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Angry at the U.S. for Criticizing China

It looks as if Beijing is employing the classic “I am rubber, you are glue” defense against recent U.S. criticism of its human rights record. The Chinese government has released a report on human rights in the U.S., in which it slams the alleged injustice of the American prison system, the lack of online freedom, the prevalent gender discrimination, and the growing poverty rate:

Much of the document focuses on social and economic issues such as poverty, crime and racism. It attacks the US for the large number of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan and the prisoner abuse scandals that have dogged counterterrorism initiatives. It adds: “The violation of [US] citizens’ civil and political rights by the government is severe . . . the United States applies double standards . . . by requesting unrestricted ‘internet freedom’ in other countries, which becomes an important diplomatic tool for the United States to impose pressure and seek hegemony, and imposing strict restriction within its territory.

According to China, the human rights record of the U.S. puts it in no position to criticize other countries’ records. This argument apparently struck a cord with some on the left, who quickly adopted the Chinese Communist Party’s talking points.

“China isn’t totally out-of-line,” wrote Carmel Lobello at Death and Taxes. “While the U.S. is mostly famous for international bullying, our history is riddled with internal human rights violations as well. The removal of Native Americans from their lands, slavery, the detainment of Japanese Americans during WWII—the list is long.”

In other words, the U.S. should be denounced for its behavior 70 to 200 years ago, while China shouldn’t be held responsible for human rights abuses that it committed yesterday (or, at the very least, both China and the U.S. should be condemned equally).

By this standard, America will never have the legitimacy to speak out on human rights. And that’s exactly where the left is going with this.

Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge declared that China’s report “makes a mockery of the US double standard when it comes to human rights, and exposes US ‘hypocrisy’ which China (rightly many would claim) asserts is merely a pretext for continued US attempts at world ‘hegemony’.”

Underlying this argument is a complete lack of interest in human rights. The anger here is directed at the U.S. for publicizing China’s human rights violations, not at the Chinese government for engaging in them.


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