Human Rights : US vs China
Posted on May 28th, 2012

Shenali Waduge

The buzz word is human rights and it has found itself a perfect tool and political instrument to advance western imperialism and usurp the sovereign status of nations. Countries that have committed and continue to commit human right abuses have in essence no moral, legal or political right to accuse others. The US continues to ignore its own human rights abuses. With international media owned and run by the West it has become a great means of manipulating the peopleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s minds into thinking that only the US and the West are champions of human rights. Unless people of these countries wake up and start questioning their governments the future is likely to be continued conflicts and unnecessary deaths simply to allow a handful to profit from wars.

In response to the US Congressional Executive Commission on China released in October 2011, China has issued the US Human Rights Record for 2011. The US report has over 300 pages of what the US considers to be human rights abuses committed by China.

There is nothing new in the US report except to highlight that China continues to ignore human rights of its people and completely flouts international rules of laws. The US accuses China of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-disappearancesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ of lawyers, human rights activists, journalists etc, the US accuses China of denying worker rights to organize trade unions, and also highlights worker safety. The US is also critical of ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s internet regulations and monitoring of websites. The US also mentions that only 5 religions have been formally recognized and those unregistered were subject to various harassments especially the Catholics and Protestants.

Whilst it is ridiculous to compare the two reports and claim one nation is better than the other in terms of human rights what is worthy to note is that whilst the US uses all international covenants to argue its case against China what appears to be the crux of the problem is that all these international ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-standardsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and laws have been designed according to Western thinking, western mentality and western ideology. What has never been taken into consideration is the fact that the countries of the East have a culture that supersedes that of West. The way the people of the East think is far different to those of the West. It is unfair and unjust to expect the people of these nations to think and function like those in the West. Though there is a massive campaign to culturally hypnotize the East into thinking and behaving like the West it is unlikely to get anywhere. There are enough and more International Covenants and Universal Declaration of Human Rights ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” but truthfully how many countries follow these with sincerity?

So when people of the East do not behave like the people of the West can these nations be accused of wrong doing? Must Asians, Africans and Latin American nations think like the Americans and the Europeans?

When the US accuses China of injustice records reveal a different story. There were ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 131 crimes per 100,000 people in 1997. China has 119 prisoners per 100,000 people whereas the US has 751 per 100,000 people in prison. The US prison population is the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s highest with 2.3million. Rape statistics in China for the year 2005 was just 15,000 while in the same year the US was 94,347 (population 311million)

In short whatever US accuses China off, it is far more dangerous to walk in the US at night than it is in China. Anytime ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s streets are full of people even young women and this certainly is not the case in any city across the US.

Occupational illness issue is a valid point raised by the US against China. But China has revised its Regulations on Work-related injury insurance. Valid too are the points raised about child labor. Then again there are various schools of thought that argues for and against child labor.

What does the US want from China? US wants China to release 40 human rights advocates who are in prison, establish exchanges between Chinese provincial law enforcement agencies and US state law enforcement agencies ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” we know where that is likely to lead to. The US also wants the disclosure of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-black jailsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and other secret detention facilities and allow UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit China. If we recall the number of UN visits to Iraq to investigate WMDs resulting in bogus reports that facilitated the US illegal invasion of Iraq. What about the US secret detention centers in Guantanomo Bay and Diego Garcia ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” shouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t the US have closed these centers before pointing fingers?

The US also finds faults with ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s population planning policies and deems it interfering in the reproductive lives of its citizens.

What is poignant to remember is that ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s policies maybe abhorred by the West, its way of living may be detested by the West but China has brought its nation to an enviable level which partly attributes to the negative international media coverage China is receiving. Every area of polity has seen significant changes in China and its towns and cities are the envy of the US and all other European countries. China wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have come to where it is globally able to dictate terms even to the US if it did not have a strong policy that was nationalist and one that kept ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s development always at the forefront.

China has had to take strong policy decisions. All land in China is owned by the State, private and commercial entities are only leased land. When China plans projects, China takes steps that may not be liked by the West but it is for China to decide. China constructed 25,800 large dams, and the associated land requisition projects reportedly have led to the relocation of more than 10 million people. China in 2010, raised the minimum wage levels by an average of 22.8% in 30 provinces. In Shenzhen, effective April 1, 2011, the government raised the minimum wage level by 20 percent, to 1,320 yuan (US$204) per month, the highest in China.

The US has also highlighted unfairness in employment and males gaining better advantages isnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t this the case in the US and Europe also?

