Friday, October 25, 2002

From NRO: Concerns about the State Department's (of course) possible blind eye towards Chinese repression of religion.

Concerns over an apparent Foggy Bottom policy shift were prompted two weeks ago, when John Hanford, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, told a congressional committee that Chinese officials are willing to permit their young to participate in religious Sunday schools and youth camps.

Given the reality of the PRC's official and often-brutal campaign and policies against believers, Hanford's comments (at the House Subcommittee on International Relations and Human Rights' hearing on the department's 2002 International Religious Freedom Report) took aback the regime's critics, who expect the State Department to challenge PRC claims — about Sunday school or anything else — without overwhelming evidence.

With Hanford's testimony coming just two weeks before premier Jiang Zemin's visit to the U.S., the mood among activists was disappointment over a lost opportunity, and confusion as to whether the State Department was glossing over the PRC's ugly record.

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