By Clifford Coonan
14 March 2008
China has attacked the United States' human rights record as "tattered and shocking", describing its election process as "hypocritical democracy" and naming the US invasion of Iraq as the world's greatest humanitarian tragedy.
In what has become an annual piece of tit-for-tat diplomatic wrangling, the US State Department issues a human rights report in which China always scores badly. A couple of days later, Beijing compiles a report on the US human rights record which uses similar language to attack Washington's record.
"[America's] arrogant critique on the human rights of other countries are always accompanied by a deliberate ignoring of serious human rights problems on its own territory," said the Chinese report, released yesterday.
As well as focusing on civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, China's report also highlights a growing wealth gap, violent crime in the cities and the swelling prison population as examples of issues the US should deal with before it starts criticising China.
Washington was less critical of Beijing than usual, because of a greater willingness to talk. But it attacked China for censorship of the internet and the media and gave examples of torture and forced relocations ahead of the Olympics.