US Commission on International Religious Freedom labels China a ‘country of particular concern,’ cites ongoing religious persecution

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended to Secretary of State Colin Powell that China be designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) due to systemic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom in Tibet and China.

The U.S. Congress created the Commission in 1998 with the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The Commission is charged with identifying countries that practice on-going violations of religious liberty and recommending economic and diplomatic steps that the U.S. government should take to pressure governments to end religious persecution.

China has been labeled a CPC every year since the United States began making such designations in 1999.

In its letter to Secretary Powell released February 10, 2004, the Commission states that it is “especially concerned about the situation in China, where repression of religious freedom continues to be a deliberate policy of the Chinese government.”

The Commission report found that Chinese authorities have intensified their “violent campaign against religious believers,” including Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims.

The Commission recommended that the Department of State again designate China as a CPC and take additional actions to advance religious freedom there pursuant to IRFA.

The Commission called on the U.S. government to ensure that efforts to promote religious freedom are integrated into the mechanisms of dialogue and cooperation with the Chinese government at all levels, across all departments, and on all issues, including security and counter-terrorism.

The Commission also urged the Chinese government to end its current crackdown on religious and spiritual groups.

 

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