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19 Apr, 2011

China Strikes Back, Issues Tit-For-Tat Report on Human Rights in U.S.

BEIJING: One major reason for holding the PATA 60th anniversary conference in China was in recognition of the emergence of the world’s most populous country as a critical player on the global tourism stage. But that is only scratching the surface of the real change taking place.

On 10 April, the same day as Interim PATA CEO Bill Calderwood was presenting his Future Strategic Focus for PATA to the board of directors, the official Chinese media published a lengthy report outlining what it called the “terrible human rights situation” in the United States. Published just two days after the U.S. State Department released its own worldwide “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010”, the Chinese report was a direct tit-for-tat response to the U.S. report, making amply clear the Chinese view that accountability is a two-way street.

Of the more than 190 countries and territories listed in the U.S. State Department report, one was missing: the United States itself. On 10 April, China filled that gap, as it has been doing for some years. Reflecting the frustrations felt in many parts of Asia, the Chinese report essentially tells the U.S. to mind its own business and focus on putting its own house in order first.

China is not just a rising economic power; it is also asserting itself on the geopolitical stage and raising its voice in tandem. Those who choose to pooh-pooh this voice do so at their peril. Only a few excerpts from the Chinese report are reproduced below. The full version, which minces no words, is available here.

Why does this matter to the travel & tourism industry?

For the simple reason that geopolitical issues can no longer be excluded from the mainstream discourse of global events impacting on the industry. So far, travel & tourism has preferred to delude itself by sweeping the impact of geopolitical events under the carpet. Industry leaders have opted to focus primarily on economic and ecological issues. In this, the 10th year since 9/11, recent events in the Middle East and the rise of the BRIC countries have made it clear that maintaining that blind spot cannot remain an option for much longer.

Indeed, the Chinese report sends an unequivocal message to the U.S. travel & tourism industry as it prepares to embark upon a global tourism promotion drive, armed with its new budget.

In many parts of the world, the U.S. brand image is directly affected by the impact of the U.S. Government’s foreign policy. The Chinese report on the U.S. human rights situation shows that countries no longer fear taking the U.S. to task. As no empires last forever, and the rise of new powers has to be accompanied by a commensurate decline in existing ones, the U.S. travel & tourism industry ought to take a good, hard look at these shifting geopolitical winds and do a cold-blooded assessment of whether its taxpayer-funded bureaucrats and political leaders are really acting in the wider interests of the country at large or whether they are expediting America’s fall from grace, and what will be the consequences either way.

Before reading the following excerpts from the Chinese report, click here to dispel any doubts that their reproduction and accompanying commentary is an isolated soliloquy by the executive editor of this publication.

Excerpts from “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010” published by China’s Information Office of the State Council, or cabinet.

<> The U.S. reports the world’s highest incidence of violent crimes. Every year, one out of every five people is a victim of a crime in the United States. In 2009, an estimated 4.3 million violent crimes, 15.6 million property crimes and 133,000 personal thefts were committed against U.S. residents aged 12 or older, and the violent crime rate was 17.1 victimizations per 1,000 persons, according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Justice on October 13, 2010.

<> Reuters reported on November 10, 2010 that the United States ranks first in the world in terms of the number of privately-owned guns. Some 90 million people own an estimated 200 million guns in the United States, which has a population of about 300 million. The United States had high incidence of gun-related crimes. Statistics showed there were 12,000 gun murders a year in the United States (The New York Times, September 26, 2010).

<> Women in the United States often experience sexual assault and violence. Statistics released in October 2010 by the National Institute of Justice show that some 20 million women are rape victims in the country (www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/october/10-ag-1220.html). About 60,000 female prisoners fall victims to sexual assault or violence every year. Some one fifth female students on campus are victims of sexual assault, and 60 percent of campus rape cases occurred in female students’ dorms (World Journal, August 26, 2010).

<> Women are also victims of domestic violence. Some 1.3 million people fall victim to domestic violence every year, and women account for 92 percent. One in four women is a victim of domestic violence at some point during her life, and the violence kills three women each day in the United States by a current or former intimate partner (CNN, October 21, 2010). In 2008, police in the New York City received reports of more than 230,000 domestic violence cases, which equals to 600 cases per day (China Press, April 3, 2010).

