China State Religious Groups Slam US Freedom Report

Posted September 17th, 2011 at 2:00 am (UTC-5)
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Beijing's state-sanctioned religious groups lashed out at the U.S. after it again listed China as a country “of particular concern” on religious freedom.

The U.S. State Department earlier this week released its International Religious Freedom report for the second half of 2010, naming eight countries, including China, as having especially troubling records on the issue.

China's official Xinhua news agency late Friday quoted a statement from state-sanctioned religious groups as saying the report ignored the basic facts that Chinese law protects religious freedom and the legal rights and interests of religious people. The statement said the U.S. report attempted to smear the image of China.

The State Department report said only the five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations” are allowed to register and hold worship services.

It said Beijing's level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period.

China has been accused of repressing the freedoms of non-sanctioned believers, such as Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs, and even of torturing practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.