China blocks UN motion attacking rights abuses

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The Independent Online

China scored a diplomatic victory yesterday by preventing a UN vote on a United States-backed motion condemning Peking for suppressing religion and crushing dissent.

The result is a setback for the US, which had pressed for the UN Human Rights Commission, holding its annual session in Geneva, to censure China for its treatment of members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

The US resolution also pointed to "severe restrictions on the rights of citizens" over the past year and protested against "increased restrictions" on Tibetans' freedoms and the "harsh crackdown" on government opponents.

Peking rallied developing countries to ensure that a "no action" resolution went through by 22-18 votes. The 15-nation European Union refrained from sponsoring the US resolution but opposed the Chinese "no-action" motion.