China on Thursday expressed its strong opposition to the United States-backed resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling on Sri Lanka to address rights violations, describing it as a move to “impose pressure.”

Hours ahead of the crucial vote in Geneva, the Chinese government went as far as saying that Sri Lanka had made “great strides” in promoting human rights and towards achieving national reconciliation, in a rare vote of confidence for a Sri Lankan government embattled by growing international criticism.

“We oppose using a country-specific human rights resolution to impose pressure,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters on Thursday. “We believe the Sri Lankan government and people are capable of handling their own affairs.”

Dialogue, the way out

China believed that “dialogue and cooperation is the fundamental way out for the human rights dispute.” “In recent years, in terms of promoting human rights and realising national reconciliation, Sri Lanka has made great strides,” he said.

Beijing's view was that the international community should play “a constructive role” in helping Cokombo achieve stability.

Chinese officials have reiterated their support to the Sri Lankan government in strong terms even as the country has come under rising pressure from the international community to investigate alleged human rights violations.

Cause for concern

China's growing ties with Sri Lanka, marked by increasing financial and military support in recent months, have emerged as a source of concern in India.

The two countries pledged to deepen their strategic ties earlier this month when Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Beijing.

Mr. Rajapaksa “expressed thanks for China's support in the process of Sri Lanka ending the civil war and pushing reconstruction and development,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted him as telling Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie.

Mr. Liang stressed that China “will continue to support Sri Lanka's efforts in safeguarding state independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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