China’s religious community disputes U.S. report on religious freedom
BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) — The Chinese religious community Friday said a U.S. report on religious freedom in China deliberately distorted facts and the U.S. government should stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs.
The development of various religions in China has been healthy and “different religious groups coexist in harmony while religious people feel happy,” said a statement released after a joint meeting of the secretary-generals from China’s five major religious groups — Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.
The Chinese government has implemented policies and laws protecting religious freedom and protected the legal rights and interests of religious people, the statement said.
The U.S. report ignored these basic facts and attempted to “smear the image of China,” the statement said.
The U.S. State Department issued a report on international religious freedom Tuesday, listing eight countries including China as “countries of particular concern” regarding religious freedom.
“The U.S. report maintained its old stance and had nothing new. It continued to irrationally criticize China’s religious policies and contained bias on the situation of religious freedom here,” the statement said.
Religious groups supported the Chinese government’s efforts to crack down on criminal activities that were disguised as religious activities, which harmed harmony, stability and national security, it said.
These efforts are conducive to protecting legal rights and interests of religious groups and creating a favorable environment for the healthy development of all religions, it said.
The U.S. report distorted these efforts, which was not because of ignorance but for ulterior motives, it said.
“We feel greatly disturbed as the U.S. has tried to interfere in China’s domestic affairs by targeting religion and create chaos among religious people in a bid to harm social harmony,” the statement said.
The religious groups said they hoped the U.S. government to respect the facts, get rid of bias, and stop meddling in China’s domestic affairs and making troublesome comments on religious issues.
China’s religious groups are willing to have exchanges with the U.S. counterparts on the basis of equality, friendship and mutual respect, the statement said.