China Asia Human Rights
British Prime Minister David Cameron closes his eyes next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as the national anthem is played during an official welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing    Reuters

China has condemned Britain and cancelled talks in reaction to Britain's annual human rights report which labelled China a "country of concern".

The report said that, in 2013, it had witnessed an increased crackdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly with "forcible suppression of ethnic unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Britain of "irresponsible remarks made about the Chinese political system, rudely slandering and criticising China's human rights situation".

"Britain's path on this issue is not helpful to dialogue and discussion on the subject of human rights, and not good for the stable development of the health of China-UK relations," she continued.

Chinese and British officials were set to hold another round of the Human Rights Dialogue in London before the cancellation. The talks were set up on a trade visit to China by David Cameron in December 2013.

"We are disappointed that the Chinese government last week unilaterally postponed the Dialogue, which was due to take place on 16 April," a Foreign Office statement said.

"It is not for us to say why it was postponed. We are now in discussion to agree new dates," the Foreign Office spokesperson added.

China's human rights record is regularly criticised for violations against religious freedoms, its controversial one-child policy and the continued use of capital punishment.