The US State Department singled out intensified repression in Tibet and Xinjiang as it concluded that China’s human rights record worsened in 2008, AFP reported. It said conditions "deteriorated severely" in Tibet as tougher restrictions were imposed on dissent and religious freedom, despite calls for greater openness during the Beijing Olympics. The annual State Department report on human rights – which also pilloried North Korea and Myanmar – was released just days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attached greater importance to Sino-US cooperation on the economic crisis and climate change than rights concerns. China’s state media quickly hit back at the report, saying the State Department had "willfully ignored and distorted basic facts, groundlessly assailing China’s human rights conditions and making random and irresponsible remarks on China’s ethnic, religious and legal systems."
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