China dismisses Olympics Bible ban as rumors 2007-11-08 19:36:25   Print

Special report:   2008 Olympic Games 

    BEIJING, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- China Thursday rebuked reports that the it would ban foreign athletes from bringing Bibles to the Olympic village during the Beijing Olympic Games next year, dismissing them as "sheer rumors".

    "We have taken note of the reports and checked with the relevant authorities. The facts prove that the reports are sheer rumors," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a routine press conference.

    The Catholic News Agency published a report in November citing the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport and Spanish daily La Razon as saying that Bibles were on a list of "prohibited objects" in the Olympic village.

    "The Chinese government has never ever issued such a rule, nor any such statement," Liu said. "China's religious affairs authorities and the Beijing Olympic organizing committee have not - and could not - issue a rule banning the Bible in the Olympic village."

    China has always respected and protected the religious freedom of foreigners living in China in line with laws and regulations, he said.

    According to the Provisions on the Administration of Religious Activities of Aliens Within the Territory of the People's Republic of China, foreigners are allowed to bring in religious publications, audio-video materials or other objects for personal use, Liu said.

    "We are suspicious of the ultimate motivations of those who spread such rumors. They should be responsible, and not do things that are not beneficial for themselves and undermine mutual understanding between China and the world," he added.

Editor: Wang Hongjiang
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