China hits back at US criticism on human rights

Via The Telegraph.

“The US practise of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is testimony to its double standards and hypocrisy and has undermined its international image,” said a spokesman for the State Council, the Chinese equivalent of a ministerial cabinet.

The fierce response came after the United States criticized China in its annual global human rights report, issued by the State Department. The report said China stepped up repression last year in Tibet and Xinjiang, restricting dissent and religious freedom.

“The government’s human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas,” the US report said. It added that the situation in Tibet had “deteriorated severely”.

The condemnation came days after Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of State, disappointed human rights activists by conceding that the US would put economic ties above human rights in its dealings with China.

“As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory,” said the Chinese report into the US.

Its preface adds that the report was designed to “help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States, and as a reminder for the United States to reflect upon its own issues.”

The Chinese report highlights the 1.4 million violent crimes, including 17,000 murders, recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2007, and said the frequency of gun crimes was a “serious threat” to lives of US citizens. The Chinese also said that the 1.35 million students who were threatened or injured by a weapon on school premises was a shocking violation of human rights.

It cited government surveillance of online activities, new legislation on government wiretapping last July, more cases of police abuse of force and neglect of basic rights of 2.3 million prisoners in the United States, and added that the US has a range of social problems, including a widening wealth gap and increasing numbers of homeless and hungry.

The report quoted the US Census Bureau as saying in August 2008 that 12.5 percent of Americans, or 37.3 million people, were living in poverty in 2007, up from 36.5 million in 2006. It also added that racial discrimination pervades “every aspect of social life” in the US.

“The United States is one of the few countries in the world where minors receive the same criminal punishments as adults,” the report said. “It is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without possibility of parole or release.”

“The United States has a string of records of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries,” the report said. It listed the Iraq war, prisoner abuse at Guantanamo, and the five-decade embargo against Cuba, which the UN has criticized.

The war in Iraq had claimed more than 1 million civilian lives and caused the same number of homeless people, it said. US arm sales reached USD32 billion (Pounds22 billion) in 2007 and weapons were sold to more than 174 nations and regions.

China said the US government should “face its own human rights problems with courage, and to stop applying double standards to human rights issues”.

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