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Report from China: ‘Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012’

May 18, 2013

by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as the world judge of human rights again. As in previous years, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China.

Kimani Gray protest cops on Black woman on ground East Flatbush, Brooklyn 031313 by Stephanie Keith, Polaris
This photo with the following caption was used by China Daily to illustrate this report: “Kimani Gray protest on Church Avenue between East 55th Street and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, on March 13. In response to the shooting of a 16-year-old boy by police, protesters in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn had been holding nightly vigils and marches, and there have been frequent clashes with NYPD.” – Photo: Stephanie Keith, Polaris
However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it. Facts show that there are serious human rights problems in the U.S. which incur extensive criticism in the world. The Human Rights Record of the U.S. in 2012 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the U.S. to people across the world by simply laying down some facts.

The human rights situation in the U.S. in 2012 has deeply impressed people in the following aspects:

– Firearms-related crimes posed serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens in the U.S. Some shootings left astonishing casualties, such as the school shooting in Oakland, the Century 16 theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

– In the U.S., elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributions have, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the 2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

– In the U.S., citizens’ civil and political rights were further restricted by the government. The government expanded the scope of eavesdropping and censoring on personal telecommunications. The police often abused their power, resulting in increasing complaints and charges for infringement upon civil rights. The proportion of women in the U.S. who fell victim to domestic violence and sexual assault kept increasing.

– The U.S. has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gaps. In 2011, the Gini index was 0.477 in the U.S. and about 9 million people were registered as unemployed, about 16.4 million children lived in poverty and, for the first time in history, public schools reported more than 1 million homeless children and youth.

Facts show that there are serious human rights problems in the U.S. which incur extensive criticism in the world.

 
 – There was serious sex, racial and religious discrimination in the U.S. Indigenous people suffered serious racial discrimination and their poverty rate doubled the national average. A movie produced by a U.S. director and aired online was deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed, sparking protests by Muslims worldwide.

– The U.S. seriously infringed upon human rights of other nations. In 2012, U.S. military operations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan caused massive civilian casualties. U.S. soldiers had also severely blasphemed against local residents’ religion by burning copies of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and insulting bodies of the dead. There has been a huge rise in birth defects in Iraq since the war against Iraq with military actions in which American forces used metal contaminant-releasing white phosphorus shells and depleted uranium bombs.

– The U.S. was not able to effectively participate in international cooperation on human rights. To date, the U.S. remains a country which has not participated in or ratified a series of core U.N. conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

U.S.-led military operations bring forth ecological disasters to other countries

 
Military operations led by the United States have brought forth ecological disasters to other nations such as a huge rise in birth defects, says the report on the U.S. human rights record.

An article posted on the website of the Independent cited a study that reported a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war, says the report, titled “the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012,” which was released by China’s State Council Information Office.

The study found that in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which saw two of the heaviest battles during the Iraq war, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010.

Before the war, the figure was more like one in 10. More than 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from the previous 10 percent, according to figures of the study cited by the report.

Military operations led by the United States have brought forth ecological disasters to other nations such as a huge rise in birth defects.

 
The report also quotes Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, as saying that the Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007. “The war emits more than 60 percent of all countries,” Kretzmann said.

U.S.-led wars cause massive civilian casualties

 
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both started by the United States, have caused massive civilian casualties, says the report.

From 2001 to 2011, the U.S.-led “war on terror” killed between 14,000 and 110,000 per year, the report cites an article on the website of Stop the War Coalition as saying.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tallied at least 10,292 non-combatants killed from 2007 to July 2011.

The Iraq Body Count project records approximately 115,000 civilians killed in the cross-fire from 2003 to August 2011, according to the report.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both started by the United States, have caused massive civilian casualties.

 
Beyond the two states under occupation, the “War on Terror” has spilled into a number of neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing a great many civilians there, it says.

In addition, a news report posted on BBC’s website pointed at recurrent U.S. drone attacks in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the report. “Just one in 50 victims of America’s deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists – while the rest are innocent civilians,” the report quotes an article on the website of the Daily Mail as saying.

U.S. women victims of discrimination, poverty, sexual violence

 
Women in the United States are facing discrimination in employment and more vulnerable to poverty and violence, with some falling victim to sexual assault, says the report.

The U.S. remains one of a few countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, says the report.

Women made up about two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. who were paid minimum wage or less in 2011 and 61 percent of full-time minimum wage workers, the report says, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On average, women have to work as far as April 17 into 2012 to catch up with what men earned in 2011, it says.

Pregnant women and new mothers face the danger of being forced out of the workplace, according to the report.

