China slams US report on religious freedom
Beijing: China on Wednesday accused the US of having a "political bias" and expressed its "firm opposition" to an American report alleging that the Communist nation severely restricted religious freedom of Tibetans and Uygur Muslims.
The US State Department in its annual international religious freedom report released yesterday continued to include China on a list of countries of particular concern.
"We urge the U S to abandon its political bias and stop interfering in China`s internal affairs under the pretext of religion," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
"We are firmly opposed to the US act of ignoring facts and attacking China`s religious policies by issuing these kinds of reports," Qin said in a statement.
The US report said China routinely denigrated the Dalai Lama, whom most Tibetan Buddhists venerate as their spiritual leader.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, Tom Malinowski, told reporters after releasing the report in Washington that China continue to assert control over Tibetan Buddhist`s religious practices.
The Chinese government also severely restricts the religious practices of Uygur Muslims by imposing a ban on fasting during Ramadan for civil servants, teachers and others, Malinowski said.
"Authorities (in China) often justified official interference with Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by associating them with separatism and pro-independence activism," the report has said.
Qin said the government protects its citizens` freedom of religious beliefs and Chinese people of all ethnic groups enjoy full freedom of practicing religion in accordance with laws.
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