Chinese Media Criticizes US Religious Freedom Report

Posted July 31st, 2012 at 3:35 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media criticized a U.S. report on worldwide religious freedom, saying the release is “counterproductive.”

The state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary Tuesday that the report is a “political tool” and that the United States is imposing its own religious policy standards.

The annual State Department report released Monday said there has been a deterioration in China's respect for religious freedom, including in Tibetan areas and against Muslims living in the Xinjiang region.

It lists China as one of eight countries of concern. The others are are Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

The report also highlights religious defamation laws in Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It said that in North Korea, religious freedom does not exist at all.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the report Monday in Washington, saying that the United States will judge Egypt by its actions, and not its words. She said Egyptians and the international community are looking to President Mohammed Morsi to appoint an inclusive government that includes women and Christians.

The report said Egypt's transitional government has made gestures toward greater inclusiveness, but has failed to hold accountable security forces who cracked down on mostly Christian protesters.

Questions of religious freedom dominated Secretary Clinton's visit to Egypt earlier this month.