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China issues human rights record of the US
01-03-2004
2004/03/01

China issued the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003 Monday in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2003 issued by the U.S. on Feb. 25.

Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the Chinese report listed a multitude of cases to show that serious violations of human rights exist on the homeland of the United States.

"As in any previous year, the United States once again acted as'the world human rights police' by distorting and censuring in the'reports' the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions across the world, including China. And just as usual, the United States once again 'omitted' its own long-standing malpractices and problems of human rights in the 'reports'. Therefore, we have to, as before, help the United States keep its human rights record," said the report.

The report reviewed the human rights record of the United States in 2003 from six perspectives: Life, Freedom and Safety; Political Rights and Freedom; Living Conditions of US Laborers; Racial Discrimination; Conditions of Women, Children and Elderly People; and Infringement upon Human Rights of Other Nations.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the Information Office of the State Council has issued human rights record of the United States to answer the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued annually by the State Department of the United States.

Laborers' rights not well-protected in the US

The United States has turned a blind eye to the rights and interests of common laborers, leading to serious problems like poverty, hunger and homeless people.

The disparity between the rich and the poor keeps widening in the US, says the record, the fifth of its kind issued by China, in response to the annual country reports on human rights by the United States.

A 2003 report by the Office of Management and Budget under the US Congress acknowledged that the gap between the rich and the poor in the country today is wider than anytime in the past seven decades, with the wealth of the country's richest 1 percent population exceeding the overall possessions of the needy, who account for 40 percent of the population. In 2000, the rich people's wealth make up 15.5 percent of the country's overall national income, as against 7.5 percent in 1979. A report by the US FederalReserve also showed that between 1998 and 2001, the wealth gap between the country's richest and poorest had widened by 70 percent.

The population living in poverty and hunger in the United States has been on a steady rise, says the record. According to statistics from the 2003 economic report of the US Census Bureau, the impoverished population in the United States had been increasing for two consecutive years, reaching 34.6 million, or 12.1 percent of the total population, in 2002, up 1.7 million over the previous year. The country's poverty ratio in 2002 had increased by 0.4 percentage points over the previous year.

In October, 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture released a report, which showed that in 2002 there were 12 million American families worrying about their food expenditures and 3.8 million families with members who actually suffered from hunger.

According to the human rights record, the homeless population continues to rise in the United States. According to information released by the US National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty,more than 3 million people were homeless in the United States in 2002. A survey released by the US Conference of Mayors in December2003 shows that requests for emergency shelter assistance increased by an average of 13 percent in the past year. Moreover, 88 percent of the cities surveyed predicted that the situation would be even worse in 2004.

Besides, the record points out there is a lack of work safety in the U.S.. New York Times quoted a survey of the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration as saying that in 20 years from 1982 to 2002, there were 1,242 cases involving the death of workers caused by the employers' "intended" violation of safety rules, yet 93 percent of the cases were not brought to the court.In these two decades, there were a total of 2,197 accidents caused by employers' violation of safety rules and resulted in death of the workers in the United States, yet the combined prison terms for employers involved were less than 30 years, says the record.

The situation of health insurance worsened among the American laborers, says the record. According to figures released by the US Census Bureau in September 2003, the number of Americans without health insurance climbed by 5.7 percent over 2001, to 43.6 millionin 2002, the largest single increase in a decade. Overall, 15.2 percent of the Americans were uninsured in 2002, the record says.

Rights of women, children and elderly people lack protection in the US

Little can be spoken of the human rights record in the US in view of protecting the rights of women, children and elderly people, according to the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003.

It says American women can not enjoy the same rights as men to take part in government and political affairs, says the record. Statistics from the Center for American Women in Politics indicated that in 2003, women hold 59, or 13.6 percent, of the seats in the House of Representatives and 14, or 14 percent, of the seats in the Senate.

According to the record, in the United States, women are not entitled to equal treatment with regard to employment and income. American women are still largely pigeonholed in "pink collar" jobs, such as secretary, shop attendant and waitress, according toa report released by the American Association of University of Women in May, 2003.

Statistics from the US Department of Labor indicated that in 2002, the average weekly earnings for women aged 16 and above were 530 US dollars, or 77.9 percent of the 680 dollars for their male counterparts. The department said that there were twice as many as women whose earnings were below the Federal minimum wage, compared with men. There has been serious domestic and sexual violence against women, says the record.

According to a study by the US National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 92 percent of American women rank domestic and sexual violence as one of their top worries. One out of every three women experiences at least one physical assault during adulthood, however, only one out of seven cases of domestic violence drew the attention of the police.

