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Saturday, October 16, 1999

China, 6 others accused of religious discrimination in U.S. report

By George Gedda
Associated Press Writer

      WASHINGTON — The State Department has designated China and six other countries for possible sanctions for having engaged in or tolerated "particularly severe" violations of religious freedom, officials said Tuesday night.
      Also on the list were Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Iraq, Serbia and Sudan, the officials said. Of the seven, the United States has normal relations only with China.
      The disclosures came four weeks after the State Department issued its first annual report on the state of religious freedom worldwide.
      The report said Chinese government intolerance of unregistered religious activity has led in some areas to persecution of people on the basis of religious practice.
      The report offers these evaluations on the other six:

  • Afghanistan — Shiites suffered persecution and killing at the hands of the Taliban-led government in Kabul.

  • Burma — The government arrests and imprisons Buddhist monks who promote human and political rights.

  • Iran — Policies have been implemented to eradicate the Baha'i faith through prolonged imprisonment, confiscation and desecration of holy places and denial of the right to assemble.

  • Iraq — The government has conducted a campaign of murder, execution and arbitrary arrest against religious leaders and adherents of the Shi'a Muslim population.

  • Serbia — Authorities engaged in the killing, torture, rape and forced emigration of Kosovar Albanians.

  • Sudan — Christians, practitioners of indigenous religions and Muslims who deviate from the official interpretation of Islam are subject to killing, imprisonment and forced conversion to Islam.

©Copyright 1999, Desert News
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