Beijing rejects US criticism on human rights

China on Friday rejected a U.S. State Department report that criticized China's human rights record, saying Washington's critique was inaccurate and irresponsible.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei called the China section of the annual State Department human rights report "baseless, biased and completely wrong."

The State Department report released Thursday said that China's human rights situation deteriorated in 2011, with more aggressive silencing of activists. It comes just weeks after Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng escaped illegal and abusive house arrest and sought shelter at the U.S. Embassy. Chen has since been allowed to travel to New York to study.

Hong said China has made world-recognized gains in improving human rights since broad social and economic reforms were launched 30 years ago. China's economy has grown rapidly over the last three decades, and the government marks poverty reduction as one of its greatest human rights achievements.

"The Chinese people themselves are the most qualified to judge China's human rights condition," Hong said. "Countries can hold talks about human rights on equal footing to increase mutual understanding and help each other improve, but should never use the relevant issue as a tool for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries."

Beijing says Washington is hypocritical to lecture others on rights when it has so many problems of its own, such as high crime, homelessness, racial discrimination, and killings of civilians and other abuses by U.S. forces overseas.

China on Friday also fired back, as it does every year, with the release of its own report on the human rights situation in the United States. The report criticized the arrest of Occupy Wall Street protesters and other alleged violations of civil and political rights, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

"We hope that the U.S. will take a good look at itself and put an end to its wrong doing and wrong thinking on human rights," Hong said.