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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 913

Responding to US Human Rights Report, China asks US not to interfere in domestic affairs of other nations

Daya Gamage – Foreign News Desk Asian Tribune
Washington, DC 11 April (Asiantribune.com):

Strongly reacting to the US State Department’s annual human rights report for the year 2010, China stressed that the U.S. should stop interfering in internal affairs of other nations using human rights as an excuse and urged the sole super power to restore human rights of its own people.

"We advise the US side to reflect on its own human rights issues and not to position itself as a preacher of human rights," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, adding that Washington should "stop using the issue of human rights reports to interfere in other countries' internal affairs."

Lei admitted Sunday that China and United States have had disagreements on human rights issues, but stressed that Beijing was willing to engage in dialogues on the issue if they were based on "equality and mutual respect."

The Chinese response came two days after the US State Department released its 35th annual report on human rights in more than 190 countries for the year 2010.

While releasing the report in Washington on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized China for its worsening human rights record and urged Beijing to release dozens of dissidents and rights activists who were "arbitrarily detained" in a recent crackdown, including dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Pointing out the "negative trends" were "appearing to worsen in the first part of 2011" in China, Clinton raised concerns about "reports that since February, dozens of people including public-interest lawyers, writers, artists, intellectuals and activists have been arbitrarily detained and arrested."

"We urge China to release all of those who have been detained for exercising their internationally-recognized right to free expression, and to respect the fundamental freedoms of human rights of all of the citizens of China," Clinton said.

China retorted the U.S. criticism on its human rights situation by publishing a report of the U.S. human rights record on Sunday.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010 was released by the Information Office of China's State Council, or cabinet, in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010 issued by the U.S. Department of State on April 8.

The U.S. reports are "full of distortions and accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the United States turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation and seldom mentioned it," China's report said.

The United States has taken human rights as "a political instrument to defame other nations' image and seek its own strategic interests," the report said.

While illustrating a dismal record of the United States on its own human rights, China's report said the United States could not be justified to pose as the world's "human rights justice."

"However, it released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices year after year to accuse and blame other countries for their human rights practices," the report said.

These moves fully expose the United States' hypocrisy by exercising double standards on human rights and its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights, it said.

The report advised the U.S. government to "take concrete actions to improve its own human rights conditions, check and rectify its acts in the human rights field, and stop the hegemonistic deeds of using human rights issues to interfere in other countries' internal affairs."

Following are some highlights of the Human Rights Record of the United States 2010 released by China:

Violating Of Citizens’ Rights

In the United States, the violation of citizens' civil and political rights by the government is severe, said the report.

Citizens' privacy has been undermined. More than 6,600 travelers had been subject to electronic device searches between October 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010, nearly half of them American citizens, said the report, citing figures released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in September 2010.

The report said abuse of violence and torturing suspects to get confession is serious in the U.S. law enforcement, and "wrongful conviction occurred quite often."

While advocating Internet freedom, the U.S. in fact imposes fairly strict restriction on cyberspace, said the report.

The United States applies double standards on Internet freedom by requesting unrestricted "Internet freedom" in other countries, which becomes an important diplomatic tool for the U.S. to impose pressure and seek hegemony, and imposing strict restriction within its own territory, the report said.

The U.S. regards itself as "the beacon of democracy." However, its democracy is largely based on money, the report said.

According to media report in 2010, U.S. House and Senate candidates shattered fundraising records for a midterm election, taking in more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars as of October 24. The midterm election, held in November 2010, finally cost 3.98 billion U.S. dollars, the most expensive in the U.S. history.

International Human Rights Violations

The United States has a notorious record of international human rights violations, said the report.

The U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused huge civilian casualties.
Figures from the WikiLeaks website revealed up to 285,000 war casualties in Iraq from March 2003 through the end of 2009, with 63 percent of the 109,000 people killed in the Iraq war being civilians.

"The U.S. military actions in Afghanistan and other regions have also brought tremendous casualties to local people," said the report.

The report cited the notorious case of a "kill team" formed by five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The team had committed at least three murders, where they randomly targeted and killed Afghan civilians, and dismembered the corpses and hoarded the human bones.

In addition, the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops had caused 535 Afghan civilian deaths and injuries in 2009. Among them 113 civilians were shot and killed, an increase of 43 percent over 2008, the report quoted McClatchy Newspapers as saying.

Prisoner Abuse Scandals

The United States have been holding individuals captured under the pretext of the "war on terror" and abusing detainees with various methods, according to the report.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established secret detention facilities to interrogate so-called "high-value detainees," said the report, citing a document submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2010.

According to the document, the CIA had taken custody of 94 detainees, and had employed "enhanced techniques" to varying degrees, including stress positions, extreme temperature changes, sleep deprivation and "waterboarding" in the interrogation of 28 of those detainees.

Failure To Fulfill International Obligations

The United States refused to join several key international human rights conventions and failed to fulfill its international obligations, according to the report.
To date, the United States has ratified neither the International Covenant on Economic, Social nor Cultural Rights, nor the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, said the report.

Also, the country has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which has been ratified by 96 countries up to now, according to the report.

So far, a total of 193 countries have joined the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the United States is among the very few countries that have not ratified it, the report said.

In addition, the first report of the domestic human rights situation submitted by the U.S. government to the UN Human Rights Council on August 20, 2010 received a record 228 recommendations by about 60 country delegations for improving its human rights situation during the UN Universal Periodic Review.

These recommendations referred to, inter alia, ratifying key international human rights conventions, rights of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, racial discriminations and Guantanamo prison. The United States, however, only accepted some 40 of them.

In the discussion on the United States, speakers from some country delegations noted that the United States' commitment to the human rights area was far from satisfying, and they urged the United States to face up to its own human rights record and take concrete actions to tackle the existing human rights problems, according to the report.

- Asian Tribune -

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