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US says rights abuses in China worsen

BEIJING — US officials said Friday that human rights abuses in China are worsening and that their latest talks with China on the issue ‘‘fell short of expectations.’’

Of particular concern, US diplomats said, are the growing number of instances of China’s government targeting the families and lawyers of human rights activists to try to silence them.

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‘‘This is a worrisome trend, and one we’ve raised at senior levels of the Chinese government,’’ said Uzra Zeya, the US acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. During a news conference in Beijing, she described such actions as ‘‘extralegal punishment and measures that are inconsistent with China’s own laws.’’

During this week’s annual meeting between US officials and China, Zeya said, she and other US officials raised a long list of concerns, including worsening persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, journalists, and online activists, as well as restrictions on universal freedoms and lack of rule of law.

China has long dismissed US criticism on human rights as biased and unfounded, citing its own reports of alleged US human rights abuses.

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