Thursday, February 21, 2002
After trying a couple of times, it appeared that American reporters finally got Chinese President Jiang Zemin to answer a question on religious liberty, or lack thereof, in China.
During the 37-minute news conference, the Chinese president twice initially ignored questions from U.S. reporters about why his government restricts practicing religious faith and has imprisoned Catholic bishops. When he later answered, Bush looked away.
"I don't have religious faith," Jiang said. "Yet this does not prevent me from having an interest in religion. I've read the Bible, I've also read the Koran, as well as the Scriptures of Buddhism. . . . Whatever religion people believe in, they have to abide by the law. So some of the law-breakers have been detained because of their violation of law, not because of their religious belief."
Well Jiang, if your laws make it impossible for people to worship as they wish, then of course believers are going to violate them. No one should have to smuggle Bibles into China.