Religious leaders spurn annual report
( 2003-12-25 09:27) (China Daily)
Chinese religious leaders have dismissed the US State Department's annual
report on religious freedom by saying it defies facts and interferes with
China's internal affairs.
"We religious people in China do not agree with the report, which messed up
right with wrong and rudely interfered with China's internal affairs," said Liu
Yuanren, head of the Chinese Bishops' Council.
He said Catholic followers have been living happy lives over the past two
decades since China's reform and opening-up policies were initiated.
Imam Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China, said the
religious beliefs and lives of the nation's 20 million Muslims are protected by
law. The government's lawful ban on the Falun Gong cult shows the responsibility
it accepts on behalf of its people, he added.
Xue Cheng, deputy secretary-general of the China Buddhists' Association, said
the United States has been applying double standards on religious or human
rights issues around the world.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed "strong displeasure at and resolute
objection to" the report.