Pompeo takes aim at China at religious freedom conference

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pahm-PAY’-oh) is accusing China of intimidating countries into staying away from an international religious freedom conference that he’s hosting.

Pompeo also says Beijing is responsible for what he’s calling “stain of the century” of human rights abuses — with mass detentions of Muslims and other minorities in western China.

Pompeo says China’s discouragement of other countries from attending the meeting is unacceptable and runs counter to guarantees of religious freedom in the Chinese constitution.

He says the U.S. has “taken note” of countries that heeded the pressure and is urging them to “find the courage” to stand up to China.

Pompeo’s isn’t identifying those nations by name.

More than 1,000 participants from more than 100 countries are attending the conference.

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