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US human rights hypocrisy attacked
By Shao Zongwei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-21 22:44

Human rights experts and religious leaders spoke out on Friday against a recent series of US reports on China's human rights situation, urging Washington to take a closer look at its own army's abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

Tian Jin, a member of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, said that the United States wanted to "achieve two goals" by publishing the reports.

"It wants to add political pressure on China and demonize China."

The US Government had initially planned to issue its report entitled Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The US Record 2003-2004, which looks at human rights in over 100 countries, on May 5.

But publication was postponed until last Monday amid global fury over the disclosure of atrocities committed by US troops against Iraqi prisoners.

"Against the backdrop of the US army's abuse of Iraqi prisoners, the United States should have refrained from issuing such a report," Tian told China Daily.

He was echoed by Dong Yunhu, Vice-President of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, who described the US report as "ironic."

The report has allowed the public to see clearly the double standards adopted by the United States concerning human rights and its pursuit for hegemony, said Dong.

"The United States should stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs by using human rights, and return to an equal dialogue on human rights," added Dong.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that the United States should take a closer look at the state of human rights in its own country and think about how to improve this.

Actions by the US should not violate human rights in other countries.

China can be proud of its human rights achievements over the past decades, although there remains further room for improvement, added the spokesman.

This year's session of the National People's Congress in March passed a constitutional amendment which states that China respects and preserves human rights.

The United States and China have had a number of confrontations over human rights this year.

The US State Department issued this year's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in February, which was once again critical of China.

That was followed by a US-sponsored anti-China motion at the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which was thrown out by the participating countries on April 16. The recent US actions have prompted China to suspend its human rights dialogue with the United States.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom published an annual policy-adversary report to its government on Thursday last week.

It called for special attention to be paid to religious freedom in 11 countries, including China.

But Chinese religious leaders attacked the report for containing many falsehoods about the situation in China..

"As Catholics in China, we are enjoying religious freedom," said Liu Deshen, head of the patriotic catholic association in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

"The report is full of lies," he said.

More than 3,000 people became Catholics in Chongqing last year, according to Liu.

"We cannot stand that they (the commission members) interfere in China's internal affairs in the name of religious freedom," said Liu.

Official statistics show that China has at least 100 million believers in Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism. Among them, there has been an obvious increase in the number of Protestants in recent years.

US soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners has aroused particular indignation among Chinese Muslims.

"The United States has violated not only the International Covenants on Human Rights, but also Islamic doctrines, which incites condemnation from Muslims," said Imam Chen Guangyuan, president of the Islamic Association of China.

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