China Exults Over U.S. Loss of U.N. Rights Seat

Chinese state media and pro-government experts on Saturday hailed the loss of the United States' seat on the top U.N. human rights body as a rejection of U.S. attempts to bully other nations.

The loss was the inevitable result of Washington's "long biased condemnation of other countries using the camouflage of 'human rights,"' Zhu Muzhi, honorary president of the China Society for the Study of Human Rights, was quoted as saying in the China Daily.

The quasi-academic organization, like most others in China, is closely linked to the ruling Communist party.

In a secret vote Thursday by the Economic and Social Council — which elects the U.N. Human Rights Commission — France, Sweden and Austria were chosen for the three seats allocated to Western countries. The United States came in fourth in the vote, losing the seat it has held since the panel was formed in 1947.

Zhu said the vote reflected anger in the international community over the United States' "arrogance" and attempts to impose its own rights standard on others.

In the United States, some critics have attributed the loss of the vote to a lack of coordination among European nations and President Bush's failure to gain approval for his choice of U.N. ambassador.

But others say the move reflected growing international resentment over Washington's opposition to international agreements, including a treaty to abolish land mines and another that would create an international criminal court.

Washington has been a major critic of China in the commission, and Beijing crowed over the 10th straight failure last month of a U.S. motion to censure China at the commission's annual meeting in Geneva. In those votes, China has rallied developing nations to its side, calling the U.S. motion an attempt to harass China and bolster U.S. dominance.

"The U.S. election loss shows that America's long-standing pursuit of confrontation and hegemonism in international relations has aroused widespread anger," the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said in an editorial.

"Its double standard on human rights issues has made it unqualified to critique the human rights situation in the world and among other nations," the paper said.