Rights policy defended

Peking (AFP) - In advance of the world forum on women, China released a white paper on family planning yesterday saying "unacceptable" human rights criticism of its tough policy ignored the challenges posed by its 1.2 billion population.

The paper, entitled "Family Planning in China", was released by the State Council, and carried in excerpts by the official Xinhua news agency, just before the opening here of the Fourth UN World Conference on Women. China's controversial "one-child" policy is likely to be the target of attacks by some of the 36,000 delegates at the conference's Non-Governmental Organisation Forum, which begins next Wednesday.

Arguing that the policy was the only way to stop growth of China's massive population from bringing social, economic and environmental disaster, the white paper accused "some people" of "distorting and disregarding the basic facts."

"These people have made improper comments on China's family planning programme, criticising it as a violation of human rights and denouncing it as inhumane," it said.

It also accused them of using the pretext of preventing abuse to impose foreign values and interfere in this country's internal affairs.

"This is totally unacceptable," Xinhua quoted the white paper as saying.

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