China is lashing out against the U.S. State Department's annual human rights report - which cited Beijing for religious intolerance among other abuses. Chinese officials are countering by accusing the United States of using double standards in its war against terror.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan says his government is quite dissatisfied with the content of the State Department's global human rights report for 2001. Mr. Kong defended China's record, noting human rights are constantly improving and have never been better. He said the U.S. report is yet another attempt to interfere in China's domestic affairs and that it is factually wrong.

The U.S. annual review gives China a poor rating. It details what it calls China's harsh and comprehensive campaign against the banned Falun Gong spiritual group, and unregistered Christian and Buddhist groups.

In addition to religious intolerance, the massive document accuses Beijing of intensifying its crackdown on ethnic minorities - particularly Uighurs in the far western province, Xinjiang. The State Department alleges China has used the global war against terrorism to justify new repressive measures against Muslim separatists in that region - which borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Central Asian republics.

But Mr. Kong rejects the charges and says the United States is using a double standard to judge China. He argues that Muslim separatists in Xinjiang have trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan - and are a legitimate target in the U.S. led global crackdown against terrorism.

Spokesman Kong goes further by saying United States should address its own human rights problems and treatment of ethnic minorities, before criticizing other nations.