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China refutes U.S. criticism on its religious freedom

(People's Daily Online)

16:58, August 02, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 2 (People's Daily Online) -- A spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday refuted the U.S. State Department's criticism of its religious freedom situation.

"The Chinese people are best qualified to judge China's religious situation," spokesman Hong Lei said, urging the United States to discard prejudice, respect the facts and view China's policy on religion and its religious freedom situation in an objective and impartial way.

The Chinese government protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, he said, adding that people of all nationalities in the country are lawfully guaranteed full freedom of religious belief.

Hong urged the United States to stop using religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs and not act in ways that damage bilateral relations, mutual trust and cooperation.

The U.S. State Department on Monday criticized China and some other countries' religious situations in its annual report on international religious freedom.

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