Canada’s ‘ridiculous’ human rights galvanise evangelical Chinese

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 10:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 May, 2014, 12:13am

The Vancouver School Board's planned transgender policy is the latest in a series of issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights that have galvanised the region's Chinese Christians.

The Christian Social Concern Fellowship (CSCF) was created by Cantonese-speaking evangelical leaders in Vancouver after legislation allowing same-sex marriage was enacted in Canada in 2005.

"CSCF sought to educate Chinese churches about pressing social issues, raising concerns that the state was increasingly behaving as an ideological police against their private family and church systems," wrote Dr Justin Tse in his 2013 doctoral thesis, "Religious Politics in Pacific Space".

Tse wrote that his Cantonese-speaking evangelical research participants believed human rights were being taken to "ridiculous" extremes in Canada.

CSCF co-chairman Charter Lau, who spoke against the VSB plans last week, was instrumental in protests against a sexual orientation/gender identity policy the Burnaby School District approved in 2011. Burnaby is part of greater Vancouver.

Tse's thesis described how a proposed federal bill to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure protection for bisexual and transgender people was hotly opposed by Cantonese-speaking evangelicals in Vancouver. The bill was passed by the lower house but died in the Senate in 2011.

"Within Cantonese evangelical circles, [the bill] highlighted for many that 'Western' Canadian society's constitutional fixation on 'human rights' was descending into nihilism, bolstering in turn the ideological merits of a universally 'Chinese' traditional family system that remained part of a rational sexual majority," Tse wrote.

Ian Young