China protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, said a signed article published in response to a recent report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
China is a country under the rule of law. Respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief is a long-held basic policy of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, the article said.
It said the Constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) clearly states that Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief. Article 36 of the Constitution stipulates that "citizens of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief," and "the State protects normal religious activities."
Relevant laws in the country also guarantee citizens' right to freedom of religious belief, said the article.
A set of newly revised regulations on religious affairs went into effect in China on Feb 1, 2018, further strengthening the protection of citizens' freedom of religious belief and the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles, according to the article.
The Chinese government has been fully implementing the Constitution and relevant laws and regulations, introducing measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles, it said.
China has been improving the preferential policies for religious circles, according to the article. For instance, China developed a clear electricity pricing policy, which stipulates that venues for religious activities enjoy the same price as residential users to reduce their financial burdens. Other measures include tax exemptions for religious groups and venues for religious activities.
The article added that China fights religious extremism and violent terrorist activities in accordance with the law, including the Counter-terrorism Law of the PRC.
Noting that freedom of religious belief is part of basic human rights, it said China will, as always, adhere to respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief of its citizens.