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China slams US, suspends human rights dialogue
Updated: 2004-03-23 13:37

China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with a decision by Washington to seek a resolution condemning its human rights record at a key UN meeting in Geneva and called in the US ambassador to lodge its protest.

"The US decision to raise an anti-China resolution at the 60th United Nation's Human Rights Meeting is serious interference in China's internal affairs," foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said in a statement on March 23.

"The Chinese government and people expresss their strong dissatisfaction and staunch opposition to this."

The United States announced Monday in Washington it would seek a resolution condemning China for alleged human rights abuses and accused Beijing of not living up to its international commitments to protect the rights of its citizens.

US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt was called in to the foreign ministry and given a dressing down by Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang.

"The Chinese side cannot but immediately halt bilateral human rights dialogue and exchanges," Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang told U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt, according to a foreign ministry statement.

"The United States should bear all consequences that might arise from this."

The United States urged a U.N. watchdog Monday to condemn China's "backsliding" on human rights despite Beijing's warning the move could affect warming Sino-U.S. ties.

The United States has said China made some improvements in 2002 but that last year its rights record deteriorated with such abuses as extrajudicial killings, torture and the repression of religious and political groups opposed to the government.

Washington decided against such a censure last year and China told the United States to "think three times" about introducing a critical resolution.

Shen said Washington went back on its word to "suddenly" announce the resolution amid consultations between the two.

"The United States's insistence on provoking confrontation has seriously damaged the foundation of our two countries' human rights dialogue and exchange," Shen was quoted as saying.

He said the United States practises "double standards" and said China's government cared more about human rights domestically than any country. He also pointed out a host of legal steps China has taken recently in an attempt to better protect human rights, including a constitutional amendment.

Kong slammed the US move as politically motivated and accused Washington of reneging its commitments to resolve differences over human rights through dialogue.

"The United States has violated its commitments. Its insistence on tabling an anti-China resolution is fundamentally not a question of human rights, but is a domestic political necessity that aims to use human rights to interfere in China's internal affaris," Kong said.

"This method of politicizing the human rights issue is a disgrace to the sacred endeavor of human rights, is unsupportable, and futile."

He said that China has made a lot of progress in protecting human rights and that the country was in the midst of judicial reforms aimed at establishing a rule by law.

"The Chinese government has all along advanced the human rights situation and earnestly abided by and entered into international human rights treaties," Kong said.

China suspended its human rights dialogue with the United States Tuesday, saying it had no alternative after Washington proposed a resolution to the United Nations to condemn its rights record.

"The Chinese side cannot but immediately halt bilateral human rights dialogue and exchanges," Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang told U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt, according to a foreign ministry statement.

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