BEIJING: China has expressed shock at the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers and told Washington it must abide by international conventions.
"We are shocked by the fact that Iraqi prisoners have been ill-treated and condemn this kind of acts which go against international conventions," the foreign ministry told AFP in a statement.
"Complete investigations should be carried out into this affair and the suspects should be punished according to law."
China, at loggerheads with Washington over its own human rights record, said it was imperative that the Bush administration abide by international laws and respect human rights.
"The US government should scrupulously abide by the international conventions such as the Geneva Convention and guarantee the basic human rights of the Iraqi prisoners," said the foreign ministry.
In a series of pictures that have badly damaged America's reputation, prisoners were shown naked and being humiliated by US personnel inside Abu Ghraib prison, which was formerly used by Saddam Hussein to torture and execute Iraqis.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has warned lawmakers that hundreds more photographs and at least two videos showing US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners exist.
China, which opposed the US-led war on Iraq, has seen ties with the United States warm in recent years, but friction remains with human rights one of the key sticking points.
The war of words came to a head in March when China abruptly suspended its human rights dialogue with Washington after the US said it would propose a resolution condemning China's human rights record at UN commission in Geneva.
China is often called to task over its own rights record, with rights groups pointing to torture, arbitrary detention, repression of freedom of expression, and violations of religious rights as commonplace.