- Title: CHINA: China angrily denounces Olympic Games "Bible ban" report
- Date: 8th November 2007
- Summary: (BN08) HEBEI PROVINCE, CHINA (FILE) (REUTERS) PEOPLE IN CHURCH CHANTING HYMN GIRLS CHANTING HYMN PEOPLE CHANTING HYMN HANDS HOLDING ROSARIES OLD MAN PRAYING GIRL AND BOOK OF HYMNS CLERGYMAN ADDRESSING CONGREGATION PEOPLE LISTENING EXTERIOR OF CHURCH
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2007 12:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Religion,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVABQ8AVCKHSEV0UINF7PNCWXUGY
- Story Text: China reacted angrily on Thursday (November 8) to reports in the European press that the government would ban Bibles during next year's Beijing Olympics, saying it could not possibly be true.
The reports, one of which appeared in Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, were picked up by the Catholic News Agency and spread to the U.S. media sites.
"Foreigners who enter China can bring with them religious publications, audio-video material and other religious articles for personal use. China's religious affairs authorities and the Olympic organisers have not -- and could not -- issue a rule banning the Bible in the Olympic village," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.
The 2008 Olympics had already became a focus for groups wishing to put pressure on China about everything from Tibet to Beijing's support of Myanmar's junta, and this seems set to continue as the opening ceremony gets nearer.
Organisers have pledged that religious services will be offered during the Games.
Liu warned the efforts to undermine Beijing's preparation for the Olympics would result in nothing.
"The Olympics is a big event not only for the Chinese people, but also for people in Asia and around the world. I hope those who spread the rumour and tried to sabotage the Olympics could reflect on themselves. They should not do things that harm others while not benefiting themselves,"
Though the Chinese government keeps a close grip on religious activity, the country has large Christian, Muslim and Buddhist communities who are allowed to worship at state recognised churches, mosques and temples.
But human-rights groups regularly criticise China for restricting the right to worship and arresting those who try to follow their faith outside of state appointed bodies.
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