Saturday, November 06, 2010

China: Food: Swiss ethicist examines moral accounts of China

World Council of Churches' Ecumenical News International email newsletter (Nov5,2k10):

China is making a contribution to human rights through its ability to feed its population of 1.3 billion people, says a Swiss ethicist while noting Beijing's violation of individual rights. "If China is able to promote peace to contribute to justice by helping developing its economy to feed 20 per cent of the world's population, then it's a major contribution to human rights," said Christoph Stückelberger, of the Geneva-based group, after delivering a lecture about global and contextual ethics on 28 October in Nairobi. "They [the Chinese] may violate individual rights, which is not justified. Of course they have to respect individual rights, but we should not forget they do something for fundamental rights," said Stückelberger, a part-time lecturer at the University of Basel.
The ethicist Christoph Stückelberger outshines his own topic by introducing a novel way of moral accounting, as apparently China's OK, if not A-OK, becawz it tries to feed its people.  Hmmm, are Tibetans (Buddhists), Uighurs (Moslems), and Mongols (concentrated in Korean-speaking Northwest of China) fed as equitably as are the dominant Han people often treated synonomously as "the Chinese"?  

But that question may be marginal to the main one on which Stuckelberger perhaps runs stuck:  what of the simultaneity of norm realization as a primary norm for the ent+rty of China's (and our countries's) moral-political goals?  Dr Bernard Zylstra (Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto) posed this question to all the activities of govts, esp in dealing with human beings within a given country's territory.  

Now, Dr Peter Singer, the Princeton ethicist, m+t want to wei in with the idea he proposes that animals (all sentient beings) shoud also be fed equally and obtain human r+ts equally (does this includes l+c, fleas, bedbugs, etc? Or is he more concerned with species that share more characteristis with humans, l+k gorillas, chimps, and apes?).  

But, of course, China doesn't even afford to all its human beings, Chinese but perhaps not even all the dominant Han ethnic majority, the full range of human r+ts, which must include in a premier place religious r+ts (I use the Oslo Forum18 definition here).  Among those human r+ts are those of conscience when it comes to religion and faith-association.  Read refWr+t's blog-entry yesterday on the Guong Yijun case.  It shows not only the bigotry of the China's Communist-atheist state which denied him and 200 others visas to attend Lausanne III in Capetown, South Africa, but also the bigotry of even the co-workers of Guong Yijun in the Transporation Ministry who squeezed him out of his job (and, thus, out of his paycheck and the food it woud by for his family).  Aspects of this have clearly to do with religion, the puppetry China practices regarding unofficial churches s+nd up to do the Communist-puppteers' bidding.  Thus, aspects of both faith and religious r+ts are communal, and are transgressed becawz China doesn't want a multi-communal society multi-religions society where people may associate in groups differently, faith groups, and also labour unions, for example.  China needs human r+ts, not just food.  Are the prisoners and those prisoners in work camps in China receiving a decent set of decent meals everyday, especially when nutrition coud be considered in exchange for their hard labour, Dr Christoph, sir?  

China m+t get more food onto tables of its ent+r populace if it gave societal and associational space to a w+d range of faith-communities, some of which may want to establish free-standing unions like a Christain Labour Association of China.  I won't here rehearse the list of cr+mz of China's govt and the Party that runs it, cr+mz against numerous citizens of various faiths that exist, despite all of the govt-party's efforts to cage them and erase them.

-- Politicarp

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