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Religious Freedom Stressed

China will stick to the principles of respecting the freedom of religious belief and religious groups running religious affairs independently, senior Chinese leader Li Ruihuan said Thursday.

The two principles are prescribed in China's Constitution and are fundamental, long-term guidelines drawn out according to China's actual situation and past experience, said Li, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Practice has proven that only religious affairs are handled in line with these two principles, can the human rights of religious believers be protected, national sovereignty be safeguarded and religions be adaptable to the socialist system, he said.

Li, also a member of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks at a seminar of leaders of religious groups in China, held to mark the coming Chinese lunar New Year.

He said that people from religious circles, as patriotic religious believers seeking unity and progress, have contributed to the maintenance of social stability.

He also hailed the sincere cooperation between leaders of religious groups and the Party and government, saying that these leaders have done a lot for the achievements China has made in the past years.

(People's Daily 01/19/01)

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