China yesterday slammed media reports as "a total rumor" that the Bible would be prohibited at next year's Beijing Olympic Games.
The Catholic News Agency published a report the Bible will be banned in the Olympic Village, citing an Italian newspaper.
"As far as I know, Chinese religious affairs authorities and the Beijing Olympic organizers did not and would not issue such a rule and this is a total rumor," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday.
"According to Chinese laws, foreigners are allowed to bring in religious objects or materials, be it print, audio or video, for personal use." And there would be no change in the legal decree during the Olympic Games next year, Liu added.
The Chinese Constitution and relevant laws protect the rights of religious freedom in China, which also applies to foreigners who live in the country, the spokesman said.
Li Zhanjun, director of the Beijing Olympics media center yesterday also condemned the report, saying it was an intentional distortion of the truth.
Li said that a religious service center will be set up in the Olympic Village and religious services, from Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu to Buddhist, will be available to athletes next summer.
A temporary Catholic church will also be set up in the Olympic Village and all churches in Beijing will be open to Catholic visitors, Liu Bainian, vice-president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said.
Religious services and information will be available in Beijing and each of the six co-host cities, said Ye Xiaowen, director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs last month.
According to Ye, China has so far published more than 42 million copies of the Bible in various languages.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman added: "There are always some people who do not want to see China host a successful Olympic Games. This is against the wishes of the people all over the world, as this is a grand gala for them".
1. What did the Catholic News Agency claim?
2. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao says according to Chinese law, what can foreigners do?
3. Name four of the religious services that will be available at the religious center in the Olympic village.
1. The Bible will be banned in the Olympic Village.
2. Foreigners are allowed to bring in religious objects or materials, be it print, audio or video, for personal use.
3. Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist.
（英语点津 Linda 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.