<> Poverty proportion for minorities is also high. The U.S. Census Bureau announced in September, 2010 that the poverty proportion of the African American population was 25.8 percent in 2009, and those of Hispanic origin and Asian were 25.3 percent and 12.5 percent respectively, much higher than that of the non-Hispanic white at 9.4 percent.

<> Racial discrimination is evident in the law enforcement and judicial systems. The New York Times reported on May 13, 2010, that in 2009, African Americans and Latinos were 9 times more likely to be stopped by the police to receive stop-and-frisk searches than white people. Overall, 41 percent of the prison population was estimated to be African American. The rate of African Americans serving a life sentence was more than 10 times higher than that of whites.

<> Violence against children is very severe. Figures from the official website of Love Our Children USA show that every year over 3 million children are victims of violence reportedly and the actual number is 3 times greater. Almost 1.8 million are abducted and nearly 600,000 children live in foster care. Every day one out of seven kids and teens are approached online by predators, and one out of four kids are bullied and 43 percent of teens and 97 percent of middle schoolers are cyberbullied.

<> The number of American people without health insurance increased progressively every year. According to a report by USA Today on September 17, 2010, the number of Americans without health insurance increased from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009, the ninth consecutive annual rise, which accounted for 16.7 percent of the total U.S. population. Sixty-eight adults under 65 years old died due to lack of health insurance each day on average in the US.

<> The number of homeless Americans increased sharply. According to a report by USA Today on June 16, 2010, the number of families in homeless shelters increased 7 percent to 170,129 from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2009. Homeless families also were staying longer in shelters, from 30 days in 2008 to 36 in 2009, and about 800,000 American families were living with extended family, friends, or other people because of the economy.

<> Proportion of American people living in poverty has risen to a record high. The U.S. Census Bureau reported on September 16, 2010 that a total of 44 million Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, four million more than that of 2008. The share of residents in poverty climbed to 14.3 percent in 2009, the highest level recorded since 1994 (The New York Times, September 17, 2010).

<> The number of inmates in the country is the world’ s largest. According to a report released by the Pew Center on the States’ Public Safety Performance Project in 2008, one in every 100 adults in the U.S. are in jail and the figure was one in every 400 in 1970. By 2011, America will have more than 1.7 million men and women in prison, an increase of 13 percent over that of 2006.

<> The U.S. regards itself as “the beacon of democracy.” However, its democracy is largely based on money. According to a report from The Washington Post on October 26, 2010, U.S. House and Senate candidates shattered fundraising records for a midterm election, taking in more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars as of October 24. The midterm election, held in November 2010, finally cost 3.98 billion U.S. dollars, the most expensive in the U.S. history. Interest groups have actively spent on the election.

<> The U.S. has a notorious record of international human rights violations. The U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused huge civilian casualties. A trove, released by the WikiLeaks website on October 22, 2010, reported up to 285,000 war casualties in Iraq from March 2003 through the end of 2009. On February 20, 2011, a U.S. military operation in northeastern Afghanistan killed 65 innocent people, including 22 women and more than 30 children. (The Washington Post, February 20, 2011).

<> The U.S. counter-terrorism missions have been haunted by prisoner abuse scandals. The United States held individuals captured during its “war on terror” indefinitely without charge or trial, according to a joint study report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2010.

<> The CIA established secret detention facilities to interrogate so-called “high-value detainees”. The study said the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stephen G. Bradbury had stated that the CIA had taken custody of 94 detainees, and had employed “enhanced techniques” to varying degrees, including stress positions, extreme temperature changes, sleep deprivation, and “waterboarding,” in the interrogation of 28 of those detainees (UN document A/HRC/13/42).

End excerpts

There’s a lot more.

Concluded the Chinese report, “The above-mentioned facts illustrate that the United States has a dismal record on its own human rights.”

“The U.S. ignores its own serious human rights problems, but has been keen on advocating the so-called “human rights diplomacy,” to take human rights as a political instrument to defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests. These facts fully expose its hypocrisy by exercising double standards on human rights and its malicious design to pursue hegemony under the pretext of human rights.

“We hereby advise the U.S. government to take concrete actions to improve its own human rights conditions, check and rectify its acts in the human rights field, and stop the hegemonistic deeds of using human rights issues to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.”

 

  • Hem Chanly.

    This fit to my practice. Before critizice other I look into myself first.