Canadian Press / Associated Press – 2007-03-07 23:38:42
BEIJING (March 7, 2007) — China blasted the United States today for trampling on Iraq’s sovereignty, using its campaign against terrorism as an excuse to carry out torture and violate the rights of its citizens.
The charges came in the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006, China’s response to US criticism of its human rights record issued by the US State Department on Tuesday.
“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 report said.
“We urge the US government to acknowledge its own human rights problems and stop interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights,” it said.
The report, the eighth year China has answered the State Department’s annual report on human rights around the world, was released by the State Council, China’s cabinet, through the Xinhua News Agency.
It said the United States has used its military power to trespass on the sovereignty of other countries and violate human rights.
The Chinese report cites US news stories estimating more than 655,000 Iraqis have died in Iraq since war started in March 2003 and repeats charges of atrocities carried out by US forces.
It said the United States has “a flagrant record” of violating the Geneva Conventions by systematically abusing prisoners in Iraq and in Afghanistan, citing severe mistreatment of prisoners in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison as one example.
The report said the international image of the United States has been hurt by these rights violations that flaunted the banner of “safeguarding human rights.”
In its report, the State Department said China’s human rights record deteriorated in 2006, with officials harassing and arresting reporters, activists and defence lawyers seeking to exercise their rights.
It also faulted China for endemic corruption, discrimination against women and minorities, government control of courts and judges and Internet censorship.
The State Department said China had tightened restrictions on press and speech freedoms, executed people on the day of their conviction or immediately after an appeal was denied and restricted people trying to assemble, practise religion and travel.
China countered today, saying the United States has a poor domestic human rights record, with its citizens suffering “increasing civil rights infringements” as the US government put average Americans under intense surveillance as part of terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
It cited US reports that said nearly three-quarters of the terrorism suspects seized by the United States in the five years following the attacks have not made been put on trial due to lack of evidence.
The report also criticized the United States for not protecting its citizen’s economic and social rights, saying the US Census Bureau estimated 37 million people lived in poverty in the United States in 2005, or about one in eight Americans.
“The ethnic minorities are at the bottom of American society,” the Chinese report said.
The document quotes a US Justice Department report that said there were 5.2 million violent crimes in the United States in 2005, the highest number in 15 years.
© The Canadian Press, 2007
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