China rejects Clinton's human rights comments

May 13, 2011 - 11:28 PM

BEIJING (AP) — China has rejected comments by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton about its human rights record and says any attempts to direct the turmoil in the Middle East to China will fail.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said late Friday that it is wrong to compare China to countries that have faced recent unrest.

"It is inappropriate for anyone to relate or compare China to some west Asian and north African nations facing turmoil," Jiang said in a statement on the ministry's website.

"And any attempt to direct the Middle East turmoil to China and change the development path chosen by the Chinese people will be futile," she said.

Jiang made the statement when asked to respond to Clinton's comments earlier in the week in an interview with Atlantic magazine in which she was quoted as saying that China's human rights record was "deplorable" and that history was not on the side of governments that resist democracy.

Clinton and others have spoken out against China's recent moves to clamp down on activists in the wake of online weekly appeals that started three months ago calling for a "jasmine movement" of peaceful protests in various cities across China.

Though no demonstrations have occurred, the protest calls have spooked the Chinese government into launching one of its broadest campaigns of repression in years to keep the protests from catching on, as they have in the Middle East and North Africa.

Hundreds of lawyers, activists and other intellectuals have been questioned, detained, confined to their homes or simply disappeared, apparently to squelch any chance of a popular rising. And websites that have posted the protest calls or advocated for the release of detained dissidents have come under attack from hackers in recent months.