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Friday, March 13, 1998 Published at 14:34 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

China's human rights announcement welcomed

China's announcement that it will sign the United Nations convention on civil and political rights has received a broad welcome.

Spokesmen for the United States government and the European Union said they were very pleased.

But the State Department spokesman in Washington, James Rubin, could not say if it would affect the decision on whether to introduce a resolution condemning abuses in China at next week's meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission.

The UN's human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, said she hoped it would lead to a renewed commitment to observe international standards.

Buta spokesman for Amnesty International said that while it was a welcome diplomatic gesture, repression had increased in some parts of China.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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