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US report on religious freedom 'unjustified': China

31 july 2012, 14:28
©REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta
©REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta
China's official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday there was "no justification" for a US report signalling a marked deterioration in the country's religious freedom in 2011, AFP reports.

The US State Department said Monday that official "interference" in traditional Buddhist practices in China's Tibetan-inhabited areas had "contributed to at least 12 self-immolations by Tibetans in 2011".

"In the Tibetan Autonomous Region and other Tibetan areas, this included increased restrictions on religious practice, especially in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries," it said.

China's has not yet given an official response, but a Xinhua commentary said there was "no justification" for the criticism and accused the United States of "blatantly interfering in the internal affairs of other countries".

"The US action will only backfire by creating more suspicion and distrust rather than fostering mutual understanding and improving relations with other countries," said Xinhua.

More than 30 people have set themselves on fire in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China since the start of March 2011 in protest at what they say is religious and cultural repression by the Chinese authorities.

Beijing blames Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama for inciting the self-immolations in a bid to split Tibet from the rest of the nation, and insists Tibetans now have better lives due to Chinese investment.

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