Religious freedom guaranteed in China: white paper
The white paper, titled "China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief," covers topics such as basic religious policies, legal guarantees and regulation of religious activities.
The second white paper on religion issued by the Chinese government since 1997, it cites stats showing the progress made in guaranteeing religious freedom over the past 40 years.
Former Deputy Chief of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Chen Zongrong, says the white paper also reflects what's been happening in China when it comes to the broader goal of protecting human rights.
"We find the white paper necessary. It summarizes the changes in China's religious sector over the past 20 years, especially in guaranteeing religious freedom and balancing the relationships between religions. The white paper reflects the CPC's and government's emphasis on human rights protection. It also shows the Chinese government's solid stance in preventing conflict."
Chen Zongrong says China's policies on religious freedoms are effective as they are practical.
"China's stance on protecting religious freedom has its roots in history, proper policies and legal foundations, practical work, as well as the self-awareness of religious groups."
China has almost 200 million people with religious beliefs including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism.
The white paper notes that for over two thousand years, China has maintained an inclusive attitude toward religious beliefs, saying it has seldom seen conflicts or turbulence caused by religious factors.
It also emphasizes Chinese respect toward people with religious beliefs.
The white paper also says different religious groups have been actively adapting to Chinese society, saying they're attempting to strike a balance between the love for the nation and religion, and says religious activities are mostly conducted in an orderly manner.
The Communist Party of China is an atheist party.
Chen Zongrong says despite this, the party has no intention of interfering in people's religious freedom.
"The CPC advocates atheism. But it doesn't mean citizen's religious freedom should be compromised. Nor does it want to disrespect people's religion. The CPC maintains cooperative ties with religious groups. No matter how the religious organs change, the CPC will never change that stance."
The white paper also notes that around 20-thousand people with religious beliefs participate at different levels within the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference to provide their counsel on religious affairs.