China has reacted sharply to a recent report released by the U.S. State Department that describes the country as a place where freedom of religion is of “particular concern.” The reaction came after the 2016 International Religious Freedom Report, released by the State Department, called out China and criticized the country for alleged discrimination against religious minorities living there, Russia Today reports.
The official reaction from China came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a comment on the report. Tillerson did not specifically direct his comments against China and made a general comment against the countries listed in the report. However, China has issued a strongly worded statement against the U.S. and asked the State Department to “mind its own business.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday criticized the report and said that the U.S. report ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong, and makes wanton criticism of China’s religious freedom situation. Hua also went on to warn the U.S. to stop using such reports and religious freedom as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ business.
“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.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also called out the U.S. and asked to set its own house in order before criticizing other countries.
“Everyone has seen that the facts prove the United States is not totally perfect.”
The statement also referred to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one person was killed and more than a dozen injured as an example of double standards on part of the U.S. administration.
“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.”
A report by China’s state run news agency Xinhua also commented on the State Department report and termed it “political bigotry” and dismissed the study as unreliable while claiming that the data in the report was from unreliable sources. The agency also added that religious minorities across China are doing pretty well and that they enjoy full religious freedom “in accordance with the Constitution and state laws.”
In the past, China has faced criticism for how the country has treated the ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese Muslims living the Xinjiang province. Measures taken against Muslims living in this province include banning people from giving certain Islamic names to children and control over religious activities. China, however, maintains that these measures were taken in order to ensure that the region does not fall into the trap of religious extremism.
[Featured Image by Ng Han Guan/AP Images]