The recent Eighth World Assembly of Religions for Peace has raised the awareness of confronting religious violence. The delegation from China shares the same goal for peace.
Concluded on Aug. 29 at Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, some 800 delegates from more than 100 countries and all major religious traditions joined the conference and endorsed the Kyoto Declaration on Confronting Violence and Advancing Shared Security, sources say.
Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Shinto, Zoroastrian and Indigenous leaders pledged, "As people of religious conviction, we hold the responsibility to confront violence within our own communities whenever religion is misused as a justification or excuse for violence. Religious communities need to express their opposition whenever religion and its sacred principles are distorted in the service of violence," according to the Religions for Peace, the largest coalition of the world's religious communities.
Delegates have also adopted the Declaration's twenty recommendations for religious leaders, governments, international organizations and businesses to address violence and advance shared security through advocacy, education and partnerships with, and among, religious communities.
Chinese delegation has returned from the Conference last Friday, the Chinese official state media Xinhua news agency reported. The delegation was composed of members from the Peace Committee of Chinese Religious Circles.
While meeting with the chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin before their departure to Japan, the delegation was reminded that the theme of the conference coincided with the pursuit of peace and harmony of Chinese religious groups, so the delegation should attend as peace envoys of Chinese religious circles and the Chinese people.
Jia also hoped that the delegation would raise awareness of Chinese culture and freedom of religious belief at the conference.
China has long been criticized for its violation of international human rights standard, particularly in terms of religious freedom. For Christianity, believers are only allowed to worship in government-sanctioned churches, or they are usually subjected to harassment and persecution. Some of the "underground" church leaders and members are reported to be jailed and beaten up, therefore drawing international attention and petition.