In a surprise move, China today asked Sri Lanka to “make efforts to protect and promote human rights”, backing calls by India, Britain and other countries at the CHOGM summit in Colombo to address allegations of rights abuses against the country’s minority Tamils.
“Due to the differences in the economic and social development of different countries, there could be differences on human rights protection,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a media briefing in Beijing.
“So what is important is that the relevant country should make efforts to protect and promote human rights while other countries in the world should provide constructive assistance,” he said.
He was replying to a question on human rights issues clouding the just-concluded CHOGM summit and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement that his country will push for an international probe by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) if Sri Lanka does not address its human rights issues by March next year.
“This is an issue within the Commonwealth. But at the same time, I believe that on the human rights issue, dialogue and communication should be enhanced among countries,” Qin said.
“We always maintained that on the human rights issues, countries around the world should enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and communication and take constructive means to promote the development of the international human rights cause,” he said.