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Chinese Religious Leaders Protest Against US Report

Leaders of China's five national religious groups Saturday protested vigorously against a United States report on international religious affairs, which criticized religious freedom in China, and the country's effort to ban the evil cult Falun Gong.

They said the China-related part of the 2001 annual report released on May 1 by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom "distorted facts with ulterior motives" and are completely unacceptable to them.

Fu Tieshan, chairman of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, said Catholic followers in China enjoy freedom of religion.

He described the US report as a sheer fabrication and an attempt to call white black, which violates the basic norms of international relations and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs.

"There is no way that religious figures like us would accept it, " he said.

On the Falun Gong cult, Fu said it is not a religion at all but an evil cult that is against the human being, science and society.

He went on to say that by attempting to speak for such a cult, the United States aims to take advantage of the cult to destabilize China and hinder its economic development.

Yu Xinli, deputy-president of the China Christian Council, said Chinese Christians are firmly opposed to the Falun Gong cult, and that "people in China do enjoy freedom of religion."

"Today in China, Chinese Christians enjoy the freedom to conduct religious activities -- it serves as a good example of how good the situation is."

Yu accused the hegemonism of the United States of being "the source of all evils" of the world, referring to the recent wars the United States has launched around the world, its attempts to revise the Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, and reject the Kyoto protocol designed by the world community to fight global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The way they interfere in other country's internal affairs is outrageous," said Yu.

Zhang Jiyu, deputy-president of China Taoist Association, expressed his indignation about the US report.

"The report went so far as to treat the evil cult Falun Gong, rejected in disgust by the Chinese religious circles and the Chinese people, as a religion," said Zhang.

"The report also described China's legitimate ban of such an evil cult, and efforts to educate and save practitioners of the cult as acts of suppression."

"Falun Gong is not a religion, and Li Hongzhi, leader of the cult, has long made it clear time and again," he said. "We are wondering how it has turned into a religious group in the United States."

Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China, said the US report is full of distortion and fabrication.

"It has ulterior motives and the way they fabricated the report is despicable," he said. "As the president of the Islamic Association of China, I lodge my strong protest against the report. It is a responsible, reasonable, legitimate and popular move taken by the Chinese government to ban the evil cut, but some Americans are making a rather big fuss about China's efforts to remove the cancer."

Dao Shuren, deputy president of the Buddhist Association of China, said the United States adopts double standards on human rights and religious issues in a bid to defame China and interfere in China's internal affairs.

"Buddhism stresses comeuppance -- goodness necessitates a sharing of itself, sow the wind and reap the whirlwind."

Referring to United States' recent failure to retain its seat at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Dao said it's a comeuppance for the United States for its wrongdoings.

Qoxi, deputy president of the China Advanced Institute of Tibetan Buddhism, said the attack by the US report on China's "right policies on freedom of religion and evil cults" constitutes again a gross interference in China's international affairs.

(Xinhua 05/06/2001)

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