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U.S. & China Spar on Human Rights

Reacting against the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report, the People’s Republic of China quickly shot back this week with a report of its own criticizing the human rights record of the U.S. domestically and abroad.

Of China, the State Department report stated: “The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state…. Repression and coercion, particularly against organizations and individuals involved in rights advocacy and public interest issues, were routine…. As in previous years, citizens did not have the right to change their government, and citizens had limited forms of redress against the government.” The U.S. cited other offenses, including extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions, torture, intimidation tactics, closed trials, restrictions on religion, forced abortion, forced sterilization, and forced labor. 

China’s government responded with its own report critical of the U.S. as a self-proclaimed “world judge of human rights.” According to China, the U.S. has “turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation” as evidenced through failure to prevent gun violence and to protect the integrity of America’s electoral process from big money influence, among other problems.

At the release of the U.S. report, Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed, “These reports send a very clear message that all governments have a responsibility to protect universal human rights and they help to blaze a path forward for places where those rights are either threatened or denied. I think this is one of the things that we can be the proudest of that we do here in the State Department and in our country, standing up for values and speaking out for people who often don’t have any chance whatsoever to speak out for themselves.”

  • Find the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report and accompanying comments by Secretary of State John Kerry.
  • Learn more about China’s criticisms here and here.      

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: April 26, 2013

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