Beijing, Oct 18: Human Rights Watch urged China today to use its UN Security Council membership to help end state repression in Myanmar after last month's crackdown on street protests.
The New York-based rights group noted that the auspicious date August 8, 2008, chosen as the opening day of the Beijing Olympics, marked the 20th anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy protests in Myanmar, also crushed by the military a month later.
The United States has urged China to do more to lean on its junta ally and the two have differed over what action the Security Council should take.
''Chinese officials have publicly called for 'cooperation' and 'dialogue' between the Burmese generals and their critics, but said nothing when these critics were arrested, 'disappeared' or killed,'' Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
''Even worse, the Chinese government has blocked most of the international efforts to effectively address the crisis.'' China has said any UN action on Myanmar should be ''prudent and responsible'' and not involve sanctions.
Japan cut aid to Myanmar on Tuesday, a day after the European Union stiffened its sanctions and US President George W. Bush threatened to follow suit.
''Although the Chinese government chose 08/08/08 for symbolic reasons, recent events in Burma, and China's ties to the military government, mean that the spotlight on that date will also be on the continued suffering of the Burmese people,'' Human Rights Watch said.