We are constantly being reminded that China is an oppressivesociety with prisons full of political detainees and minimalhuman rights, but now it has released a report on US humanrights abuses that makes it painfully clear that our countryhas lost the moral high ground because of our own tragicinvolvement in the use of torture.
Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of theUnited States in 2004, released by the Information office ofChina’s State Council Thursday, March 3, 2005:
In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposedthe dark side of human rights performance of the UnitedStates. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemnedby the international community. It is quite ironic that onFeb. 28 of this year, the State Department of the UnitedStates once again posed as the “the world human rightspolice” and released its Country Reports on Human RightsPractices for 2004.
As in previous years, the reports pointed fingers at humanrights situation in more than 190 countries and regions(including China) but kept silent on the US misdeeds in thisfield. Therefore, the world people have to probe the humanrights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States.
I. On Life, Liberty and Security of Person
American society is characterized with rampant violentcrimes, severe infringement of people’s rights by lawenforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people’srights to life, liberty and security of person.
Violent crimes pose a serious threat to people’s lives.According to a report released by the Department of Justiceof the United States on Nov. 29, 2004, in 2003 residentsaged 12 and above in the United States experienced about 24million victimizations, and there occurred 1,381,259murders, robberies and other violent crimes, averaging 475cases per 100,000 people. Among them there were 16,503homicides, up 1.7 percent over 2002, or nearly six cases inevery 100,000 residents, and one of every 44 Americans agedabove 12 was victimized.
The Associated Press reported on June 24, 2004 that thenumber of violent crimes in many US cities were on the rise.In 2003 Chicago alone recorded 598 homicides, 80 percent ofwhich involved the use of guns. The Washington D.C. reported41,738 murders, robberies and other violent crimes in 2003,averaging 6,406.4 cases per 100,000 residents. In 2004 theDistrict recorded 198 killings, or a homicide rate of 35 per100,000 residents. Detroit, which has less than 1 millionresidents, recorded 18,724 criminal cases in 2003, including366 murders and 814 rapes, which amounted to a homicide rateof 41 per 100,000 residents.
In 2003 the homicide rate in Baltimore was 43 per 100,000residents. The Baltimore Sun reported on Dec. 17, 2004 thatthe city reported 271 killings from January to earlyDecember in 2004.
It was reported that on Sept. 8, 2004 that by Sept. 4, 2004there had been 368 homicides in the city, up 4.2 percentyear-on-year. The USA Today reported on July 16, 2004 thatin an average week in the US workplace one employee iskilled and at least 25 are seriously injured in violentassaults by current or former co-workers. The CincinnatiPost reported on Nov. 12, 2004 that homicides average 17 aweek and there are nearly 5,500 violentassaults a day at US job sites.
The United States has the biggest number of gun owners andgun violence has affected lots of innocent lives. Accordingto a survey released by the University of Chicago in 2001,41.7 percent
of men and 28.5 percent of women in the United States reporthaving a gun in their homes, and 29.2 percent of men and10.2 percent of women personally own a gun. The Los AngelesTimes reported on Jul. 19, 2004 that since 2000 the numberof firearm holders rose 28 percent in California.
About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded byfirearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shotdead each day. In 2002 there were 30,242 firearm killings inthe United States; 54 percent of all suicides and 67 percentof all homicides were related to the use of firearms. TheAssociated Press reported that 808 people were shot dead inthe first half of 2004 in Detroit.
Police violence and infringement of human rights by lawenforcement agencies also constitute a serious problem. Atpresent, 5,000 law enforcement agencies in the United Statesuse TASER – a kind of electric shock gun, which sends out50,000 volts of impulse voltage after hitting the target.Since 1999, more than 80 people died from TASER shootings,60 percent of which occurred between November 2003 andNovember 2004.
A survey found that in the 17 years from 1985 to 2002, LosAngeles recorded more than 100 times increase in policeshooting at automobile drivers, killing at least 25 andinjuring more than 30 of them. Of these cases, 90 percentwere due to misjudgment. (The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 29, 2004.)
On Jul. 21, 2004 Chinese citizen Zhao Yan was handcuffed andseverely beaten while she was in the United States on anormal business trip. She suffered injuries in many parts ofher body and serious mental harm.
The New York Times reported on Apr. 19, 2004 a comprehensivestudy of 328 criminal cases over the last 15 years in whichthe convicted person was exonerated suggests that there arethousands of innocent people in prison today. The studyidentified 199 murder exoneration, 73 of them in capitalcases. In more than half of the cases, the defendants hadbeen in prison for more than 10 years.
The United States characterizes itself as “a paradise forfree people,” but the ratio of its citizens deprived offreedom has remained among the highest in the world.Statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigationlast November showed that the nation made an estimated 13.6million arrests in 2003. The national arrest rate was4,695.1 arrests per 100,000 people, 0.2 percent up than thatof the previous year (USA Today, Nov. 8, 2004).
According to statistics from the Department of Justice, thenumber of inmates in the United States jumped from 320,000in 1980 to 2 million in 2000, a hike by six times. From 1995to 2003, the number of inmates grew at an annual rate of 3.5percent in the country, where one out of every 142 people isbehind bars. The number of convicted offenders may totalmore than 6 million if parolees and probationers are alsocounted. The Chicago Tribune reported on Nov. 8 last yearthat the federal and state prison population amounted to1.47 million last year, 2.1 percent more than in 2003. Thenumber of criminals rose by over 5 percent in 11 states,with the growth in North Dakota up by 11.4 percent and inMinnesota by 10.3 percent.
Most prisons in the United States are overcrowded, but stillcannot meet the demand. The country has spent an average of7 billion US dollars a year building new jails and prisonsin the past 10 years. California has seen only one collegebut 21 new prisons built since 1984.
