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Taiwan slams China for tightening religious freedom through law

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Picture taken from CNA
Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) slammed China on Thursday for clamping down further on religious freedom and vowed to cooperate more closely with the Vatican to defend such freedom after Beijing recently issued a set of rules on religious clergies.

"The Chinese government's recent issuance of Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel is solid proof of its increased suppression of religious freedom," MOFA's spokesperson Joanne Ou said at a regular press briefing.

The regulations "nationalized" religion as they clearly state that all religious personnel in China should support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), she said.

The new measures will be implemented from May 1.

According to the official website of China's National Religious Affairs Administration, the regulations stipulate that the succession of a living Buddha should follow China's rules and that Catholic bishops in China should be approved and ordained by the Chinese authorities.

The regulations also prohibit religious personnel from accepting designation from overseas religious groups, the website said.

Ou said China's attempt to control religions through law is regrettable and urged the international community to watch closely the situation of religious freedom in China.

"Taiwan's government will continue to strengthen its cooperation with the Vatican and the Catholic Church to defend the core values of religious freedom," she said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also condemned Chinese government's suppression of religious freedom on social media.

"Beijing's newly announced Law Governing Religious Clergy commands all 'authorized' practitioners to love the motherland and worship communist leadership and socialism," he said on Tweeter late Wednesday.

"Simply put, the CCP is the GOD of religions in China! How low must we go before the free world says enough?" he tweeted.

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