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British minister: China's progress in human rights should be applauded
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British Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations Mark Malloch-Brown has praised China for making progress in improving citizens' economic and social rights over the past 30 years.


Malloch-Brown made his comments Thursday at a debate in the British Parliament's Upper House, saying "China, since its opening-up and reform in 1978, has lifted perhaps as many as 500 million people out of poverty."


"We need to applaud that," he said.


"China continues to score way above its per capita income level in terms of the economic and social criteria because of the improvements in life that it has created by lifting so many hundreds of millions of people out of poverty," Malloch-Brown said.


"It has a value in terms of China's record on economic and social rights that we sometimes underestimate," he added.


"China's accession to the World Trade Organization was a step change in many areas of internal freedom and in the introduction of at least pluralistic economic competitiveness into the Chinese economy," he said.


Malloch-Brown argued that "institutional progress is often ignored, but there are developments in China's legislative framework to provide greater protection for the rights of its citizens."


"Let's acknowledge that ordinary Chinese people are now at much greater liberty to choose where they live and work and have greater rights to travel abroad," he said. "With this greater openness comes a greater exposure to other people's ideas and cultures. China's burgeoning economy offers them new choices and opportunities."


"China's stability is vitally important both for us and for global growth more generally," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2008)

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