The annual human rights reports released by the United States have triggered strong opposition–in Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Belarus.
So the US released its annual human rights report last Thursday. And in response, China’s Information Office of the State Council released its own report specifically about human rights in the United States.
In fact, they’ve been issuing reports like this for more than a decade. It’s called “Human Rights Record of the United States.”
That report points out, without a hint of irony, the US government’s so-called “woeful human rights situation.”
For example, it berates the US for how police have arrested “Occupy Wall Street” protesters–with no mention of how in China, police can detain suspects for up to 37 days before formally arresting them, compared to about 2 days in the US.
The Chinese report cites the US government’s, quote, “strict censoring and control over the press…[and] restriction on the Internet”; but China has one of the most restricted and censored Internets in the world. Human Rights Watch puts China’s Internet Freedom ranking in the world’s worst 5% – along with Syria, Iran, and Belarus by the way. America, while not the best, is still in the top 12%.
It’s also interesting that the Chinese regime considers people’s right to make money as part of human rights, but not freedom of speech.
So why would the Chinese regime issue this report? Well, I’m not sure who they’re trying to convince in the US. But internally it may be significant. The Chinese Communist Party uses reports like these to achieve two things.
The first is to redefine the term human rights. For example, the Chinese regime uses the term to include “economic, social and cultural rights,” but not freedom of speech or religion. It’s like how in George Orwell’s 1984 the Party redefines the word “free” to simply mean the “absence of something” without the meaning of political or personal freedom.
The second reason, and this is probably more significant, is made pretty clear in how they end the report. It says, quote, “the United States’ own tarnished human rights record has made it in no condition, on moral, political or legal basis, to act as the world’s ‘human rights justice.’” Basically, it uses the logic of “you can’t criticise me unless you’re perfect yourself.”
But think about it: If no one could point out problems with others unless they were perfect themselves, could parents ever tell their children to do better than they did? Could any organisation or government ever expose problems in oppressive countries? Those regimes that harm their own people could continue, and no one could say anything. Well, under that logic, who even needs freedom of speech?New Tang Dynasty Television
- China Rebuts US Human Rights Report With Its Own Version (behindlies09.wordpress.com)
- China: Treatment of Occupy Movement Protesters Proves US Applies “Double-Standard” in Human Rights Accusations (obrag.org)
- China calls out ‘overcritical’ U.S. (globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com)