Yet again, China has retaliated against the release of the United States’ annual human rights report by publishing their own report about human rights violations committed by the US last year.
Dialogue between the world’s top two superpowers extends to a vast array of topics from plaza names to stock tips, but perhaps none is more contentious than the subject of human rights. The U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor released the 2015 edition of its annual human rights report this Wednesday, featuring an in-depth analysis of China’s most controversial behavior, including its disappearing booksellers, jailed lawyers and expelled journalists.
However, China’s Information Office of the State Council was once again ready to respond in kind, releasing its own report the next day, frankly titled “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2015.” “Since the U.S. government refuses to hold up a mirror to look at itself, it has to be done with other people’s help,” China reasons.
The report found that in 2015, “No substantial progress concerning the economic and social rights of U.S. citizens were made.” It adds that more than 560,000 Americans were homeless in 2015 and 33 million, roughly 10% of the total American population, were living without health insurance.
Criticism of the United States’ international neglectfulness was brought to the forefront as well, citing the country’s failure to ratify UN human rights conventions and tremendous civilian casualty numbers in the Middle East.
The report continues China’s “the best defense is a good offense” strategy when it comes to human rights. They have issued the same kind of damning report each year since the late 1990s. But this year, China seems to be going all-out, at a tense meeting of the UN Human Rights Council last month, China even went so far as to blame the US for the “rape and murder” of civilians while defending its own record from international attack. Later in the month, a CCTV broadcast documentary on American human rights offenses aired (which has also been uploaded to YouTube), filling in millions of Chinese viewers on the dirty secrets of their country’s greatest competitor.
As usual, the report emphasized gun violence in the United States, one of this year’s most conspicuous topics:
There were a total of 51,675 gun violence incidents in the United States in 2015 as of December 28, leaving 13,136 killed and 26,493 injured. U.S. police shot dead 965 people last year as of December 24.
At a regular media session, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang explained why China feels the need to issue this report each year. “The United States’ so-called annual human rights report uses the issue of human rights to make irresponsible remarks about other countries’ internal politics,” he said. Lu added that the American report consistently omits China’s remarkable human rights improvements since Reform and Opening Up.
By Matthew Patel