updated 3/17/2005 8:55:44 AM ET 2005-03-17T13:55:44

The U.S. government has decided against proposing a U.N. resolution critical of China’s human rights policy, officials said Thursday.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. representatives advised other delegations to the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission of the decision, taken after months of discussion with China.

Further details were expected to be disclosed in Washington later Thursday, they said, adding that they knew of no other country planning to offer a resolution on China.

Attempts to criticize China have frequently been a central clash of the annual commission session, but Beijing has succeeded in recent years in mustering enough support among developing countries to avoid censure.

Holding talks
Last October, then Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States and China had agreed to hold talks aimed at resuming their dialogue over human rights.

China broke off the dialogue last March after Washington sought a commission resolution criticizing Beijing’s human rights record. China won a vote 28-6, with nine abstentions, that derailed the U.S. proposal.

Human rights groups have deplored the commission’s inability to criticize China for a range of abuses, including treatment of Tibet.

The annual meeting of the commission opened Monday in Geneva. Other issues expected this year include criticism of U.S. military treatment of Iraqi, Afghan and other prisoners.

The U.S. government has complained about the makeup of the commission, noting that more than a third of the countries on the commission are led by undemocratic governments and two — Cuba and Zimbabwe — were among six countries listed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as “outposts of tyranny.”

The commission members are chosen by regional groupings of nations.

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