Understanding Chinese-U.S. Conflict over Freedom of Religion: The Wolf-Spector Freedom from Religious Persecution Acts of 1997 and 1998

By Carlson, Darin W. | Brigham Young University Law Review, January 1, 1998 | Go to article overview

Understanding Chinese-U.S. Conflict over Freedom of Religion: The Wolf-Spector Freedom from Religious Persecution Acts of 1997 and 1998


Carlson, Darin W., Brigham Young University Law Review


China does persecute its' people because of religious beliefs. There are Catholic bishops in jail.... There are Protestant pastors in jail. They are persecuting the people of Tibet. They are persecuting the Moslem population in the northwest portion of the country.... They are oppressing the people in China.

-Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va) October 28, 1997*

China's religious community has maintained stability and harmony in a world filled with national discord and religious conflicts. All nationalities, religious bodies, and citizens who believe or disbelieve in any religion respect each other, coexist harmoniously, and work jointly to ensure the prosperity of the motherland.

. . Claims that China practices "religious persecution" are totally groundless and are quite simply based on ulterior motives.

- Ye Xiaowen, Director, Bureau of Religious Affairs, People's Republic of China, September 1, 1997

I. INTRODUCTION

Religious freedom in the People's Republic of China is a topic that has generated much discussion in the United States in recent months. While U.S. dissatisfaction with China's human rights record has been fairly consistent over the past twenty-five years, only recently has attention been turned to reported human rights violations in China which may be described as including violations of religious freedom rights.

Congressional response to this concern precipitated on May 20, 1997, in the form of a proposed "Freedom from Religious Persecution Act,"1 offered in the U.S. House of Representatives by Frank Wolf (R-VA) and in the U.S. Senate by Arlen Specter (R-PA). The Wolf-Specter bill would create an Office of Religious Persecution Monitoring in the White House and mandate certain export sanctions against nations found to be involved in "religious persecution" under the defined terms of the bill.2 At the time of this writing, the bill's sponsors are preparing to introduce a substantial amendment to the bill. The proposed amendment attempts to respond to some of the criticisms of the bill raised by the administration, certain members of Congress, and some churches and human rights organizations.3 The bill as amended will be titled the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act of 1998.4

In addition to the Wolf-Specter bill, in early November, 1997, the House passed, by overwhelming majorities, nine bills which can be fairly described as "anti-China" legislation.5 During the debate surrounding these bills, China was characterized "as the world's leading human rights violator, and its regime compared to Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union."6

While anti-China sentiment was building in Congress, the Clinton administration pursued a policy of "engagement" with China's leadership, which culminated in the summit meeting between President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in late October, 1997. Many in Congress saw the administration's actions as unacceptable "appeasement"7 of a government that has consistently ignored human rights and religious freedom standards urged by the international community.8 At the same time, the Chinese government has continued to express outrage at what it sees as an impermissible affront to its sovereignty-U.S. interference with China's internal affairs. China also continues to hold itself out as committed to international human rights law and global efforts to protect religious freedom.9

This Comment will explain some of the historical, philosophical, and geopolitical reasons for China's failure to respond to U.S. pressure for religious freedom reform. Part II of the Comment describes the current state of religious activity and religious persecution in China today and explains the government structure responsible for regulating religious activity. Part III gives an overview of the U.S. response to the issue of religious rights abuses in China. It briefly discusses the Clinton administration's policy of "engagement," as well as the administration's professed "strategic partnership" with China. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Understanding Chinese-U.S. Conflict over Freedom of Religion: The Wolf-Spector Freedom from Religious Persecution Acts of 1997 and 1998
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.