China accuses US of arrogance after Washington rejects Xi's version of human rights

A United States diplomat said Chinese officials were clear about their intent to glorify President Xi Jinping "by inserting his thoughts into the international human rights lexicon".
A United States diplomat said Chinese officials were clear about their intent to glorify President Xi Jinping "by inserting his thoughts into the international human rights lexicon".PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused the United States of arrogance on Monday (March 26) after the US delegation rejected a UN Human Rights Council resolution brought by Beijing that it said sought to glorify Chinese President Xi Jinping's "win-win" agenda.

The United States cast the only "no" vote at the council meeting in Geneva, with a US diplomat saying Chinese officials were clear about their intent "to glorify their head of state by inserting his thoughts into the international human rights lexicon".

China led a resolution at the council - its second-ever in nearly 12 years - that calls for "mutually beneficial cooperation".

China's motion was agreed to by the 47-member council over the weekend, with only the US opposing and 17 countries, including Australia, Britain, Japan and Switzerland, abstaining. Many envoys spoke against the text.

The spat adds to tensions between Beijing and Washington which are locked in a trade dispute after US President Donald Trump announced plans for tariffs on up to US$60 billion in Chinese goods.

"I think the comments by this US official in Geneva you mention were extremely unreasonable, and also reflects the consistent ignorance and haughtiness of the US side," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

Many countries said at the meeting that the Chinese resolution reflected the common wishes of the international community and helped raise the ability of developing nations to speak for themselves on human rights issues, she added.

Mr Xi has overseen a clampdown on all forms of dissent in Chinese society, which has seen hundreds of rights lawyers and activists detained and dozens jailed.

China routinely denies accusations of rights abuses, saying its critics are prejudiced, that China is a country with rule of law and that it only goes after those who break the law.