Beijing: China on Thursday said it will not allow any foreign organisation or individual to interfere in its religious affairs as it defended the crackdown against Islamic militants in Xinjiang province, bordering countries like Pakistan, as a "just act" to safeguard its fundamental interests.
Religious extremists, in the name of religion, spread radical and extremist views and take extremist means to try to establish a theocracy, a Chinese government white paper titled 'Freedom of Religious Belief in Xinjiang' released here said.
Xinjiang enjoys unprecedented religious freedom, the paper said asserting that the freedom of religious belief in the province" cannot be matched by that in any other historical period."
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, citizens' freedom of religious belief fully respected and believers' normal religious needs effectively met, it said.
In Xinjiang, "the positive role of religious circles in promoting economic development and social stability is well displayed, the government's capability of administrating religious affairs is constantly strengthened, international exchanges in the religious field are being expanded and the proliferation and spread of religious extremism is being effectively contained," it said.
Religious extremism is by nature "anti-human, anti- society, anti-civilisation and anti-religion," it said and defended China's efforts in fighting religious extremism, saying it is a just act to safeguard the fundamental interests of the country and the people.
The paper said the Chinese government resolutely opposes the politicisation of religious matters and any other country's interference in China's internal affairs in the name of religion.
"China...Will never allow any foreign organisation or individual to interfere with China's religious affairs," the white paper said.
Xinjiang, which has over 10 million Uyghur Muslims of Turkik origin, is in turmoil for the past few years over Uyghur unrest over the settlements of Hans, the dominant community in China from different provinces settling there.
The province as well as other places in China including Beijing witnessed several terrorist attacks for which Beijing blames the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Xinjiang shared borders with the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Afganistan, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The reference to any foreign or individual organisation in the white paper comes in the backdrop of reports that the leader of the Pakistan-based Jamat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e- Taiba, Hafiz Saeed has criticised China for the crackdown on Uyghur Islamic militants in Xinjiang.