A U.S. Congressional report says it finds no overall improvement in human rights conditions in China during the past year, and that citizens who challenge state controls continue to face severe repression.

In its annual report released Tuesday, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China says Beijing continues to pursue certain judicial and criminal justice reforms that have potential to improve human rights. But it says these steps are "clouded by new detentions and government policies designed to protect the Communist Party's rule."

The commission says China continues to harass, abuse and detain religious believers who practice their faith outside state-controlled religious venues, in particular the Muslim Uighur minority.

The report calls on President Bush and Congress to urge Chinese officials not to use the global war against terrorism as a pretext to suppress minorities' rights.

Some information in this story provided by AFP.