China rejects US prod on rights

Agence France Presse

Beijing, January 27:

China today rejected the United States’ call for it to speed up democratic reforms and improve human rights, insisting great improvements have already been made at its own pace.

In response to US President George W Bush’s call yesterday for Chinese leaders to make progress on human rights, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said there was no need for such reminders. “We have unshakable faith and are making progress at our own pace in the development of democracy and the rule of law. We don’t need anyone to remind us that we should do that,” Kong told a regular press briefing.

Bush told reporters that “in my meetings with Chinese leadership in the future, I will constantly remind them of the benefits of a society that honours their people and respects human rights and human dignity”. Last week, the US State Department said human rights was a key stumbling bloc in US-China ties.

Giving the example that China passed 88 new laws and regulations on January 1, Kong said China was already making impressive progress on speeding democracy and the rule of law.