China worst in the world for assault on religious freedoms, says Mike Pompeo
Earlier, the secretary of state criticized the Vatican for plans to extend the agreement with Beijing
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking on Wednesday in Rome, criticized the situation with religious freedom in China.
“Nowhere is freedom of religion more oppressed than in China,” Pompeo said at a symposium hosted by the US Embassy to the Holy See. He added that the Chinese Communist Party is encroaching on freedoms “on a frightening scale”.
Pompeo also condemned the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in China, noting that all religious groups are being harassed..
“The Chinese Communist Party is targeting all religious communities in China – Protestant house churches, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong adherents and more. Of course, Catholics did not escape this wave of repression, ”he said..
China vigorously rejects allegations of oppression of Uyghurs and human rights abuses in general.
Last week, Vatican officials expressed surprise when, ahead of a planned visit to Rome, Pompeo published an essay in a conservative Catholic magazine denouncing the Vatican for plans to extend the two-year deal with Beijing..
Pompeo said the agreement, which gives the Pope a vote in appointing Chinese bishops, threatens the moral authority of the Vatican. The Vatican insists that, although the agreement is not perfect, it improves the situation, since before it, Chinese Catholics who recognized the pontiff were forced into hiding for decades..
Pompeo is scheduled to hold talks on Thursday with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican’s chief diplomat.. Pompeo and Pope Francis dated when Pompeo visited Italy last year, but this time no meeting is scheduled.
The Vatican said on Wednesday that Pompeo requested an audience with the pontiff, but he was refused. As Parolin explained, Pope Francis avoids meeting with political figures ahead of elections.
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