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Ahead of President Xi’s Washington visit, China asked to reassess religious policies

Mr David Saperstein, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
Mr David Saperstein, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

(TibetanReview.net, Sep04, 2015) – Following an eight-day visit to China beginning Aug 20, the US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, Mr David Saperstein, has called on Beijing to reassess its policies which impose restrictions on religious freedom in Tibet as well as Xinjiang. During visit to Beijing, Shjiazhuang, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong, he raised a number of ongoing concerns of the US regarding the Chinese government’s human rights violations pertaining to religious freedom, Saperstein said in a statement a day after concluding his visit.

His meetings included those with government officials, religious leaders, and civil society representatives. The statement said the US religious ambassador “urged Chinese authorities to reassess counterproductive policies, including restrictions on the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims.”

He has also conveyed to Beijing the US government’s deep concern over the recent detentions of many human rights defenders and religious leaders.

He was also stated to have noted positive developments, including the growth of religious communities in China, and to have recognized the significant increase in the contributions of faith-based organizations to Chinese society, especially in the provision of social services.

The issue of human rights is expected to be a major focus during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United Sates later this month.

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