Though US accuses China of not being liberal China has allowed many civil society organizations into China. As of 2004 there were 447,000 civil society organizations in China. It is believed that together with the unregistered grassroot organizations the CSOs are likely to be around 8million. Now what the US and the West may not like is that China has a good grip on who is doing what and where in China. It has been quick to realize that majority of NGOs are agents of the West and use their ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-charitableƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ status as a camouflage to carry out hidden agendas. China has thought out mechanisms to handle these situations and this is what the US and the West do not like. Unlike other nations, NGOs have not been allowed to function as they like in China. This is a good lesson for Sri Lanka as well.

ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s population is 1.3billion and there are over 1billion mobile users. US population is 311m and its mobile users number 327m.

One of the main accusations against China is that it is denying freedoms and rights to its people. Yet, after the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act introduced in the US, do the Americans really think they are a free nation? How many Americans know that these two acts allow the FBI to search personal information, read peopleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s emails, listen to their private phone callsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.before 9/11 federal agents had to seek permission from the courts, yet these Acts are denying Americans freedom of expression, speech, information and the irony is that Americans do not know it! The Patriot Act allows federal agents to take away property without notice just on the premise that the person is a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-terroristƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, FBI can search private records such as medical, phone, internet, library records even student records. The Patriot Act violates the Constitution of the US and also represents the loss of US individual liberties.

We do not need to reiterate that the US and the West are envious of China. Its rise has been phenomenal and it is something these nations cannot accept. The response therefore has been to do what it knows best ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” use its media to embarrass and shame China. This is not to say China is without faults of its own. No country is including Sri Lanka and it is upto every Government and civil society to highlight the areas that could be improved.

ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s response to the US report on ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s human rights is one of exasperation and voicing what all smaller nations are thinking themselves ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” how can the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s worst human rights abuser not feel any shame to accuse nations of human rights abuses when it knows how horrendous its own record is.

While US is busy usurping nations, creating conflicts and funding puppet dictators its nation is falling apart. 3.8m violent victimizations, 14.8m property victimizations, 138,000 personal thefts, 6m children experiencing bullying in a country that says ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-thank youƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-pleasesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and speaks of good behavior. 47% Americans own a gun US being the leader in gun violence and gun deaths ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” 30,000 Americans die annually from gun violence. It will soon be a country where children will have only mothers and mothers and fathers and fathers marryingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦the natural father-mother, marriage and thereafter children concept is on its way to oblivion.

In the land of freedom, the world saw how the Occupy Wall Street protestors were treated by US police force and US officials may like to look at these footage and question how well they have treated the protestors.

While accusing countries of not giving enough press freedom, how many American journalists would care to admit how their reports are screened before being published and how many of the gulf war covering journalists were able to really report the truth?

Furthermore, what is the mentality of any worker when he comes to work and finds his resignation letter on the table ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” no notice given whatsoever. 13.3million were unemployed by 2011 in the US. There are 2.3m to 3.5m homeless Americans. By 2010, 49.9million Americans lacked healthcare insurance while 75million deferred treatment because they could not afford it. This is the record of the country that claims to have the best health care service in the world! In the US, 600,000 have died from AIDS and 1.178,350 Americans are infected with AIDS.

US speaks globally about discrimination and racism forgetting its own sordid past and present being no different. Blacks and Asians are still given second class treatment in the workplace and by law enforcement authorities. The statistics reveal the true story and one which America cannot hide from with hate motivated crimes rising to prove the allegation.

In the land of freedom and rights, 2m American women are victims of domestic violence annually. 1.6m children in the US were living on the street, more than 1m children are victims of child abuse.

This is the state of affairs in the US and what about the nations that US has illegally invaded? On an excuse termed ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-humanitarian interventionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ the US is responsible for the deaths of over 1m Iraqis since the time of sanctions through the US intervention, thousands of Afghan civilian deaths, thousands of Pakistani civilian deaths from unmanned drones, millions more lives lost since 1950s and thousands more suffering as a result of US influenced sanctions, structural adjustment programs and other such manipulations meant to keep developing nations nowhere near progressingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.and this is the human rights the US is proud?

The term human rights has been abused beyond comprehension. None of us realistically speaking can claim to have our rights and freedoms and one doubts any of the politicians themselves have either. We are all victims in the end.

