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US Ambassador for Religious Freedom asks China to re-think Tibet policies

September 7, 2015

Times of India, September 1, 2015 - The US has asked China to reassess its policies which impose restrictions on religious freedom in Tibet, days after a top American diplomat concluded his visit to the Communist nation and discussed issues of human rights' violations and religious freedom with the Chinese officials.

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein was on a 8-day visit, starting from August 20 to China.

Saperstein raised a number of ongoing concerns of the US regarding the Chinese government's human rights violations pertaining to religious freedom during his visits to Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong, a statement said.

He called for an end in the ongoing campaign church demolitions in Zhejiang province and harassment of members from unregistered religious groups.

"He urged Chinese authorities to reassess counterproductive policies, including restrictions on the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims," a statement said, adding that Saperstein also conveyed the US government's deep concern over the recent detentions of many human rights defenders and religious leaders.

In meetings with government officials, Saperstein noted positive developments, including the growth of religious communities in China.

He also recognised the significant increase in the contributions of faith-based organisations to Chinese society, especially in the provision of social services, the statement said.

Official statement released by US Department of State, August 31, 2015

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein traveled to the People’s Republic of China August 20-28, 2015 to discuss religious freedom with government officials, religious leaders, and civil society representatives. He visited Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong.

In meetings with government officials, Ambassador Saperstein noted positive developments, including the growth of religious communities in China. He also recognized the significant increase in the contributions of faith-based organizations to Chinese society, especially in the provision of social services.

Ambassador Saperstein also raised a number of ongoing concerns of the United States regarding the Chinese government’s human rights violations pertaining to religious freedom. Ambassador Saperstein called for an end to the ongoing campaign of cross removals and church demolitions in Zhejiang province and an end to harassment of members of unregistered religious groups. He urged Chinese authorities to reassess counterproductive policies, including restrictions on the religious practice of Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims. Ambassador Saperstein also conveyed the U.S. government’s deep concern over the recent detentions of many human rights defenders and religious leaders.

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