Thursday, February 21, 2002

I heard a reporter, present at this news conference this morning present this story and it is interesting to see how it is reported here. Jiang was asked a question about the Catholic Bishops and said nothing. Next a Chinese reporter asked him a scripted question about some internal matter and he responded. Another American asked him about the Catholic Bishops who were imprisoned. Again, he did not answer. Another Chinese reporter asked a scripted question. Finally when the news conference was over, he made the remarks listed below.

I'm not sure why we cooperate with regimes that have no regard for human rights. Jiang stonewalled queries from two American reporters about his government's repression of religion — particularly the detention of Catholic bishops — and his opinion of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Jiang refused at first to answer either question, but returned to them at the end of the news conference.

While Bush listened intently, Jiang said he has read the Bible, the Koran and the scriptures of Buddhism, even though he said he ascribes to no religion himself. Those who were imprisoned, he said, were detained "because they broke the law, not because of their religious beliefs. I have no right interfering in judicial affairs."

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