WASHINGTON – Following an op-ed from Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa published in Politico Magazine calling on the Chinese communist government to end its persecution of religious minorities, the Chinese government is unironically accusing Grassley of “prejudice” in the state-run propaganda media outlets the Global Times and the Xinhua news agency.

According to a government transcript of the remarks, a spokesperson for the Chinese communist government’s foreign ministry said, “Frankly speaking, when I saw the relevant report, I was shocked by and regretted over the senator’s sheer ignorance of and prejudice against China. We are strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to his groundless accusations against China. I am wondering how much the senator knows about China’s nationalities and religions. Has he ever been to China?”

Earlier this year, Grassley traveled to China with several other senators in an official congressional delegation visit. This month, Grassley and a bipartisan group of senators introduced a Senate resolution condemning violence against religious minorities in China and actions by the government that limit free expression and practice of faith.

In response to the Chinese government’s continued bald-faced lies about its ongoing human rights abuses, Grassley released the following statement.

“My trip to China earlier this year made crystal clear just how tight a grip the communist government has on Chinese politics, society and culture. I met with multiple, high-ranking Communist Party officials whose total power over their fellow countrymen was evident.

“China’s response was a classic example of what communist governments do when confronted about their human rights abuses by free nations. The former Soviet Union often cited race relations in the United States to excuse and distract from its severe human rights abuses. In diverse, free societies, social strife is expected but something we work to overcome. In communist countries and under other dictatorial regimes, it’s the government that oppresses its people. Just ask Chinese Christians, Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.”

In the op-ed, Grassley wrote:

Disturbing reports have surfaced out of China of late detailing the imprisonment of Christian pastors, Bible burning, and demolishing of Christian churches. The Chinese government has rounded up more than one million Uighur and Kazakh Muslims into indoctrination camps. The state has long suppressed the freedom of Tibetan Buddhists, as well as those who practice Falun Gong.

The Chinese government has removed crosses from 1,200 to 1,700 Christian churches as of a 2016 New York Times report, and has instructed police officers to stop citizens from entering their places of worship. There have been violent confrontations between government authorities and worshipers, and communist leaders have implemented restrictions prohibiting children 18 years old and younger from participating in religiously-focused education.

A piece published in Forbes earlier this year describes how Chinese authorities have bulldozed homes belonging to Uighur Muslims, collected passports to restrict travel and collected Uighur DNA and fingerprints in order to track its own citizens.

Full text of the op-ed can be found here.

The Global Times “is a daily Chinese tabloid newspaper under the auspices of the People’s Daily newspaper [an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party], focusing on international issues from the Chinese government's perspective.” The Xinhua news agency “is the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China.”