BEIJING -- Accusing the United States of 'unwarranted meddling' in its affairs, China Sunday blasted recent congressional amendments on Chinese human rights.
In a harshly-worded commentary carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, Beijing warned that 'a few people both in and outside the U.S. ruling circle' are 'undermining normal U.S.-Chinese relations which have been achieved at great cost.'
It lambasted the passage of two amendments proposed by Republican Sen. Jesse Helms Thursday.
'The U.S. Congress seems increasingly obsessed with interference in China's internal affairs, in defiance of the repeated protests of the Chinese government,' the commentary said.
One of the amendments raised Chinese human rights violations in Tibet, while the second urged the release of Yang Wei, a Chinese student held on criminal charges following demonstrations last December by students in Shanghai calling for more democracy.
'These malicious slanders and the unwarranted meddling in China's internal affairs have invoked stern protests from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese People's Congress,' the commentary said.
It charged both the U.S. Senate and House with 'openly supporting the dalai lama's attempt to separate Tibet from China' by adopting two resolutions earlier this year questioning Chinese policy in Tibet.
The Tibetan capital of Lhasa was the scene of three violent protests in September and October by Tibetans calling for an end to Chinese rule in the Himalayan region and the return of the region's god-king, the dalai lama.
Xinhua accused Congress of 'encouraging' the anti-Chinese protesters, adding that U.S. accusations against China 'are so patently groundless.'
The congressional call for the release of Yang, 31, is 'undisguised interference,' the commentary said. It said the amendment 'claimed, without proof, that Yang has not committed any crime under United States or Chinese law.'
Yang, a graduate in molecular biology from the University of Arizona, was arrested in Shanghai in January and charged with 'counterrevolutionary activities.' In the past, China, which claims it has no political prisoners, has jailed several of its most outspoken dissident figures on similar charges.
'It is common knowledge that whether or not Yang is guilty can only be determined by the Chinese judicial authorities,' the commentary said. 'It goes without saying that the U.S. Congress is in no way entitled to pass judgement on this issue.'
The two amendments 'expressed the intentions of a few people ... who are still hostile to the People's Republic of China,' the commentary said.