China warns against “interference” ahead of U.S. rights talks
Chris Buckly, Reuters, April 26, 2011
The Chinese government warned on Tuesday against using human rights disputes as what it called a tool to meddle, ahead of talks with the United States that will focus on complaints about Beijing’s crackdown on dissent.
The two-day-long human rights dialogue, from Wednesday, with U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner and other Washington officials, will come at a sensitive time over the issue, long a sore point with Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said his government was willing to discuss rights issues with the United States as equals. But he warned against what Beijing sees as Western over-reaching.
“When it comes to differences between China and the United States over human rights, the two sides can enhance mutual understanding on a basis of equality and mutual respect,” Hong told a regular news conference.
“We oppose any country using human rights issues as an excuse to interfere in China’s domestic affairs.”