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Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
"We see greater prospects for progress by pursuing our interests through our ties with China"
 real 28k

The BBC's Adam Brooks in Beijing
"China's perfunctory response will do nothing to defuse anger in the US"
 real 28k

Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 12:08 GMT
China scorns US criticism
Presidents Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton
China says the US is meddling in its affairs
China has strongly rejected remarks by the United States that Beijing's human rights record notably deteriorated last year.

The American findings, which were contained in the State Department's annual report on human rights around the world, emphasised, among others, the increased suppression of dissidents during 1999.

Jiang Zemin and Bill Clinton
President Clinton's policy of engagement with China is under fire in Congress
But a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhu Bangzao, said Washington wantonly distorted the situation in other countries at a time when human rights in the US were deteriorating.

The spokesman said that China's human rights record was the best ever and called on Washington to stop using the issue to interfere in other countries' internal affairs.

Correspondents say the report will give ammunition to Congressional critics of President Clinton's policy of engagement with China.

The administration is presently trying to push through the US legislature a crucial trade accord with Beijing.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said the human rights situation in China could not be transformed overnight, and insisted that the engagement policy would achieve more than simply cutting back the ties with China.

A comprehensive report

The State Department report is the longest and most comprehensive ever issued by the US, covering 194 countries. Apart from China, it singles out Sudan, Cuba, North Korea and Burma for criticism.

We will continue to speak out on behalf of those in China who are systematically denied freedom

Secretary of State
It says that by the end of last year, almost all of the key leaders of the China Democracy Party were serving long prison sentences or being held without trial, and it only a handful of dissidents remained active.

There were also fewer early releases of imprisoned dissidents than in previous years, and the report notes the detention of tens of thousands of followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

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See also:

25 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Clinton pushes China trade accord
29 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Sect members held over Mao protest
27 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
China-US: A turbulent year
15 Nov 99 |  The Economy
WTO hails China deal
21 Dec 99 |  Asia-Pacific
EU raps China on human rights
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