2001-10-29
Hong Kong Christians' Manifesto on the Global Disparity between the Rich and the Poor

Hong Kong Christians' Manifesto on the

Global Disparity between the Rich and the Poor

 

While the East Asia Economic Summit 2001 of the World Economic Forum is going to be held in Hong Kong, we, a group of Christians, would like express our deep concern to transnational corporations (TNCs), the Hong Kong government, church groups and Hong Kong society about the global disparity between the rich and the poor.

 

 

Globalisation Does Not Favour Marginalised Groups

The government and the business sector praise globalisation. However, underdeveloped countries and the poor cannot enjoy the fruit of economic growth. Today 20 percent of the world’s population earns less than US$1 per day. Meanwhile, the world’s richest 20 percent earn 14 times more than the poorest 20 percent. In Hong Kong, 20 percent of the population (1.25 million people) live below the poverty line. This disparity in the distribution of income is worse than that of Latin America and Africa.

Globalisation allows TNCs to plunder most of the world’s resources. Corporations enjoy all kinds of advantages, like legal protection, security, tax avoidance, etc., without taking any social responsibility, but the rest of society has to bear the consequences.

Moreover, globalisation accelerates the erosion of non-economic capital, for example, education. Human dignity is reduced to only productivity and consumption; ecological damage is accelerated; the diversity of local culture is diminishing.

Under the umbrella of globalisation, many are suffering, including the poor, workers, women, the elderly, patients, indigenous people, workers in the public sector under the threat of privatisation and other marginalised groups. All have to bear the cost of globalisation, but their voices are hardly heard. The global media only portrays an optimistic, yet oversimplified, picture of globalisation, which makes the victims of globalisation believe that their suffering is due to their own misfortune.

 From a Christian Point of View

As Christians, we care about the severe social injustice that people must suffer as a result of economic globalisation. We must confess though that we have been too silent in the past. We believe God will stand by the side of the victims and uncover the crimes and injustices that have been committed in the name of globalisation.

We also believe that everyone is created in God’s image, and therefore, we all are born to equally enjoy what God has provided for all of us. Regardless of income level, everyone is entitled to equity and should not be deprived of their dignity. Today most of the world’s resources are in the hands of the few and the governments that they highly influence, which is not the plan of God. We firmly believe that the Holy Trinity symbolizes love in all relationships and express the totality of God’s fellowship with humanity. Love and sharing, instead of competition and plundering, should be the ultimate ideals of our society. We believe that social justice, equity and brotherhood are the foundation of social development and that all of these principles should be embedded into any social and economic system. We do not think that globalisation in its present form is the only or the best option for our social development nor do we hold the belief that the disparity between the rich and the poor is normal and inevitable.

We appeal to corporations, including TNCs, that they should bear social responsibility for their actions, should respect the rights of their workers, should help the community that is affected by their operations and should allow the participation of stakeholders, especially workers, in the decision-making process. Meanwhile, international financial institutions should be people-oriented and should aid developing countries in a more transparent and accountable manner.

In addition, we appeal to governments that their policies should also be people-oriented and should not favour corporations. The world’s resources should be shared and distributed equally so that people will not become the victims of globalisation.

Lastly, we petition church groups in Hong Kong to make better use of their resources in order to help the poor, to advocate for economic justice and to work toward building a society based on equity.


 

Christians for Hong Kong Society

Hong Kong Christian Council Justice & Social Concern Committee

Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

Hong Kong Christian Institute

Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement Ltd.

Hong Kong Women Christian Council

Justice & Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese

Mission to New Arrivals Ltd.

Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong

Organisations : -