THE Chinese Government yesterday hit out at the American State Department, calling its report on human rights in China a distortion of reality and irresponsible.
''The United States has no right to make irresponsible remarks about China, and for that matter, about any other country,'' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Jianmin.
''The issue of human rights falls in essence within the sovereignty of each country, which is embodied in its domestic legislations.'' The State Department report, released this week, noted that the Chinese Government had taken some positive human rights steps, such as releasing political prisoners.
But it also stated that China's human rights record last year fell far short of internationally accepted norms.
''China's constitution and relevant laws have fully guaranteed the Chinese people of all nationalities of every democratic right. It is utterly unreasonable and totally irresponsible for the so-called human rights report . . . to turn a blind eye to thisfact and to distort, criticise and attack the domestic situation in China,'' Mr Wu said.
He did however leave open room for dialogue on human rights. The result of this dialogue over the next few months, US officials have noted repeatedly, could determine whether the US renews China's Most Favoured Nation trade status in June.
''Some countries have some different views from China on the matter of human rights. As for these differences, our policy is to hold dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The goal of our policy is to enhance mutual understanding.
''Chinese judicial authorities independently carry out their functions in accordance with the Chinese law,'' he added.
Meanwhile, in Geneva, the head of the main United Nations human rights forum on Wednesday urged a fresh attempt to put China under investigation.
UN Human Rights Commission chairman Peter van Wulfften Palthe said efforts should continue to appoint a special investigator for China.
Western nations are expected to sponsor a new resolution on China at the 53-nation panel's annual six-week meeting that began on Monday.