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China angrily rebuffs U.N. criticism of new security law

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights of being unprofessional and making baseless criticisms on Thursday after he said a new national security law was too vague and potentially harmful to civil liberties.

The remarks by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying reflects the deep resentment China has of outside criticism of its domestic policies, especially concerning security issues and human rights.

China’s legislature adopted a sweeping national security law last week that covers everything from territorial sovereignty to measures to tighten cyber security.

On Tuesday, U.N. High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said the law “raises many concerns due to its extraordinarily broad scope” and vagueness of terminology and definitions.

“As a result, it leaves the door wide open to further restrictions of the rights and freedoms of Chinese citizens and to even tighter control of civil society by the Chinese authorities than there is already.”

Hua said his comments were an interference in China’s internal affairs.

“It exposes his unprofessionalism and we express our dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” she told a daily news briefing.

The law was designed to protect people’s rights and freedoms, Hua said.

“So if you read the relevant law closely, you can see that the U.N. High Commissioner’s remarks that the law may limit citizens’ rights and freedoms is gratuitous speculation which does not have a leg to stand on,” she added.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie