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China hits back at U.S. human rights report

posted 25 May 2012, 04:15 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 25 May 2012, 04:16 ]

China's Foreign Ministry says criticisms of China contained in the U.S. State Department's annual human rights report is "filled with bias".

China hit back on Friday (May 25) at the U.S. State Department's annual survey of human rights, saying that only the Chinese people could pass judgement on what the Foreign Ministry said were the country's obvious achievements in the area.
The State Department said in its lengthy section on China the government had stepped up efforts to silence activists and rights lawyers, with authorities resorting to extra-legal measures including enforced disappearance and house arrest.

China rejects criticism of its rights' record, saying providing food, clothing, housing and economic growth are far more relevant for developing countries like it, pointing to its success at lifting millions out of poverty.

Asked about criticism of China contained in the report, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei condemned it for being biased.

"The United States State Department's annual report on human rights maligns other countries, and the content concerning China ignores the facts and is filled with bias, confusing black and white. Since the launch of reform and opening up over three decades ago, China's human rights endeavours have made achievements that are plain for all the world to see. The Chinese people themselves have the most right to speak about China's human rights situation. In human rights, there is no such thing as the best; there is only doing better," he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.

Hong also said the U.S. should stop meddling in China's domestic affairs.

"Each country could exchange views and lessons on human rights through dialogue on an equal footing. By no means should these issues be used as tools to meddle in the domestic affairs of other countries. We hope that the United States will truly take a long, hard look at itself and put an end to its mistaken ways and thinking," he added.

Under an "arbitrary arrest" section, the State Department catalogued harassment of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who arrived in New York last weekend after weeks at the centre of a U.S.-China standoff following his dramatic escape from house arrest and flight to the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Chen, who is preparing to study at the New York University School of Law, has voiced fears his family and supporters will suffer more abuse.

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday, the self-taught lawyer urged the Chinese government to prosecute "lawless" officials who he said harassed and abused him, his family and supporters, saying such prosecutions could help China establish the rule of law.