China’s Criticism of U.S. on Human Rights Draws Support (and Mockery)

Beijing - China“Gun shootings in America are unceasing, how is it qualified to talk about human rights?” So ran title of furious, unsigned commentary today in the Shanghai’s news portal, which accused the United States, in its annual human rights report on other countries issued last Friday, of “pointing fingers, blaming, denouncing other countries while showing itself off” China, which was criticized in the State Department report, hit back hard with its own report on the human rights in America, issued Sunday, just 2 days after the U.S. report. Chinese report was titled “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012″. For years, United States and China have engaged in a tit-for-tat of this kind, America criticizes, China responds, in an angry ritual of reports. This year, the Chinese government focused on gun crime among several key issues, citing “astonishing casualties”; also on growing poverty in United States and a wide wealth gap; on America’s overseas wars, which it said had killed tens of thousands since 2011. It also singled out what it said was low voter participation in the U.S. elections (57.5% in the 2012 presidential election, it said). “The U.S. citizens have never really enjoyed common and equal suffrage,” the report said, and criticized the detention of terrorism suspects in Guantánamo. But it’s the issue of gun crime perhaps has been most seized upon here.’s commentary, echoing the report, listed three recent mass shootings in the United States, in Oakland, Colorado and Connecticut, tallying the dozens who died. The United States was not protecting its citizens’ physical safety: “Alone from this series of bloody shootings one can see the reality of America’s human rights.” In its report, the government noted that gun violence was a “serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens in the U.S.” It cited CNN from last July that there were an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the U.S., with more than 100,000 people shot each year. In 2010, there were more than 30,000 deaths caused by firearms. “However, U.S. government has done little in gun control,” it said. Online, where ordinary Chinese people speak their minds relatively freely (and get censored, though much does evade the censor’s delete button, senior leaders are believed to follow microblogs closely to track a public opinion), comments were multiplying. Search for “America” and “human rights” on Sina Weibo, China’s biggest microblog site, and nearly 2.6 million entries pop up in total. Yet many of those sampled were critical of China, not the United States, despite the fact that quite a few of the criticisms in China’s report are from reports that originated in the West, such as tally of deaths overseas from America’s “war on terror” since 2001, gathered, Chinese government said, from the Web site of Stop the War Coalition. Sarcasm was widespread, especially over the report’s criticism of low voter participation (…..)



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6 Responses to China’s Criticism of U.S. on Human Rights Draws Support (and Mockery)

  1. Mike Munk: Perhaps one could write an article about Americans criticizing their government’s lecturing other nations about “human rights” and denouncing their own lack of economic rights –full employment, free education and health care. The China bashing in the US media reflects the fear that China rises as the US declines gracelessly.

  2. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The use of human rights cannot shape up a negative Western perception of China as it did in the case of former URSS. The main reason, the US is no longer a shining example of human rights respect in the world. In addition, other factors play in favor of China, among them. First, China’s economy and political system are doing quite well. Its economic system is proving to be highly adaptable and successful to changing conditions in the global economy. Second, China is open to foreigners to visit the country or to reside and see for themselves what is going on in the Middle Kingdom. It is difficult to create negative urban legends about the country, as occurring in the case of North Korea. During my visit to China last year, my wife and I felt very comfortable about our personal security in all cities we visited. Even the infamous Beijing pollution was not felt despite our visit taking place in November. The best propaganda for China is to continue open to millions of foreign visitors to discover this fascinating country. China is a welcome positive force in this new century. Brazil’s prosperity of the last few years is the result of China’s economic rise and its demand for commodities.

  3. His bookshelves are filled with the collected works of Marx, Engels and Ho Chi Minh, the hallmarks of a loyal career in the Communist Party, but Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, 77, says he is no longer a believer. A former adviser to two prime ministers, Mr. Tuong, like so many people in Vietnam today, is speaking out forcefully against the government. “Our system now is the totalitarian rule of one party,” he said in an interview at his apartment on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. “I come from within the system — I understand all its flaws, all its shortcomings, all its degradation,” he said. “If the system is not fixed, it will collapse on its own.” The party that triumphed over American-backed South Vietnamese forces in 1975 is facing rising anger over a slumping economy and is rived by disputes pitting traditionalists who want to maintain the country’s guiding socialist principles and a monopoly on power against those calling for a more pluralist system and the full embrace of capitalism. Perhaps most important, the party is struggling to reckon with a society that is better informed and more critical because of news and opinion that spread through the Internet, circumventing the state-controlled news media. Since unifying the country 38 years ago, the Communist Party has been tested by conflicts with China and Cambodia, financial crises and internal rifts. The difference today, according to Carlyle A. Thayer, one of the leading foreign scholars of Vietnam, is that criticism of the leadership “has exploded across the society.” In an otherwise authoritarian environment, divisions in the party have actually helped encourage free speech because factions are eager to tarnish one another, Dr. Thayer said. “There’s a contradiction in Vietnam,” he said. “Dissent is flourishing, but at the same time, so is repression.” As dissident voices have multiplied among Vietnam’s 92 million people, the government has tried to crack down. Courts have sentenced numerous bloggers, journalists and activists to prison, yet criticism, especially online, continues seemingly unabated. The government blocks certain Internet sites, but many Vietnamese use software or Web sites to maneuver around the censorship (…..)

  4. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: During a brief visit to Vietnam last November, two things called my attention. First, the reverence and ideological fervor of the Ho Chi Minh liberation war period is gone among young Vietnamese, the majority of the 92 million population today. Second, free wheeling capitalism under tight Communist Party control is not working well for the old ruling political class. They are losing political control rapidly and worst, they are neither feared nor respected by the young. Beijing must be monitoring closely developments in Vietnam and drawing their own conclusions.

  5. The announcement that Stephen A. Schwarzman, the American private equity executive, will create a $300 million scholarship program for foreign students to attend Tsinghua University (with a third of the money coming out of his own pocket) made headlines in the West this week. The program will pay for 200 students to come to China each year, the bulk of them from the United States. Although it’s reportedly one of the largest donations ever for global education, the gift has not attracted special attention in China, where it has been reported mainly by financial newspapers and Web sites, and not in depth. Microbloggers, an important barometer of public opinion, haven’t shown much interest, either. A few praised Schwarzman, chief executive of the Blackstone Group, for his largess. Others, pointing to Blackstone’s purchase late last year of a high-end office complex in downtown Shanghai, are convinced that his generosity is really intended to enable his company to make more money in China. They note that Tsinghua — founded in 1911 with American support — has graduated legions of top government officials, including the new president, Xi Jinping, his predecessor, Hu Jintao, and the former premier Zhu Rongji. Yet a third group of commentators have been smug: “Now we teach them,” one wrote.

    This writer probably meant two things. One is role reversal: like their counterparts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who went abroad to help modernize their country, young Chinese have thronged North American and Western European universities since China’s economy opened in the early 1980s. Now that China has become a huge market, young Westerners want to study our language, culture and economy. The writer’s other message: if Western businesspeople want to make money in China, they need to learn how to defer to our government and ingratiate themselves with our officials (…..)</

  6. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Learning From China, but What? During the 19th century, China was forced to learn (sometimes at gunpoint) how the Western capitalism system worked. In the 21st century, the West must learn how the Chinese economic and political system work. The only challenge is to decipher the CCP decision making process.


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