By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer
9 minutes ago
BEIJING - China on Thursday lashed out against U.S. criticism of its human rights record, saying racial discrimination and crime were still rife in the United States and prisoners were being abused at U.S.-run detention centers abroad. The State Council, China's cabinet, denounced the United States for what it said were rampant violence and widespread discrimination against minorities — especially blacks — in its annual response to the State Department's report on human rights worldwide.
"For a long time, the life and security of the people of the United States has not been under efficient protection," the Chinese report said. Blacks are given heavier criminal penalties, arrested more frequently and are more likely to be targeted for hate crimes, the report said. It also criticized American troops for brutality at prisons in Iraq and the detention camp for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"As in previous years, the State Department pointed the finger at human rights situations in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but kept silent on the serious violations of human rights in the United States," it said. It is "an act that fully exposes its hypocrisy and double standard on human rights issues," said the report which drew mostly from stories and statistics in the American press.
The response came one day after the State Department said the Chinese government's human rights record "remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous and serious abuses." The U.S. report said repression worsened in China in 2005, with a trend toward "increased harassment, detention, and imprisonment" of people seen as threats to the Chinese government. It also mentioned tightened controls over print, broadcast and electronic media and censorship of online content. The State Department study, published each year since 1977, offers a comprehensive analysis of all countries in the world except the United States.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Washington's report ignored China's progress in human rights, which he claimed "not only met with the satisfaction of the Chinese people but also has been widely affirmed by the international community." "We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition," Qin said, adding that Washington should "immediately end the erroneous practice of interfering in other country's internal politics."
A large section of the Chinese report was devoted to racial discrimination, which it said had "long been a chronic malady of American society." It said the country's blacks and other minorities had much lower living standards and incomes and faced job discrimination. Blacks were also more likely to receive the death penalty for serious crimes, it said. Since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Muslims have been targeted for arrests and detention under "the banner of 'anti-terrorism,'" the report said. It also criticized American foreign policy and detailed prison abuse by American troops in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, accusing them of using "various kinds of torture" while trying to "extract information."
The report also touched on:
• private gun ownership in America, saying the "unchecked spread of guns has caused incessant murders."
• secret wire taps and surveillance on American citizens under the Patriot Act.
• the poverty rate and the problem of homelessness.
"No country in the world can claim to have a perfect state of human rights," the Chinese report said. "We urge the U.S. government to look squarely at its own human rights problems, reflect what it has done in the human rights field and take concrete measures to improve its own human rights status."
On the Net: 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices