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16 May, 2015

Chinese Commentary: U.S. needs to work on own human rights record first before blaming others

By Zhu Junqing

Beijing, (Xinhua) May 13, 2015 – The United States, a self-proclaimed human rights watchdog, needs to examine itself critically and improve its own human rights record before blaming other countries for their violations.

The UN Human Rights Council reviewed the U.S. human rights record Monday and found that the “preacher of human rights” itself was guilty of numerous offenses, including excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies, racial, religious and sex discrimination, and the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Actually, the “ultimate human rights judge” has done little to fulfill its commitment made in 2010 to safeguard human rights when many countries raised 240 recommendations regarding its violation of international benchmarks of equality, justice and protection.

After four years, the record of the “perfect citizen of the world” regarding justice administration, migrant rights, environmental issues and counterterrorism practices is far from spotless. Some of its problems got even worse.

One topical issue is racial profiling and the excessive use of force by law enforcement, which were proven repeatedly by the killings of African-American men, including Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Michael Brown in Ferguson, among others.

Excessive use of force by law enforcement has caused many tragedies. As Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said earlier, a disproportionate number of young African-Americans die in clashes with police officers in the United States. A total of 254 police officers have been convicted over the last five years.

Racial discrimination has also increased. According to a recent public poll by The New York Times and CBS News, for the first time since 1997, both whites and blacks, with a ratio of 62 percent and 65 percent respectively, agreed that race relations in U.S. society, on the whole, are getting worse.

Moreover, the United States is also one of the two countries in the world that have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty that protects children. The United States also does not seem keen on promoting the ratification of such international fundamental laws as the Forced Labor Convention.

Besides, U.S. human rights violations go far beyond violence against ethnic minorities, immigrant issues and torture allegations, they have also long existed in monitoring the emails and mobile phones of ordinary Americans as well as leaders of other countries, including traditional U.S. allies like Germany.

The self-proclaimed defender of human rights is usually quick to pounce on other countries’ internal affairs in the name of protecting human rights, which is merely a political tool. The international community has thus long looked down on the hypocrisy of the United States.

Since “no country is perfect in its human rights record,” as Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying put it, any country with human rights defects should work hard to resolve its own problems and improve its own human rights record before casting the first stone.