BEIJING – President Bush is stepping up his public criticism of China’s human rights practices, adopting a more confrontational posture than he suggested he might take in the weeks leading up to the Olympic Games.
Bush said after a Sunday morning service at a government-authorized Protestant Church, “No state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion.” It was a clear reference to his concerns over the restrictions the Chinese authorities place on worship at churches that are not officially sanctioned.
The comments follow several days of repeated Bush references to the lack of liberties in China. At the opening of the new U.S. Embassy on Friday, he said societies that permit “the free expression of ideas” tend to be the most peaceful and prosperous. During his weekly radio address Saturday, Bush said he is using his time in Beijing to express “America’s deep concerns” about freedom and human rights in China.