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Published: Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 5:31:48 PM
Updated: Monday April 14, 2014 MYT 5:33:40 PM

China tells U.S. to stop 'gesticulating' on rights cases

Chinese rights advocate Xu Zhiyong speaks during a meeting in Beijing in this handout photo dated March 30, 2013. REUTERS/Xiao Guozhen/Handout via Reuters

Chinese rights advocate Xu Zhiyong speaks during a meeting in Beijing in this handout photo dated March 30, 2013. REUTERS/Xiao Guozhen/Handout via Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry told the United States on Monday to stop "gesticulating" in its criticism of China's treatment of dissidents, after Washington called on Beijing to release a prominent activist.

The United States last week said it was "deeply disappointed" at a Beijing court's decision to uphold a four-year jail sentence for anti-corruption and children's education rights campaigner Xu Zhiyong. The European Union also expressed concern.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Xu was a Chinese citizen who broke the law and was being punished because of it.

"We urge the United States to stop its gesticulating at China on such individual cases, and stop using so-called human rights as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs," she told a daily news briefing.

China and the United States routinely clash over human rights, adding to a list of issues they do not see eye-to-eye on, including trade, the value of China's currency and China's various maritime territorial disputes.

Washington regularly expresses concern about individual Chinese human rights cases and its diplomats often show up outside court houses where trials are taking place, though they are generally not allowed in.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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