U.S. State Department Publishes Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, Criticizes Chinese Government's Persecution of Falun Gong
(Clearwisdom.net) On December 18, the U.S. State Department published the 2003 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, in which the U.S. government criticized the situation of religious freedom in China. According to the Radio Free Asia's December 19th report, the U.S. State Department published the 2003 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, which criticized the situation of religious freedom in China.
The report states that, among other things, "the Chinese government continued its repression of groups that it determined to be 'cults' in general, and of the Falun Gong in particular. The arrest, detention and imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners continue." Practitioners who refuse to recant their beliefs are sometimes subjected to harsh treatment in prisons and reeducation-through-labor camps. There have been credible reports of deaths due to torture and abuse. Thousands of individuals are still undergoing criminal, administrative and extra-judicial punishment for engaging in Falun Gong practices.
The report quoted Richard L. Armitage, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, who spoke at the press conference, "With this report, we intend to focus attention on the plight of people who are persecuted simply for the peaceful practice of religious beliefs and to provide a resource of action..."
The report also stated that John Hanford, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom who spoke at the meeting, had this to say, "Though international law supports it, and though millions of religious believers around the world desire it, religious freedom all too often remains fragile, neglected and violated. Many religious believers find themselves forced to worship secretly instead of confidently, or to hold their sacred beliefs in fear and under threat rather than in peace and security. Many others suffer severe hardships for their faith, including beatings, torture, detention, imprisonments and death."