China accuses U.S. of arrogance for Xi criticism at rights forum

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

BEIJING (Reuters) - China accused the United States of arrogance on Monday after the U.S. delegation rejected a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution brought by Beijing that it said sought to glorify Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “win-win” agenda.

The United States cast the only “no” vote in at the council meeting in Geneva, with a U.S. diplomat saying Chinese officials were clear about their intent “to glorify their head of state by inserting his thoughts into the international human rights lexicon”.

China led a resolution at the council - its second-ever in nearly 12 years - that calls for “mutually beneficial cooperation”.

Australia, Britain, Japan, and Switzerland were among those abstaining, though many envoys spoke against the text.

The spat adds to tensions between Beijing and Washington which are locked in a trade dispute after U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods.

“I think the comments by this U.S. official in Geneva you mention were extremely unreasonable, and also reflects the consistent ignorance and haughtiness of the U.S. side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

Many countries expressed at the meeting that the Chinese resolution reflected the common wishes of the international community and helped raise the ability of developing nations to speak for themselves on human rights issues, Hua added.

Xi has overseen a clampdown on all forms of dissent in Chinese society, which has seen hundreds of rights lawyers and activists detained and dozens jailed.

China routinely denies accusations of rights abuses, saying its critics are prejudiced, that China is a country with rule of law and that it only goes after those who break the law.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie