For the Freedom and Happiness of 1.3 Billion Chinese
–Religious freedom is the Bedrock of Freedom Itself
In autumn 2012, at the 18th national congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping will doubtlessly be elected secretary general. One of the major issues that has made China the target of international criticism are its human rights offenses, and the international community is watching the country and its new leader closely.
The most serious human rights issue in China is the suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The former became clear to the world when, in 2010, Liu Xiaobo was awarded the nobel peace prize. The most severe examples of suppressed religious freedom were the shocking news of Tibetan monks burning themselves to death in autonomous Tibetan areas of Sichuan. Between the beginning of 2011 and November 3rd, 11 monks and nuns have set fire to their bodies in protest against the Chinese government’s suppression of religion, and 8 of them have died. Not many suicides are reported in the fight for freedom of speech, but in order to protect religious freedom, people are willing to give their lives. This shows all too clearly that religious freedom is the bedrock of freedom itself.
As Master Ryuho Okawa of Happy Science points out in his writings, drawing on the history of common law, freedom of speech derived from freedom of confession, and freedom of confession existed prior to freedom of speech. On May 8th 2011, Master Okawa answered the questions of believers at Sohonzan Shoshinkan, a Happy Science establishment in Utsunomiya, Japan, and said that having the largest population in the world, China’s main task was doubtlessly to tackle the issue of religious freedom. This is a summary of his words. (quoted below)