China to ensure respect for religious freedom during 2008 Olympics

November 14th, 2007 - 10:19 am ICT by admin  

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao was particularly critical of the Catholic News Agency report, saying: “As far as I know, Chinese religious affairs authorities and the Beijing Olympic organizers did not and would not issue such a rule and this is a total rumour.”

“According to the Chinese laws, foreigners are allowed to bring in religious objects or materials, be it print or audio or video, for personal use,” The China Daily quoted Jianchao, as saying.

The Chinese Constitution and relevant laws protect rights of religious freedom in China, which also apply to foreigners who live in the country, the spokesman said.

Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media centre, also condemned the report, saying it was an intentional distortion of the truth.

Li said that a religious service center will be set up in the Olympic Village and religious services, from Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu to Buddhist, will be available to athletes next summer.

A temporary Catholic Church will also be set up in the Olympic Village and all churches in Beijing will be open to Catholic visitors, Liu Bainian, vice-president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said.

Religious services and information will be available in Beijing and each of the six co-host cities, Ye Xiaowen, director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, told the China Daily last month.

China has so far published more than 42 million copies of the Bible in various languages, according to Ye. (ANI)

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