Lest we forget:
Lest we forget:
Lest we forget:
BBC News reporting on Liu Xiaobo (pronounced Liew Sheeow-boh)
China has angrily condemned the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
The Beijing government summoned the Norwegian ambassador in protest. It called Mr Liu a “criminal”, saying the award violated Nobel principles and could damage relations with Norway.
The Norwegian Nobel committee said Mr Liu was “the foremost symbol” of the struggle for human rights in China.Continue reading the main story
US President Barack Obama called for Mr Liu’s immediate release.
“We call on the Chinese government to release Mr Liu as soon as possible,” Mr Obama, last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in a statement.
“Over the last 30 years, China has made dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.
“But this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected,” Mr Obama said.
Other Western countries have also urged China to release Mr Liu.
‘Insult’Mr Liu, 54, was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
Last year he received an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion” after drafting Charter 08 – which called for multi-party democracy and respect for human rights in China.
Announcing its 2010 peace prize in Oslo, the Nobel Foundation said: “Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China’s own constitution and fundamental human rights.”
I was surprised when Beijing decided to celebrate (!) the thirtieth anniversary of the One-Child Policy this week. I thought, quite frankly, that the declaration of a national day of mourning would have been more appropriate.
But I was even more taken aback when the head of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, a woman named Li Bin, announced that China would continue to enforce this same Draconian policy for “decades” to come.
Decades? This is, after all, a policy that has led to a slaughter of the innocents of Biblical proportions. Hundreds of millions of women have been forcibly aborted and sterilized. Homes have been razed, livestock confiscated, and exorbitant fines levied. In all, 400 million people are missing from the Chinese population as a result of the one-child policy. Like previous Chinese Communist Party-orchestrated disasters such as the Great Leap Forward, or the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, this policy, too, has been a disaster for the Chinese people.
I should know. I was in China when the one-child policy began 30 years ago.
What I saw then, living in an agricultural commune in rural Guangdong, rivals anything that happened in Nazi Germany. One day in 1980 several hundred young mothers, all pregnant with second or higher-order children, were ordered to attend population control meetings. There they were told that they would all have to abort their pregnancies. Those who refused were arrested for the “crime” of being pregnant and locked up until they, too, buckled under the pressure and submitted to an abortion.
At that point they were taken to the local medical clinic and given a lethal injection into their uterus. If their bodies did not expel their dead or dying babies within two days, they were subjected to a cesarean section abortion. Most horrific of all, babies born alive were killed by means of an injection of formaldehyde into the ”soft spot” on the crown of their heads. Those few women who managed to escape arrest and had their babies in secret were assessed heavy fines.
Everything that I witnessed then, from the forced abortions of women in the third-trimester of pregnancy to government-sanctioned infanticide, is still happening now. Those women who manage to avoid the dragnet by going into hiding are now subjected to even heavier fines, which currently run three to five times the family’s annual income. Those who can’t pay this huge amount have had their homes destroyed and their possessions and livestock confiscated.
Moreover, such a child remains a “black child,” that is, one who does not exist in the eyes of the state. Such children are nonpersons, turned away from the government clinic if they fall ill, barred from attending a government school of any kind, and not considered for any kind of government employment later in life. They are not allowed marry or start families of their own, since the government has decreed that “black children” will not be allowed to reproduce. One generation of illegals is enough.
The Chinese government, supported by foreign population control zealots, believe that its program should be held up as a population control role model for the rest of the world. In reality, it should be roundly condemned for its widespread and systematic violations of human rights, especially the rights of women.
But even those who shy away from defending China’s brutal repression of its population sometimes argue in favor of the one-child policy on other grounds. China is often held up—by the UN Population Fund, for example—as a positive example of a county that has been able to slow population growth rates dramatically, and which has achieved prosperity as a result. But to praise the country that has become the ugly poster child of forced abortion and coerced sterilization for the economic growth that these inhuman policies have supposedly generated is not only inconsistent, but also wrong.
China is clearly worse off economically as a result of eliminating from its population 400 million of the most productive and enterprising people the world has ever known. China’s astonishing economic performance—its annual GDP growth over the past three decades is close to 10%—is not only a tribute to the tremendous work ethic of the Chinese people, but also has led to labor shortages in China’s coastal provinces. Every baby born in China today is a net economic asset. How much more would China have been able to achieve with an even larger population?
Some would argue that adding people would overburden the Chinese environment, but the PRC has been an ecological disaster zone from the time of Mao’s forced-pace industrialization programs in the 1950s. The same remains true today, as the Chinese leadership remains far more concerned about the economic growth rate than about ensuring that the populace has clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Witness the government-mandated shutdown of all factories in the Beijing region in the days leading up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Once the athletes (and the foreign journalists) were gone, the smokestacks resumed spewing out their plumes of black smoke. Nothing had changed. This is to say that the sorry state of China’s environment has far more to do with misguided political decisions, and the lack of public accountability for the actions of both government and privately owned businesses, than it does with the number of people.
The one-child policy has been a social disaster as well. Two generations of Chinese have grown up with no siblings, no cousins, and no aunts and uncles. This radical shrinking of the boundaries of the family is, in itself, is a great poverty. Then there is a problem of female infanticide and sex selective abortion, which has eliminated tens of millions of little girls from the population, leaving an equal number of young men without brides to marry. Prostitution, homosexuality, and gang activity are on the rise as a result.
