China rejects US criticism of human rights record

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Media captionHillary Clinton: "We had candid discussions on some of our most persistent challenges"

China has rejected US criticism over deteriorating human rights saying that China's progress in human rights "is an objective fact".

China and the US are at different stages of development, and so have different views on human rights, Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said.

His comments come after US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton described China's record on rights as "deplorable".

She said opposition to democracy was a "fool's errand" that would not succeed.

China's vice-foreign minister was speaking after two days of high-level talks in Washington that have been overshadowed by growing criticism of China's rights record.

Mr Cui said China's "historical progress" in human rights over the past few decades was "an objective fact".

"As long as one doesn't hold prejudice, it shouldn't be a difficult thing to know a real China," he said.

He said that dialogue with the US should be conducted "on the basis of equality and mutual respect".


Since February, China has detained hundreds of pro-democracy activists, lawyers and writers and has clamped down on news media reporting on the Middle East protests.

People have been detained, arrested, put under surveillance, some even sent to labour camps, says the BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Beijing.

The Communist Party has moved to ensure the revolutions against autocracies in the Arab world do not inspire similar protests against its rule, our correspondent says.

Hilary Clinton, in an interview with The Atlantic magazine, conducted a month ago, but just published, said China's leaders were clearly "worried".

"They're trying to stop history, which is a fool's errand," she said. "They cannot do it, but they're going to hold it off as long as possible."

But she defended US dealings with Beijing, saying: "We live in the real world."

Mrs Clinton said on Tuesday that the US and China were achieving much greater understanding through regular talks between top officials.

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