The Chinese government reacted angrily to recent remarks by President Bush regarding the lack of religious freedom in their nation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Liu Jianchao bluntly told the American president, “China is a country under the rule of law , and the Chinese government protects its citizens’ freedom of religious belief according to law, and Chinese citizens enjoy full freedom of religious belief protected by law.” The Chinese comments came in response to remarks made by President Bush at Monday’s ceremony hailing religious freedom.
There is little doubt freedom of religion as known in most countries of the world does not exist in China and surely President Bush knew that much about life in China. However, the Chinese government does raise an interesting question as to why Bush focuses on them and ignores issues of religious freedom closer to home. Of Iraq’s 800,000 Christians who were in the country when United States troops invaded, only about 400,000 are left due to lack of religious freedom in Iraq. Why doesn’t the American president focus on gaining religious freedom in areas where he can assert more power? Bush has consistently ignored the persecution of Iraqi Christians, which incidentally, arose due to his invasion. We applaud statements in support of religious freedom in China, but actions in support of freedom of religion in Iraq might be more helpful.