China on Tuesday expressed strong displeasure at and resolute opposition to an annual report on religion issued Monday by the Department of State of the United States.
Commenting on the International Religious Freedom Report 2002 released by the US Department of State, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said the report groundlessly criticized China's policy on religion, and even went as far as to overtly praise Falun Gong, an evil cult once widespread in China.
"It (the report) trampled the basic norms of international relations and rudely interfered in China's internal affairs," Zhang said.
China has been protecting its citizens' religious rights in accordance with the law, Zhang said, adding that all ethnic groups and people in China enjoy full religious freedom.
"On the other hand, China's laws do not allow illegal or criminal activities conducted by any organization or individual in the name of religion," the spokeswoman said.
She said the ban on Falun Gong and the crackdown on "East Turkistan" terrorist forces by Chinese government are aimed at protecting the religious freedom and basic human rights of its citizens, and the efforts have won widespread support from the people throughout the country.
It is unreasonable for the United States to use religion as an excuse to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, Zhang said. She urged the United States to correct its wrong doings and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the guise of religious issues, so as not to bring about negative effect on China-US relations.
(Xinhua News Agency, October 9, 2002)