China blasts US accusation on religious freedom
Updated: 2006-09-19 09:52
China on Monday denounced the U.S. accusation on China's religion policy and
freedom, saying the "groundless" criticism, in violation of international norms,
was "interference in China's internal affairs."
"China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to the U.S. accusation
on the country in its religious freedom report," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin
Gang said in a statement.
Qin's comments came in the wake of the U.S. State Department's International
Religious Freedom Report 2006, which was released last Friday.
The annual report was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that "the
Chinese government's respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience
"That's a groundless criticism on China's religion policy and situation of
religious freedom," Qin said.
"It violated the basic norms guiding international relations and interfered
with China's internal affairs," the spokesman said.
It is an undisputable fact that the Chinese government protects the citizens'
freedom of religious belief in accordance with laws, and Chinese people of all
ethnic groups enjoy full freedom of religious belief according to laws, Qin
He demanded the U.S. side "face squarely" its own problems including
religious freedom violations and stop interfering with China's domestic affairs.
China has more than 100 million religious adherents, more than 100,000 venues
for religious activities, and about 300,000 clergy members, according to
Normal religious ceremonies or rituals conducted by ministers and all other
normal religious activities -- carried out either in venues for religious
activities or homes of religious adherents in accordance with religious
tradition -- are taken care of by believers themselves and protected by law.