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US Report on China's Human Rights Biased
The "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002" released by the US State Department on April 1 (Beijing time) applies double standards and is full of statements from unidentified sources, according to an article written by a Chinese human rights expert.

Dong Yunhu, deputy-head and secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, said the document entitled "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2002" published by the Information Office of the State Council on Thursday revealed many facts and cases of infringements of human rights in the United States.

"The document released by the Information Office of China's State Council serves as an addition to the US report on human rights practices for 2002, and as a correction of the double standards applied by the United States in the report," said Dong in his article.

Most of the censures against China in the US report lack identified sources and use such ambiguous phrases as "reliable sources" and "according to unproven reports" to cover its tracks, Dong went on.

By contrast, the document published by the Chinese Government lists a great number of human rights abuses existing in the United States by using official statistics and verifiable facts, said Dong.

"Facts show that the United States, with its poor human rights record, is fully unqualified to criticize or point a finger at China or any other country over their human rights status," said Dong.

The US State Department has used plenty of words to censure China in its annual human rights report since 1990, but starting from last year, some changes have taken place, and a drop in the number of words on China and use of such tempered wording as "positive progress" have appeared in the annual human rights reports of the United States, according to Dong.

The changes in the US human rights reports show that, in order not to lose the trust of the world's people, the American administration has had to make some corrections in its wording to take into account China's human rights improvement, which is a generally recognized fact.

The past decade has been the best period for China in terms of its human rights status, recording its fastest human rights progress, said Dong.

The Chinese human rights specialist said that while placing the rights for subsistence and development on the top of every work agenda, China has been fully pursuing human rights by realizing a historical leap in the overall living standard of the Chinese people from just having enough to eat and wear to a comparatively affluent life, and by having established political and legal systems to safeguard the democratic rights of the people.

During the past decade, Chinese people have seen remarkable improvement both in their material and cultural life. From 1990 to 2002, the per capita disposable income of urban residents rose from 1,387 yuan to 7,703 yuan, while the per capita net income of rural residents also rose from 682 yuan to 2,476 yuan.

The poverty-stricken rural population has dropped to 28.2 million from 85 million, and the proportion of poverty-hit rural people in the total rural population has also plunged from 10.1 percent to the present three percent, Dong added.

By the year 2002, the per capita living floor space for urbanites approached 22 square meters, while that of rural residents had increased to 26.5 square meters.

China has taken the top position in the world for boasting 421 million fixed-line phone and mobile phone subscribers. Home appliances such as TV sets, refrigerators and washing machines have become commonplace in Chinese households, and computers and cars are also popular with a growing number of families.

Chinese people's health standard has kept improving along with the improvement in medical conditions and health care service. The average life span for Chinese people has risen from 70 years in 1988 to 71.8 years in 2002, nearing the level of moderately developed countries.

In the past decade, Chinese people have also witnessed notable improvements in education, enjoying full participation in economic, commercial and cultural activities such as the freedom in choosing jobs, freedom of speech and freedom of publication, said Dong.

He added that in the past decade, Chinese people have also seen an intensified democratic and legal construction so that their rights as citizens and their political rights are safeguarded in an effective way.

It is now widely recognized by people around the world without any political prejudice that Chinese people today are enjoying increasingly extensive human rights, said Dong.

He cited as proof a report released by the United Nations Development Program in July last year which indicated that China's human development level for the first time exceeded the world average level and ranked the 87th in the world.

The report also affirmed that China, while maintaining rapid economic growth, has greatly promoted social reform, democracy and its legal system construction, and has registered outstanding achievements in improving people's living standards and eliminating poverty.

However, Dong conceded that, limited by natural, historical and economic factors, China still faces many problems in this regard including the abuse of law, the relatively low medical security level and the challenged rights and interests of farmers and workers.

Some 28.2 million rural people, for instance, are still living under poverty and another 85 million above the age of 15 are completely or partially illiterate.

However, these are inevitable problems in the process of development, and with the continuous progress of China's human rights, which has been designated by both the Communist Party and the government as a major task in the new century, such problems will be gradually ironed out.

Dong believed that the US government, in total disregard of China's progress, attacked China's human rights only out of ulterior motives, which are to serve its politics of hegemony and to uglify China's image, destroy its peace, block its development and then make it further Westernized.

The world in recent years had witnessed an extreme inflation of American unilateralism, Dong said.

In defiance of the principles of the United Nations Charter and going against the universally recognized norms governing international relations, the United States repeatedly violated human rights and the sovereignty of other nations, aiming at world hegemony, Dong said.

Dong noted that the ongoing Iraq war was the most obvious demonstration of the unilateralism of the United States.

Though most of the nations in the world voiced strong opposition, the United States, with some of its allies, launched a war on Iraq without the authorization of the Untied Nations, Dong said.

The United States was so arrogant, Dong said, that it would nitpick at other nations' human rights issues by unilaterally publishing the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices without the authorization of the international community and support of international law.

In the United Nations Charter, one of the major tenets of the United Nations is to promote international cooperation, boost and encourage respect for human rights and basic freedom of the whole humankind.

To achieve this goal, Dong said, the United Nations and its member nations should abide by the international principle of equal sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.

Dong pointed out that the United States, which had no right to find fault with other countries in regard of human rights, would be opposed by the whole world for arrogantly overriding other countries.

It should be the shared mission of all nations to promote and protect human rights, Dong said, and no country could ever boast a perfect human rights record, and there was no such country qualified to act as the judge of human rights in the international community.

Dong said different nations had different understandings and views on the protection of human rights because of their different histories, social systems, economic situations and cultural traditions.

The differences were all quite natural and should not be used as a pretext for interference in the internal affairs of other nations, Dong said.

On the contrary, Dong said, realizing the differences, each country should learn from other countries' virtues in valuing human rights.

Dong said it was far from proper to demand the whole world mechanically copy a certain country's mode and experience in human rights development.

A country's own history, culture, social situation and economic development should be taken into consideration when reviewing and evaluating its human rights situation, Dong said.

Human rights problems should be addressed mainly by the government and the people of the country concerned, while solving human rights problems needed the joint efforts of governments and peoples of all countries, Dong said.

Each country should promote the development of human rights by addressing the problems in its own country in line with its own situation, Dong said.

Dong said the United States should not neglect its own human rights problems while concentrating its attentions on criticizing other countries in its annual human rights report.

(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2003)

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