Beijing: China warned the United States not to overstep bounds in human rights talks this week that the State Department says will focus on an ongoing dissident crackdown that appears to be Beijing’s most severe in years.
China hopes the meeting will help deepen mutual understanding but doesn’t want human rights used as a pretext to meddle in domestic affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a briefing.
“We oppose any country that uses human rights to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said Hong.
The two-day US-China Human Rights Dialogue starts Wednesday in Beijing. The State Department said last week the talks would focus on the dissident crackdown, rule of law, freedom of religion and expression, and labor and minority rights.
China wants to talk about new human rights developments in both countries, as well as China-US cooperation on human rights at the United Nations.
Beijing says Washington is hypocritical to lecture others on rights when it has so many problems of its own, such as high crime, homelessness, racial discrimination, and killings of civilians and other abuses by US forces overseas.
The lead participants are Michael Posner, assistant secretary for democracy, human rights and labor, and Chen Xu, director-general of the department of international organisations and conferences of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
China’s annual assessment of America’s human rights situation earlier this month accused the US of advocating Internet freedom to boost its influence over other countries, while at the same time pursuing legal challenges to the WikiLeaks secret-spilling website.
The report advised the US government to improve its human rights conditions and stop interfering in other countries’ internal affairs.
US officials have voiced concern about the growing number of Chinese government critics detained or put under house arrest in recent months. The crackdown on writers, lawyers, artists, and other intellectuals follows anti-government protests in the Middle East and North Africa and appears to have been triggered by concern that similar unrest could erupt here. Agencies