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Beijing Hails UNCHR Decision to Block Anti-China Motion - 2004-04-16


China is praising the United Nations Commission on Human Rights' decision to block a U.S. motion to condemn Beijing's human rights record.

For the 11th time since 1990, the United States pushed the motion, citing what U.S. officials say is backsliding by China on promises to improve its human rights record.

Washington says it is concerned about what it says are Beijing's continued restrictions on freedom of association, expression, and religion.

China submitted a measure to block any action on the motion and won. 28 of the nations on the 53-member commission voted for it and nullified the motion.

Beijing quickly claimed victory, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying the United States had "isolated" itself and failed to pass what Beijing called an "anti-China resolution."

International human rights advocates say the failure of this and past motions is due to politics - not because Beijing has substantially improved its record.

Nicolas Becquelin of the Human Rights in China group says the decision shows the balance of power on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.

?You have a lot of authoritarian countries who are members of the U.N. and of the commission. These states share with China the opposition to the scrutiny of their human rights situations, so they would vote with China to defeat resolutions attacking them,? Mr. Becquelin said.

Those voting to block action on the U.S. motion included Cuba, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Togo, and Zimbabwe, nations that international rights groups have labeled among the world's most repressive.

Mr. Becquelin says recent arrests of dissidents, crackdowns on followers of religious groups not sanctioned by the government, and other violations indicate China's record may not be improving.

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