May 11, 2006

Bush meets Chinese activists on religious freedom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush met on Thursday with
Chinese activists who said afterward that he had pledged to
raise the issue of religious freedom with Chinese leaders in
the future.

Bush met at the White House with Yu Jie, Li Baiguang and
Wang Yi -- Chinese Christian dissidents who have criticized
their government's controls on religion.

When Bush visited Beijing in November, he attended a
service at a government-registered church. He also raised
religion at a White House meeting with Chinese President Hu
Jintao in April.

The Communist Party in China allows citizens to worship
only in state-monitored churches, temples and mosques.

The Chinese activists said that they had a prayer with
Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice before the meeting ended.

They said that Chinese Christians were determined to use
China's own constitution to defend rights and want to see
political prisoners have the right to be baptized and worship
in prisons.

They also said they had brought up concerns that Yahoo Inc.
information was being used to jail Internet writers in China.