President Xi Jinping on Wednesday defended China's human rights progress in a virtual meeting with UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who is visiting the mainland.
Bachelet's six-day trip, which began on Monday, will include a visit to the Xinjiang region, where her office last year said it believes mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs have been unlawfully detained, mistreated and forced to work. Beijing denies the allegations.
During the video call, Xi told Bachelet that China’s development of human rights "suits its own national conditions", and that among the various types of human rights, the rights to subsistence and development were primary for developing countries.
"Deviating from reality and copying wholesale the institutional model of other countries will not only fit badly with the local conditions, but also bring disastrous consequences," Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
"In the end, it is the broad masses of the people who will suffer," he said.
According to a CCTV readout, Bachelet said the UN Human Rights Office is "willing to strengthen cooperation with the Chinese side...and make joint efforts to promote the progress of the global human rights cause".
She also said: "I admire China's efforts and achievements in eradicating poverty, protecting human rights, and realising economic and social development." (Reuters/AFP)