China calls US rights report 'prejudiced'

2012-05-25 14:59

Beijing - China on Friday strongly criticised a human rights report issued by the United States, calling the document "fraught with prejudice" and insisting its rights record was improving.

The US report, issued days after China allowed one of its best-known activists to go to New York to study, said Beijing's human rights record deteriorated in 2011 as authorities stepped up efforts to stifle dissent.

"The human rights report released by the US State Department points fingers at other countries," foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told reporters at a regular briefing on Friday.

"The content related to China is fraught with prejudice, disregards the facts and confuses right and wrong... such an issue should never be used as a tool to attack others or interfere in the internal affairs of other countries."

Hong said China had made "remarkable progress" on human rights over the last 30 years - a period in which millions have been pulled from poverty as the nation embarked on robust economic reforms.

China frequently uses the growing wealth of its citizens to counter accusations of rights abuses.

House arrest

The US issued its report five days after the blind legal campaigner Chen Guangcheng, who made headlines around the world after escaping from illegal house arrest, left China for New York.

In it, the State Department detailed concerns over the treatment of Chen, saying he and his wife had been severely beaten and activists who tried to visit his home in eastern Shandong province had been assaulted.

It said Chinese authorities have increasingly turned to house arrest, including of family members, and have tried to stifle public debate through rigid controls of the Internet.

"In China, the human rights situation deteriorated, particularly the freedoms of expression, assembly and association," the US report said.

Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has been blind since childhood, riled authorities by exposing forced abortions and sterilisations under China's one-child-only policy.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-25 15:47

    I have to agree with China's sentiments here. Even though they have a long road to travel (they themselves admit) they are on the road, and they are implementing sweeping changes across the board and are presently in a process of a controlled revolutionary change. Judging the speed they are doing it, the China we saw a decade ago is not the China we see today and a decade from now we will not probably recognize the giant as we perceive it to be today or what it was in the past.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 15:53

      There is no excuse for abusing human beings. It is totally unacceptable. Changes can and should take place without this abhorrent behavior.

      piet.strydom - 2012-05-25 16:26

      @Fred - It is easy to point out what is wrong, but show me one country in the world that has transitioned from poor to (more) wealthy, without human rights abuses? Actually, show me one country today where human rights are not abused in some or other way.

      Rob - 2012-05-25 16:48

      Glen: I don't know what I am talking about because I don't have all the details. Except, and I do know this, Improvement is good, but metrics are what will count. If China chooses to use a different bunch of metrics, so be it, but that will not change the US report. Should the US be the arbiter, that is arguable, but today I guess they have the most credibility.....ok a matter of opinion, but that is mine too.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 18:34

      It's actually easier to turn a blind eye to it. But that's a diriliction of responsibility to our fellow human beings. In this Information Age, where we know more what is happening in our world in real time, we have greater power to say no, and demand change. There's a change in regime happening in China in October. It's up to the Chinese people to make the change happen. It's up to the rest of us, I believe, to encourage that change in conversation and other actions. There is no excuse for abuse, wherever it happens and by whoever it's done.

  • Teri - 2012-05-25 15:55

    And what about the US Human Rights Violations in Iraz, Guantanamo Bay etc.???

      Rob - 2012-05-25 16:52

      Well, you know about them so it is not all bad. But that isn't the point at all. The report is the report! I presume that it doesn't say we (the US) are better than you (China). So I don't get the relevance of your comment.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 23:31

      So do nothing about China, which has the worst human rights record of any country on Earth?

      piet.strydom - 2012-05-26 04:04

      @fred - based on what info do you make that accusation?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-26 15:49

      Mao's Cultural Revolution and the Soviet Communist years.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-26 15:53

      Correction: Chinese Communism

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-26 18:31

      Deaths in Mao's Cultural Revolution and in the so-called People's Republic of China: 40 million to 70 million. This is deaths alone, excluding detentions, torture, maimings and rape.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-26 22:44

      It is no wonder Chinese people are afraid of their government and allow it to continue abusing them. Not for much longer hopefully. It's also no wonder China has birthed the most well known pacifist movement in the world today: Tibetan Buddhism.

      piet.strydom - 2012-05-30 14:54

      @Fred, We are a long ways past Mao....

  • Jerzy - 2012-05-25 16:55

    Looks who's talking about human rights. The US turns a blind eye to Administrative detention in Israel, and has supported some dictatorships in the middle east for 3 decades. Lets not forget about the atrocities at Abu Graib as well as the systematic torture of POW's as well as extraordinary rendition which is illegal under the Geneva Convention. Patiently awaiting Fred's response.

      Rob - 2012-05-25 17:22

      Jerzy: It is npot a logical argument to say that the US has done whatever therefore the report is not accurate. As I said above, I do not know the facts of the report, but China's protest on the basis of having improved does not, on its own, invalidate the report. By all means keep the US honest, but if you are saying that they are not competent to produce such a report which country would you prefer?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-25 18:48

      Unfortunately it's a self-weakening and petty perspective that you hold, and it does nothing to help the Chinese people free themselves from centuries of oppression at the hands of their government. While not perfect by any means, there's a world of difference between human rights and individual freedoms in the US compared to China. The lack of these rights and freedoms in China should be your focus in this thread. Obviously. This is what China and the world need, not a do-nothing attitude because of imperfections elsewhere.

      piet.strydom - 2012-05-26 14:17

      @john - we in the west are suppressed just in different ways. Just this month we have had another example of a bank losing $2 000 000 000 dollars of their investors and shareholders' money. The banks were bailed out by government using taxpayers money. The purpose of the bailout was to keep the banks lending at a reasonable rate, so that the economy could keep functioning. Very little of that money went for that purpose, it stayed right in the bank to shore up their cash reserves, or it went straight back to the ECB at a higher rate. And while I agree that America and the rest of the west also making mistakes should not prevent them from looking after their Chinese brothers action. But it should prevent them barging in with an holier than though attitude.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-05-26 16:58

      @Piet, it's not comparable with the oppression that people in countries like China experience. IMO the US/West can absolutely have a holier-than-thou attitude towards China because they are.

      piet.strydom - 2012-05-30 14:58

      @john - You live in a fantasy world boet. Open your eyes to the suffering caused all around the world by the West. While we have done a lot of things in the past that we can be proud of, it should not blind us to the messes that we have created as well. A little humility would become us.

  • Fidel - 2012-05-26 07:31

    China moves when China wants to. The Chinese have studied history and have seen how western powers have hijacked other countries in the guise of spreading democracy and human rights by sponsoring colour revolutions and installing puppet governments. China will no make this mistake.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-26 13:32

      fidel, Agree.....!!! China does not "interfere" in other countries governments. They are totally selfish, ant totally ruthless. They will ONLY do what one hundred percent benefits them.... They don't give a damn , if 100, 1000, 10 000 or 100 000 die while they are doing their 'business deals' Just look at how they behaved in Libya and now in N and S Sudan !!! Is it not great, that the West are not that selfish bastards !!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-26 15:52

      Reality check: China is not you Fidel. That's what you think, not China.

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