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China criticizes US human rights record in annual report

[JURIST] China accused the US of numerous human rights abuses on Thursday in its Human Rights Record of the US in 2006 [report text, in English; press release], the Chinese state response to US criticism in Tuesday's publication of the 2006 US State Department Country Reports [official website; JURIST report]. The Chinese report, its eighth consecutive annual rebuttal to the US report, cites news stories from around the world as examples of US rights abuses both within the US and in other countries. China said the US uses its strong military to trespass on the sovereignty of other countries and violate the rights of those countries' citizens, drawing from sources such as a John Hopkins University study [text] that estimates more than 655,000 Iraqi deaths since the Iraq war began in early 2003, and US troop actions in Haditha and Mahmudiya [JURIST news archives]. The report also cited alleged Geneva Convention violations, including the detention and alleged torture of prisoners both in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives]. On the situation within the US, the Chinese report looked at racial and gender inequality, overcrowding in the prison system, poverty, post September 11 government surveillance, political corruption including discussion of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive], and the crime rate in general. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that the US has an imperfect human rights record [transcript; Reuters report] when introducing the State Department's report Tuesday, saying "We do not issue these reports because we think ourselves perfect, but rather because we know ourselves to be deeply imperfect, like all human beings and the endeavors that they make. Our democratic system of governance is accountable, but it is not infallible. We are nonetheless guided by enduring ideals: the inalienable rights of humankind and the principles of democracy toward which all people and all governments must continue striving. And that includes us here in America."

The US State Department report on China [text] was just as detailed as the Chinese response, saying that China's human rights record has been steadily declining over the years. The US report looked at China's restrictions on press and speech, Internet censorship, governmental corruption, racial and gender discrimination, and limitations on religious freedom, including the state crackdown on Falun Gong. AP has more.

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