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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-315098 China/U-N Rights
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=4/16/04

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=CHINA U-N HUMAN RIGHTS (L-O)

NUMBER=2-315098

BYLINE=LUIS RAMIREZ

DATELINE=BEIJING

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: China is praising the United Nations Commission on Human Rights' decision to block a U-S motion to condemn Beijing's human rights record. V-O-A's Luis Ramirez reports from Beijing.

TEXT: 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.

/// BECQUELIN ACT ///

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.

/// END ACT ///

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.

NEB/HK/LR/MH/FC



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