Jails have become one of the huge and most lucrativeindustries, with a combined staff of more than 530,000 andbeing the second largest employer in the United States onlyafter the General Motors. Private prisons are more and morecommon. The country now has over 100 private prisons in 27states and 18 private prison companies. The value of goodsand services created by inmates surged from 400 million USdollars in 1980 to 1.1 billion US dollars in 1994. Abuse ofprisoners and violence occur frequently in US jails andprisons, which are under disorderly management. The LosAngeles Times reported on Aug. 15 last year that over 40state prison systems were once under some form of courtorder, for brutality, crowding, poor food and lack ofmedical care.
The Newsweek [magazine] of the United States also reportedlast May that in Pennsylvania, Arizona and some otherstates, inmates are routinely stripped in front of othersbefore being moved to a new prison or a new unit withintheir prison. Male inmates are often made to wear women’spink underwear as a form of humiliation. New inmates arefrequently beaten and cursed at and sometimes made to crawl.
At a jail in New York City, some guards bump prisonersagainst the walls, pinch their arms and wrists, and forcethem to receive insulting checks nakedly. Some male inmatesare sometimes compelled to stand in the nude before a groupof women guards. Some female inmates go in shackles tohospital for treatment and nursing after they get ill orpregnant, some give birth without a midwife, and some arelocked to sickbeds with fetters after [their] Caesarianoperation.
Over 80,000 women prisoners in the United States aremothers, and the overall number of the minor children of theAmerican women prisoners is estimated at some 200,000. Thecountry had more than 3,000 pregnant women in jails from2000 to 2003 and 3,000 babies were born to the prisonersduring this period (see Mexico’s Milenio on Feb. 21, 2004).It is estimated that at least more than 40,000 prisoners arelocked up in the so-called “super jails,” where the prisoneris confined to a very tiny cell, cannot see other peoplethroughout the year, and has only one hour out for exerciseevery day.
Sexual harassment and encroachment are common in jails inthe Unite States. The New York Times reported last Octoberthat at least 13 percent of inmates in the country aresexually assaulted in prison (Ex-Inmate’s Suit Offers ViewInto Sexual Slavery in Prisons, The New York Times, Oct. 12,2004). In jails of seven central and western US states, 21percent of the inmates suffer sexual abuse at least onceafter being put in prison. The ratio is higher among womeninmates, with nearly one fourth of them sexually assaultedby jail guards.
II. On Political Rights and Freedom
The United States claims to be “a paragon of democracy,” butAmerican democracy is manipulated by the rich andmalpractices are common.
Elections in the United States are in fact a contest ofmoney. The presidential and Congressional elections lastyear cost nearly 4 billion US dollars, some 1 billion USdollars or one third more than that spent in the 2000elections. The 2004 presidential election has been listed asthe most expensive campaign in the country’s history (seehttp://www.opensecrets.org/overview), with the cost jumpingto 1.7 billion US dollars from 1 billion US dollars in 2000.To win the election, the Democratic Party and RepublicanParty had to try their utmost to raise funds.
The Washington Post reported on Dec. 3 last year that theDemocratic Party collected 389.8 million US dollars inelectoral funds and the Republican Party raised 385.3million US dollars, both hitting a record high (seeFundraising Records Broken by Both Major Political Parties,Washington Post on Dec. 3, 2004).
Data released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) onDec. 14, 2004 show the average spending for Senate races was2,518,750 US dollars in 2004, with the highest reaching31,488,821 US dollars; and the average spending for Houseraces was 511,043 US dollars (seehttp://www.opensecrets.org/overview), with the highestreaching 9,043,293 US dollars (seehttp://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topraces.asp?cycle=2004).
The Republican Party, the Democratic Party and theirperiphery organizations spent a total of 1.2 billion USdollars on TV commercials, making this presidential electionthe most expensive in history. The TV commercials werebroadcast 750,000 times, twice of the airings in the generalelection in 2000. In the Oct. 1 – 13 period in 2004, theRepublican Party spent 14.5 million US dollars onadvertising, and the Democratic Party’s advertising spendingamounted to 24 million US dollars in the first 20 days ofOctober 2004.
In the elections, political parties and interest groups notonly donated money for their favorite candidates, but alsodirectly spent funds on maximizing their influence upon theelections. In Maryland, some corporate bosses donated asmuch as 130,000 US dollars. In return, the candidates afterbeing elected would serve the interests of big politicaldonators. The Baltimore Sun called this “Buying Power” (see”Buying Power”, The Baltimore Sun, April 5, 2004). Due tothe fact that local judges in 38 states need to be elected,quite a number of candidates began campaign advertising andlooking for big donators. Some interest groups also gotthemselves involved in the judge election campaign. The USelection system has quite a few flaws. The newly adoptedHelp America Vote Act of 2004 requires voters to offer aseries of documents such as a stable residence oridentification in registering, which in realitydisenfranchises thousands of homeless people.
The United States is the only country in the world thatrules out ex-inmates’ right to vote, which disenfranchises 5million ex-inmates and 13 percent male black people (seeMilenio, Mexico, Oct. 22 2004).
