Rice Highlights Religious Rights -- At Puppet Church Service
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (attended a church service in Beijing Sunday in a visit that highlighted U.S. concern for religious freedom in the world's most populous country.
The visit to one of China's largest state-approved churches followed Rice's repeated denouncements during a tour of Asia about China's human rights record, and particularly its restrictions on worship.
The top U.S. diplomat drew attention to one of the problems in Sino-U.S. relations on the first night of a two-day trip to China that comes as the major powers are also at odds over Taiwan and Beijing's rapid military buildup.
I'm distressed that an American Secretary of State went to one of the government-authorized churches. I would have preferred that she had attended church with one of the many unofficial religious groups, the house churches, or with one of the persecuted Catholic congregation whose bishops remain loyal to the Pope rather than to the Communist government of China. This visit to a state-controlled church seems to place American support for religious freedom upon the government-run church, not the persecuted church that refuses to submit to government control.
For more information on the persecuted church worldwide, visit The Voice of the Martyrs.
UPDATE: This story contains much more detail on religious freedom and state-run churches in China.