BEIJING – China on Thursday accused the United States of trampling on Iraq's sovereignty, saying Washington was using its campaign against terrorism as an excuse to torture people around the world and violate the rights of its own citizens.
The charges came in a report titled the "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006," China's response to U.S. criticism of Beijing's human rights record in a report Tuesday by the State Department.
"As in previous years, the State Department pointed the finger at human rights conditions in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but avoided touching on the human rights situation in the United States," the Chinese report said.
At a news conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang called China's report a "mirror" to "let the Americans see their own human rights condition."
The U.S. thinks it has "the right to make irresponsible remarks toward other countries and have double standards," he said, but would not elaborate on why. He also said China would like to give the U.S. books on the ideas of Confucius to help improve its government.
The report, the eighth year China has answered the State Department's annual report on human rights around the world, was released by the State Council, China's cabinet, through the Xinhua News Agency.
It said the United States has used its military power to trespass on the sovereignty of other countries and violate human rights.
The Chinese report cites U.S. news stories estimating that more than 655,000 Iraqis have died in Iraq since war started in March 2003, and repeats charges of atrocities carried out by U.S. forces there.
It said the United States has "a flagrant record" of violating the Geneva Convention by systematically abusing prisoners in Iraq and in Afghanistan, citing the mistreatment of prisoners in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison.
The report said the international image of the United States had been hurt by these rights violations it said were carried out under the banner of "safeguarding human rights".
China also said the United States had a poor domestic human rights record, with its citizens suffering "increasing civil rights infringements" under security measures imposed after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Citing U.S. reports, it said nearly three-quarters of the terrorism suspects seized by the United States in the five years since the attacks have not come to trial due to lack of evidence.
The report also criticized the United States for not protecting its citizens' economic and social rights, saying that according to the U.S. Census Bureau 37 million people lived in poverty in the United States in 2005, or about one in eight Americans.
"The ethnic minorities are at the bottom of American society," the Chinese report said.
The document quotes a U.S. Justice Department report that said there were 5.2 million violent crimes in the United States in 2005, the highest number in 15 years.
The State Department said China's already poor human rights record deteriorated in 2006, with officials harassing and arresting reporters, activists and defense lawyers seeking to exercise their lawful rights.
It also faulted China for endemic corruption, discrimination against women and minorities, government control of courts and judges and Internet censorship.
The State Department said China had tightened restrictions on press and speech freedoms, executed people on the day of their conviction or immediately after an appeal was denied, and restricted people trying to assemble, practice religion and travel.