Chinese Government Should Serve More, Says Amity head

( [email protected] ) Jul 09, 2007 05:56 AM EDT

PACIFIC GROVE - The head of a China-based social welfare organization urged Chinese government officials to act more as “servants” of society than that of rulers, Saturday, at an ecumenical missions conference, 124 miles south of San Francisco.

“One problem of the Chinese government is that they see themselves as the owner of China society, and now they are the manager of the society,” said Zhang Liwei, Amity Foundation Associate General Secretary.

“I hope to see that they are the servant for the society. I really hope the CCP can see themselves as civil servants.”

Citing Amity efforts to provide free medical clinics in impoverished Chinese rural sectors, Zhang noted that the project only succeeded with government cooperation.

“[It] took around 10 years to show the government it [free medical clinics] was good. Actually the government should have built those…so Amity came to help them train village doctors,” said Zhang.

“Later, the officials decided to use government funding to support these facilities.”

Zhang also admitted that it would take time for the government to fully address current social issues in rural China.

“Chinese government officials take time to change. They thought they were a revolutionary party, but now they have become the ruling party that needs to serve,” Zhang emphasized.

In light of the recent brick-kiln slave scandal in the provinces of Henan and Shanxi, Zhang said he was confident the Chinese public will become more aware of China’s current social problems, thus encouraging change in government policy.

“This is shocking not only because [it involved] child labor, but because of slave labor. To me [a member] of the Amity Christian organization, it is intolerable,” said Zhang.

“10 people are arrested and it is now in court. These issues are reported to help people be more right-consciences in these issues.”

The Amity Foundation, an independent China-based social service group, was founded by Chinese Christians in 1985. The group gained international recognition for its works in promoting education, social services, health and rural development in China.