Full Text of Human Rights Record of United States in 2007

Updated: 2008-03-13 13:56

BEIJING - The Information Office of the State Council published a report titled "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2007" here on Thursday. Following is the full text:

The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2007 on March 11, 2008. As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2007 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States and as a reminder for the United States to reflect upon its own issues.

I. On Life, Property and Personal Security

The increase of violent crimes in the United States poses a serious threat to its people's lives, liberty and personal security.

According to a FBI report on crime statistics released in September 2007, 1.41 million violent crimes were reported nationwide in 2006, an increase of 1.9 percent over 2005. Of the violent crimes, the estimated number of murders and nonnegligent manslaughters increased 1.8 percent, and that of robberies increased 7.2 percent (FBI Release its 2006 Crime Statistics,FBI,www.fbi.gov/pressre1/pressre107/cius092407.htm). Throughout 2006, US residents age 12 or above experienced an estimated 25 million crimes of violence and theft. The violent crime rate was 24.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older, for property crimes it was 159.5 per 1,000 households. Males experienced 26 violent victimizations per 1,000 males age 12 or older; females, 23 per 1,000 females age 12 or older. Blacks experienced 33 violent victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older, higher than 23 for whites (Criminal Victimization 2006, US Department of Justice, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs). In the United States, one violent crime was committed in every 22.2 seconds, one murder committed in every 30.9 minutes, one rape in every 5.7 minutes, one robbery in every 1.2 minutes and one aggravated assault in every 36.6 seconds (FBI Release its 2006 Crime Statistics, FBI, www.fbi.gov/pressre1/pressre107/cius092407.htm).

A survey by the Police Executive Research Forum in 163 US cities shows that 65 percent of them reported increases or no changes in homicides during the first half of 2007, 41.9 percent of cities reported increases or no changes in aggravated assaults, 55.6 percent reported increases or no changes in robberies (Survey Shows Shift in Violence, USA Today, October 12, 2007). In New Orleans, 209 homicides were recorded in 2007, a 30 percent increase over that of 2006 (New Orleans Homicides up 30% Over '06 Level, USA Today, January 3, 2008). Washington D.C. recorded 181 killings in 2007, jumping 7 percent over 2006 (Killings in D.C. up After Long Dip, The Washington Post, January 1, 2008). Baltimore recorded 282 homicides last year (City Marks First '08 Slaying. The Baltimore Sun, January 2, 2008) and 428 killings were logged in New York by the end of November (City Homicides Still Dropping, to Under 500, The New York Times, November 23, 2007). From January to September, Chicago recorded 119,553 criminal offences including 341 murders and 11,097 robberies (Chicago Police Department, http://egov.cityofchicago.org). From January to November, 737 people were murdered in Los Angeles, namely two were killed every day (World Daily, December 4, 2007). In Detroit, rampant violent crimes have forced many residents to find new homes elsewhere, and the city's population has declined by nearly 1 million since 1950, according to the Census Bureau (Study: Detroit Most Dangerous City, the Associated Press, November 18, 2007).

The United States has the largest number of privately-owned guns in the world. Frequent gun violence poses a serious threat to people’s life and property security. There are an estimated 250 million privately-owned firearms in the United States. Almost every American, even ex-criminals with felony records and minors, has firearms. The Associated Press reported on January 29, 2007 that about 410,000 Floridians were licensed to carry hidden guns, including 1,400 who had pleaded guilty or no contest to felonies, thanks to loopholes, errors and miscommunication of authorities.

In the United States, about 30,000 people die from gun wounds every year (Update 2-Senate Passes Gun Bill in Response to Rampage, Reuters, December 19, 2007). The USA Today reported on December 5,2007 that gun killings have climbed 13 percent overall since 2002. An estimated 25 percent of all violent crime incidents were committed by an armed offender. The presence of a firearm was involved in 9 percent of these incidents (Criminal Victimization 2006, US Department of Justice, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs). According to a report by the US Department of Justice on December 2007, among students ages 12-18, there were about 1.5 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school in 2005. In the same year, 8 percent of students in grades 9-12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon in the previous 12 months. From July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, among youth ages 5-18, there were 17 school-associated violent deaths (Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2007, US Department of Justice, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs). On April 16, 2007, the Virginia Tech University witnessed the deadliest shooting rampage in modern US history with 33 killed and more than 30 others injured (AFP, April17, 2007). On February 12, 2007, two separate gun killings in the Salt Lake City and Philadelphia claimed eight lives and injured several other people (The Associated Press, February 13, 2007). On June 9, in Delevan, Wisconsin, a gunman killed four adults and two infants (Chicago Tribune, June 11, 2007). On October 31, a 38-year-old pregnant woman was caught in gang gunfire while returning home after trick-or-treating with her children on Halloween night. She was shot in head and killed (Chicago Tribune, November 2, 2007). On December 5, a man opened fire at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska, killing eight people and injuring five others. The man then killed himself (The Associated Press, December 5, 2007). On December 7, three separate gun killings took place in San Jose, the acclaimed "safest city" in the United States. Four people were killed by guns in the city in less than one month. (Ming Pao, December 9, 2007). On December 9, two separate gun killings in churches killed five people and injured other five in Colorado (Reuters, December 9, 2007). On December 24 and 25, at least nine people were killed in several gun killings in New York City (www.chinesenewsnet.com, December 26, 2007). On December 26, bodies of six people died from gun wounds were discovered at a residential building in eastern Seattle (www.chinesenewsnet.com, December 27, 2007).

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