This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.
On Tuesday, the State Department released a report on international religious freedom that was highly critical of a number of countries, one of which was China. CNN, which detailed the report in an article titled “US slams China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia for religious repression,” summarized the State Department’s findings on China as follows:
“The report found that in 2016, China continued to physically abuse, detain, arrest, torture and imprison Tibetan Buddhists, Christians and other religious minorities.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking Tuesday from his agency’s Treaty Room, voiced concern over the analysis:
“Many governments around the world used discriminatory laws to deny their citizens freedom of religion or belief. No one should have to live in fear, worship in secret, face discrimination because of their beliefs.”
Tillerson also hinted that all the repression is something the United States may have to do something about.
“Religious persecution and intolerance remains far too prevalent,” he said. “Where religious freedom is not protected, we know that instability, human rights abuses, and violent extremism have a greater opportunity to take root. We cannot ignore these conditions.”
China didn’t take the accusations lying down. On Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the State Department’s report was worthless.
“The so-called U.S. report ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong and makes wanton criticism of China’s religious freedom situation,” Hua said at a daily news briefing in Beijing.
Stating that “the facts prove the United States is not totally perfect,” Hua urged the U.S. “to respect the facts and properly manage its own affairs, and stop using the wrong means of the so-called religious freedom issue to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”
The United States’ habit of involving itself in the affairs of other nations — which has earned it the epithet “World’s Police” — was the focal point of an article from China’s state-run Xinhua on Wednesday, which opened:
“Washington has newly released an annual international religion report, which attacked China’s religious policies and status, and kept listing China among ‘countries of particular concern.’
“The groundless assertions were nothing but a political bigotry held by the U.S. government. They once again laid bare Washington’s penchant for interfering in another country’s internal affairs.”
Continuing, Xinhua cited the recent bloodshed in Charlottesville as evidence that, as stated by the foreign ministry’s Hua, the U.S. is far from perfect and has problems of its own it needs to address:
“While still reeling from the death and violence seen at a white-nationalist rally in the city of Charlottesville, the United States should take a minute to reflect on its own human rights situation before pointing accusing fingers at China.”
Xinhua further wrote that in the wake of Charlottesville, “the U.S. accusations against China simply lay bare the double standard it employs,” adding that the violent clashes “highlighted the danger of racism, which is a serious problem in a still divided U.S. society.”
Even so, independent human rights organizations have raised concerns over China’s repressive approach toward religions not approved by the government.
Regardless, Xinhua concluded that the United States’ claim to being the planet’s protector of human rights is laced in hypocrisy and that reports such as the one from the State Department are used in perpetuity to demonize China:
“Despite its self-proclaimed role as the world’s human rights champion, the fact is the world’s sole superpower is far from becoming a respected role model in this regard.
“Therefore, Washington should end its political bigotry against China and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs by issuing inaccurate reports one year after another.”