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China says the resolution put undue emphasis on pressuring the Syrian government and prejudged the result of any dialogue between the parties to the conflict.
The veto also appears to be rooted in China’s deep-seated opposition to humanitarian intervention in other nations. China fears such intervention would legitimize outside interference in its own problems in the restive western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet.
Zhai urged Syrians to participate in the planned referendum
Assad’s call for a referendum, set for Feb. 26, has raised the question of how a nationwide vote could be held at a time when many areas see daily battles between Syrian troops and rebel soldiers. The opposition has opposed the referendum.
Zhai said the referendum "would be in the interest of the Syrian people."
Only in light of stability could Syria conduct comprehensive political reforms, he said.
Associated Press reporter Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, contributed to this report.
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