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Saturday, May 02, 2020, 18:15
US urged to stop smearing China over religious freedom
By Xinhua
Saturday, May 02, 2020, 18:15 By Xinhua

Uygur men make their way past a subway entrance after Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of Ramadan, at the Id Kah mosque in Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region early on June 5, 2019. (GREG BAKER / AFP)

BEIJING - Chinese religious circles have slammed the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom for smearing China's freedom of religious belief in the commission's recent report.

The annual report, which groundlessly blamed the freedom of religious belief in China and viciously slandered China's religious policies, was met with general revulsion and indignation among Chinese religious circles and numerous religious believers, according to a statement issued by the secretariat of the joint conference of China's national religious groups.

The United States has ignored the facts and piled unwarranted criticism on China's religious situation, exposing its arrogance and prejudice, according to China's national religious groups

"We express our strong condemnation," according to the statement.

It is obvious to all that the Chinese government protects citizens' basic rights in accordance with the law, and religious believers enjoy full freedom of religious belief, according to the statement.

Chinese religious circles have made remarkable achievements in the development of theological theories, the construction of religious venues and the cultivation of talents, according to the statement.

READ MORE: China slams US for distorting facts over religious freedom

However, the United States has ignored the facts and piled unwarranted criticism on China's religious situation, exposing its arrogance and prejudice, the statement said, adding that the acts have interfered in China's internal affairs, smeared China's freedom of religious belief and hurt the feelings of Chinese religious believers.

"We urge the United States to stop using religious matters to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and stir up troubles," according to the statement.

Proctected in accordance with law

China protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, according to a signed article published in response to a recent report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

China is a country under the rule of law. Respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief is a long-held basic policy of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, according to the article.

The Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) clearly states that Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief. Article 36 of the Constitution stipulates that "citizens of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief," and "the State protects normal religious activities," according to the article.

Relevant laws in the country also guarantee citizens' right to freedom of religious belief, according to the article.

A set of newly revised regulations on religious affairs went into effect in China on Feb 1, 2018, further strengthening the protection of citizens' freedom of religious belief and the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles, according to the article.

The Chinese government has been fully implementing the Constitution and relevant laws and regulations, introducing measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles, it said.

ALSO READ: Beijing hits back at religion claims

China has been improving the preferential policies for religious circles, according to the article. For instance, China developed a clear electricity pricing policy, which stipulates that venues for religious activities enjoy the same price as residential users to reduce their financial burdens. Other measures include tax exemptions for religious groups and venues for religious activities.

The article added that China fights religious extremism and violent terrorist activities in accordance with the law, including the Counter-terrorism Law of the PRC.

Noting that freedom of religious belief is part of basic human rights, it said China will, as always, adhere to respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief of its citizens.  

Stop smearing China

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has been urged to stop using religious matters to smear China.

China, like other countries, will never allow anyone to engage in criminal activities, spread religious extremism and carry out violent terrorist activities under the pretense of religion

The USCIRF never runs short of political bias against China and has published one report after another to smear China's religious policies over the years, according to the article.

The report, based on lies and prejudice, ignored the basic fact that the Chinese government protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, said the article.

China currently has nearly 200 million religious believers, more than 380,000 clerical personnel, some 5,500 religious organizations, 144,000 venues for religious activities registered according to law, and 92 religious institutes, according to the article.

The legitimate rights and interests of religious circles in China are safeguarded, and religious activities of believers are protected by law and carried out in a normal and orderly manner in the country, according to the article.

"China, like other countries, will never allow anyone to engage in criminal activities, spread religious extremism and carry out violent terrorist activities under the pretense of religion," it said, adding that the report maliciously smeared and attacked the Chinese government's policies of governing Xinjiang and Tibet.

For more than two millennia, various religions in China have integrated with the inclusive cultural tradition of the Chinese nation, forming a harmonious coexistence of different religions, said the article.

Today, China's religious groups have established friendly relations with religious organizations from over 80 countries and actively participated in international conferences and activities involving different civilizations, beliefs and religions, it added.

"Only by being objective, rational, inclusive and cooperative can we prevail over the paranoid, fanatical, zero-sum and confrontational mentality, thus contributing to the development of China-US relations," the article said.  


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