April 12, 2011
Human rights: US on China, China on US
On April 9th, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released its annual human rights report on various countries around the world. The China section is here.
Predictably, the Chinese government reacted by calling it "full of distortions". Regrettably, however, it declined to identify any of the distortions. Instead, it applied as usual its theory that the best way to refute an accusation is to accuse the accuser of doing the same thing, and released a report on human rights violations in the United States. The government web site carrying the report even referred to the release as "strik[ing] back". Apparently human rights violations in the US don't bother it unless the US government hits first.
The Chinese report accuses US authorities at the state and federal level of several things that few governments would admit to condoning, such as torture. What's odd is that it also waxes indignant about various civil liberties violations that, while they might get the ACLU up in arms, are engaged in by the Chinese government itself - for example, visa denials without judicial review. And I confess that my outrage meter barely budges when I read that at US airports "passengers can not refuse the security check based on their religious beliefs".
I hope each government will post the other's report on its embassy's web site.