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As the bloody conflict in Syria escalates, the Chinese regime is facing criticism for the vetoing of a UN Security Council resolution calling for its end. Now, regime leaders are trying to deflect the backlash.
The Chinese regime is attempting damage control, following the backlash for vetoing a UN resolution calling for an end to violence in Syria.
The decision has been widely criticized. In Libya, protesters threw rocks at the Chinese Embassy.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao tackled the criticism at the EU-China Summit in Beiing on Tuesday, saying the decision to block the UN resolution was meant to help Syria.
[Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier]:
"On the Syria issue, what is most urgent and pressing now is to prevent war and chaos so that the Syrian people can be free from even greater suffering."
At the same time, a Chinese envoy met with the head of the Arab League to echo Wen's response.
The uprising in Syria has been the bloodiest of the Arab Spring revolts. The UN estimates that more than 5,400 people have been killed since the fighting began. The UN Security Council resolution from earlier this month was a call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop his violent crackdown on protesters, but it was blocked by China and Russia.
The Chinese regime is playing a delicate balancing act in the Arab world. The veto was part of a non-interference policy China, which has also been heavily criticized for its own humanitarian violations, has taken in regard to the internal affairs of other nations. However, China is also one of the largest oil consumers in the world, and can't risk alienating its oil suppliers.
Syria is also expected to be a major part of today's talks during Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the White House.