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Bush on religious freedom. (News in Brief: China).

Beijing--When U.S. President George W. Bush met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin in February, 2002, he asked Jiang to respect religious liberty and to open communications with the Vatican and the Dalai Lama. In particular, Bush asked for the release of 33 Catholic bishops and priests from Chinese prisons.

In a news conference attended by Jiang and witnessed by scores of newsmedia, Bush told Jiang that "All the world's people, including the people of China, should be free to choose how they live, how they worship, and how they work. . . . China's future is for the Chinese people to decide, yet no nation is exempt from the demands of human dignity" (Zenit, Feb 21/02).

Twice Jiang ignored American reporters who pressed him to explain his government's detention of Catholic bishops and priests. Then, when Jiang stated that "Some of the lawbreakers (i.e., the Catholic clergy) have been detained because of their violation of law, not because of their religious beliefs," President Bush displayed disbelief in this assertion (Toronto Star, Feb 22/02).

Following Bush's visit to China, the Chinese government declared that the (U.S.) State Department was "full of lies" in its accusations of the suppression of religious freedom. In addition, American authorities admit that the U.S. has little clout with which to force China to make domestic changes in human rights, since the Clinton administration had given China permanent favoured trade status and thus removed a bargaining chip in negotiations.
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Title Annotation:President George W. Bush in China
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
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