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US Criticizes China, North Korea, Burma for Restricting Religious Freedom


The U.S. government has strongly criticized China for its restriction on religious freedom in an apparent crackdown related to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In its annual report on religious freedom worldwide, the State Department says China continues to repress religious minorities, as well as deny visas to or expel foreign religious activists.

Separately, a senior U.S. official, Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom John Hanford called North Korea the worst violator of religious freedom in the world, saying the suppression of religious practice and aggressive persecution there is unparalleled.

Along with North Korea, Burma is listed in the report as one of eight "Countries of Particular Concern" for its abuses against citizens' rights to pray and the government's infiltration and monitoring of virtually all organizations, including religious ones.

However, the report stresses continued progress in expanding religious freedom in Vietnam, which last year was taken off the concern list.

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