The 2004 US presidential election reported many problems,including counting errors, machine malfunctions,registration confusion, legal uncertainty, and lack ofrespect for voters. According to a report carried by the USAToday on Dec. 28, 2004, due to counting errors, a review ofelection results in 10 counties nationwide by the ScrippsHoward News Service found more than 12,000 ballots thatweren’t counted in the presidential race, almost one inevery 10 ballots cast in those counties. Due to machinemalfunctions, 92,000 ballots failed to record a vote forpresident in Ohio alone. Registration confusion made fourfifths of the states go into the election withoutcomputerized statewide voter databases (see “Election DayLeftovers,” USA Today, Dec. 28, 2004). The Democratic Partybrought 35 lawsuits against the Republican Party in at least17 states, charging the latter with threatening and blockingvoters from registering or voting, especially minorityethnic groups. In Florida, the cases of black people beingremoved from voter registration list or their votes beingdenied were 10 times higher than people of other races. TheBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Sept. 22,2004 that during the period of election, someone oftendistributed handbills to black voters to bilk andintimidated them by saying that anyone who defaulted onelectricity bills, apartment bills or parking fines would bearrested outside the polling booths. Some others pretendedto be plainclothes policemen outside polling booths anddemanded voters show their identifications. However, blackpeople who were able to present photo identification wereless than one fifth of white people, therefore, many of themwere rejected.
In the meantime, fabrications of disputable pictures andstatements were put in the agenda of political maneuvers.Campaign advertisement and political debates were full ofdistorted facts, false information and lies. According tostatistics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center ofUniversity of Pennsylvania, campaign advertisements for the2004 US presidential election had a large proportion offalse information that was enough to mislead voters, farbeyond 50 percent in 1996. In the Republican camp, at least75 percent contained untrue information and personalattacks. The website of the center(http://www.FactCheck.org) listed at least 100 items of suchinformation.
The US freedom of the press is filled with hypocrisy. Powerand intimidation hang over the halo of press freedom. TheNew York Times published a commentary on March 30, 2004,saying that the US government’s reliance on slandering hadreached an unprecedented level in contemporary Americanpolitical history, and the government is prepared to abusepower at any moment to threat potential critics.
A collected works, Zensor USA, revealed that whenever thefaults of government dignitaries or big companies weretouched on, the strong American press censorship systemwould snap at the journalists who insisted on investigationand made them the last sacrificial lamb. (see Das Schweigender Journalisten, Handelsblatt, Germany, March 17, 2004).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept watch on aleader of freedom of speech movement in University ofCalifornia at Berkeley for a decade. Although no recordshowed he violated federal laws, the FBI hired someone tokeep monitoring his daily activities and collect hispersonal information without permission from the court. (seeSingTao Daily, Oct. 11, 2004).
On July 16, 2004, the US State Department made a regulation,in violation of the norms of most other countries, thatforeign reporters should leave the country while waiting forthe valid period of their visas to be extended. The annualreport of the Native American Journalists Associationcriticized the US administration for the move, whichseverely infringes upon press freedom. (see AP story,Antigua, Guatemala Oct. 24, 2004).
Someone with the American Society of Newspaper Editors saidthat the US administration’s measures reflected itsrepulsion of foreign news media. (see Milenio, Mexico, June20, 2004). In Iraq, the United States, on the one hand,alleged that it had brought democracy to the Iraqi people,on the other hand it suppressed public opinion. On March 28,2004 US troops closed down a Shiite newspaper in Baghdad,which triggered a protest demonstration by thousands ofIraqi people.
On Sept. 27, the Association of American University Presses,Association of American Publishers and other organizationsjointly lodged a complaint to the district court ofManhattan, New York, charging the Office of Foreign AssetsControl under the Department of the Treasury withdeliberately preventing the literary works of Iranian, Cubanand Sudanese writers from entering the United States andturning the economic sanctions against the three countriesinto a “censorship system” to stop free dissemination ofinformation and ideology. (see Xinhua story, Sept. 30, 2004).
In another case, eight reporters, including Jim Taricani ofthe TV station in Providence, Rhode Island, with theNational Broadcasting Company (NBC), Judith Miller of TheNew York Times, and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, weredeclared guilty for they declined to disclose theconfidential sources of news. The New York Times pointed outon Nov. 10, 2004 that through these cases, it was found outthat press freedom suffered rampant infringement.
In addition, in recent years, over a dozen foreignjournalists have been detained in airports in the UnitedStates, including the one in Los Angeles. In March 2003, aDanish press-photographer was expelled out of the countryafter a DNA test. A Swiss journalist was rejected from entryof an airport in Washington D.C. The airport staffs tookpictures and finger prints of the journalist by force.Meanwhile, he was not permitted to contact the Swiss embassyin the United States. In May, two groups of Frenchjournalists, altogether six members, were rejected entry toUS territory. They simply came to the United States to coveran exposition. Two Dutch journalists fell into trouble whenthey were covering a film award ceremony. In October andDecember, one British reporter and one Austrian journalistwere held up at US airports respectively. In early May,2004, a British female journalist, who was sent by TheGuardian to Los Angeles to cover some events, was detainedat the Los Angeles airport and faced interrogation and abody search, and then was handcuffed and taken to thedetention house downtown. There, she was detained for 26hours before being sent back to Britain.
III. On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The United States refuses to ratify the InternationalCovenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and tooknegative attitude to the economic, social and culturalrights of the laborers. Poverty, hunger and homelessnesshave haunted the world richest country.
The population of people living in poverty has been on asteady rise. According to a report by The Sun on July, 6,2004, from 1970 to 2000 (adjusted for inflation), the bottom90 percent’s average income stagnated while the top 10percent experienced an average yearly income increase ofnearly 90 percent. Upper-middle-and-upper-class familiesthat constitute the top 10 percent of the incomedistribution are prospering while many among the remaining90 percent struggle to maintain their standard of living.Worsening income disparities have formed two Americas. (TwoAmericas, The Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2004). According to areport of the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2004, a studyin the fall of 2003 by Arthur Kennickell of the Board ofGovernors of the Federal Reserve System showed that thenation’s wealthiest 1 percent owned 53 percent of all thestocks held by families or individuals, and 64 percent ofthe bonds. They control more than a third of the nation’swealth. (US Led a Resurgence Last Year Among MillionairesWorld-Wide, The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2004). InWashington D.C., the top 20 percent of the city’s householdshave 31 times the average income of the 20 percent at thebottom. (D.C. Gap in Wealth Growing, The Washington Post,July 22, 2004).
