Obama-XiJinping-China- Cyberattacks
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after their joint news conference in Beijing in November 2014. Cyberwarfare claims are an increasing problem between the two countries. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

China has apparently taken exception to criticism from the U.S. over the nearly yearlong detention of a Chinese civil rights lawyer. Reacting to comments by the U. S State Department, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Washington should address its own human rights problems without portraying itself as the “world’s policeman or judge.”

On Wednesday, the State Department called on China to immediately release Pu Zhiqiang. The human rights activist, detained since May 2014, faces a plethora of charges. The State Department asked Beijing “to release and remove all restrictions on Pu Zhiqiang, and respect his rights in accordance with China’s international human rights commitments.”

Pu, who is awaiting trial, was arrested in Beijing on his way back from a private gathering that honored victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

The State Department said it objected to the fact that Pu has been denied prompt access to “counsel and other procedural safeguards," and subjected to "harsh conditions and denied access to proper medical treatment." In response, Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in Beijing that “some people in the United States have hearts that are too big and hands that are too long.” Hua then advised Washington to address its own domestic problems -- an obvious reference to recent unrest in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, Pu’s lawyers said police are examining the content of his blog posts, which have often been sarcastic and critical of the Communist Party and its policies toward ethnic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. They also make bitter references to a lack of political freedom in China and call for a political overhaul there.

Police, meanwhile, are trying to gather more evidence against the activist to substantiate charges of fueling ethnic hatred, promoting separatism and inciting a public disturbance. Pu’s supporters say the charges are part of a political vendetta.

Reuters reported that Hua said that Pu's case would be handled on its merit.

To offer feedback or comments, contact the writer at k.kumar@ibtimes.com.au