Shenali Waduge

4 Responses to “Human Rights : US vs China”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    On September 10, 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared war. Not on foreign terrorists, “…the adversary’s closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy.. the Pentagon could not account for 2.3 trillion dollars.” he said. The very next day September 11, 2011 the Pentagon building was hit wiping out the entire accounts department and all the personnel that worked within it, leaving no records of the missing trillions.
    The organizers and profiteers of war and death – the past four generations of Bush family – Samuel P Bush, Prescott S Bush, George H W Bush and George W Bush along with a group of international investment bankers and corporate executives, have been instrumental in creating and profiting from extremely costly and destructive wars. Four generations of Bush family have reaped tremendous profits from the wars they orchestrated. The war profiteers of Wall Street are now pushing the US towards a nuclear war with Iran.
    On 2012 New Year’s Eve, with almost no mainstream media attention given to it, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, or NDAA, into law codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. The NDAA’s dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president — and all future presidents — to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.
    Obama’s administration and all future administrations can now use the military to detain individuals, including political dissidents – even American citizens on US soil – without trial or formal charges. Without court involvement or a jury deciding you are actually guilty. And “detain” is really a euphemism for IMPRISON, of course, in a semi-secret military black site, without access to an attorney, potentially for life.
    Obama also signed into law something which attacks American’s First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, or Trespass Bill, signed into law by Barack Obama on March 9, 2012, “potentially makes peaceable protest anywhere in the US a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.” More specifically, peaceful protest within proximity to those protected by the Secret Service, including presidential candidates and the President, may be a federal felony now.
    Even worse a former high-ranking NSA official, who spent more than three decades within the spy agency, just recently came out in a nationally televised interview and asserted that more than 20 trillion of American citizens’ communications have been intercepted – mostly without a warrant or judicial review of any kind.
    Furthermore, the NSA is now building a $2 billion data centre in Utah to crunch all of this data. In other words, $2 billion of American taxpayer dollars are going toward spying on American citizens within the US without warrant or court approval. This is not only an outlandish waste of money, it’s illegal.
    Also reporters at ridiculously mainstream publication USA Today are now claiming that Pentagon-sponsored “propaganda contractors” have initiated a widespread character assassination and reputation destroying campaign against them.
    Due to the oligarchs’ rapacious looting and their purchase of a politically protected luxurious lifestyle, the people of the US are on the road to permanent serfdom under a police state. Tens of millions in the US live desperate slave like existences and they hold little hope for a better life. The democracy was not given to the people of the US on a platter. It is not theirs for all time, irrespective of their efforts. Either people of the US organize and they find political leadership to take this on or they are going to be in deep trouble.
    The failures of governance to address the current critical issues have already produced catastrophic consequences. Now we are experiencing a major global paradigm shift and it is still unfolding. Thirty-two US states including California, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and Michigan are on the brink of insolvency as their tattered and fading economy is now direr than ever. Inevitably in very near future the US government will order police or military to martial law which may lead to a second American revolution.

  2. nandimitra Says:

    The west specially the media lives on denial. Truth will ultimately prevail. Ultimately it is a question of human rights whether it is the west or East. They both fail. In SL the basic human rights even of the majority are denied by a arrogant political appointees in the public service who continue to deny the basic rights of a citizen unless they are bribed. True the west has failed but let us clean are stables first before we accuse them. We have no excuse.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree on Shenali Waduge’s article. Factual.

    When we discuss these things we have to KEEP OUT conspiracy theories. Otherwise it becomes a joke.

    The truth is US economy is not in an UNMANAGEABLE state. Overconsumption, overspending are characteristics of the US economy always though it is getting worse.

  4. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    I agree USA is today a Police state which blatantly violates human rights of its own people as well as the International community. I agree, US economy rides on conflict around the world and the acceptance of US dollar as a world currency, so that they could live by printing dollar notes for world consumption. Some believe the EURO was challenging the dollar a bit too much and they are now paying the price, as in some manner the USA is involved in undermining the EURO and the European Union. China is beginning to float its currency as a world currency to compete with the US dollar. This does not augur well for China as the USA would not allow that to happen. Today the USA is the big bully with UK, Canada and Australia shamelessly acting like vassal states. The western media is controlled by the USA to fabricate false accusations against targeted nations, leaders and any independent media that dare to be independent of US influence.

    At the end of the day, whatever we say or do, the “leading human rights agencies” such as AI, HRW, ICJ etc have not named USA for any human rights violations. What does this mean for the international community ???? Is not it time for the rest of the world to get together and protect human rights from US attacks and secondly restore the human rights of US citizens which they are rapidly losing!

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