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Thursday, February 22, 2024

China counters US allegations on religious freedom

China named in the annual report on international religious freedom, rejects allegations and blames US for having different motives.

Recently, the US State Department released its annual report on international religious freedom, raising concerns about religious violations in China. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin criticised the report, stating that it lacks factual basis and distorts China’s ethnic and religious policies. 

Disputing Allegations

Wang’s rebuttal emphasised that China does not accept the report and categorically rejects it. He highlighted the US’s persistent peddling of disinformation about Xinjiang, asserting that it is an attempt to contain China and hinder its development. According to Wang, the international community sees through these tactics and understands China’s commitment to its own internal affairs.

Read More: US and China hold unannounced high-level talks

Double Standards and Political Motivations

China accuses the US of applying double standards and using human rights and religious issues as a pretext to meddle in its internal affairs. Experts argue that the US aims to justify political besiegement and economic sanctions against China by continuously highlighting Xinjiang-related matters. The US is accused of employing the religion and Xinjiang card to marginalise China on the global stage.

Insufficient International Support

China claims that the US overestimated its ability to garner international support against China. Despite the US’s attempts to rally countries to its cause, it did not receive the backing it had anticipated. Experts suggest that the US’s reliance on ideology to differentiate friends and enemies undermines the credibility of its human rights diplomacy.

Chinese Public Support for Policies

Chinese professor Li Haidong argues that the US underestimates the level of public support for China’s religious and other policies within the country. He highlights that China has a significant number of religious believers, religious groups, places of worship, and clerical personnel. The region of Xinjiang, often criticised by the US, has witnessed notable economic growth and improvements in quality of life.

Visitors’ Perspectives

Chinese officials stress that numerous officials, religious personnel, and reporters from over 100 countries and international organisations have visited Xinjiang in recent years. These visitors have reportedly praised the region’s social stability, prosperity, and counter-terrorism efforts. This challenges the US allegations and showcases the positive perspectives shared by international visitors.

Geopolitical Motivations

Experts argue that the US’s release of the report before the Group of Seven summit serves its goal of suppressing and marginalising China. By continuously highlighting alleged human rights abuses, the US aims to rally its allies against China. However, critics contend that the US is abusing concepts of freedom and human rights to consolidate its own hegemony.

Read More: USCIRF recommends adding India to religious freedom blacklist for fourth year

The US State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom has led to a contentious exchange between China and the US, as well as other countries rejecting the claim. While the US accuses China of religious violations, China rejects the allegations and accuses the US of distorting facts for political motives. As the rivalry between China and the US continues, it is expected that such attacks against China will persist. It is crucial for the international community to critically assess the information presented by both sides to gain a nuanced understanding of the situation and make informed judgments.