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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Religious Freedom In China

October 6, 2008

Voice of America (VOA)
October 3, 2008 

According to the latest International Religious Freedom Report, which
was issued by the State Department on September 19, the Chinese
government continued to restrict religious practice to
government-sanctioned organizations and registered religious groups
and places of worship. The Chinese government also worked to control
the growth and scope of activity of both registered and unregistered
religious groups, including so-called "house churches."

The International Religious Freedom Report noted that during the
reporting period the Chinese government's repression of religious
freedom intensified in some areas, including in Tibetan areas and in
the Xinjiang UighurAutonomous Region. The government continues to try
to limit the participation of Muslims in the Hajj and reportedly
pursued the forcible return of several Uighur Muslims living abroad,
some of whom had reportedly protested restrictions on the Hajj and
encouraged other Muslims to pray and fast during Ramadan.

During the reporting period, followers of Tibetan Buddhism face
greater restrictions on the practice of their religion. "Patriotic
education" campaigns in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other
Tibetan areas required monks and nuns to sign statements personally
denouncing the Dalai Lama. This and other new regulations imposed
over the last year were major factors leading to the peaceful
protests at a number of monasteries on March 10, 2008 that eventually
devolved into rioting by Tibetan protesters and a violent police
crackdown in Lhasa.

Some Christians continued to struggle to freely worship in China.
Underground Roman Catholic clergy faced repression for their loyalty
to the Vatican, which the Chinese government claims interferes in the
country's internal affairs.  Some unregistered Protestant churches
reported intensified harassment from government authorities leading
up to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. In June, several prominent
religious activists and leaders, including attorneys, were placed
under surveillance, restricted to their homes, or forced to leave
Beijing during the visit of a delegation of foreign officials.

As President George Bush said during his visit to Beijing during the
Olympic games, "no state, man or woman, should fear the influence of
religion." The United States continues to encourage China's leaders
to allow greater freedom to practice and express their religious
beliefs.  "The most basic freedom a man can have,-- said President
Bush, "is the right to worship his own God as he sees fit."
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