China lashes out against US “hypocrisy” on human rights

China Daily today attacks the US for its alleged hypocrisy in harping on China’s human rights violations, and points out some of America’s own gross violations to prove its point.

While pointing the finger at other countries over alleged human rights violations, the self-appointed monitors in Washington are practising exactly what they censure in others.

And what exactly are the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the US? I hope you’re holding onto something:

Showing no respect of the human rights of Chinese citizens, the United States began demanding fingerprints and photos from Chinese applicants for visas to the United States on Monday.

The move infringes the human dignity and right to privacy of Chinese citizens.

So now we all know. What right does the US have of pointing fingers at China with documented examples of religious persecution, murders in prison, the arrest of reporters — how dare we come forward with such claims when at the exact same time we are inflicting such mental torture on the Chinese….by asking that they (and many others coming into America) be fingerprinted and photographed?

Don’t get me wrong. I think King-of-the-world Bush and his cronies are barking up the wrong tree by demanding the fingerprinting and photographing of arriving visitors. But to compare it to charges of blatant repression, arbitrary/illegal arrests and murder — give me a fucking break.

The same article ends with an, ahem, outspoken conclusion about us wicked Americans:

They can kill anyone they think is a potential threat to their precious lives. That is their idea of human rights.

One can almost visualize us evil Americans stalking the world, killing anyone at will on the slightest pretext, totally unaccountable to anyone. For the government that has honed political repression into a fine art to accuse Americans of killing anyone who threatens our “precious lives” — well, it’s a bit extreme, don’t you think? I mean, we weren’t the ones who massacred our own civilians some 15 years back for staging anti-government demonstrations. Few essayists in the US are locked up for the best years of their lives for posting an essay on the Internet.

There’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around in just about every government. But this sort of slam is beyond comprehension and beyond belief. When our leaders fuck up, there are hearings and investigations and banner headlines — not necessarily justice, especially under the current administration, but at least we can do something without fear of reprisal. If the fingerprinting is the best example China could come up with of America’s murderous ways, I think they’re on pretty shaky ground.

On a more personal note: I’ve been away a long time. There’s been a lot of recent news on stories that normally I would be shouting out about, like the obscene blog ban, the arrest and persecution of more reporters in Guandong, and the tightening of restrictions on the Internet, to name a few. With my new move home and the job search and an ever-nagging mid-life crisis, it’s been impossible for me to post the past several days. But I’m back in the mood now and I plan to post at least once a day, starting today. Thanks for your patience.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 8 Comments

I agree fully with you the atrocity that the CCP has committed to its own people and their crimes is indeed heinous. But what i am gonna say is not a defence of Peking but a long time annoyance at the double standards of USA.

USA has always pride herself as the land of liberty. Yes, but she too had her dark side of history that was not publicised as widely. Racial profiling, racialism continued to thrive even up till today, illegal immgrants tortured and even sodomised by a broom by the Coastal guards. Despite shouting slogans as the self-appointed leader of the free world, Washington had supported many repressive autocrats who killed people like ants. From Syngman Rhee, Diem, Macros, Suharto, the Shah and his Savak (CIA-trained), Pinochet, the white rulers of Pretoria and the list goes on. So in the eyes of the people in these many countries, do you think that USA, by seizing moral high ground and became a self-appointed human rights guardian, irks many people around the world? How about the tonnes of Agent Orange that she dropped on S Vietnam? It left many Vietnamese children with no part in the VietCong’s war with indefinite pain and deformities. What right does the USA have to issue reports on other countries’ human rights record annually? I am curious why they never issue one annually on the human rights situation in Gaza and the West Bank every year. In the past, Reagan even tried to block Congressional action to employ sanctions on White Supremacist South Africa. Given America’s long history like this, would any country not be irritated by Washington’s “supervision” of their human rights record? I am sure you would explode if your mum scolds you for being lazy bum when she left her own dirty laundry in the basket for a week, right? Who is USA to be the supervisor? In fact, when the UN tried to supervise her and her allies, you can see their own reactions, rejecting the ICC, the Kyoto Protocol was brushed aside, Treaty on Child’s Rights and small arms rejected only by USA alone in every UN conference.

I am not trying to defend PRC or any brutal regime like this from scrutiny given one of my relative was a victim of the Cultural Revolution and many of them died in the GLF. But my opposition to USA trying to be the standadrd bearer of freedom and rights when she had a dirty record no less impressive. But it is clear to all, including the trans-atlantic allies even Canadians, find Washington’s pretentious and deceitful behaviour utterly disgusting.

March 27, 2004 @ 11:37 am | Comment

Of course America has its share of sins. I am an extremely vocal critic of abuses of the US government and always have been. (Though I would never put racial profiling in the same category of sin as murder or slavery or blatant oppression — it’s something that sometimes has to be done.) And I agree about Washington’s pretentious and hypocritical self righteousness. But still, my point remains: fingerprinting, on the level of the human rights violations China is guilty of?

Another important difference I want you to keep in mind: When the truth comes out — and in America, luckily, it always does (whether anyone listens or not is another story) — America gets lambasted for its sins by its own people. Vietnam is still top of mind for many of us, and all the dirty linen has been aired, and will continue to be aired for years to come. In China and many other less open countries, bringing up the government’s failures and crimes can be an instant ticket to jail.

March 27, 2004 @ 11:49 am | Comment

Yes. you are right. Its indeed a tragic thing for many in China and other nations. In fact, many are envious of what the West has in their own country, freedom of speech without fear. Many people wanted to work for democracy in China, notably students of Tiananmen who are martyrs of the Chinese desire for democracy and justice. In fact, Chinese people had been struggling to have democracy and constitutional rule since 1911 but its a tragedy that she had a string of leaders waiting to be emperors of a feudal state.

March 27, 2004 @ 12:17 pm | Comment

“…demanding fingerprints and photos from Chinese applicants for visas…infringes the human dignity and right to privacy of Chinese citizens…”

Interesting that they think Chinese citizens have a right to privacy when applying for foreign visas.
The solution: don’t apply for the visa. Unless they also think Chinese citizens have a right to live in the US, on their own terms…

March 27, 2004 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

I am so glad to find you have been back here!

March 27, 2004 @ 5:40 pm | Comment

When I began reading the post, I thought that China would be going for something breath-takingly hypocritical, such as criticising the Guantanamo prison camp. The reality, alas, is quite underwhelming.

March 27, 2004 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

It’s so good to have you back again, Richard! Give ‘em hell!

March 27, 2004 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

Thanks Ellen, it’s good to be back.

March 28, 2004 @ 1:33 pm | Comment

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