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China, Clinton spar over rights

world Updated: May 15, 2011 00:32 IST
HT Correspondent

China and Hillary Clinton are in a war of words on human rights with each ticking off the other on their 'fool's errand'.

"Mentioning China in the same breath as other countries in West Asia and North Africa where volatility and turmoil have occurred recently is inappropriate,'' said foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu on Friday, according to the Global Times. "Anyone who attempts to bring the Middle East turbulence into China and to change the development road that the Chinese people have chosen for themselves is on a fool's errand.''

The Chinese official issued the retort four days after the Atlantic published an interview with the US secretary of state saying that China was trying to stop history, which was a fool's errand. Clinton's remarks came while Beijing's one-party regime has nervously reacted to the West Asia unrest by unleashing the worst crackdown since two decades on pro-reform intellectuals, lawyers, dissidents and online information.

The Chinese reaction in the official Xinhua English version edited out the fool's errand remark with the words 'futile.' Chinese analysts have called Clinton a 'free imperialist' and her remarks 'childish'. A website in Beijing conducted a Clinton poll in which 86% of 30,000 respondents said her words were disrespectful to China.