Since November 2003, the average income of most Americanfamilies has been on the decline. The earning of many mediumand low-income families can not keep up with price rises.They can barely handle the situation. According to thestatistics released by the US Census Bureau in 2004, thenumber of Americans in poverty has been climbing for threeyears. It rose by 1.3 million year-on-year in 2003 to 35.9million. The poverty rate in 2003 hit 12.5 percent, or onein eight people, the highest since 1998. (Census: PovertyRose By Million, USA Today, August 27, 2004, More AmericansWere Uninsured and Poor in 2003, Census Finds, The New YorkTimes, August 27, 2004).
The homeless population continues to rise nationwide. OnDec. 15, 2004, an annual survey report released at the USConference of Mayors showed that the number of peopleseeking emergency food aid has increased by 14 percent [eachyear], while the number of people seeking emergency shelteraid increased by 6 percent. (http://www.usmayors.org). It isestimated that the homeless population has reached 3.5million in the United States. But the US Federal budget hasstopped providing funds to build new affordable housing,which has forced many local governments to cut the publichousing projects. The city of San Diego has a homelesspopulation of 8,000, but the government could only provide3,000 temporary beds. Those without lodging tickets areregarded as illegal [when they] live on the streets. Theywould be summoned or detained. In January 2004, aninvestigator with the US Commission on Human Right denouncedthe US for large-scale infringements on human rights on thehousing issue.
The health insurance crisis has become prominent. A reportof the Washington Post on Sept. 28, 2004 said healthinsurance costs posted their fourth straight year ofdouble-digit increases in 2004. Over the past four years,health insurance costs have leaped 59 percent – about fivetimes faster than both wage growth and inflation. Around14.3 million Americans [spent] one fourth of their income onthe health expenses. (Higher Costs, Less Care, TheWashington Post, September 28, 2004). Currently, familyhealth insurance plans costs more than 10,000 US dollarseach year. Many families cannot afford it. Fewer workershave coverage – 61 percent in 2004, compared with 65 percentin 2001. (Health Plan Costs Jump 11%, The Washington Post,September 10, 2004) Compared with 2003, the number of peoplewithout health insurance increased 1.4 million to 45million, or 15.6 percent of the country’s population.(Census: Poverty Rose by Million, USA Today, August 27,2004). In Texas, about one fourth of the workers don’t havehealth insurance. (Spain Uprising newspaper, May 11, 2004).In California, around 6 million Californians don’t havehealth insurance and the welfare system with an annual costof 60 billion US dollars is about to collapse. (The LosAngeles Times, May 6, 2004). Meanwhile, medical accidentsoccurred one after another, becoming the third [largest]killer, following heart disease and cancer. According to areport of Boston Globe on July 27, 2004, one out of every 25in-patients becomes the victim of medical accident. From2000 to 2002, 195,000 people died of medical accidents eachyear. The actual figure might be twice that.
IV. On Racial Discrimination
Racial discrimination has been deeply rooted in the UnitedStates, permeating into every aspect of society.
The colored people are generally poor, with livingconditions much worse than the whites. According to a reportof The Guardian of Britain on Oct. 9, 2004, the average netassets of a white family were 88,000 US dollars in 2002, 11times of a family of Latin American ancestry, or nearly 15times of a family of African ancestry. Nearly one third ofthe African ancestry families and 26 percent of the LatinAmerican ancestry families have negative net assets. 74percent of the white families have their own houses, whileonly 47 percent of families of African and Latin Americanancestry have their own houses. The market value of housesbought by black families is only 65 percent of those ofwhite people. Black people’s [turn downs] for mortgage loans[or loans to] purchase furniture is twice that of whitepeople. Some black families don’t even think of buying theirown houses. The death rate of illness, accident and murderamong black people is twice that of the white.
The rate of being victims of murders for the black people isfive times that of the whites. The rate of being affected byAIDS for the black people is ten times that of the whites,while the rate of being diagnosed [with] diabetes for theblack people is twice that of the whites. (The State OfBlack America 2004, Issued by National Urban League on March24, 2004, http://www.nuL.org/pdf/sobaexec.pdf).
Statistics show that the number of black people living inpoverty is three times that of the whites. The average lifeexpectancy of blacks is six years shorter than whites.
People of minority ethnic groups [face discrimination] inemployment and occupations. The Equal Employment OpportunityCommission of the United States received 29,000 complaintsin 2003 of racial bias in the workplace (Racism in the 21stCentury, published in USA Today May 5, 2004 issue).
Statistics provided by the United States Department of Laboralso suggest that by November 2004, the unemployment ratefor black and white people is 10.8 percent and 4.7 percentrespectively (http://bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf).In New York City, one [out] of every two black men between16 and 64 was not working by 2003 (see Nearly Half of BlackMen Found Jobless, published by The New York Times on Feb.
28 2004). Black people not only have fewer jobopportunities, but also earn less than white people. Evenwith the same job, a black man only earns 70 percent of whatfor a white man [earns]. Regions such as California, whereimmigrants make up a larger proportion of the localpopulation, are almost like death traps. Mexican Laborerswho have come to work in the United States have a mortalityas high as 80 percent.
Teenagers from at least 38 countries work like slaves (EFESan Francisco, Sept. 26, 2004). Out of 45 million people whoare unable to afford Medicare in the United States, 7million are African-Americans, accounting for about onefifth of the total African-Americans in the States. Theproportion is 77 percent higher than that for white people(available athttp://www.johnkerry.com/communities/african-americans/gw_record.html).
