BEIJING (AFP) — China on Thursday accused the United States of human rights hypocrisy, as it branded the US invasion of Iraq the "greatest humanitarian disaster" of the modern world.
In an annual response to Washington's criticism of China's human rights record, the Chinese government labelled the United States arrogant, and highlighted what it said were widespread US failures at home and abroad.
"(America's) arrogant critique on the human rights of other countries are always accompanied by a deliberate ignoring of serious human rights problems on its own territory," said the report, released by the state Xinhua news agency.
"This was not only inconsistent with universally recognised norms of international relations, but also exposed the double standards and downright hypocrisy of the United States on the human rights issue, and inevitably impaired its international image."
The US-led war in Iraq that began in 2003 was one of the many issues of concern highlighted by China in the report, entitled "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2007."
"The United States has a notorious record of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries," it said.
"The invasion of Iraq by American troops has produced the biggest human rights tragedy and the greatest humanitarian disaster in modern world."
It also criticised civilian deaths in Afghanistan, secret prisons and torture of detainees.
"'Secret prison' and 'torturing prisoners' have become synonymous with America," the report said.
The report added that US citizens' right to join unions had been restricted, prisoners' rights had been violated, and authorities attempted to manipulate the media.
The report launched attacks on the United States' inability to tackle poverty, fight crime and even the exorbitant cost of running for president.
China said it had released the report to give the world a clearer insight into US failings and address the imbalance of the State Department's annual report on human rights, released Tuesday.
The State Department report removed China from its list of the world's worst human rights violators, but said there were still widespread problems.
The US report singled out tightened controls on religious freedom against Buddhists in Tibet and in Muslims in China's northwestern Xinjiang region as areas for concern.
"The government also continued to monitor, harass, detain, arrest, and imprison activists, writers, journalists, and defence lawyers and their families, many of whom were seeking to exercise their rights under the law," it said.
Rights groups complained that China should not have been removed from the list of worst violators, saying it sent the wrong signal ahead of the Beijing Olympics.
In response, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the report was still harsh on China.
But she cited China's willingness to renew a dialogue on human rights with the United States as a reason for its improved status.
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