Progress made on human rights, China tells France

21st April 2005, Comments 0 comments

BEIJING, Apr 21, 2005 (AFP) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao insisted Thursday his country had made progress on improving its human rights record and said Beijing was working towards ratifying a UN convention on the issue.

BEIJING, Apr 21, 2005 (AFP) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao insisted Thursday his country had made progress on improving its human rights record and said Beijing was working towards ratifying a UN convention on the issue.

"We are making efforts to be able to ratify it as soon as possible," Wen said in a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

China signed the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights in 1998 but has so far failed to ratify it, despite repeatedly saying it would.

"I spoke with Prime Minister Raffarin about the preliminary work we have undertaken on this," Wen said, pointing to efforts China was making to reform the way it hands down the death sentence and its re-education through labour programme.

He said that "even the most critical countries regarding China's human rights are obliged to recognise that China has made structural progress on this question".

Human rights groups and the United States regularly catalogue widespread abuse in China, notably in the country's jails.

The European Union has said China must show it has improved its rights record before it lifts a 16-year-old arms embargo imposed after China crushed democracy campaigners in 1989.

Wen repeated China's position Thursday that the lifting of the embargo should not be linked to human rights. There should not be a "mechanical bond between human rights and the lifting of the European embargo", he said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article