracy with its own characteristics and improve its people’s human rights based on the actual situation and the aspirations of the people,” Mr Hu said after a 90-minute meeting with Bush at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square.


US President Mr Bush today kicked off his high-profile visit to China by attending a church service here, signalling that Washington is resolved to push for greater religious freedom in the Communist nation. In the church’s guest book, Bush, now on his third visit to China, wrote “May God bless the Christians of China.”


I have read that the Chinese faithful who surreptitiously worship outside of the state-approved churches experience terrible government persecution.

It's not obvious to me how much good Pres. Bush's sentiments, however well-intended, will do the Chinese Christians.

I'm only guessing here. My knowledge of China is limited to eating in Chinese restaurants. However, the thought occurs to me that, by sponsoring photo ops for Pres. Bush at a Chinese church, the Chinese government is subtly discrediting Christianity in the minds of the uncommitted (or trying to do so).

The government's implicit argument, I am guessing, is: This is your proper Christian, a round-eyed barbarian warmonger, psalm-spouting hypocrite, agent of western subversion, and enemy of China's newly-won prosperity and strength.
Now there's another way of looking at it NWD.

"Thank you Mr. President, for doing our propaganda for us, and identifying another set of potential enemies of the state"

Oh dear....
I think Neo-Con is right... This is just Bush bashing...

I think he has done well to highlight human rights issues on his visit to China... Other leaders have travelled to China and said nothing about religous persecution... So well done Bush...

Don't forget its not just religions foisted on them by 19th Century missionairies that they have problems with... Falun Gong practitioners (not strictly a religion I think but anyway) also have to attend re-education camps... Not pleasant...

It's Bush Bashing because there is a double standard here. There is a very serious double-standard here. Was he motivated to comment on religous persecution, through some philanthropic sense of duty , or is this another shove in the back from the religous right?

If he wishes to highlight religous persecution, then he could turn his sights on the Kingdom of Saud as well. I cannot see that happening anytime soon.
Is it polite to appear critical of your host while on a State visit?

I'm sure plenty of us would have something to say about it if a visitor to our country did the same thing.

And I agree with PTP. The hipocracy is appalling. He should be saying something to the Saudi's as well!
As for his motives... I don't know what they were... Probably some mixture of the two reasons you mentioned... But it doesn't bother me too much what his motives were... Do soldiers join the Army just to defend the Queen and save the world? Certainly that's a part of it.... But they also join for the adventure, cause they need a job etc etc... These are less pure reasons but it doesn't take away from the fact that they do good work. I'd apply the same logic to Bush and his China visit...

I don't really have a strong opinion on what he should do about religious problems in Saudi Arabia. However, I groaned when he made statements a couple of years ago about supporting the younger generation in Iran and their search for democracy. I'd say it was counterproductive. I wonder what kind of affect the leader of the Great Satan would have if you made public statements about religion in Saudi Arabia?

Call me cynical but what if Bush had said nothing about China and its human rights position? Damned if he did, damned if he didn't I fear...

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