Beijing – Geng Shuang, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, held a regular press conference on Dec. 23.
When pressed on the “United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom” press statement published by the United States Department of States on Dec. 20, Geng Shuang answered that “the Chinese people have the best say on freedom of religious belief in China” and urged the US to “get its own house in order.”
Q: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on December 20 that the Department of State re-designated 9 countries including China as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. What’s your comment?
A: China is firmly against the groundless US move that ignores facts. The Chinese government protects its citizens’ freedom of religious belief and people of all ethnic groups enjoy full religious freedom in accordance with law. There are nearly 200 million believers in China, including 20 million Muslims, more than 380,000 clerical personnel, approximately 5,500 religious groups and about 140,000 places of worship registered for religious activities in China. These are hard facts that cannot be distorted by a handful of US politicians.
The Chinese people have the best say on freedom of religious belief in China. We urge the US to face up to and respect basic facts, get its own house in order and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of religion.
Let’s take a look back on the “United States Takes Action Against Violators of Religious Freedom” statement.
The Department of State stressed these designations underscore the United States commitment to protect those who seek to exercise their freedom of religion or belief.
“We will continue to challenge state and non-state entities that seek to infringe upon those fundamental rights and to ensure they are held to account for their actions.”
In the meantime, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on last Friday and emphasized:
Mr. Pompeo added in the statement that “ In October, we placed visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, the detention or abuse of Uighurs, Kazakhs, or other members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China.”