Finally, there is the demographic snare that the one-child policy has set for the Chinese people. Because of the radical cutback in births, the Chinese population is aging faster than any human population in human history. The worker/dependency ratio is unsustainable. How can an only child support two parents and four grandparents in retirement? I am afraid that this will lead the Chinese government to embark upon a “one-grandparent policy” in years to come, in which tens of millions of elderly Chinese will be urged to accept euthanasia, perhaps in return for their only grandchild being allowed to go to college. Forced abortion and forced euthanasia are two sides of the same debased coin.
For all its failings, I do think that the one-child policy has served one important purpose as far as the Chinese Communist Party is concerned: It has helped to maintain the muscular rigor of the one-party dictatorship that rules China. China is a police state, after all, and such a state, to remain strong, must have something to police. Economic controls have been loosened over the past 30 years, so control over other aspects of life must be tightened. The brutal one-child policy is one consequence of such a system’s relentless drive for control over people’s lives.
Do I think that the Chinese Communist Party really intends to continue, as Li Bin asserts, its one-child policy “decades” into the future? Absolutely. And it will certainly never admit that the policy was a mistake. One-party dictatorships don’t make mistakes of such consequence—at least if they want to stay in power.
One of the best things we can do in reference to protecting our own lives from the culture of death is to fill out the “Will to Live” document. These documents have been prepared by our friends at National Right to Life, in conjunction with legal experts, to conform to the laws in each of the 50 states. I would like to send one to you, and you can order it at http://www.priestsforlife.org/store/p-250-will-to-live.aspx . There is no charge. This document is meant to protect you. The danger in our day is not that we will have treatments we don’t want; the danger, instead, is that we will not have treatments that we do want. The “Will to Live” lets you indicate in advance that you want the care that is morally obligatory, that you do not want your life to be taken, and that if you cannot speak for yourself, a person you appoint and who shares your values and understands your desires will speak for you. This arrangement can not only spare your life, but can preserve your loved ones from the confusion and anguish that can happen if they don’t know your wishes. The case of Terri Schiavo, in which I was deeply involved, is an example, click here for an eyewitness account of that case. Because illness or tragedy can strike at any time, the “Will to Live” is for adults of all ages. The “Will to Live” is important, because we cannot predict the future, or know in advance what form of sickness or disease we may be afflicted with in the years ahead. We do not know what treatments we will need or what will be available. We do not ever want to pretend, therefore, that we know what kind of medical treatments we will want to use or avoid in the future. It makes no sense to decide on treatments before we even know the disease. Not every medical treatment is always obligatory. But to figure out which treatments are obligatory, morally speaking, and which are only optional, one must know the medical facts of the case. These facts are then examined in the light of the moral principles involved. But to try to make that decision in advance is to act without all the necessary information. People already have the right to make informed consent decisions telling their family and physicians how they want to be treated if and when they can no longer make decisions for themselves. Doctors are already free to withhold or withdraw useless procedures in terminal cases that provide no benefit to the patient. Some people fear that medical technology will be used to torture them in their final days. But it is more likely that the ‘medical heroics’ people fear are the very treatments that will make possible a more comfortable, less painful death. A safe route is to appoint a health care proxy who can speak for you in those cases where you may not be able to speak for yourself. This should be a person who knows your beliefs and values, and with whom you discuss these matters in detail. In case you cannot speak for yourself, your proxy can ask all the necessary questions of your doctors and clergy, and make an assessment when all the details of your condition and medical needs are actually known. That’s much safer than predicting the future. Appointing a health care proxy in a way that safeguards your right to life is easy. Order your “Will to Live” today at http://www.priestsforlife.org/store/p-250-will-to-live.aspx . Please be sure to indicate what state you want it for, especially if you are getting one for someone who lives in a different state than you. Please also let others know of this offer.
An instruction by St Vincent of Lerins
The Development of DoctrineIs there to be no development of religion in the Church of Christ? Certainly, there is to be development and on the largest scale.Who can be so grudging to men, so full of hate for God, as to try to prevent it? But it must truly be development of the faith, not alteration of the faith. Development means that each thing expands to be itself, while alteration means that a thing is changed from one thing into another.The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of one and all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages and the centuries, but only along its own line of development, that is, with the same doctrine, the same meaning and the same import.The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. Though bodies develop and unfold their component parts with the passing of the years, they always remain what they were. There is a great difference between the flower of childhood and the maturity of age, but those who become old are the very same people who were once young. Though the condition and appearance of one and the same individual may change, it is one and the same nature, one and the same person.The tiny members of unweaned children and the grown members of young men are still the same members. Men have the same number of limbs as children. Whatever develops at a later age was already present in seminal form; there is nothing new in old age that was not already latent in childhood.There is no doubt, then, that the legitimate and correct rule of development, the established and wonderful order of growth, is this: in older people the fullness of years always brings to completion those members and forms that the wisdom of the Creator fashioned beforehand in their earlier years.If, however, the human form were to turn into some shape that did not belong to its own nature, or even if something were added to the sum of its members or subtracted from it, the whole body would necessarily perish or become grotesque or at least be enfeebled. In the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.In ancient times our ancestors sowed the good seed in the harvest field of the Church. It would be very wrong and unfitting if we, their descendants, were to reap, not the genuine wheat of truth but the intrusive growth of error.On the contrary, what is right and fitting is this: there should be no inconsistency between first and last, but we should reap true doctrine from the growth of true teaching, so that when, in the course of time, those first sowings yield an increase it may flourish and be tended in our day also.
“relied on an extensive study of early Church Fathers in tracing the elaboration or development of doctrine which he argued was in some way implicitly present in the Divine Revelation in Sacred Scripture and Tradition which was present from the beginnings of the Church.” (Wikipedia)