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China blasts US human rights record again in annual riposte

[JURIST] Human rights violations remain a problem in the United States, including illegal wiretapping, police abuse, wrongful convictions, and the world's highest ratio of people behind bars, according to a report released Thursday by China. The Human Rights Record of the US in 2005 [text, in English] was released in response to the US State Department's annual 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [State Dept. materials; JURIST report], which were released Wednesday. The country report for China [text] noted that "the government's human rights record remained poor" and that increased controls on the media are particularly problematic. In its response, Chinese officials detailed rights problems within the US and rights abuses perpetrated by US forces around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. China urged the US to:

look squarely at its own human rights problems, reflect what it has done in the human rights field and take concrete measures to improve its own human rights status. The U.S. government should stop provoking international confrontation on the issue of human rights, and make a fresh start to contribute more to international human rights cooperation and to the healthy development of international human rights cause.
In a separate report, the Open Constitution Initiative [Wikipedia backgrounder], a group of Chinese lawyers and activists, warned that Chinese citizens' freedom of expression and faith have become more restricted despite some other modest expansion of freedoms. Reuters has more. Xinhua has local coverage.

In a related development Thursday, Syria [country report] also blasted the US [SANA report] for "designat[ing] itself as a defender of human rights in the world while flagrant violations of these rights are taking place in more than one region." According to the US report, Syria has "refused international calls to respect the fundamental freedoms of its people and end its interference in the affairs of its neighbors," continued to provide support for terrorist groups, and has not cooperated fully with the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. AFP has more.

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