The Declaration of Independence said all men are createdequal, so the gap between black and white people is simplyan insult to the founding essence of the United States (seeUS News and World Report on March 29, 2004).
Apartheid runs rampant at schools of the United States. OnMay 17, 1954, Chief justice Earl Warren of the Supreme Courtannounced the court’s decision over a case known as Brown v.Board of Education that the doctrine of “separate but equal”had no place in US public schools. Fifty years later, whitechildren and black children in the United States still leadlargely separate lives. One in eight southern black studentsattends a school that is 99 percent black. About a thirdattend schools that are at least 90 percent minority. In theNortheast, by contrast, more than half of blacks attend suchschools (Schools and Lives Are Still Separate, TheWashington Post, May 17, 2004).
Racism recurs on campuses of American universities. Fascistslogans and posters promoting the superiority of whitepeople, along with threats by weapons or words, were foundon college campuses, including University of California atBerkeley. Protests were sparked off when Santa Rosa JuniorCollege in California published anti-Semitic opinions in acolumn in its campus newspaper and the chat room of itswebsite was dominated by white-superior surfers. AtDartmouth College, white girl students auctioned off blackslaves in fund-raising activities. At the University ofSouthern Mississippi, hordes of white students assaultedfour black students, chanting racist slogans after afootball match was over. At Olivet College in Michigan,where there are only 55 black students, 51 of the blackstudents quit school after [incidents] of violence or racialharassment (see The China Press, a Chinese languagenewspaper published in New York, on April 17, 2004).
Racial prejudice has made social conflicts acute, causing arise in hate crimes. Racial prejudice, most often directedat black people, was behind more than half of the nation’s7,489 reported hate crime incidents in 2003, the FBI said onNov.22 2004. Race bias was behind 3,844 of the total casesin 2003, the FBI claimed?hate crimes were handled by 16percent of the law-enforcement organizations in the States.
Reports of hate crimes motivated by anti-black bias totaled2,548 in 2003, accounting for 51.4 percent of the total,more than double the total hate crimes against all otherracial groups. There were 3,150 black victims in thesereports, according to the annual FBI figures (AP,Washington, Jan. 26, 2004). And with regard to the attributeof race, among the 6,934 reported offenders, 62.3 percentwere white(http:/www.fbi.gov/pressrel/presssrel04/pressel/12204.htm).
In a related development, because of the “lingeringatmosphere of fear” stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks andfallout from the Iraq War, there were 1,019 anti-Muslimincidents in the United States in 2003, representing a 69percent increase. There were 221 incidents in 2003 ofanti-Muslim bias in California, tripled [from] a year ago(Los Angeles Times, May 3).
Racial prejudice is ubiquitous in judicial fields. Theproportion for persons of colored races being sentenced orbeing imprisoned is notably higher than whites. Inaccordance with a report published in November 2004 by theUS Department of Justice, colored races accounted for over70 percent of inmates in the United States. And 29 percentof black people have the experience of being in jail [atleast] once. Black people make up 12.3 percent of thepopulation in the United States, but by the end of 2003, outof 1.4 million prisoners who are serving jail terms aboveone year at the federal or state prisons, 44 percent wereblacks, or on average, 3,231 of every 100,000African-Americans were criminals. Latino-American inmatesmake up 19 percent of the total prisoners, or 1,778 [out of]every 100,000 Latino-Americans are inmates. Inmates of othercolored races account for 21 percent(http://wwww.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/P03.htm). At the endof 2003, 12.8 percent of black men aged 25 to 29 were inprison (Chicago Tribune, Nov. 8, 2004), compared 1.6 percentof white men in the same [age] group (A Growing Need forReform, The Baltimore Sun, June 20, 2004). Blacks receive,on average, a longer felony sentence than whites. A blackperson’s average jail sentence is six months longer than awhite’s for the same crime. Blacks who are arrested are 3times more likely to be imprisoned than whites who arearrested. White felons are more likely to get probation thanblacks. (see the State Black America 2004, issued byNational Urban League on March 24, 2004,http://www.nul.org/pdf/sobaexec.pdf).
After the Sept. 11 incident, the United States openlyrestricts the rights of [its] citizens, under the cloak ofhomeland security, [using] diverse means, including wiretapping of phone conversations and secret investigations,checks on all secret files, and monitoring transfers of fundand cash flows, [in order] to supervise [the] activities ofits citizens?People of ethnic minority groups, foreignersand immigrants [are the] main victims.
Statistics show that after the Sept. 11 attacks, 32 million[people] were investigated [due to] racial prejudiceconcerns throughout the United States. Among the peoplebeing investigated?African-Americans made up 47 percent,followed by people of Latino and Asian origins. WhiteAmericans only account for 3 percent. On June 23, 2004,authorities with the Los Angeles Police Department and theUS Federal Bureau of Investigation authorities investigatedthe televised beating of a black suspect by white police inLos Angeles that has resurrected the explosive specter ofthe 1991 Rodney King assault. Eight police officers havebeen removed from regular duties following the incident onJune 23, in which three of them were seen tackling [a]suspected black car thief, one beating him repeatedly with ametal flashlight (AFP, Los Angeles, June 24, 2004).
In the meantime, the anti-immigrant trend has becomeincreasingly serious in the States. The US Department ofHomeland Security announced in November 2004 that 157,281immigrants were repatriated in one year, up 8 percent from ayear ago, a record high. The number of foreigners arrestedwithout any documents also went up by 112 percent (ArgentinaLa Nacion, Nov. 21, 2004).
