China strikes back again with its annual report on US human rights violations

For yet another year, Beijing continues its strategy of ‘the best defense is a good offense’

In a tradition like no other, China has retaliated yet again to the United States’ annual human rights report by issuing one of its own focused on all of the “human rights violations” that were committed by the US in the past year.

As usual, the report, which was published on Tuesday, begins by condemning the US for “posing once again” as the world’s “human rights judge,” while failing to adequately evaluate its own record:

On April 20 local time, the State Department of the United States released its country reports on human rights practices for 2017, posing once again as “the guardian of human rights” and a self-styled “human rights judge.” It continued to point fingers and cast groundless blame on the domestic affairs and human rights situation of other countries as if it had the most perfect human rights condition in the world. However, looking back on the year of 2017, even those with the slightest sense of righteousness will find that the human rights record of the United States itself remained tarnished and showed a continued deterioration tendency.

The 14-page report is filled with paragraph upon paragraph detailing the many problems with American society and government — from a widening wealth gap to systemic racial discrimination — all the usual criticisms that China has made against the US over the years.

In particular, China always makes sure to highlight America’s problem with gun violence — with the mass shooting in Las Vegas last October that left 58 dead at the top of the list — along with its tendency to bomb other countries’ civilians.

Additionally, China uses every opportunity it can to take shots at the US system of government, citing “several polls of American scholars” which found that most believe that the “quality of democracy in the United States had been plateauing for decades, and that American democracy is drowning in money.”

The report was accompanied by a customary editorial in the nationalistic Global Times, titled “US has no grounds to judge human rights,” that takes aim at the annual State Department report on human rights, which included its usual criticisms of China over issues like freedom of speech and repression of ethnic and religious minorities.

After claiming that “an increasing number of serious loopholes have been found in the West’s human rights system,” the editorial asserts that, in fact, Chinese people have a “broader understanding” of human rights than do people in the West.

Since China’s reform and opening-up, the country’s human rights cause has witnessed a historic leap alongside economic and social development. Except for a few radical activists, the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people have felt and enjoyed the changes.
Chinese people’s understanding of human rights is much broader than the West’s. A prosperous life, social fairness, clean public toilets, leisure of traveling, and not being susceptible to feelings of inferiority caused by poverty are all tangible human rights. Western human rights are not excluded, but it’s annoying that the West uses them as cards to hit at China.

The report continues China’s “the best defense is a good offense” strategy when it comes to human rights. Beijing has issued the same kind of report each year since the late 1990s. In 2016, a CCTV documentary on American human rights offenses was even aired, filling in millions of Chinese viewers on the “dirty secrets” of their country’s greatest competitor.