China to continue support citizens’ freedom of religious belief, releases white paper
In a white paper published on Tuesday, April 3, China pledged continuation of its support for its citizens' freedom of religious belief, Xinhua reported.
The communist-ruled country has policies on freedom of religious belief based on national and religious conditions to protect citizens' right to such freedom, build active and healthy religious relationships and maintain harmony in religious and social domains, the white paper published by the State Council Information Office said.
The white paper is titled 'China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief'. It also said that safeguarding the freedom of religious belief, handling religious relations and adapting them to the current times and curbing religious extremism are common responsibilities that all countries around the world have.
Among the major religions practised in China are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity and they have nearly 20 million believers and over 3,80,000 clerical personnel.
"Religious believers and non-believers respect each other, and live in harmony, committing themselves to reform and opening up and the socialist modernization, and contribute to the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," Xinhua cited the white paper as saying.
Meanwhile, a Chinese official on Tuesday, April 3, also defended the government's right to appoint high priests in the country. He said that not giving Pope the control over their appointment does not violate the believers' religious freedom.