BEIJING: China on Friday issued a report on human rights in the US, denouncing it for foreign drone strikes, state-sponsored spying and “rampant” gun crime after Washington criticised its rights record.
Beijing said the US “concealed and avoided mentioning its own human rights problems”, such as a government-run intelligence programme known as PRISM which it said “seriously infringes on human rights”.
The document came after the State Department issued its annual global human rights report on Thursday.
China regularly produces a statement on the US in response. It does not release rights reports aimed at other countries.
The report, released by China’s State Council, or cabinet, singled out the US for criticism for drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan, which it said have caused “heavy civilian casualties”.
It also said the US suffers from “rampant gun violence”, while its agricultural sector employs a “large amount of child labourers”.
US points fingers at China for repressing ethnic Uighurs
Washington’s report released on Thursday praised China for some successes in human rights, such as the abolition of some labour camps and a change to the one-child policy.
But it added that “repression and coercion, particularly against organisations and individuals involved in civil and political rights advocacy… were routine”.
It also noted Beijing’s continued repression of ethnic Uighurs and Tibetans.
On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang accused the US of hypocrisy.
“The US is always making irresponsible remarks on the affairs of other countries but keeps silent on its own affairs,” he told reporters at a regular briefing. “This is a typical double standard.”
The human rights tit-for-tat game
Human rights are a long-standing source of tensions between China and the US, which imposed sanctions on Beijing after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters which left hundreds dead.
References in the Chinese document showed that much of it was sourced from US media reports, some from sources blocked by China’s internet controls which are sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Firewall’.
China’s ruling Communist Party tightly controls its own domestic media and has repeatedly imprisoned those who openly challenge its right to rule.
China often says that its rapid economic development in recent decades has led to a greater respect for human rights, and that other countries are not entitled to criticise its record.