Religious leaders promote interfaith harmony

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China’s five national religious associations gathered in Beijing on January 28 to issue a Joint Declaration on Promoting Religious Harmony. Representatives from the Buddhist Association of China, the Taoist Association of China, the Islamic Association of China, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the China Christian Council spoke in support of the declaration.

The declaration follows a UN General Assembly decision last year to declare the first week of February every year as World Interfaith Harmony Week. Representatives from China’s religious groups all expressed their belief in harmony and peace at the meeting.

They also called for patriotism, religious freedom and promoting harmony; opposed the distortion and manipulation of religion and emphasized its positive role in the development of a harmonious society.

“Today’s world is experiencing profound change. A religious revival is taking place. The influence of harmony in international affairs is growing. Chinese society is also changing in an unprecedented way as its economy booms. It’s important to correctly handle the relationship between religion and harmonious society,” Wang Zuo’an, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, said.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the embassies of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.