Another report says [that] starting from last year, [in]many American cities such as San Francisco, Baltimore,Philadelphia, Miami, Saint Paul, Denver, Kansas andPortland, dozens of immigrants from Mexico or othercountries are arrested each day and are forced to wearfetters like suspects. The practice of treating illegalimmigrants like criminals has become a national trend. Thelimit in the definition [between] terrorists and illegalimmigrants has become very blurry.
V. On The Rights of Women and Children
The situation of American women and children [is]disturbing. The rates of women and children [who are]physically or sexually victimized [is] high. According toFBI Crime Statistics, in 2003 the United States witnessed93,233 cases of raping. Virtually 63.2 in every 100,000women fell victim [to this]. The statistics also showed thatevery two minutes, one woman [is] sexually assaulted, andevery six minutes, one woman [is] raped.
The number of women abused and treated at First Aid Centersexceeds one million every year. More than 1,500 women in theUnited States are killed every year by their husbands,lovers or roommates (The Milenio, Mexico, Sept. 26, 2004).Nearly 78 percent of American women are physicallyvictimized at least once in their lifetime, and 79 percentof women are sexually abused at least once. A surveyreleased in November 2004 by the US National Institute ofJustice showed that by the time they concluded four years ofcollege education, 88 percent of women [have] hadexperiences of physical or sexual victimization and 64percent of them experience both. In the past decade, chargeshandled by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionagainst sexual harassment of women surged 22 percent (TheSun, Jul. 16, 2004).
Sex crimes in the US military are on the rise. According tothe Washington Post (Jun. 3, 2004), from 1999 to 2002 thenumber of lawsuits against sexual crimes in the US army thatwere formally filed grew from 658 to 783, up 19 percent. Andthe number of rape cases went up from 356 to 445, up 25percent. The number of such cases rose?5 percent between2002 and 2003. The British Guardian reported on Oct. 25,2004 that by the end of September 2004, the Miles Foundationhad dealt with 242 cases filed between September 2002 andAugust 2003 [of] US woman soldiers being raped or sexuallyharassed in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain or Afghanistan. Inaddition, there were 431 cases of US women soldiers beingsexually harassed at other military bases.
Women’s labor and social rights were [also] violated.According to The Sun newspaper (Jul. 16, 2004), the chargeshandled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission onsexual discrimination against women grew 12 percent in thepast decade. In 2004, two cases drew wide attention. Theywere a bias class lawsuit involving 1.6 million womenemployees at Wal-Mart, and another case involving 340 womenstaffers of Morgan Stanley (New York Times, Jul. 13, 2004).
Men and women on the same jobs are not paid the same.Statistics released by the US Labor Department in Jan. 2004showed a woman who worked full time had a median [salary]81.1 percent that for a man. The Chicago Tribune said onAug. 27, 2004 that the rate of women in poverty [has gone]up fast, to 12.4 percent of the entire female population.
The health care for American women is at a low level. The USFamily Medical Leave Act guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leavefor childbirth to about half of all mothers and nothing forthe rest. A study of 168 countries conducted by the HarvardSchool of Public Health indicated that US workers have fewerrights to time off for family matters than workers in mostother countries, and rank near the bottom in pregnancy andsick leave. “The United States trails enormously far behindthe rest of the world when it comes to legislation toprotect the health and welfare of working families,” saidJody Heymann, a Harvard associate professor who led thestudy. (AP Boston, Jun. 17, 2004)
Child poverty is a serious problem. The Chicago Tribunereported on Aug. 27, 2004 that the number of children inpoverty climbed from 12.1 million in 2002 to 12.9 million in2003, a [yearly] increase of 0.9 percent. About 20 millionchildren live in “low-income working families” — withbarely enough money to cover basic needs (AP Washington,Oct. 12, 2004). In California, one in every six children[does] not have medical insurance. The Los Angeles Timessaid on May 6, 2004 that in the metropolitan area the numberof homeless children found wandering on the streets atnights numbered 8,000, which had stretched the 2,500-bedgovernment-run emergency shelter system well beyondcapacity. Poverty deprived many children [of] theopportunity to obtain higher education. In the 146 renownedinstitutions of higher learning, only 3 percent of thestudents came from the low-income class, while 74 percent ofthem were from the high-income class.
Children are victims of sex crimes. Every year about 400,000children in the US were forced to engage in prostitution orother sexual dealings on the streets. [Runaway] or homelesschildren were the most likely to fall victims of sexualabuse. Reports on children [being] sexually exploited, whichwere received by the National Center for Missing & ExploitedChildren, soared from 4,573 cases in 1998 to 81,987 cases in2003 (The USA Today, Feb. 27,2004).
In recent years, scandals about clergymen molesting childrenkept breaking out. According to a study commissioned by theAmerican Catholic Bishops, in 2004 a total of 756 catholicpriests and lay employees were charged with child sexualharassment. It is believed that from 1950 to 2002 more than10,600 boys and girls were sexually abused by nearly 4,400clergymen (AFP, Feb. 17, 2005). Moreover, every year over4.5 million kids in the United States were molested inkindergartens and schools, which amounted to one in everyten (AP, Jul. 14, 2004).
Violent crimes occurred frequently. Studies show nearly 20percent of US juveniles live in families that possess guns.In Washington D.C. 24 people younger than 18 were killed in2004, twice as many as in 2003 (The Washington Post, Jan. 1,2005). In Baltimore, 29 juveniles were killed from Jan. 1 toSept. 27 in 2004. In 2003 35 were killed (The WashingtonPost, Sept. 28, 2004).
A report released by the US Justice Department on November29, 2004 said about 9 percent of school kids aged 9 to 12admitted being threatened with injury or having suffered aninjury from a weapon while at school in 2003.
