House of Lords written question – answered on 11 October 2012.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the freedoms currently enjoyed by the different religions in China.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The number of people practising religious beliefs in China is growing rapidly both within officially sanctioned religious organisations and in informal house church movements. Those who practise outside the official boundaries often face serious restrictions or harassment.

The prohibition of some religious groups, and the legal restrictions and harassment aimed at others, undermines freedom of religious belief in China, a point officials raised with the Chinese delegation at the most recent round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2012. We have repeatedly made clear that such actions are not consistent with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or indeed with Article 36 of the People's Republic of China's Constitution.

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