A senior Chinese official is trying to calm U.S. misgivings ahead of Beijing's coming Olympic Games about what the Bush administration sees as religious intolerance.
Ye Xiaowen the director of China's religious affairs bureau told reporters Wednesday, after talks with Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, also US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, that China's peaceful development depends upon its respect for human rights and religious beliefs. Ye criticized as groundless last year's State Department report on religious freedom that said China continued to repress religious groups and was cracking down ahead of the Olympics.
Ye also said that China's Olympic preparations meant it had "no time" for anger over Congress' presentation last year of a prestigious award to the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists who Beijing says is pushing for independence for Tibet.
Information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.