A Houston mother was reportedly fired from her job at a collection agency after asking to bring a breast pump into the office so she’d have plenty of fresh breast milk for her newborn. A new Connecticut mom said her new employer asked her to resign after she told them she was pregnant.

The poverty rate for women in 2011 was 14.6 percent, compared to men’s 10.9 percent. Women are more likely to live in poverty and about 40 percent of women who head families live in poverty, the report cites the U.S. National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) as saying.

The U.S. remains one of a few countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

 
Women are the victims of violence and sexual assaults. A national census of domestic violence agencies in September 2011 found that more than 67,000 victims were served in a single day, the report says.

According to the Report on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the U.N. General Assembly in 2012, most prison staff in the U.S. are not adequately trained to prevent or respond to inmate sexual assaults, and prison rape often goes unreported and untreated, says the report.

Women in the U.S. armed forces are the victims of widespread sexual abuse. Around 79 percent of women serving in the military reported experiences of sexual harassment. Military sexual trauma often leads to debilitating conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression, according to the report.

The report also warns of the health of women of color. A media report in June 2012 says the rate of HIV infection in heterosexual African American women in the poorest neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., nearly doubled the 6.3 percent infection rate of two years before.

Minority women in the U.S. are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, according to a report posted on the website of the Chicago Tribune on Aug. 3, 2012.

U.S. scores low on children’s rights protection

 
Children in the U.S. are not blessed with enough protection for their safety, freedom and right to education, says the report.

Citing the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the report says at least 100,000 children across the country are trafficked each year.

Child sexual abuse is a widespread public health problem. Research indicates that 20 percent of adult females and 5 to 15 percent of adult males experienced sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence, the report says.

In 2012, several religious figures were found to have sexually assaulted children. In July 2012, Roman Catholic monsignor William Lynn was sentenced to six years in prison for allowing a priest suspected of sexual misconduct with a minor to have continued contact with children. In September, a Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas City was found guilty of failing to tell authorities about child pornography that was produced by a priest under his supervision, according to the report.

Children in the U.S. are not blessed with enough protection for their safety, freedom and right to education.

 
The number of homeless children increased sharply in the U.S., and many children are stricken by poverty, the report says.

For the first time in history, public schools reported more than 1 million homeless children and youth. Only 52 percent of identified homeless students who took standardized tests were proficient in reading, and only 51 percent passed the math portion, the report cites the data released by the U.S. Department of Education on June 27, 2012, as saying.

Forty-four states reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with 15 states reporting increases of 20 percent or more. The number of homeless children enrolled in public schools has increased 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year, according to the report.

Racial discrimination remains rampant in U.S.: report

 
Racial discrimination in the United States sees no improvement, and non-whites do not enjoy equal political, economic and social rights, says the report.

Ethnic Americans’ rights to vote are limited; even some Asian-American voters were obstructed at voting stations during the presidential election in November 2012, according to the report.

As of 2010, more than 2 million African-Americans were stripped of their right to vote, says the report, citing media reports.

Racial discrimination is rampant in the field of law enforcement and justice, as police were reported to tend to be more lenient with whites, it says, adding that ethnic Americans are discriminated against in the job market, and their economic well-being worsens as a result.

Racial discrimination is rampant in the field of law enforcement and justice.

 
Religious discrimination is also rapidly on the rise, with an increase in insults and attacks against Muslims. In one case, a U.S. film director last year made a film that was insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and posted it online, which triggered waves of protests in the Muslim world.

Citing a recent poll released by American media, the report says 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-African-American attitudes, three percentage points higher than in 2008.

Besides, the rights of illegal immigrants are violated. Deaths often occur in immigration detention centers.

Some United Nation human rights experts and South Florida Haitian rights advocates call for the U.S. to suspend all deportations to Haiti, as it may constitute a human rights violation and may threaten the lives of Haitians, according to the report.

Ethnic Americans in poverty due to discrimination

 
Ethnic Americans’ economic well-being has worsened as a result of being discriminated against in the job market, said the report.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012 was released by China’s State Council Information Office in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 issued by the U.S. State Department.

The median household income for African-Americans was $32,229 in 2011, less than 60 percent of that of non-Hispanic whites, the report says, citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

The poverty rate for African-Americans stood at 27.6 percent in 2011, almost three times that of non-Hispanic whites.

Employment discrimination is the main reason behind income disparity and poverty, reads the report, an annual move of the Chinese government to counter the U.S. assessment belittling China’s human rights condition.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show the unemployment rate of whites was 7.0 percent in October 2012, while the rate for African-Americans and Hispanics was 14.3 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in that month, according to the report.

The average period of unemployment for ethnic minorities is also notably longer than that for whites, it says.

Employment discrimination is the main reason behind income disparity and poverty.

