China issues human rights record of U.S. Thursday, March 8, 2007

Full Text: The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006

Facts & Figures: Human Rights Record in the United States in 2006

China issued on Thursday the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006 in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006 issued by the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday.

Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the Chinese report lists a multitude of cases to show the human rights situation in the United States and its violation of human rights in other countries.

"As in previous years, the State Department pointed the finger at human rights conditions in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but avoided touching on the human rights situation in the United States," the document says.

By publishing the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006, the document says it aims to "help people have a better understanding of the situation in the United States and promote the international cause of human rights".

Relying on its strong military power, the United States has trespassed on the sovereignty of other countries and violated human rights in other countries, the document says.

A survey of Bloomberg School of Public Health under Johns Hopkins University estimated that more than 655,000 Iraqis have died in Iraq since war started in March 2003, which means about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country, The Washington Post reported on Oct. 11, 2006.

On Nov. 19, 2005, a U.S. marine unit searched an Iraqi community door-to-door and slaughtered 24 Iraqi civilians after a marine was killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha.

Those who were killed included a 76-year-old disabled man, a three-year-old child, and seven women, according to the BBC News on Nov. 19, 2006.

The document says the United States has a flagrant record of violating the Geneva Convention in systematically abusing prisoners during the Iraqi War and the War in Afghanistan.

On February 15, 2006, Australia's SBS TV aired more than 10 pictures and video clips taken at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. The images included a man with throat cut off, left forearm of a man with burns and shrapnel wounds, a blood-stained interrogation room, and a seemly insane man covered with his own feces.

Even in the United States, people's life, property and personal security are not duely protected, the document says.

The document quotes a report by the U.S. Justice Department on Sept. 10, 2006 as saying that there were 5.2 million violent crimes in the United States in 2005, up 2.5 percent from the previous year, the highest rate in 15 years.

Statistics released by the department in 2006 showed that in 2005 American residents age 12 or above experienced 23 million crimes; for every 1,000 persons age 12 or older, there occurred one rape or sexual assault, one assault with injury, and three robberies.

In the United States, human rights violations committed by law enforcement and judicial departments are also common.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies have referred 6,472 individuals to prosecutors on terrorism-related charges.

The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University says nearly three-quarters of terrorism suspects seized by the United States in the five years following the September 11 attacks have not even made it to trial due to lack of evidence.

In 64 percent of the cases, federal prosecutors decided that they were not worth prosecuting, while an additional nine percent were either dismissed by judges or the individuals were found not guilty, according to a report by the AFP on September 4, 2006.

In recent years, American citizens have suffered increasing civil rights infringements, as the U.S. government has put average Americans under intense surveillance as part of terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to a survey released in December 2006, two-thirds of Americans believe that the FBI and other federal agencies are intruding on their privacy rights, according to a Washington Post report on Dec. 13, 2006.

The Chinese document also criticizes America's self-touted democracy in election, saying that the country's mode of democracy is in essence one in which money talks.

In 2004, candidates for the House of Representatives who raised less than one million U.S. dollars had almost no chance of winning, the USA TODAY quoted a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics as saying in a report on Oct. 29, 2006.

The average successful Senate campaign cost 7 million dollars, the USA TODAY says. In 2006, all state campaigns in the United States were predicted to cost about 2.4 billion dollars.

Seventy-four percent of respondents to a new Opinion Research poll say the U.S. Congress is generally out of touch with average Americans, as CNN reported on Oct. 18, 2006, and 79 percent of the surveyed say they feel big business does have too much influence over the administration's decisions.

The Chinese document also slams the United States for its lack of proper guarantee for people's economic, social and cultural rights.

A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on August 29, 2006 says there were 37 million people living in poverty in 2005, accounting for 12.6 percent of total U.S. population. The report also says there were 7.7 million families in poverty and one out of eight Americans was living in poverty in 2005.

"The ethnic minorities are at the bottom of American society," the Chinese report says.

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November 2006 indicated that according to the 2005 data, the average yearly household income was 50,622 U.S. dollars for whites, compared with 36,278 for Hispanics and 30,940 for blacks. White people's income was 64 percent more than the blacks and 40 percent more than the Hispanics.

Racial discrimination is also deep-rooted in America's law enforcement and judicial systems.

According to statistics of the National Urban League, of the sentences issued in 12 crime categories in the State Courts, sentences for black males were longer than white males in all of them.

The human rights situation of women, children, the elderly and the disabled in the United States is also worrisome, says the Chinese report.

American women and men are not equally paid for the same work, and the income of women has always been lower than that of men.

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2006 says the median earnings of women and men were about 32,000 and 42,000 U.S. dollars, respectively. The female-to-male earnings ratio was 76 percent.

According to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2006, 12.9 million children under 18 lived below the poverty line by the end of 2005, accounting for 17.6 percent of the population of this age group and 35.2 percent of the 37 million people in poverty in the United States.

Other statistics released by U.S. Census Bureau in 2006 showed that the number for seniors aged above 65 in poverty increased from 3.5 million in 2004 to 3.6 million in 2005, with the poverty rate reaching 10.1 percent.

A survey conducted in Los Angeles County showed that 49 percent of the 88,345 homeless people in the county had a physical or mental disability, The New York Times reported on Jan. 15, 2006.

The Chinese document says America's international image has been greatly hurt by its government's violation of human rights flaunting the banner of "safeguarding human rights".

A poll by the BBC World Service released on January 23, 2007 showed that some 73 percent of the 26,381 people questioned in 25 countries disapproved of the U.S. government's handling of the military campaign in Iraq, with 49 percent of respondents saying Washington was playing a mainly negative role internationally.

Though the poll did not directly address their reasons, the AFP quoted experts as saying that the negative views appeared to be driven by U.S. intervention in the Middle East and the "disconnect" between its declared values and actions, such as in Guantanamo Bay.

The document says "to name and shame" other countries in annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices is a strategy of the U.S. government to wage the Cold War in the second half of the last century and typical of the Cold War mentality.

"The United States has lorded it over other countries by condemning other countries' human rights practices while ignoring its own problems, which exposes its double standard and hegemonism on the human rights issue."

"We urge the U.S. government to acknowledge its own human rights problems and stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights," the document says.

This is the eighth consecutive year that China has issued human rights record of the United States in answer to the U.S. State Department annual report.
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Editor: Wang Yan
Source: Xinhua