n a tradition like no other, China has retaliated yet again to the United States’ annual human rights report by issuing one of its own, focused on all of the “human rights violations” that were committed by the US in the past year.
As usual, the report begins by condemning the US for acting as the world’s “human rights defender” while failing to adequately evaluate its own record:
On March 13 local time, the State Department of the United States released its 2018 country reports on human rights practices, continued pointing fingers at and slandering human rights situations in over 190 countries, while blindly ignoring its own serious human rights problems. If one takes a glimpse into the human rights situation of the United States in 2018, it will not be difficult to find that the United States government, a self-styled “human rights defender,” has a human rights record which is flawed and lackluster, and the double standards of human rights it pursues are obvious.
The 18-page report consists of eight chapters detailing many of the main problems facing American society — from a widening wealth gap to systemic racial discrimination to gun violence — all the usual criticisms that China has leveled against the US over the years.
Choosing a strategy of “the best defense is a good offense” when it comes to human rights, Beijing has been issuing this same kind of report since the late 1990s. As valid as these critiques may be, they tend to fall a bit flat considering the messenger. This year, the report’s criticisms of the US included “internet surveillance becomes a common practice,” “press freedom suffered unprecented blow,” and “a surge of anti-Muslim opinions.”
This comes after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo unveiled the US State Department’s annual human rights report at a press conference on Wednesday and declared that China was “in a league of its own” when it came to human rights violations, condemning the Chinese government for detaining more than a million Muslims in camps “designed to erase their religious and ethnic identities.”
Meanwhile, Pompeo’s own stance against evil in the world was undercut by the preface to the report, in which he writes: “The policy of this administration is to engage with other governments, regardless of their record, if doing so will further US interests.”
Finally, it’s also worth noting that China’s counter-report isn’t always compiled with care. As evidence for its charge of “a surge of anti-Muslim opinions” in the US, the report cites an article from the Guardian about anti-Muslim rhetoric from candidates during the 2018 midterm campaigns.
“More than a third have claimed that Muslims are inherently violent or pose an imminent threat,” the report quotes from the piece without context. “Just under a third of the candidates considered have called for Muslims to be denied basic rights or declared that Islam is not a religion.”
While this excerpt may make it appear as though one-third of those who ran for office last year in the US were public Islamophobes, the Guardian article was actually reporting on a survey from the group Muslim Advocates which specifically looked at 80 campaigns across the US that were run by candidates who engaged in anti-Muslim campaign attacks.