China has issued its annual human rights report, slamming the United States for hypocrisy. China says Washington criticizes other nations but ignores abuses at home.
The 10,000 word statement released by China's State Council Information Office catalogues a large number of what it calls serious human rights abuses in the United States. The report says the United States acts as the world judge of human rights, while turning a blind eye to its own problems.
China describes America as besieged by violence and crime due to the widespread use of guns. It alleges that police officers routinely commit torture to force confessions from detainees. The report maintains that homelessness and poverty have increased sharply.
The report outlines what it calls endemic racial discrimination, especially towards African Americans. It argues that the United States wantonly infringes upon the sovereignty of other countries by expanding its military spending and presence throughout the world.
However, the report stops short of condemning U.S. military actions following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Chinese officials have publicly declared their support for the U.S. led war on terror.
In the past few years, China has issued an annual critique of American rights violations. Observers say that the Chinese statement is a tit-for-tat reaction to the U.S. State Department's annual human rights report, which was released last week, and is routinely critical of China.
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, head of the French Center for Research on Contemporary China in Hong Kong, said "it's part of an ideological counter-battle against the Western democracies and countries that would like to speed up the political changes inside China."
Mr. Cabestan said the exercise is part of an effort to show that China's Communist system is a viable alternative to Western-style democracy. But he added that despite its anti-American rhetoric, China remains eager to preserve its relationship with the United States. "That [the report] doesn't contradict the fact that China wants to have a constructive and cooperative relationship with the United States," he said. "Here again, I think the Chinese government, even more than the U.S. government, tries to compartmentalize the issues and still feels obliged to provide an answer and a counter-attack to what the U.S. government is publishing regarding the situation of human rights in China."
Last week, the State Department's rights report criticized China for abusing religious and other freedoms. It also said Beijing had used the global war on terrorism to justify a crackdown on Muslim Uighur minorities in its far western province, Xinjiang.