More and more [students] are reluctant to go to schoolbecause of security concerns. Child abuses and neglect werewidely reported in the United States. The Sun newspaperreported on May 18, 2004 that in 2002, a total of 900,000children in the United States were abused, of whom nearly1,400 died.
Every year, 1.98 out of every 100,000 American children arekilled by their parents or guardians. In Maryland, the ratewas as high as 2.4 per 100,000. (Md Child Abuse DeathsExceed National Average, The Sun, May 18, 2004). The HoustonChronicle newspaper reported on Oct. 2, 2004 that in Texas,each staff [member] of local government departmentsresponsible for protecting children’s rights handles 50child abuse cases every month.
Two thirds of juvenile detention facilities in the UnitedStates lock up mentally ill youth; every day, about 2,000youth are incarcerated simply because community mentalhealth services are unavailable. In 33 states, juveniledetention centers held youth with mental illness without anyspecific charges against them.(http://demonstrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/200408171941-41051.pdf).
The USA Today reported on July 8, 2004 that between Jan. 1and June 30 of 2003, 15,000 youths detained in US youthdetention centers were awaiting mental health services,while children [of] the age of 10 or younger were locked upin 117 youth detention centers. The detention centerstotally ignored human rights and personal safety withexcessive use of drugs and force, and failed to take care ofinmates with mental problems in a proper way. They evenlocked up prisoners in cages. There were reports aboutscandals involving correctional authorities in California,where two juvenile inmates hanged themselves after they werebadly beaten by jail police (San Jose Mercury News andSingtao Daily, March 18, 2004).
VI. On the Infringement of Human Rights of Foreign Nationals
In 2004, US army service people were reported to have abusedand insulted Iraqi POWs, which stunned the whole world. TheUS forces were blamed for their fierce and dirty treatmentsfor these Iraqi POWs. They [forced] the POWs [to strip]naked by, masking their heads with underwear (even women’sunderwear), [leashing] their necks with a belt, towing themover the ground, letting military dogs bite them, beatingthem with a whip, shocking them with electric batons?andputting chemical fluids containing phosphorus on theirwounds. They even forced some of the these POWs to [form]”human-body pyramids” while?naked, in the presence of USsoldiers, who were standing on the roof and mocking at them.They sometimes sodomized these POWs with?broom [handles].Some Iraqi civilians were also fiercely abused.
The newspaper Pyramid pointed out that the true face ofAmerica was exposed through this incident. A spokesman ofthe International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said,sarcastically, that the US has made the whole world see whatthe hell a democratic, law-ruled nation is.
According to US media like Newsweek and the Washington Post,as early as several years ago, in US [military] prisons inAfghanistan, interrogators used various kinds of torturetools to acquire confessions, causing many deaths.
The British newspaper The Observer reported on March 14,2004 that according to a report by the ICRC, US soldiers hadformed [this] mode for arresting people even before the Iraqwar, [saying] “Torture is part of the process.”
Over 100 former Iraqi high-ranking government and militaryofficials were put under special custody by the US military.They stayed 23 hours a day in dark, small and tightly closedconcrete?wards, [which] they were allowed to leave the[only] twice a day, with 20 minutes available for taking abath or going to the toilet.
On Nov. 26, Iraqi Lieutenant General Abid Hamid Mahmudal-Tikriti was put in a sleeping bag by force and died afterhe was physically tortured during an interrogation.
According to a Feb. 18, 2005 report by AP, in November 2003,the CIA hung one of the so-called “ghost” prisoners in theAbu Ghraib Prison with his hands cuffed behind his back.When he was released and lowered [to the ground], bloodgushed from his mouth “as if a faucet had been turned on.”
Among the 94 abuse cases confirmed and published by theOffice of the US Inspector General for the Army, 39 peoplewere killed, and 20 of these cases were confirmed as murder.There were also several cases of child abuse conducted bythe US forces.
At least 107 children were imprisoned in seven prisons,including the Abu Ghraib Prison, run by the US forces inAfghanistan. They were not allowed to contact theirfamilies. Their term in prison was undetermined. It was notclear when they were going to be [taken to] court. Some ofthese children had been abused. One low-ranking US officerwho served in the Abu Ghraib Prison testified that USsoldiers abused some of these children in custody, and theyhad even assaulted young girls sexually.
What’s [worse] is that US soldiers used military dogs tofrighten these juvenile prisoners, to see whose dog couldscare them to lose control [of their bowels]. US forcesviolated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, bydetaining two Palestinian diplomats to Iraq in a prison wardof the Abu Ghraib Prison, together with 90 other men. Theyspent one year in the prison, suffering from very poorliving conditions.
The ICRC believed that abuse of detained Iraqis in thenotorious Abu Ghraib Prison was not a single case, it wassystematic behavior. According to some White House documentsthat were made public on June 22, 2004, the Department ofDefense approved the use harsh means to interrogateprisoners in Guantanamo, Cuba.
The US Secretary of Defense said in public that the GenevaConvention does not mean that all detainees, especiallythose who are so-called “non-fighting personnel”, should betreated as POWs. A draft memorandum [from] the Department ofDefense also claimed that US laws and internationalconventions, including the Geneva Convention, which strictlybans the use of torture, do not apply to the US President asGeneral Commander of the US Army. A memorandum fron the USDepartment of Justice makes it even more clear that theUnited States can use international laws to measure [thebehavior of] other countries on the issue of the treatmentof POWs, while it is not necessary for Washington to abideby these laws. The interrogators were trained to find waysto torture prisoners physically, while [not technicallyexceeding] the Geneva Convention.
