China expressed regret on Wednesday over a U.S. decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, with state media saying the image of the United States as a defender of rights was "on the verge of collapse".
"China expresses regret at the U.S. decision to withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing.
Asked about U.S. criticism of China's rights record, Geng said the United States was ignoring the facts and that anyone who was without prejudice could see the enormous progress China had made on rights.
The official publication of China's top anti-graft watchdog said in a commentary on Wednesday the U.S. decision to leave the council "has put the American peoples' boastful image of being a defender of human rights on the verge of collapse".
Human rights have long been a source of tension between the world's two largest economies, especially since 1989, when the United States imposed sanctions on China after a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
But the ruling Communist Party brooks no political dissent and since President Xi Jinping took office dozens of rights lawyers and activists have been arrested or jailed in a crackdown activists say is worse than any in decades.
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