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US and China spar over human rights

world Updated: May 28, 2012 00:41 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The US has no right to play the world’s human rights judge as its own human rights record is notorious, China said over the weekend, accusing Washington of using rights issues to meddle in other countries’ affairs.

Issuing its own report on human rights a day after the US released its 36th report on the state of rights in other countries, Beijing said the US’s own record was tarnished.

Titled, “Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011” and released by the Information Office of the State Council, the report from China is now in its 13th year of publication.

According to reports here, it examined six areas - life, property and personal security, civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, racial discrimination, the rights of women and children and US violations of human rights in other countries - to reveal the “true human rights situation of the US.” It also urged the US to “stop using double standards for human rights” to “tarnish other countries' image and promote hegemony.”

The US report on China’s state of civil and human rights was critical of Beijing. It accused China of being "an authoritarian state" with its human rights situation seeing continuing "deterioration."

“Repression and coercion, particularly against organisations and individuals involved in rights advocacy and public interest issues, were routine," the 142-page US report of China said, citing enforced disappearance, house arrests and Internet restrictions. The internal disciplinary procedures of the Communist Party of China (CPC) were "opaque," the US report said, stressing that corruption remained "widespread."

The exchange of reports comes days after blind activist Chen Guangcheng migrated to the US after he escaped 19 months of house arrest at his home in province in eastern China.

The two countries had squared up for a diplomatic crisis following Chen’s six-day stay at the US Embassy after he escaped from his heavily guarded home. The issue seemed to have been temporarily resolved after China allowed the activist to take up a fellowship at New York University. But the exchange of reports shows that the state of human rights will continue to be a source of frequent diplomatic altercations.