A US report on religious freedom has voiced concerns over the treatment of minorities in China, especially to Uighurs of northwest Xinjiang province, Christians, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners.
The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Report, released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said that in China people have the freedom to practice a faith of their choice, but the state protection is limited to “normal religious activities” and it does not define “normal.”
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It further said that the government of Xi Jinping “continued to exercise control over religion and restrict the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents that is perceived as threatening state or CCP interests”, according to religious groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international media reports.
Since 2017, Beijing has detained over a million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Hui, and members of other Islamic groups, as well as Uighur Christians, and sent them to in specially built or converted internment camps in Xinjiang, the report said.
In a lengthy section explaining China’s record, the State Department cited instances of people being arrested, sent to psychiatric wards, and physically abused because of their religious beliefs.
“The Chinese Communist Party is now ordering religious organizations to obey CCP leadership and infused communist doctrine into the teachings and practice of their faith,” Pompeo said, in the press conference held to mark the report’s release.
“The mass detentions of Uighurs in Xinjiang continues. So does the repression of Tibetans and Buddhists and Falun Gong and Christians.”
This annual report has placed China under “country of particular concern” on religion since 1999.