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China 'Open' to Human Rights Cooperation with UN: FM

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told Tuesday's press conference in Beijing that China will continue to work with UN human rights bodies with an "open" and "frank" attitude.

At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Manfred Novak, the UN Human Rights Commission's special rapporteur on torture, visited from November 21 to December 2., the first ever for a UN Human Rights Commission special rapporteur on torture to do so.

Qin said "China hopes that the special rapporteur on torture would write a just and objective report on what he has learned during his trip."

The schedule of the visit was set by the Chinese side and the special rapporteur himself in the spirit of mutual respect, trust and understanding, Qin said, adding that it had been rearranged several times according to his requirements.

Novak visited Beijing, Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region and Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

During his stay in Beijing, Novak held talks with officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Public Security, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, acquainting himself with China's practice of reducing and eliminating torture and implementation of the Convention Against Torture, said Qin.

In Lhasa and Urumqi, local officials let him know how the two regions were doing in reducing and eliminating torture, protecting the rights of people in custody, and answering his questions, according to Qin.

He also met people from nongovernmental organizations, institutes, lawyers and press circles and visited prisons, detention centers and reeducation centers and talked to detainees, Qin said.

In response to Koizumi's statement in Tokyo on Monday that China and South Korea should not turn his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine into a diplomatic issue, Qin urged him to take concrete action to improve Sino-Japanese relations by stopping them.

Qin said the Japanese prime minister has time and again visited the shrine where Class-A war criminals are honored amongst 2 million other war dead, regardless of the feelings and strong opposition from neighboring countries.

The wrongdoing and its severe consequences are obvious to all, said Qin.

As a government leader, Koizumi should take tangible measures to honor his commitment to "reflect on history," Qin said.

China on Sunday delayed its annual summit meeting with Japan and South Korea, usually held on the sidelines of an ASEAN conference and this year scheduled for December 12-14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"The postponement of the meeting this year is not something we want to see," Qin said. "We hope the countries concerned can create an appropriate climate and conditions to promote trilateral cooperation."

China will continue to fulfill its obligations as one of the three cooperating and coordinating nations, and make its own efforts to push forward trilateral cooperation, he added.

Referring to the latest survey of US policy on Africa, which stated China is challenging US interests and values on the continent, Qin said such accusations were "groundless."

China has always valued relations with African countries on the basis of mutual benefit, he said.

According to the report prepared by a task force sponsored by the US Council on Foreign Relations, Beijing and Washington are on opposite sides in a new struggle for influence and resources in the "playing field" of Africa.

China consistently sticks to a path of peaceful development, and will pose no threat to anybody or frustrate the interests of any country, Qin said.

"China and the US share common concerns over African affairs," he said, "and the two countries can strengthen partnership in this regard."

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, who recently met senior officials in Beijing, also disputed the report's findings.

When asked about US comments on Hong Kong's political system, Qin said "Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs, and do not allow for any foreign intervention."

On Monday, US State Department deputy spokesperson Adam Ereli reportedly urged China to set up a timetable for universal suffrage and full democracy in Hong Kong.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also met with Martin Lee, a lawmaker from Hong Kong's Legislative Council, on November 29 in Washington, and a State Department spokesperson said afterward that the US supported democracy and universal suffrage for Hong Kong.

"The US side has repeatedly made indiscreet comments on the affairs of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which is very inappropriate and we are in firm opposition to such comments," said Qin.

Qin also urged Malaysia to properly handle accusations of assault and humiliation of Chinese citizens there.

He reiterated the government's position on the cases, saying China hopes the Malaysian side can conduct a thorough investigation and punish offenders in accordance with the law at an early date.

China has consulted with Malaysia on many occasions and voiced China's attitude towards the cases, Qin said, adding that it has pledged to investigate the cases according to law, and that the probe is still being carried out.

China urged Malaysia to inform China of the final investigation result as soon as possible, Qin said, and hopes the Malaysian side can take effective measures to avoid reoccurrence of such cases in future.

Qin also said China hopes the WTO's Doha Round of free trade talks will end next year with a "balanced package result."

He said all parties concerned should reach a consensus on all key issues in Hong Kong, which is gearing up to hold a WTO ministerial meeting from December 13 to lay a foundation for the Doha round in 2006.

Qin said China will continue to play a "positive and constructive" role in the talks and make the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting a success by joining hands with other WTO members.

Qin said Dmitri Medvedev, first deputy prime minister of Russia, is to visit from December 8th to 9th at the invitation of Vice Premier Wu Yi.

Medvedev is also president of the organizing committee of the 2006 "Russia Year in China" program, and Wu Yi is the president of the organizing committee of the 2007 "China Year in Russia" program.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, King Abdullah II of Jordan is also to visit, said Qin.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily December 7, 2005)

HK Official's Hopes for WTO Ministerial Conference
Japanese Policies Harm Trade Ties with China
China, Japan, ROK Leaders' Meeting Postponed
Yasukuni Visits Are Alienating Japan
China Opposes Foreign Intervention in HK Affairs
Globalization Should Not Cost Economic Sovereignty
Shrine-visits Hurt Sino-Japanese Ties: Ambassador
Koizumi's Lopsided Foreign Policy Helpless
Human Rights Deal Signals Progress
China Open to Dialouge on Human Rights
UN Human Rights High Commissioner to Visit China
Chinese Foreign Ministry
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