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China official denounces US human rights report

[JURIST] A Chinese official has dismissed a new US report on the state of Chinese human rights, calling it incorrect and groundless [official statement]. Findings in the US Department of State's 2008 Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports [text], released late last month, accuse the Chinese government of denying its citizens basic human rights and also describe the need for judicial reform and improved governmental transparency. Special mention was made of the recent violence in Tibet, which had its origins in peaceful protests put down by security forces. Chinese Foreign Ministry [official website] spokesman Qin Gang insisted Sunday that China has made many improvements, and chastised the US:

We urge the US to pay more attention to its own human rights issues, stop using democracy and human rights issues to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and do more to enhance the mutual trust between China and the US and the development of bilateral relations.
The statement came just over a week after human rights talks between the two countries tentatively resumed [Reuters report; official opening remarks] following a six-hear hiatus. Xinhua has more.

China's record on human rights has been a growing issue in light of the upcoming Olympic Games [JURIST news archive]. In its 2008 human rights report [text, PDF], Amnesty International focused on China's state-sponsored persecution of human rights activists and the repression of minority and religious groups. Last week the Beijing Judicial Bureau refused to renew the licenses [JURIST report] of a number of Chinese human rights lawyers just a day before the deadline. Lawyers in China have been subjected to increasing persecution and intimidation by the Chinese government, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report [text; press release] released in April.

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