China Rejects US Group's Report on Religious Freedom

China has rejected a U.S. report accusing Beijing and other governments of violating religious freedoms.

A spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, Jiang Yu, issued a statement Wednesday urging the United States to, as she said, "abandon its prejudices" and stop intervening in China's internal affairs.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom last week issued its annual report on religious freedoms, naming 14 countries, including China, as the world's worst violators of religious freedom.

The commission recommended that the U.S. government officially designate these countries as nations of particular concern, which could lead to sanctions against them.

China's official news media quoted Jiang as saying the Chinese government guarantees citizens' religious freedom according to the country's laws, and that the Chinese people also enjoy complete freedom of religious belief.

Human rights groups and some governments, including the U.S., have repeatedly expressed concern about China's harassment of religious groups that are not approved by the government.

The crackdown on these groups appears to have increased in recent months. Last month, about 40 members of an evangelical church in Bejing were arrested after trying to hold an outdoor Easter service. Church leaders say 500 other members of the congregation have been placed under house arrest.

Tibetan Buddhist monks have repeatedly protested against harassment by the Chinese authorities. One monk set himself on fire and died in an apparent anti-government protest in March.