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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August, 2003, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
China slams Burma sanctions
Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi's arrest has provoked international outrage
The Chinese Government has denounced the use of sanctions against Burma, saying it disagrees with foreign interference in Rangoon's internal affairs.

Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan said he opposed any moves to isolate the secretive state, insisting that the Burmese people were "intelligent and capable" enough to handle the situation themselves.

Tough international sanctions have recently been imposed on Burma, due to the continued detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested more than two months ago.

The United States, Canada and the European Union have all imposed sanctions, with tough new US measures due to take effect on 28 August.

Human rights activists have added 11 large companies to their 'dirty list' of firms doing business in Burma

In a further effort to press Rangoon to comply with international demands, Japan, Burma's largest aid donor, has also suspended any new economic assistance.

But China has repeatedly refused to apply pressure on its neighbour, prompting sharp criticism from abroad.

The United Nations envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, has also urged Beijing to take a bigger role in resolving the current impasse.

The crisis erupted when Aung San Suu Kyi was detained on 30 May after a clash between her supporters and pro-government youths.

She has been held at a secret location near Rangoon ever since.

China is one of the few countries which still maintains political ties with Burma's ruling military junta.

The Beijing Government is currently hosting a six-day visit by one of Burma's most senior leaders, General Maung Aye.

On Monday a senior Chinese official said that Beijing was keen promote co-operation between the armed forces of both countries.

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