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Experts Talk Religious Freedom, China

Graphic: US China FlagThe world’s attention is shifting to the unfolding power transition in China and the near-term scenarios for economic, political and social reform under the Communist Party. To illuminate the disparities of rights and protections of freedom of religious expression, the Center for International Studies and Center for Faith and Culture will host three experts during "The State of Religious Freedom in China," at 6 p.m. on March 4 in Ahern Room, Crooker Center.

The Rev. Donald S. Nesti, CSSp, director of the Center for Faith and Culture, said given our Catholic understanding of what constitutes the dignity of the human person and the human community, the first and most fundamental human right is the right of religious freedom. 

“When this right is negated we negate the very essence of the human person which consists in the openness of the human person to self-transcendence in God and its subsequent self-transcendence in loving relationship in community,” he said. “All other human rights flow from this. To negate this freedom to enter into this relationship with God and express it and put into practice publicly its implications publicly in our everyday lives is to violate the dignity of the human person and the root of human freedom and responsibility.”

Speakers, the Rev. Bob Fu, Dr. Sen Hong Yang and Dr. Jacques deLisle, will inform the audience about the current state of religious expression in the People’s Republic of China, the rights and protections citizens enjoy in their individual and collective pursuit of faith, and the current prospects for reform in these areas.

Father Fu, a Chinese immigrant and pastor living in Midland, Texas, since 2004, offers assistance to people of faith in China. He founded ChinaAid, an organization that provides support for underground house churches and legal and financial assistance to those persecuted for their faith.

Dr. Yang, the founder of Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, is a renowned, syndicated columnist and news commentator in Taiwan. He is well-respected for his rational and analytical critiques on Taiwanese politics.

Dr. deLisle is the Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law, a professor of political science and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Dr. deLisle specializes in contemporary Chinese law and politics, including legal reform and political change, and issues related to the politics and relations of Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Dr. Hans Stockton, director of the Center for International Studies, said freedom to practice one’s faith without undue regulation by government is a central tenet of modern democracy throughout the world.


“This is an issue of concern in matters related to American foreign policy and our relationship with China into the future,” he said.  

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Stockton at 713-525-3536 or

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