Full Text of the Oxford Consensus 2013By THE NEW YORK TIMES
In August, at the Sixth Annual Forum for Chinese Theology on “Christian Faith and Ideological Trends in Contemporary China,” held at Oxford University, Chinese scholars representing a wide range of ideological backgrounds committed themselves to work together to address challenges facing China and the world.
Below is a copy of their signed statement of that commitment, the “Oxford Consensus 2013,” in English and Chinese.
Ian Johnson’s Q. & A. with one of the participants, Yang Fenggang, a pioneer in the study of the sociology of religion in China, is posted here.
Some Consensuses Concerning the Present Situation and Future of China
As China is rising up, the Chinese view of the world and the world’s view of China are changing. In the meantime, social problems in China have become increasingly conspicuous. What is the direction of China? What kind of change will China bring to the future of the world? These have become questions of urgent concern by more and more people both in China and the rest of the world.
We are a group of Chinese intellectuals with diverse academic and ideological backgrounds in the new liberal, new left, new Confucian, and Christian traditions who love the holy land of China and are faithful to our people. We treasure intellectuals’ responsibilities as critics and sentinels of society. We hope, in this critically important time of change in China and the rest of the world today, to carry forward the moral character and rational spirit bestowed to intellectuals by our history. We will mobilize the power and resources in culture and ideas to spur our nation and the society on to a higher and better level.
We recognize that, to face the great transformations of China and the world, every single school or party of social thought has its limitations and we must work together to complete the drawing of the credible blueprint of a loving and trusting future society. Therefore, we intellectuals must engage in honest exchange and sharpen each other on the basis of respecting genuine differences, so that we will reach the urgently needed consensuses on the present and future development of China.
Through a process of sincere discussion and careful deliberation, we have reached consensuses in these aspects:
1. We hope that China will firmly hold to the governing philosophy of “the people as fundamental,” that is, the political power comes from the consent of the people, the foundation of the political system is to protect the rights of the people, and the aim of the state is for the pursuit of happiness of the people.
2. We hope that China will firmly hold to the social principle of “fairness and justice” in social life, that is, insisting on the basic principle of treating all Chinese citizens equally and maintaining justice in the domains of politics, economics, society, culture, ethnicity, and gender; in all processes of legislation, judiciary and administration; and in the areas of education, healthcare, housing, work, recreation, care of the old, etc., so that all people’s life will have material security and spiritual dignity.
3. We hope that China will firmly hold to the cultural goal of pluralism and liberalism while inheriting and transmitting the excellent Chinese culture. On the precondition of reasonable balance of collectivity and individuality, in the principle of fairness and justice based on rule of law, we hope that China will protect the diverse pursuits of every ethnic group, every social stratum, every region, every vocational group, every community, and every individual in their moral values, ideational interests, academic inclinations, arts styles, religious beliefs, opinions and views, etc. On the principle of harmony with difference, all will peacefully coexist and have opportunities for free development.
4. We hope that China will be committed to constructing a fairer and more just world order, treat international disputes in politics, economy, culture, military, environment, etc. on the principles of mutual dependence and mutual benefits, so that it will serve the interest of all Chinese people as well as the whole of humanity, promote peaceful coexistence and harmonious development for all nations in the world, and to achieve the great peace under heaven for all.
On 22 August 2013
Signed by these people (in alphabetical order):
Chin Ken Pa
Yeung hee nam, Daniel