The United States condemned several countries on Thursday, including China, for severely restricting religious freedom, which analysts saw as another step in restoring US foreign policy focused on human rights.
The annual report of the Washington Department of State harshly criticized Beijing’s leadership for severely restricting citizens’ freedom of religion. The ministry also announced a ban on entry for a former Chinese official accused of persecuting members of a religious stream called Falun Kung.
Chinese Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken emphasized that China widely criminalizes free religion and continues to commit crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities.
According to the document, Christians, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong followers in China also face severe social discrimination in employment, housing, and job opportunities.
The head of US diplomacy also criticized Iran, Myanmar, Russia, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia for restricting religious freedom.
Daniel Nadel, a State Department official, said the assessment does not represent a sharp shift in Washington’s approach to human rights, but rather reflects a recognition that religious and political rights are equally important, according to MTI.
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