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Freedom of Religion Progressing in China

China Tuesday condemned the European Parliament for passing a resolution which "wantonly vilified" the religious situation in China.

"The resolution distorted the facts," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao.

He said respect and protection of citizens' religious freedom has been a long-term policy of the Chinese Government.

Zhu added that it is an undeniable fact that religious activities have proceeded normally in all parts of China and have made progress.

"Falun Gong is an anti-humanity, anti-society and anti science evil cult," he said.

He noted the move made by the Chinese Government to ban the cult is aimed at protecting freedom of religious belief and protecting human rights.

Zhu then commented on the official visit to Russia by a Chinese military delegation headed by Vice-Chairman Zhang Wannian of the Central Military Commission. He said that to maintain and expand the partnership of strategic co-operation between the two large countries is in the fundamental interest of the two peoples and will benefit peace and stability in the Asian-Pacific region and in the rest of the world.

Zhu also said that Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov condemned the recent air raids against Iraq by the United States and Britain during a telephone call on Monday.

Zhu said both China and Russia deeply regretted the civilian casualties caused by the strike.

China called on all parties concerned to make more effort to break the stalemate, Zhu stressed.

China has consistently maintained that the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Iraq should be respected, he said, noting that all relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be fully implemented.

He said that the international community must be fair and objective in assessing Iraq's compliance with the resolutions.

Zhu also condemned comments by former Japanese Defence Minister Hosei Norota, who blamed the United States for Japan's aggression in World War II.

Zhu said Norota's arguments "reflect the ignorance and arrogance of some Japanese regarding questions of history."

"It has made people more alert to similar political tendencies inside Japan," Zhu stressed.

He said Japanese militarism "was a tremendous disaster for all victims in Asia."

"Their crimes are too severe to record and cannot be denied," he said.

(China Daily 02/21/2001)

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