Beijing slams Tokyo’s call to take action against a “serious human rights situation” in China.
The resolution passed by Japan’s lower house stopped short of naming China, but expressed “concern about serious human rights conditions including the violation of religious freedom and internment in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong” — all of which are ruled by China.
The parliamentary vote came days ahead of the Feb. 4 start of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Japan had announced a decision not to send a government delegation to the opening, following a similar U.S. move that cited China’s human rights abuses.
The resolution urged the Japanese government to further assess the human rights situation in China and cooperate with the international community to protect victims.
“Human rights hold universal values and are of a legitimate concern for the international community,” the resolution stated.
China denies allegations of human rights abuses, calling them the “lie of the century.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian bitterly criticized on Tuesday the resolution as “extremely vile in nature,” and alleged it interferes with China’s internal affairs.
“This is a severe political provocation against the Chinese people,” he added.
Noting WWII Japan’s aggression and atrocities, Zhao said that Japan “has no authority whatsoever to make wanton remarks about other countries’ human rights conditions.”
As a military ally of the United States and a top trading partner for China, Japan has tried to balance its relations with Beijing. But conservatives in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party pushed for the adoption of the resolution prior to the Olympics’ opening, despite government concerns over a possible economic backlash from China.