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March 9, 2006Original Article (English)
BEIJING, In response to the U.S. State Department Country Reports issued on Wednesday on Human Rights Practices for 2005, China on Thursday issued the Human Rights Record of the United States for 2005 on Thursday. [Entire Report ]
Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the report listed a multitude of cases of serious human rights violations by the United States, both domestically and internationally.
"As in previous years, the U.S. State Department has pointed a finger at the human rights situation in over 190 countries and regions (including China), but remained silent about violations of human rights in the United States," the document says.
To help people realize the actual; facts about this self-styled "guardian of human rights," it is necessary to probe into human rights abuses in the United States, the report say.
This is the seventh consecutive year that China has issued the report to answer the U.S. State Department's annual report.
The report contains over 14,500 Chinese characters and is divided into seven parts: on life and security of person, on infringements of human rights by law enforcement and the judiciary, on political rights and freedom, on economic, social and cultural rights, on racial discrimination, on rights of women and children and on violations of human rights in other countries.
"For a long time, the life and security of people in the United States has not been sufficiently protected, and American society has been characterized by rampant violent crime," says the document.
The U.S. Justice Department reported on Sept. 25, 2005 that there were 5,182,670 violent crimes in the United States in 2004, and 21.4 crime victims for every 1,000 people aged 12 and older, which amounts to about one violent crime victim for every 47 U.S. residents.
"There exist serious infringements upon personal rights and freedoms, by law enforcement and judicial organs in the United States," says the report.
Secret snooping is prevalent and illegal detentions occur from time to time. The recently disclosed Snoopgate scandal has aroused the keen attention of the American public, according to the record.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. President has authorized the National Security Agency and other departments to wiretap some domestic phone calls, dozens of times. With this authorization, the National Security Agency may conduct surveillance of telephone calls and e-mails for 500 U.S. citizens at a time.
The document quotes media reports as saying that from 2002 through 2004, there were at least 287 cases in which FBI agents were suspected of illegally conducting electronic surveillance.
On Jan. 9, 2006, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection announced that in the "anti-terrorism" fight, U.S. customs has the right to open and inspect incoming private letters, which again sparked protests, according to the record.
"Police abuse is also very common in the United States," the report notes. It quotes a July 14, 2005 Los Angeles Times report as saying that Los Angeles police shot the 19-month-old daughter of a suspect to death while trying to arrest the suspect, which triggered a public outcry.
And according to an AP story, on Oct. 9, five New Orleans police battered a 64-year-old retired teacher on the street while trying to arrest him, and he suffered injuries.
As the prisons in the U.S. were packed, the situation of prisoners worsened, according to the record.
During Hurricane Katrina, between Aug. 29 and Sept. 1, 2005, correctional officers from the New Orleans Sheriff's Department abandoned 600 inmates in a prison, as many were immersed in chest and neck level water and left without food, water, electricity, fresh air, or functioning facilities for four days and nights.
"The United States has always boasted of being the 'model of democracy,' and has hawked its method of democracy to the rest of the world. In fact, American "democracy" is always "good for the wealthy and a game for the rich," says the report.
During the New York City mayoral election in November 2005, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $77.89 million of his fortune for re-election. That came to more than $100 per vote. The election was termed by the Associated Press as the most expensive mayoral re-election in history.
The United States is the world's richest country, however, it maintains the highest poverty rate of any developed country. A study of eight advanced countries by the London School of Economics in 2005 found that the United States had the worst social inequality.
The poverty rate of the United States is the highest in the developed world and more than twice as high as in most other industrialized countries, the report quotes a Newsweek magazine report as saying.
The United States is a multi-ethnic nation of immigrants, with minority groups accounting for more than one-fourth of its population. But racial discrimination has long been a chronic malady of American society, says the record. According to The State of Black America 2005, the income level of African American families is only one-tenth that of white families, and the welfare enjoyed by black Americans is only three-fourths of their white counterparts.
And the United States does not have a good record on protecting the rights of women and children, says the document. A survey by the U.S. Census Bureau said the median earnings of women and men in 2004 were $31,223 and $40,798, respectively. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 77 percent. In terms of the child poverty index, the United States ranked next to the last among 22 developed nations.
"Pursuing unilateralism in the international arena, the U.S. government grossly violates the sovereignty and human rights of other countries in contempt of universally-recognized international norms," the report notes. The U.S. government frequently commits to the wanton slaughter of innocents in pursuit of its war efforts in other countries, it says.
USA Today on Dec. 13, 2005 quoted a 2004 study published in the medical journal The Lancet as saying that it is estimated that about 100,000 Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been killed in the Iraq War, launched by the U.S. government in 2003.
In 2005, news of prisoner abuse by U.S. forces again hit the headlines, following the 2004 prisoner abuse scandal that stunned the world. The record quotes media reports as saying that to extract information, U.S. forces in Iraq employed various kinds of torture in their interrogations.
They systematically abused Iraqi detainees, including sleep deprivation, tying them to the wall, hitting them with baseball bats, denying their access to water and food, forcing them to listen to extremely loud music in completely dark places for days on end, unleashing dogs to bite them for amusement and even scaring them by putting them in the same cage with lions.
"For years, the U.S. government has ignored and deliberately concealed serious violations of human rights in its own country for fear of criticism," the report says. Yet it has issued annual reports making unwarranted charges about the human rights practices of other countries, an act that fully exposes its hypocrisy and double standards on human rights issues. Naturally, this has met with strong resistance and opposition from other countries, the record notes. "We urge the U.S. government to look squarely at its own human rights problems, reflect on what it has done in the human rights field, and take concrete measures to improve its own human rights status," it says.
"The U.S. government should stop provoking international confrontation on the issue of human rights, and make a fresh start. It should contribute more to international human rights cooperation and to the healthy development of the cause of international human rights," the report concludes.