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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

THE SEARCH FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Shifts to new paradigms may include the "common good" and spirituality

By Bishop Belo


asia in the new millennium
Mapping the Future The future wealth and size of Asian nations

The 21st Century By Arthur C. Clarke

Asia Trends 2000 The promises and perils of one wired world


The Microchip Silicon will get into everything
The Power As the region prospers, chances for conflict may become greater
Essay by Fidel Ramos Ending repression was easy; now we must defend freedom
The Dynasty It's here to stay
The Classes Many more Asians may escape poverty
The People Democracy in Asia will become increasingly deep-rooted
Essay by Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo Shifts to new paradigms may include the "common good" and spirituality
The Mind Classrooms of the future will be virtually unrecognizable
Essay by Stan Shih The challenge of creating markets in a competitive world
The Body Science will soon deliver miracle cures, designer babies and new dilemmas
The Soul Asia seeks a new cultural identity
Essay by the Dalai Lama Balancing material progress with inner development to achieve true success
The Food Are the pushers of genetically modified edibles out to lunch?
The Vacation Inner and outer space are the destinations of the future
The Design Asia still has a place in the shape of things to come
The Metropolis Sweeping global changes are reshaping urban destinies
The Earth Environmental awareness is growing
The Jobs New and reinvented careers will fire the imagination
The Money The cashless society is on the way
The Investor Globalization and the Net will empower future shareholders and savers
The Sexes Democracy, capitalism and the Internet can lift women to the top
Essay by Marina Mahathir In Malaysia, we should change the way society looks at their roles
The Family The family promises to be much different than it is today
The Economy New ways of working call for new ways of thinking
Essay by Donald Tsang Financial well-being is a responsibility for each nation and the world
The Network The connection will go much deeper


The Asiaweek Round Table on ASEAN in 2020

Celebrations Asia is gearing up

Celebrities How some of the region's most visible personalities intend to welcome the New Year

Millenium Dictionary From pop anthems to dawn sites and midnight nuptials, a guide to 2000

ANYONE WHO KNOWS ASIA knows that it is a continent of the young, of the poor, a world diverse in culture, religious traditions, language, race, topography, climate and class. It is also an arena where world powers compete for scarce resources and to sell arms and to balance their payments. While a few of the local economic and political elite gain, the vast majority of Asians are left to cope with poverty and misery. Viewed from the perspective of Asia's great human potential and rich religious heritage, the presence of multinationals in repressive states, the culture of materialism and consumerism taking over the core of the human being and technology transfers devoid of a humanistic philosophy become all the more depressing.

The promotion of democracy and human rights in Asia today is a sacred responsibility. Throughout the region, we witness the emergence within national cultures of a new consciousness of democratic ideals and self-awareness. With colonialism now history, many nations have expressed this consciousness in an assertive nationalism. This has joined with a steadfast will to take charge of the life and destiny of the nation. In East Timor, the patriotism that has resulted in 24 years of armed resistance against the Indonesian military, seeks to discover and affirm an identity that is interwoven with a heritage of distinct values, beliefs and traditions.

A quiet revolution is drawing the peoples of Asia to the portals of a promising 21st century. There is a deepening quest for new paradigms in the understanding and praxis of democracy and human rights. In the forefront is the shift of focus from individual rights to the "common good" paradigm.

It is becoming more and more evident in Asia that in the process of globalization, the state has become the servant of the market and is unable to protect the rights of the individual and the community. According to the latest U.N. Development Report, the world's 225 richest people have a combined wealth of over $1 trillion - also the total income of 47% of the poor, who number 2.5 billion. For the powerful, the emphasis on individual rights serves to shelter the possession and disposal of property. We must somehow shift the focus to the common good, a notion that is fundamental in Catholic social teaching. It implies that the welfare of the whole community is to be promoted, so it presupposes societal solidarity.

A second shift of focus is from civil and political rights to a social-cultural-economic rights paradigm. At a time when the state as well as globalizing forces have turned out to be the most hardened violators of human rights, civil society has a crucial role to play. The post-colonial states of the South, both authoritarian and those apparently democratic, have aggregated more power in the name of development. Coupled with economic liberalization and the market, development has become an ideology and a justification for violating the basic rights of people. An example is the displacement of indigenous or tribal peoples for so-called development projects.

In the 1971 Synod of Bishops on Justice in the World, the Catholic Church clearly stated that people should not be hindered from attaining development in accordance with their own culture. All peoples should be able to become the architects of their own economic and social advancement.

The third shift of focus in the paradigms search is from ethic-and-reason to compassion-and-spirituality. "It is in responding to the demand of its spiritual future that the 21st century will be able to make the transition from a necessary tolerance to the positive convergence of a global village," says a 1997 UNESCO commentary. Today, a reality underlies the New Order, faintly discernible and struggling toward visibility. It is essentially the nature of the spirit.

Some scientists believe there is something in the human person deeper than ethics and reason. We have the capacity to be moved by the suffering of others. This inherent power serves as the foundation for respect for others and the relief of their suffering. Humans are compassionate beings. In this perspective, human rights are expressions of compassion for the suffering poor. Suffering and compassion offer the spiritual key to interpret human rights as the rights of the poor.

"In the context of globalization, we need a new form of solidarity . . . we need to be proponents of life and peace," says Anthony Rogers of the Office for Human Development of the Federation of Bishops Conferences. "We cannot afford to separate the civil and political rights from the cultural and economic rights of individuals and communities. Violation of human rights of the majority of the Asian peoples in the Third World is the result of global injustice." It is the task of the Universal Church, he says, "to make charity, integral human development and the promotion of justice as our redefinition of the meaning of human rights in the Third Millennium."

Bishop of Dili Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo is a Nobel Peace laureate


This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

AsiaNow



WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


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