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Human Rights Record of the US in 2004 (full text)
Updated: 2005-03-03 11:10

Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004, released by the Information office of China's State Council Thursday, March 3, 2005.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004

(The Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

March 3, 2005)

In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community. It is quite ironic that on Feb. 28 of this year, the State Department of the United States once again posed as the "the world human rights police" and released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. As in previousyears, the reports pointed fingers at human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions (including China) but kept silent on the US misdeeds in this field. Therefore, the world people have to probe the human rights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States.

I. On Life, Liberty and Security of Person   

American society is characterized with rampant violent crimes, severe infringement of people's rights by law enforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people's rights to life, liberty and security of person.

Violent crimes pose a serious threat to people's lives. According to a report released by the Department of Justice of theUnited States on Nov. 29, 2004, in 2003 residents aged 12 and above in the United States experienced about 24 million victimizations, and there occurred 1,381,259 murders, robberies and other violent crimes, averaging 475 cases per 100,000 people. Among them there were 16,503 homicides, up 1.7 percent over 2002, or nearly six cases in every 100,000 residents, and one of every 44 Americans aged above 12 was victimized.

The Associated Press reported on June 24, 2004 that the number of violent crimes in many US cities were on the rise. In 2003 Chicago alone recorded 598 homicides, 80 percent of which involvedthe use of guns. The Washington D.C. reported 41,738 murders, robberies and other violent crimes in 2003, averaging 6,406.4 cases per 100,000 residents. In 2004 the District recorded 198 killings, or a homicide rate of 35 per 100,000 residents. Detroit,which has less than 1 million residents, recorded 18,724 criminal cases in 2003, including 366 murders and 814 rapes, which amountedto a homicide rate of 41 per 100,000 residents.

In 2003 the homicide rate in Baltimore was 43 per 100,000 residents. The Baltimore Sun reported on Dec. 17, 2004 that the city reported 271 killings from January to early December in 2004.It was reported that on Sept. 8, 2004 that by Sept. 4, 2004 there had been 368 homicides in the city, up 4.2 percent year-on-year. The USA Today reported on July 16, 2004 that in an average week inthe US workplace one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former co-workers. The Cincinnati Post reported on Nov. 12, 2004 that homicides average 17 a week and there are nearly 5,500 violent assaults a day at US job sites.

The United States has the biggest number of gun owners and gun violence has affected lots of innocent lives. According to a survey released by the University of Chicago in 2001, 41.7 percentof men and 28.5 percent of women in the United States report having a gun in their homes, and 29.2 percent of men and 10.2 percent of women personally own a gun. The Los Angeles Times reported on Jul. 19, 2004 that since 2000 the number of firearm holders rose 28 percent in California.

About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded by firearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shot dead each day. In 2002 there were 30,242 firearm killings in the UnitedStates; 54 percent of all suicides and 67 percent of all homicideswere related to the use of firearms. The Associated Press reportedthat 808 people were shot dead in the first half of 2004 in Detroit.

Police violence and infringement of human rights by law enforcement agencies also constitute a serious problem. At present,5,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States use TASER -- akind of electric shock gun, which sends out 50,000 volts of impulse voltage after hitting the target. Since 1999, more than 80people died from TASER shootings, 60 percent of which occurred between November 2003 and November 2004.

A survey found that in the 17 years from 1985 to 2002, Los Angeles recorded more than 100 times increase in police shooting at automobile drivers, killing at least 25 and injuring more than 30 of them. Of these cases, 90 percent were due to misjudgment. (The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 29, 2004.)

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