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China wades into Prophet row, says 'religions should co-exist'

By K J M Varma
June 13, 2022 18:11 IST
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China on Monday waded into the furore over the controversial remarks by two now-suspended Bharatiya Janata Party functionaries against Prophet Mohammed, expressing the hope that the incident can be properly managed.

IMAGE: Police chase away the protestors who turned violent, Ranchi, June 10, 2022. Photograph: PTI Photo

China, which faces serious allegations of a mass crackdown on Uygur Muslims in the volatile Xinjiang province, said it ”believes that different civilisations, different religions should respect each other and co-exist on an equal footing”.


”We have noted relevant reports. We hope that the relevant incident can be properly managed,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing responding to a question from the official Chinese media in Beijing on the protests triggered by the comments made by the BJP leaders.

”It is important to abandon arrogance and prejudice, and important to deepen recognition and understanding of one's own civilisation and differences from other civilisations and promote dialogue and harmonious co-existence,” he said.

The BJP on June 5 suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks against the Prophet.

Amid protests by Muslim groups over the remarks, the party also issued a statement aimed at assuaging the concerns of minorities and distancing itself from these members, asserting that it respects all religions and strongly denounces the insult of any religious personality.

The ministry of external affairs has said that India accords the highest respect to all religions.

The offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals. They do not, in any manner, reflect the views of the Government of India. Strong action has already been taken against these individuals by relevant bodies, the MEA spokesperson said last week.

China downplays Western allegations of massive human rights violations against Uygur Muslims and their mass incarcerations in the volatile Xinjiang province.

Last month, UN Human Rights Council chief Michelle Bachelet visited China after a long drawn out negotiation process with Beijing to probe the allegations of internment of over a million Uygur Muslims of different ages as part of its crackdown on Islamic militants.

At the end of her visit to Xinjiang on May 28, Bachelet said: ”I have raised questions and concerns about the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application -- particularly their impact on the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.”

The UN earlier said it has identified patterns of arbitrary detention, coerced labour and broader infringements on civil liberties in Xinjiang.

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K J M Varma in Beijing
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