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China, Russia slam US Human Rights report

CHINA: China on Wednesday voiced strong opposition to the U.S. State Department’s 2007 Human Rights Report that criticises China’s human rights conditions.

“China is willing to have dialogue and exchange of views with other countries on the human rights issue,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

However, the spokesman stressed that the country sternly opposes to any intervention to the internal affairs of other countries in excuse of human rights concern. Qin said, responding to the reporters’ question on the U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007”,

that China respects and safeguards human rights and the Chinese government adheres to a policy that calls for “putting people first.”

Qin said the U.S. annual report “again ignored basic facts”, and willfully distorted and groundlessly criticized China’s ethnic, religious and legal systems, which was “quite mistaken” and will never succeed in its attempt.

“We suggest the U.S. government to stop depicting itself as a human rights watchdog and focus more on its own human rights problems”, Qin said, demanding the U.S. to stop its wrongdoing such as issuing the so-called country reports on human rights practices, playing double standard on the human rights issue and interfere with the internal affairs of other countries.

Meanwhile, Russia on Wednesday denounced an annual report issued by the United States on human rights that criticized Moscow, saying it’s full of groundless accusation and a demonstration of dual standards.

“The latest reports ... contain the standard set of objections concerning Russia in a mentor’s tone, departure from democratic principles in government, harassment of dissenters and pressure on the press and restriction of freedom of speech,” Interfax news agency cited a Foreign Ministry statement as saying.

“Many of the sections are copied from the previous reports. One gets the impression that the State Department simply collected facts to support conclusions formulated in advance,” the ministry says.

Washington’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007” has been rejected by many states. – Xinhua


China issues Human Rights record of US in 2007

CHINA: The report says that the deserved economic, social and cultural rights of US citizens have not been properly protected.

Poor population in the United States is constantly increasing. According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2007, the official poverty rate in 2006 was 12.3 percent. There were 36.5 million people, or 7.7 million families living in poverty in 2006.

In another word, almost one out of eight U.S. citizens lives in poverty.

The wealth of the richest group in the United States has rapidly expanded in recent years, widening the earning gap between the rich and poor. The earnings of the highest one percent of the population accounted for 21.2 percent of U.S. total national income in 2005, compared with 19 percent in 2004.

The earnings of the lowest 50 percent of the population accounted for 12.8 percent of the total national income in 2005, down from 13.4 percent in 2004, according to Reuters.

Hungry and homeless people have increased significantly in U.S. cities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released on November 14, 2007 that at least 35.5 million people in the United States, including 12.63 million children, went hungry in 2006, an increase of 390,000 from 2005.

About 11 million people lived in “very low food security”, according to Reuters.

People without health insurance have been increasing in the United States. A Reuters report on September 20, 2007 quoted the U.S. Census Bureau as saying that 47 million people in the United States were not covered by health insurance.

Racial discrimination is a deep-rooted social illness in the United States, the report says. Black people and other minor ethnic groups live in the bottom of the U.S. society.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2007, median income of black households was 31,969 U.S. dollars in 2006, or 61 percent of that for non-Hispanic white households. Median income for Hispanic households stood at 37,781 U.S. dollars, 72 percent of that for non-Hispanic white households.

The rates of blacks and Hispanics living in poverty and without health insurance are much higher than non-Hispanic whites, according to Washington Observer Weekly. Ethnic minorities have been subject to racial discrimination in employment and workplace.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in November 2007, the unemployment rate for Black Americans was 8.4 percent, twice that of non-Hispanic Whites (4.2 percent).

The unemployment rate for Hispanics was 5.7 percent. The jobless rates among blacks and Hispanics were much higher than that for non-Hispanic Whites. Racial discrimination in the U.S. judicial system is shocking.

According to the 2007 annual report on the state of black Americans issued by the National Urban League (NUL), African Americans (especially males) are more likely than whites to be convicted and sentenced to longer terms. Blacks are seven times more likely than Whites to be incarcerated.

The report says the conditions of women and children in the United States are worrisome. Women account for 51 percent of the U.S. population, but there are only 86 women serving in the 110th U.S. Congress. Women hold 16, or 16.0 percent of the 100 seats in the Senate and 70, or 16.1 percent of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

In December 2007, there were 76 women serving in statewide elective executive offices, accounting for 24.1 percent of the total. The proportion of women in state legislature is 23.5 percent. Discrimination against women is pervasive in U.S. job market and workplaces.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it received 23,247 charges on sex-based discrimination in 2006, accounting for 30.7 percent of the total discrimination charges.

The living conditions of U.S. children are of great concern. Houston Chronicle reported that a survey by the United Nations on 21 rich countries showed that though the United States was among the world’s richest nations, its ranked only the 20th in the overall well-being of children.

U.S. juveniles often fall victims of abuses and crimes. According to a report on school crimes in the United States released by the Department of Justice in December 2007, 57 out of one thousand U.S. students above the age of 12 were victims of violence and property crimes in 2005.

U.S. troops have killed many innocent civilians in the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan.

The Washington Post reported on May 3, 2007 that as many as 51 civilians were killed by U.S. soldiers in one week (Karzai Says Civilian Toll is No Longer Acceptable, The Washington Post, May 3, 2007).

An Afghan human rights group said in a report that U.S. marine unit fired indiscriminately at pedestrians, people in cars, buses and taxis along a 10-mile stretch of road in Nangahar province on March 4, 2007, killing 12 civilians, including one infant and three elders (New York Times, April 15, 2007).

U.S. human rights records can be best described as tattered and shocking. The facts enlisted above are only a tip of an iceberg, the report says.

It is high time for the U.S. government to face its own human rights problems with courage, take actions to improve its own human rights records and give up the unwise practices of applying double standards on human rights issues and using it to suppress other countries, according to the report.

This is the ninth consecutive year that the Information Office of the State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to answer the U.S. State Department annual report. - Xinhua

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