China tells US to 'correct its ways' after torture report

BEIJING (AFP) - China on Wednesday urged the United States to "correct its ways" after a damning US Senate report detailed use of torture by the CIA.

"China has consistently opposed torture," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing.

"We believe the US side should reflect upon itself, correct its ways and earnestly respect and abide by the rules of international conventions."

Rights groups say China's own justice system is riddled with abuses and that it is not uncommon for confessions to be extracted through torture.

Beijing says it attaches great importance to human rights and that it carries out detentions in accordance with the law.

In a report that has drawn international calls for criminal prosecution, the US Senate said that CIA torture of Al-Qaeda suspects was far more brutal than acknowledged and failed to produce useful intelligence.

China and the US regularly spar over human rights, with Washington expressing concern over the detention and jailing of prominent rights activists by China's communist authorities.

A senior Chinese official on Monday defended his country's human rights record against Western criticism, saying Beijing favoured the "right to development and survival" over civil liberties.

Speaking in Brussels after an EU-China rights dialogue, Li Junhua told a press conference: "Neither party should judge the other country's system."

He added that Europe is "focused on civil liberties and the right of government but in China we're talking about the right to development and the right to survival."

China has made "great strides in the last 30 years on human rights," which compare to a hundred years of progress in Europe, he said.