China angered at U.S. criticism of
religious freedom, says U.S. not perfect
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[August 16, 2017]
BEIJING (Reuters) - China hit back
on Wednesday at criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of
its record on religious freedom, saying the United States was not
perfect and should be looking after its own affairs rather than making
Tillerson, speaking at the State Department while introducing the
agency's annual report on religious freedom, said the Chinese government
tortures and imprisons thousands for their religious beliefs, citing the
targeting of Falun Gong members, Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China fully
respected and protected freedom of religion and belief.
"The so-called U.S. report ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong
and makes wanton criticism of China's religious freedom situation," she
told a daily news briefing.
"China is resolutely opposed to this and has lodged solemn
representations with the U.S. side."
The United States would do better to look at its own problems, Hua
"Everyone has seen that the facts prove the United States is not totally
perfect," she said, without providing any examples.
"We urge the United States to respect the facts and properly manage its
own affairs, and stop using the wrong means of the so-called religious
freedom issue to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries."
State news agency Xinhua said in an English-language commentary the
violence at a weekend rally by white nationalists in Charlottesville,
Virginia, meant the United States should reflect on its own problems
before pointing the finger at China.
"Against the backdrop of the recent clash between white supremacists and
their opponents, the U.S. accusations against China simply lay bare the
double standard it employs," it said.
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks on the 2016
International Religious Freedom Annual report at the State
Department in Washington, U.S. August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan
"The violence highlighted the danger of racism, which is a serious
problem in a still divided U.S. society," Xinhua added."Despite its
self-proclaimed role as the world's human rights champion, the fact
is the world's sole superpower is far from becoming a respected role
model in this regard."
The violence erupted on Saturday after white nationalists converged
in Charlottesville for a "Unite the Right" rally to protest against
plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the
pro-slavery Confederate army during the U.S. Civil War.
Many of the rally participants were seen carrying firearms, sticks
and shields. Some also wore helmets. Counter-protesters likewise
came equipped with sticks, helmets and shields.
The two sides clashed in scattered street brawls before a car plowed
into the rally opponents, killing a woman and injuring 19. A
20-year-old Ohio man, James Fields, said to have harbored Nazi
sympathies, was charged with murder.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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