The Chinese Foreign Ministry has demanded that the US stop using falsehoods about religious freedom in China as an excuse to interfere in Beijing’s internal affairs, labelling Washington’s commission on the issue as “prejudiced.”
Speaking on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed claims that religious freedom is compromised by Beijing, noting that “China is a country under the rule of law, and the Chinese government protects citizens’ freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law.”
The spokesman’s comments came after an independent commission, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, said on Wednesday that China should be designated a “country of particular concern” (CPC) on the State Department list.
Zhao claimed that the commission may be independent but “has always been full of political prejudice against China, and it publishes reports year after year to discredit China’s religious policies and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
The spokesman stated that China has nearly 200 million religious believers, more than 380,000 religious clerics, about 5,500 religious organizations, and more than 140,000 registered religious venues. “No matter how the US slanders and smears, these facts cannot be changed.”
China received a recommendation to be re-designated as a “country of particular concern” on Wednesday. The commission also recommended that India, Russia, Vietnam, and Syria be added to a State Department blacklist on religious freedom. The list already includes Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The report claimed that religious freedom had deteriorated in China since 2020, noting that authorities had targeted religious groups with “perceived foreign connections,” such as Christianity, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism.
In recent years, the US and its allies have also been very critical of China’s alleged treatment of Uighur Muslims. On Wednesday, Britain’s parliament voted to label China’s actions against its Uighur population as “genocide.” Beijing rejects these allegations.
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