The friends of Syria have called for "the Syrian government to implement an immediate cease-fire and allow access to the United Nations and humanitarian agencies to carry out a full assessment of needs."
The seemingly contradictory stances on the Arab League's proposals appear to reflect Beijing's desire for mediation but aversion to U.N. involvement that could lead to authorizing force, as happened with Libya.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the violence and demanded that Assad step aside.
The vote in the 193-member world body on the Arab-sponsored resolution was 137-12 with 17 abstentions.
With Assad seemingly oblivious to international condemnation of his campaign to crush the revolt, Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia prepared for a new resolution at the United Nations in the next few days.
Russia and China on February 4 vetoed a European-Arab draft resolution condemning the crackdown and endorsing an Arab League plan for the Syrian leader to step aside.
Like the failed council resolution, the assembly draft "fully supports" the Arab League plan floated last month, which among other things calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
President Bashar al-Assad's troops sought to consolidate their grip on suburbs that rebel fighters had seized only a few miles from the centre of government power.
With Arab pressure mounting to end 10 months of bloodshed, the Syrian regime has vowed to solve its own problems even if "half the universe" is conspiring against it.
Responding to the new League plan unveiled in Cairo on Sunday, an official Syrian source told the state news agency SANA that the initiative, which told Assad to hand power to a deputy pending elections, was a "conspiracy against Syria".
The League also decided to add more observers and provide them with additional resources