China and the United States should conduct dialogues and exchanges based on equal-footing and mutual respect to solve their disputes on human rights and religious issues, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Ministry spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks on Thursday afternoon with reference to the speech of U.S. President George W. Bush in Thailand, which criticized China on human rights and religious issues.
"As for disputes between China and the United States on human rights and religious issues, we always stand for dialogues and exchanges based on an equal-footing and mutual respect, so as to enhance mutual understanding and minimize disputes," Qin said in a press release.
He noted that China firmly opposed words and deeds which interfered in other countries' domestic affairs under the disguise of human rights and religious issues.
Qin said the Chinese government is devoted to the safeguarding and promotion of citizen's basic rights and freedom. Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of religious belief according to the law. All these facts are there for all to see.
Speaking highly of the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations in recent years, Qin said the two countries have carried out fruitful dialogues, exchanges and cooperation in broad bilateral fields and major international and regional issues.
"Facts have proved that the two countries have a broad common interest and a basis for cooperation despite some disputes. A good Sino-U.S. relationship is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, as well as the peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world," the spokesman said.
He said China is willing to work with the United States to strengthen dialogues and cooperation, properly handle disputes and sensitive issues, so as to promote a lasting and stable development of Sino-U.S. constructive relationship of cooperation.
Bush is due to arrive in Beijing on Thursday evening for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2008)