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Institute Pushes for Religious Liberty to be Included in US-China Strategic Dialogue
by Joseph Grieboski Monday, July 27, 2009
In her opening remarks, Secretary Clinton stated that the meeting is “the beginning of an unprecedented effort to lay the foundation for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-Chinese relationship for the 21st century…Although past relations between the United States and China have been influenced by the idea of a balance of power among great nations, the fresh thinking of the 21st century can move us from a multi-polar world to a multi-partner world. And it is our hope that the dialogue we initiate today will enable us to shape that common agenda.”
Prior to the start of the dialogue, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy sent a letter to Secretary Clinton urging that human rights and religious freedom be included in the strategic dialogue.
“The Institute understands that these discussions are important for developing an open dialogue on economic, environmental, and security issues. However, we also believe that U.S. strategy with China must include discussions of religious freedom because it is a fundamental element to all developmental issues,” the letter stated.
Concerned by the language on human rights used by Secretary Clinton during her China visit, the Institute pointed out that, “If you fail to raise these issues with the Chinese you will fail to promote and protect America’s interests, which is your duty as Secretary of State.”
The letter went on to enumerate the religious liberty violations committed by the Chinese government against Uighers, Tibetans, Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, and others.
“China maintains one of the worst records of religious freedom anywhere in the world. In addition to the complicated and vague legal structures in place that inhibit religious practice, the government actively pursues campaigns designed to persecute religious groups. We urge you to recommend concrete steps the Chinese government can take to protect its citizens’ fundamental freedoms,” the letter concluded.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
About Institute on Religion and Public Policy The Institute on Religion and Public Policy is an international, inter-religious non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring freedom of religion as the foundation for security, stability, and democracy. The Institute works globally with government policymakers, religious leaders, business executives, academics, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and others in order to develop, protect, and promote fundamental rights - especially the right of religious freedom - and contributes to the intellectual and moral foundation of the fundamental right of religious freedom. Nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, the Institute encourages and assists in the effective and cooperative advancement of religious freedom.
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