Priests deride Chinese official's remarks on state of religious freedom
Published: August 3, 2012
SHANGHAI (CNS) -- At least two priests criticized comments from China's Foreign Ministry that dismissed a U.S. government report criticizing the state of religious freedom in the country. The U.S. State Department July 30 identified eight countries "of particular concern," including China in its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. It said there was a marked deterioration during 2011 in the Chinese government's respect for and protection of religious freedom. In response, the state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying Aug. 2, "The Chinese people are best qualified to judge China's religious situation." The Asian church news agency UCA News reported that Hong urged the U.S. to discard prejudice, respect facts and view China's policy on religion and religious freedom in an objective and impartial way. The spokesman also called on the U.S. to stop using religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs and not to act in ways that damage bilateral relations, mutual trust and cooperation. After hearing the ministry's reply, one Shanghai priest who asked to remain anonymous said, "I would not have offered an opinion in the past. But after the recent incident in my diocese, I think what other people (the U.S.) have said is not without reason."
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