 
According to data from the Labor Department, over half of African-Americans and non-Hispanic Blacks in New York City who were old enough to work had no jobs in 2012, and it takes them almost a full year on average to find another job, the report says.

Wealth gap growing in U.S.

 
The gap between the rich and poor has been growing in the U.S. over the years, says the report.

America’s Gini index was 0.477 in 2011 and income inequality increased by 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, indicating a widened rich-poor gap, the report says.

Between 2010 and 2011, the share of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the quintile with the highest household income, and increased 4.9 percent for the top five percent households, it said, citing U.S. official figures.

During the same period, the aggregate share of income declined for the middle quintile, and the changes in the shares of aggregate income for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant, it added.

America’s poverty rate in 2011 was 15 percent, with 46.2 million people in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released in September 2012.

Furthermore, the report says there were 21 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population, and nearly four in 10 homeless people were unsheltered.

U.S. election marked by political donations

 
Elections in the United States are like “money wars,” with trends of the country’s policies deeply influenced by political donations, says the report.

In the 2012 election, the Obama campaign and the Democratic camp raised $1.06 billion, and the Romney campaign and the Republican camp raised a total of $954 million, the report says. Both groups receive funding from business giants.

An opinion poll showed that nearly 90 percent of Americans believe the 2012 election was marked by too many political donations from business circles, which will mean the increased influence of the rich over the country’s policy-making, the report says.

“America’s political system is sinking into serious crisis as it is under manipulation of interest groups and their sponsors,” the report says, citing a Harvard professor.

“American politics are corroding the people, making them increasingly dependent on interest groups,” the professor is quoted as saying.

Abuse of suspects, jail inmates common in U.S.

 
Abuse of suspects and jail inmates is a common occurrence in the United States, says the report.

A litany of lawsuits was brought against the New York City Police Department, with police officers charged with violating civil rights in law enforcement, the report says.

Citing a May 2012 report by CNN, the document adds that some 9.6 percent of the prisoners in American state prisons are sexually victimized during confinement, more than double the rate cited in a report on the subject in 2008.

U.S. government steps up surveillance of citizens

 
The U.S. government continues to step up surveillance of ordinary Americans, seriously violating the freedom of citizens, says the report.

The U.S. Congress approved a bill in 2012 that authorizes warrantless wiretapping and electronic communications monitoring by the government, a move that violates people’s rights to privacy, the report says.

Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union in September 2012, reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring American’s electronic communications.

The U.S. government continues to step up surveillance of ordinary Americans, seriously violating the freedom of citizens.

 
Between 2009 and 2011, the U.S. Justice Department’s combined number of original orders for “pen registers” and “trap and trace devices” used to spy on phones increased by 60 percent, from 23,535 in 2009 to 37,616 in 2011, the report says.

The National Security Agency collects purely domestic communications of Americans in a “significant and systematic” way, intercepting and storing 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other types of communications, it adds.

Firearms-related crimes pose serious threat to U.S. citizens

 
The United States was haunted by serious violent crimes in 2012 with frequent occurrence of firearms-related criminal cases and with some shootings leaving astonishing casualties, says China’s report on the U.S. human rights record.

According to statistics released by the FBI in September 2012, an estimated 1,203,564 violent crimes occurred in the U.S. in 2011, about 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, says the report.

Aggravated assaults accounted for 62.4 percent of violent crimes reported to law enforcement. And firearms were used in 67.7 percent of the nation’s murders, 41.3 percent of robberies, and 21.2 percent in all crimes in the U.S., the report quotes FBI figures as saying.

Figures from USA Today’s website showed that the violent crime rate went up 17 percent in 2011, the report says.

Statistics from the website of the Congressional Research Service showed that an estimated 14,612 people fell victim to murder in 2011 and 9,903 of them were firearms-related murder victims, according to the report.

U.S. people’s lives, personal security not duly protected

 
The lives and personal security of United States citizens, who were haunted by serious violent crimes, were not duly protected, says the report.

The U.S. government has done little on gun control. Americans are the most heavily armed people in the world per capita, according to the report.

It quotes CNN as saying that there were an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the U.S. and more than 100,000 people are shot by guns each year.

The lives and personal security of United States citizens, who were haunted by serious violent crimes, were not duly protected.

 
In 2008 and 2010, landmark Supreme Court rulings on two firearms-related cases dramatically diminished the authority of state and local governments to limit gun ownership, according to the report.

Roughly half of the 50 U.S. states have adopted laws allowing gun owners to carry their guns openly in most public places. And many states have “stand your ground” laws that allow people to kill if they come under threat, even, in some cases, if they can escape the threat without violence, the report says.

The foregoing are the report’s foreword and highlights, which appear in Global Times, where the full text is also available.

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