The human rights situation in the United States is “increasingly grave,” according to a seven-page report released today by China’s State Council, and unlikely to get better in the near term—the US shows “not a bit of regret for or intention to improve” the country’s “terrible” human rights situation.
The US suffers from “grim racial discrimination,” gun violence, government-sanctioned invasions of privacy, and a deficient healthcare system, this year’s report says. Add to that fundamental inequality:
“Although the U.S. is the most developed country in the world, it is hard for the economic and social rights of its citizens to be soundly ensured. In the process of economic recovery, the income inequality continued to be enlarged, the basic living conditions for the homeless people deteriorated, the health care system operated terribly and the education rights of average citizens were violated.”
China’s wide-ranging list of the US’s human rights offenses includes everything from violent incidents that happened during the past year to more general underlying issues in industry and the economy as a whole. Here’s a sample:
- Detroit’s water crisis last year
- the harassment of women in the military
- Eric Garner’s choking death
- overcrowded prisons
- the CIA’s use of “rectal rehydration” and other torture
- the US’s shrinking middle class
- the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in tech
- “legalized bribery” in the form of corporate political contributions
- teen unemployment
- homelessness levels in New York City
- the prevalence of mental illnesses in the US
- the death of 1,147 people from US drone attacks
The report comes days after a US report criticized China’s rampant use of coercion and repression on citizens, just as high-level talks between governments of the two countries ended.
The report is part of a long, curious tradition. For the past 16 years, China has issued an annual report on human rights in the United States—no other country gets its own dedicated report from the State Council. The publication goes against Beijing’s oft-cited philosophy that governments should not interfere in each other’s domestic affairs.
Beijing’s main point in publishing it seems to be to point out what it sees as the US’s double standards, but it also carries the subtle message that the US, for all its talk of freedom of speech, independent media, and democracy, is not that great a place to live. It also supports China’s view of human rights, namely giving citizens economic rights—clothing, housing, and jobs.