Human Rights Watch Says Religious Rights in China Remain Limited

March 1, 2006

Source: Reuters

On March 1, 2006 Reuters reported, "Two Tibetan Buddhists jailed for 'splittism' have had their sentences reduced, but a rights group said on Wednesday that one year after China introduced new regulations on religious rights, freedom to worship remains restricted. The rules that took effect in March 2005 enshrine religious belief as a basic right of all citizens, but China still forbids worship outside designated religious organizations, fearing the growth of groups that could challenge Communist Party rule. 'Local officials continue to repress religious activities that they determine to be outside the scope of the state-controlled religious system,' the New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement. The 2005 regulations were deliberately vague, it added. 'There is nothing accidental about the vagueness -- it gives officials the room they need to legitimize closing mosques, raiding religious meetings, "re-educating" religious leaders and censoring publications,' the watchdog said."