China has retaliated against U.S. criticism of Beijing's human-rights record by issuing its own condemnation, which accuses Washington of committing widespread rights violations.

For the past six years, China has responded in kind to Washington's annual rights report, saying the United States has its own human-rights issues to address.

This year was no exception after the State Department cited numerous abuses by Chinese authorities against writers, political dissidents, and others during 2004.

Beijing has retaliated by issuing a report on what it says are U.S. offenses ranging from American soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war to mistreatment of ethnic minorities.

At a regular news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said Beijing's report was - in his words - "an alarm bell" meant to alert Washington to what he said are its own problems.

Mr. Liu says that China is in a position to criticize others for human rights violations, despite what outsiders say about its record.

Chinese Communist leaders' definition of human rights usually refers to entitlement to material things such as food and shelter, but not to political liberties. Mr. Liu says Beijing has much work to do in closing the gap between rich and poor.

"On China's human-rights development, ensuring the Chinese people's political, economic, social, cultural, and all aspects of human rights, we have made great achievements," he said. "At the same time, China's human rights are far from perfect. We still have many problems."

The Chinese official stopped short of explaining what criteria Beijing used in formulating its criticism of the U.S. human-rights record.

U.S. diplomats had no immediate response to the Chinese human-rights report.