BEIJING - CHINA hit out on Thursday against US accusations that its human rights record was worsening, with state media describing the charges as groundless, irresponsible and an interference in Chinese affairs.
'The report turned a blind eye to the efforts and historic achievements China has made in human rights that have been widely recognised by the international community,' Xinhua news agency said.
'It wilfully ignored and distorted basic facts, groundlessly assailing China's human rights conditions and making random and irresponsible remarks on China's ethnic, religious and legal systems.'
It was the first reaction from China to an annual US State Department report released on Wednesday charging that the attitude of Beijing's communist rulers to human rights worsened last year.
The report said China had stepped up repression in Buddhist Tibet and Muslim Xinjiang, restricting dissent and religious freedom in the two western regions.
'The government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas,' the report said.
It came shortly after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Beijing, saying rights concerns should not be allowed to hinder cooperation between the two countries on issues such as the economic crisis and climate change.
That stance had won praise in Beijing, with the state-run media describing her attitude as a relief and China's foreign ministry saying her visit had helped to build mutual understanding.
But China's reaction to the report repeated criticisms and expressions of anger toward previous accusations by US governments on human rights.
'The US State Department interfered with the internal affairs of China and some other countries again, groundlessly criticising them,' the Xinhua report said.
'The US State Department has issued a report almost every year since 1977 on the human rights conditions of other countries, using it as an excuse to interfere with others' internal affairs.' -AFP