BEIJING (Reuters) – China weighed in on Wednesday with its own, albeit indirect, criticism of a proposal by leading U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Trump called for blocking Muslims, including would-be immigrants, students, tourists & other visitors, from entering the country following last week's California shooting spree by a Muslim couple who authorities said had been radicalised.
His remarks have already been widely criticised both in the United States & around the world.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said what Trump said was really an internal issue for the United States, & she could not comment on internal U.S. matters.
"But on the relevant issue he brought up, China's position is very clear," she told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
"China opposes all forms of terrorism. We uphold that the international community should make a concerted effort to fight terrorism, & at the same time we have always opposed linking terrorism to any specific ethnic group or religion," Hua added, without elaborating.
China is home to a large Muslim population of approximately 20 million people, including Uighurs in the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the government says it is facing its own problem with radicalised Islamists.
Rights groups & exiles says China's repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, are the root cause of the unrest, which has killed hundreds in the past few years.
China denies any repression & says it guarantees freedom of religion.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)