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China hits back with report on US human rights record

CHINA yesterday hit back at a United States report on its human rights with its own report on the US human rights record.

"The US practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with human rights issues and has undermined its international image," the Information Office of the State Council said in its report on the US human rights record.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 was in retaliation to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008 issued by the US Department of State on Feb. 25.

For years, the United States had positioned itself over other countries and released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices annually to criticize human rights conditions in other countries, using it as a tool to interfere with and demonize other nations, the report said. The US has turned a blind eye to its own violations of human rights.

"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," China said in its report.

"The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 is prepared 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," China said.

The report reviewed the US human rights record from six perspectives: life and personal security; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; rights of women and children; and the United States' violation of human rights in other countries.

The report warned the United States that widespread violent crime posed serious threats to its people's lives and security.

According to a report published in September 2008 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the country reported 1.4 million violent crimes, including 17,000 murders and 9.8 million property crimes in 2007.

More frequent gun killings were a serious threat to the lives of US citizens, the report said.

It quoted the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention assaying that 1.35 million high school students in 2007 were either threatened or injured with a weapon at least once on school property.

The report said an increasing number of restrictions had been imposed on civil rights in the United States.

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.

The United States was facing a number of social problems, including a wide wealth gap, increasing number of homeless, needy people and those suffering hunger, the report said.

It 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.

The unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 5.8percent in 2008, the report said.

People in the United States saw their pension plans shrink, health insurance cut and school tuition increase, while drugs, suicide and other social problems prevailed, according to the report.

The report said racial discrimination prevails in "every aspect of social life" in the United States, ranging from income, employment, education, to judicial system, often with African Americans as major victims.

"Nearly one quarter of black American households live below the poverty line, three times that of white households," it said, citing The State of Black America, issued by the National Urban League in March 2008.

The jobless rate for blacks was 10.6 percent in the third quarter of 2008, twice that of the whites, according to the US Department of Labor.

The report said the African American high school graduation and college entry rates still lingered at the level of whites "two or three decades ago", and African American students in public schools were "more likely to get physical punishment than White children."

"African American youths arrested for murder are at least three times more likely than their white peers to receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," the report said, quoting a 2008 report of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

It also mentioned the infringement of basic rights of indigenous Americans, inhumane treatment received by immigrants, and serious racial hostility and rising hate crime in the United States.

On "worrisome" conditions of women and children, the report said gender-based discrimination in employment, and domestic violence and sexual violence toward women were quite serious.

Also, an increasing number of children were living in poverty and danger of being physically or mentally harmed due to abuse and violence.

"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, the five-decade embargo against Cuba and arm sales.

The war in Iraq had claimed more than 1 million civilian lives and caused the same number of homeless people, it said.

The United States maintained the embargo against Cuba, though the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging itto end the embargo in last October.

US arm sales reached 32 billion US dollars in 2007 and weapons were sold to more than 174 nations and regions.

The United States was inactive on its international human rights obligations and offered outbound humanitarian aid that was dwarfed by its status as the richest country in the world, the report said.

China in the report advised the US government to "face its own human rights problems with courage, and to stop applying double standards to human rights issues".

This is the 10th consecutive year that the Information Office of China's State Council has issued a report on the human rights record of the United States to answer the US State Department's annual report.

"Respect for and protection of human rights is an important indication of civilization and progress of human society," the report said. "Every government shoulders a common responsibility in committing itself to the improvement of human rights conditions.


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