China defends its rights record

February 28th, 2008 - 11:35 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, Feb 28 (DPA) Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Thursday rejected criticism of his country’s human rights record, as he and his British counterpart David Miliband reiterated their opposition to call for a boycott of this year’s Olympic Games. “Human rights has made a lot of progress in China,” the Chinese foreign ministry quoted Yang as saying in talks with Miliband.

“We firmly oppose some individuals and organizations politicising the Olympics through the so-called human rights issue,” Yang said.

“We believe that with the support and joint efforts by the international community, the Beijing Olympics will be a success,” he said.

The loudest calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics have come from critics who argue that China’s economic and military cooperation with the Sudanese government has worsened the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Miliband said he had pushed Chinese officials on human rights but said he opposed linking such issues to the Olympics.

“From our point of view, engagement, not isolation, is the right way forward,” he told reporters after his meeting with Yang.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said the two sides had agreed to hold bilateral dialogue on human rights.

Liu said China believed the international community should develop a “common response” to the Darfur crisis.

Hollywood director Steven Spielberg withdrew from his advisory role to organizers of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing games earlier this month, criticizing China’s failure to put pressure on the Sudanese government over Darfur.

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, on Wednesday said Spielberg had been “very naive” and that his withdrawal over Sudan “defies common sense.”

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