China calls US rights report 'prejudiced'

2012-05-25 14:59
Beijing - China on Friday strongly criticised a human rights report issued by the United States, calling the document "fraught with prejudice" and insisting its rights record was improving.

The US report, issued days after China allowed one of its best-known activists to go to New York to study, said Beijing's human rights record deteriorated in 2011 as authorities stepped up efforts to stifle dissent.

"The human rights report released by the US State Department points fingers at other countries," foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters at a regular briefing on Friday.

"The content related to China is fraught with prejudice, disregards the facts and confuses right and wrong... such an issue should never be used as a tool to attack others or interfere in the internal affairs of other countries."

Hong said China had made "remarkable progress" on human rights over the last 30 years - a period in which millions have been pulled from poverty as the nation embarked on robust economic reforms.

China frequently uses the growing wealth of its citizens to counter accusations of rights abuses.

House arrest

The US issued its report five days after the blind legal campaigner Chen Guangcheng, who made headlines around the world after escaping from illegal house arrest, left China for New York.

In it, the State Department detailed concerns over the treatment of Chen, saying he and his wife had been severely beaten and activists who tried to visit his home in eastern Shandong province had been assaulted.

It said Chinese authorities have increasingly turned to house arrest, including of family members, and have tried to stifle public debate through rigid controls of the Internet.

"In China, the human rights situation deteriorated, particularly the freedoms of expression, assembly and association," the US report said.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has been blind since childhood, riled authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under China's one-child-only policy.

Read more on:    chen guangcheng  |  china  |  us  |  human rights

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