BEIJING -- China Tuesday issued a white paper stressing that China adheres to the principle of independence and self-management in religious affairs, and that the principle is "a historic choice made by Chinese religious believers."
The white paper, titled "China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief," was issued by the State Council Information Office.
"Religious groups and religious affairs are not subject to control by foreign countries; this principle is enshrined in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China," the document said.
The principle of independence and self-management is "a historic choice made by Chinese religious believers in the Chinese people's struggle for national independence and social progress, as Catholicism and Protestantism, which were known as foreign religions in China, had long been controlled and utilized by colonialists and imperialists," according to the white paper.
It said that adhering to the principle of independence and self-management does not mean the severing of normal connections between religious organizations in China and their foreign counterparts.
The Chinese government supports and encourages all its religions to conduct international exchanges, to build, develop and consolidate friendly relations with religious groups overseas, to enhance mutual trust and eliminate misgivings, and to present a positive image based on independence, equality and mutual respect, the report said.
It said that the Chinese government will resolutely oppose and deal with foreign organizations and individuals engaging in activities which violate China's Constitution, laws, regulations and policies, their attempts to control China's religious organizations, to interfere in China's religious affairs and to subvert the Chinese government and socialist system under the guise of religion.