According to the record, the protection of children provided inthe US is far below international standard. The United States isone of the only two countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of Children. Since 1980s, all the states in the US have lowered the age of criminal culpability against juvenile offenders, and in some states, juvenile offenders aged 10 even stood on trial in adult courts.

The US is the country that has handed most of the death penalties to juvenile offenders and carried out the executions in the world, the record says. According to a report released by theAmnesty International on Jan. 21, two-thirds of the documented executions of juvenile offenders in the world occurred in the US. Up to date, there 80 such juvenile prisoners on the death row waiting to be executed.

Moreover, among the developed nations, the United States ranks the first in the number of children living under the poverty line and the last in the span of its children's life expectancy. According to statistics released by the US Census Bureau in September 2003, 10.4 percent of all US minors lived in poverty by the definition of income in 2002, up to 13 million. And according to the United Nations Children's Fund, of the 27 well-off countries in the world, the United States ranks the first in the number of deaths of its children as result of violence and negligence.

The under-aged population are under threat in terms of physicaland mental health and they are usually the victims of sexual assault, says the record. According the US Federal Government, of all the children under the age of 18, 10 percent suffer from psychological illness of various levels. But only one fifth of them have been provided with medical treatment.

According to others reports, at least 1000 people were arrested in the United States for accused acts of eroticism targeting children since June 2003.

The record also reveals how the gray-haired are prejudiced against and mistreated, which led to higher rate of suicide among them. In the United States, people over the age of 65 account for 13 percent of the national population, and of all the people who committed suicide, the senior population account for 19 percent, it says.

US blamed on trampling human rights in other countries

The image of the United States has been tarnished by numerous misdeeds of human rights infringement in other countries, said the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2003.

The record considered it a result of unilateralism the US had been practicing in recent years, which made it indulged in military aggression around the world and brutal violation of sovereign rights of other nations.

In March 2003, without authorization by the United Nations, theUS unilaterally waged a large-scale war on Iraq based on its claim that the Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The record says that the U.S. army dropped many bombs on residential areas, shopping malls and civilian vehicles in its wanton and in discriminate bombing of Iraq.

It quoted Britain's Independent newspaper as saying the war on Iraq killed more than 16,000 Iraqis, including 10,000 civilians.

However, it's only a small consequence of the US' active sabre-rattling. According to the record, it has resorted to the use of force against other countries 40 times since 1990s.

Statistics in the book "Rouge State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower" by well-known US journalist and writer William Blum also showed that since 1945, the U.S. has attempted to overthrow over 40 foreign governments, suppressed over 30 national movements, in which millions of people have lost their lives and many more were pushed into misery and despair.

The reckless use of depleted uranium (DU) shells and cluster bombs was another evidence cited by the record.

Last December, the Human Rights Watch disclosed that the 13,000cluster bombs US troops used in Iraq contained nearly 2 million bomblets, causing over 1,000 causalities. The quantity of depleted uranium shells it dropped and the residue of their pollutants also far exceeded those of the Gulf War in 1991.

The record points out that the US placed some of its prisoners "beyond the law". It put behind bars in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba 680 alleged die-hard Al-Qaida elements from 40-odd countries, who the US government said were not "prisoners of war" and therefore not subjected to the protection of the Geneva Conventions.

A report entitled People the Law Forgot, carried on the British Guardian newspaper last December, depicted the mental and physicaltortures suffered by the 600-odd foreign detainees.

Meanwhile, the record also listed frequent violations of local people's rights by the US overseas troops.

Last year, the US military authority received 88 reports about "misbehavior" of its overseas troops. In the past dozen years, over 100 soldiers of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa of Japan have been reported of committing rapes. Troops in Australia and Iraq were also accused of sexual harassment or beating and insulting local people.

Statistics show the US is the nation with the most troops stationed overseas, about 364,000 troops in over 130 countries andregions.

In addition, the record also says the US was the largest exporter of arms. It quoted a report of the New York Times as saying that the US export of conventional arms accounted for 45.5 percent of the world's arms trade volume in 2002, ranking the first in the world. A Capitol report also said the US sold 8.6 billion US dollars worth of conventional arms to the developing nations, or 48.6 percent of all the arms procured by the developing world in 2002.

Presuming to be the "Judge of Human Rights in the World", the US publishes "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" every year and denounces unreasonably human rights status in other countries, regardless of the disparities among different countriesin politics, economy, history, culture and social development, says the record.

"Meanwhile, it has turned a blind eye to its own human rights problems. This fully exposed the dual standards of the US on human rights and its hegemonism," the record says.

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