China has strongly rejected a US-based organization's criticism of its stance on religion, calling the allegations totally groundless and interference in China's internal affairs.
In its recent annual report, the so-called US Commission on International Religious Freedom made inappropriate comments on the religious situation in some developing countries, including China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing on Thursday.
The attacks on China's policies toward religion and minority groups, and the Chinese government's lawful ban on the evil Falun Gong cult, were totally groundless, and trod on the fundamental principles of international relations, Kong said.
"The Chinese people are dissatisfied with and strongly oppose this act of interference in their internal affairs," Kong told a routine press briefing.
Freedom of religious belief is protected by Chinese law
The spokesman stressed that the freedom of religious belief is protected by Chinese law.
"Falun Gong is not a religion, but a cult," he said, adding that the government bans the cult to safeguard the basic human rights of its people, and has mass support including that of religious circles.
Kong Quan accused the US organization of gratuitously denouncing China each year in the name of religious freedom.
"Its real aim is to interfere in China's internal affairs while undermining China-US relations," he said.
(People's Daily May 10, 2002)