US freedom of religion card is a bullying tactic

By Zong Yan Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/22 20:23:40

Photo: Xinhua

Religion has long been a political tool resorted by Western countries to pile pressure on China. They ignore China's human rights progress. Under the banner of religious freedom, they distort religion's presence in China, while attacking the country's laws and regulations. Now, the US has once again relied on the same trick to interfere with China's internal affairs by playing up the country's religious issues.

China has been clear and consistent with its policies regarding religious freedom. Article 36 of China's Constitution stipulates, "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief; no state organ, public organization, or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion; the state protects normal religious activities."

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government are sincere about the freedom to practice religion. 

The materialist worldview, with a dialectical method that the CPC believes in, has fundamental differences with the idealism embedded in religious thinking. 

Religious beliefs have maintained deep societal and historical origins in China. Religion will always exist in Chinese society. 

Under socialist conditions, believers and non-believers share same political and economic interests. If one exaggerates the differences in the beliefs and politics of two groups, it would divide the public and damage the CPC's ruling foundation. 

The CPC and the government have placed an emphasis on uniting religious personages and believers, and this is the basis of assessing China's religious state.

The number of religious clergies in China including Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims and Christians, has reached 380,000. There are about 5,500 religious groups, with 144,000 registered religious venues. 

Multi-linguistic and multi-version religious classics and the circulation of print, video, and electronic products that record, explain and annotate religious principles have met diverse demands. 

Chinese people enjoy full religious freedom. Religious activities are conducted in an orderly manner. The legitimate rights of the religious realm are ensured. 

The religious sector supports the CPC leadership, the government, the socialist system, while actively contributing to economic development. About 20,000 religious figures are members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and deputies to the people's congresses at all levels. 

They participate in politics and democratic supervision. Believers, non-believers and those from different religious faiths coexist harmoniously and enjoy the country's prosperity and development.

China's contribution to international human rights is widely evident. 

Recently, 37 countries including Saudi Arabia and Russia wrote a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, praising China's remarkable achievements in the field of human rights and backing its policies for the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. 

Is the US, which labels itself a "beacon of freedom," for the good of China when it exploits religious agendas to interfere with China's internal matters? On the one hand, the US incited a few believers to stand against the CPC and the Chinese government to jeopardize social and religious harmony. On the other, it supported illegal groups and those who engage in criminal acts in the name of religion to smear the Chinese government.

As a right for all citizens, religious freedom should be respected and protected. This is the consensus of the international community and the steady path China has taken. Given the different conditions and cultural traditions, there are diverse ways to maintain religious freedom. 

Successful experiences that suit countries and societies should be cherished. Using religion as a political tool to slander another country is ideological bullying and has nothing to do with the fundamental principles of any so-called religious faith.

The author is an observer on international affairs.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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