By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft on Friday pushed back against criticism from China and Iran over the protests across the United States about racial inequality and excessive police force, challenging them to compare records.
China and Iran, described respectively in the past as authoritarian and a mafia-like state by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both urged the United States in recent days to tackle racism and protect minorities' rights.
The largely peaceful U.S. protests over the past 10 days were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis with a white policeman's knee on his neck. Some cities have had to deal with arson, looting and clashes between protesters and police, leading to the mobilization of National Guard units.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft denounced Floyd's death as "intolerable" and "brutality."
"However, there is no moral equivalence between our free society, which works through tough problems like racism, and other societies, which do not allow anything to be discussed," Craft told reporters in a telephone briefing.
"I would challenge anyone to compare their record with our record as far as how they treat situations," she said.
Craft cited China's treatment of its minority Muslim Uighur population in Xinjiang, as well as Tibet and Africans, adding there should be a "dialogue on the difference" between those situations and what was happening now in the United States.
China rejected the "baseless accusation' by Craft, said a spokesperson for China's U.N. mission.
"We urge the US to get its own house in order, solve its own problems, take care of its own people and stop gross interference in other countries' internal affairs and the attempt to divert attention," the spokesperson said.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has urged Americans protesting to do so peacefully and called on U.S. leaders and authorities to listen to them and show restraint.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)