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Sunday, March 14, 2010

China fires back at US over US rights report.

While China no doubt deserves the criticism that the US report makes some of what the Chinese respond is correct as well particularly the increased surveillance of US citizens. China does not make it clear how the financial disaster is a human rights disaster. China and the US seem increasingly at odds on many issues particularly the US weapons sale to Taiwan and the US dalliance with the Dalai Lama. On the currency issue China has also reacted strongly to US criticism. This is from AlJazeera.


China backlash at US rights report

The State Department report said China's record on human rights had worsened in several areas [EPA]
China has hit back at the US over human rights, telling Washington to get its own house in order before criticising others and blaming US policy for the global financial crisis.

The angry comments - the latest in a series of terse exchanges between Washington and Beijing - follow the release of a US State Department report condemning what Washington says is a worsening of China's human rights record.

In what has become an annual tit-for-tat exchange, China published its own report on Friday accusing the US of using human rights as a political tool to interfere in other countries' political affairs.

"At a time when the world is suffering a serious human rights disaster caused by the US subprime crisis-induced global financial crisis, the US government still ignores its own serious human rights problems but revels in accusing other countries. It is really a pity," the Chinese report said.

The report said that while accusing other nations of suppressing freedom of speech and communication, the US has itself stepped up eavesdropping and wiretapping of its own citizens.

It added that US citizens were threatened by "widespread violent crimes", while abuses of power were common among US law enforcement officials.

"The United States not only has a terrible domestic human rights record, it is also the main source of many human rights disasters worldwide"

Chinese report on Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009

"The United States not only has a terrible domestic human rights record, it is also the main source of many human rights disasters worldwide," the Chinese report said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

For the past 11 years China has made a point of releasing its own report on US human rights in response to the State Department's annual global assessment.

This year's exchange however comes amid a particularly tense period in relations between the two countries, following rows over US arms sales to Taiwan, a US visit by the Dalai Lama, and a raft of trade disputes.

In its report on Thursday, the US State Department singled out China alongside Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Myanmar as among the worst rights abusers in 2009.

It said China's human rights record had worsened in some areas last year, with increased harassment of lawyers and activists, repression of Tibetan and Uighur minorities, and a tightening of already strict controls on the internet.

Net censorship

The US report placed particular attention on the suppression of online dissent with China among what it said were the worst offenders tightening censorship and other controls on the internet.


The US report placed particular attention on the suppression of online dissent in China [EPA]
"China increased its efforts to monitor internet use, control content, restrict information, block access to foreign and domestic web sites, encourage self-censorship, and punish those who violated regulations," it said.

The report added that the Chinese security services employed thousands of officials specifically to monitor and censor electronic communications.

Elsewhere it said China continued the repression of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, the far western region which last year witnesses deadly rioting between indigenous ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese.

In Tibet meanwhile it said China continued to impose "tight government controls" with Tibetans facing restrictions on practicing their religion and severe repercussions if they tried to escape to Nepal.

The report also increased incidents of "detention and harassment of human rights activists" while lawyers and legal firms that took on cases deemed sensitive by the government faced "harassment, disbarment and closure".

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