The media found that the US soldiers’ behaviors inhumiliating Iraqi prisoners, as shown in photos, were?whatthey were trained for. US Brigadier General Yanis Karpinskitold the press that her boss once said to her that”prisoners are dogs.” If they were made to think that theywere [no] better than dogs, [things] could get out of control.
Meanwhile, the US government has tried for the thirdsuccessive year to extend the term of a resolution by the UNSecurity Council that soldiers could be exempted fromlawsuits by the International Criminal Court, even if theybreak the relevant rules. In view of prisoner abuses inIraq, this has been strongly criticized by the UN SecretaryGeneral. (Reuters’ story on June 17,2004).
Former US President Jimmy Carter also criticized that USpolicies?as a kind of retrogression, which has damaged theprinciples of democracy and rule of law and lacks respectfor fundamental human rights.
To avoid international scrutiny, the United States keepsunder wraps half of its 20-odd detention centers worldwide,which are holding terrorist suspects. And at least sevenUS-controlled clandestine prisons, one of which [has been]dubbed “[the] inferno,” in Afghanistan, have not been keptwithin the bounds of law. (Prensa Latina, Aug. 16, 2004)
In a report by the [organization] Human Rights First on 24US secret interrogation centers, these secret facilities arebelieved to “make inappropriate detention and abuse not onlylikely but virtually inevitable.” (British newspaper theTimes, Sept. 11, 2004)
Moreover, an executive jet is being used by the Americanintelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to othercountries, in a bid to use torture and evade American laws.The plane is leased by the US Defense Department and the CIAfrom a private company in Massachusetts. ?The jet hasconducted [more than 300]?so-called “torture flights,” ?to49 destinations outside the United States, including theGuantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba. The suspects arefrequently bound, gagged and sedated before being put onboard the plane (British newspaper the Times, Nov. 14,2004). The United States has secretly shifted thousands ofcaptives [to prisons] worldwide in the past three years,most of whom were not indicted officially.
The United States is the No. 1 military power in the world,and its military spending has kept shooting up. Its fiscal2005 defense budget hit a historical high of 422 billion USdollars, an increase of 21 billion dollars over fiscal 2004.As the biggest arms dealer in the world, the United Stateshas made a fortune out of war. Its transactions ofconventional weapons exceeded 14.5 billion dollars in 2003,up 900 million dollars per year and accounting for 56.7percent of the total sales worldwide. The Iraq Warhas?[helped] US economic development.
The United States frequently commits wanton slaughtersduring external invasions and military attacks. Spain’sUprising newspaper on May, 12, 2004 published a list ofhuman rights infringement incidents committed by the UStroops, quoting?bloodthirsty sayings [by] two Americangenerals: “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead,” byGeneral Philip Sheridan and “We should bomb Vietnam back tothe stone age,” by air force general Curtis LeMay. We can[sense] a similar [bloodthirsty point of view] in the IraqWar waged by the United States.
Statistics from the health department of the interim Iraqigovernment show [that] 3,487 people, including 328 women andchildren, have been killed, and another 13,720 injured, in15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces between April 15 and Sept. 19, 2004.
A survey of Iraqi civilian deaths, based on the naturaldeath rate before the war, estimates that the US-ledinvasion might have led to 100,000 more deaths in thecountry, with most victims being women and children.
[The survey was] jointly designed and conducted byresearchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia Universityand the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, [and found]that the majority of the additional unnatural deaths sincethe invasion were caused by violence, [with] airstrikes?[being] the main factor. (Associated Press, Oct. 28,2004)
On Jan. 3, 2004, four US soldiers stationed in Iraq pushedtwo Iraqi civilians into the Tigris River, making one ofthem drowned.
On May 19, 2004, an American helicopter fired on a weddingparty in a remote Iraqi village close to the Syrian border,killing 45 people, including 15 children and 10 women. OnNov. 20, 2004, seven people were killed in Ramadi in theAnbar province, when US troops opened fire on a civilian bus.
According to a Staff Sergeant in the US Marines, his platoonkilled 30 civilians in six weeks?He has [also] witnessedthe?gradual rotting of many corpses, [since] a lot ofwounded civilians were deserted without any medicaltreatment. (British newspaper The Independent, May 23, 2004)
In addition, US troops often plunder Iraqi households whentracking down anti-US militants?American forces have so farcommitted?thousands of robberies and 90 percent of theIraqis [who] have been [robbed in this way] are innocent.
The United States has been hindering the work of the UnitedNation’s human rights mechanism. And it either took nonotice of or used delaying tactics of the requests ofrelevant UN agencies to visit its Guantanamo Bay prison campin Cuba.
Some justice-upholding developing countries introduced draftresolutions on America’s democracy and human rightssituation to the 59th UN General Assembly, to show theirstrong concern over the US [infringement of] human rights?,prisoner abuse, media control, and [the] loopholes in itselection system.
It is the common goal and obligation for all countries inthe world to promote and safeguard human rights. No countryin the world can claim [to be] perfect [to have] no room forimprovement in the human rights area. And no country shouldexclude itself from the international human rightsdevelopment process, or view itself as the incarnation ofhuman rights which can reign over other countries and giveorders to [them]. Even the United States [is] be no exception.
Despite tons of problems in its own human rights, the UnitedStates continues to stick to its belligerent stance,[to]wantonly trample on the sovereignty of other countries,and constantly stage tragedies of human rights infringementin the world.
Instead of indulging itself in publishing the “human rightscountry report” to censure other countries unreasonably, theUnited States should reflect on its erroneous behavior onhuman rights and take its own human rights problemsseriously. The double standard of the United States on humanrights and its exercise of hegemonies and power politics,under the pretext of promoting human rights, will certainlyput it in an isolated and passive position and begetopposition from all just members of the international community.
Art credit: http://www.freeimages.co.uk
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