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China hits back on U.S. human rights

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:54 AM EDT, Sat May 26, 2012
The Chinese flag flutters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on April 11.
The Chinese flag flutters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on April 11.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Chinese report criticizes the human rights record of the United States
  • It comes a day after a U.S. report criticized China's human rights record
  • China cited the arrest of Occupy Wall Street protesters and Internet restrictions

Beijing, China (CNN) -- China criticized a "woeful" human rights record in the United States on Friday, a day after a U.S. report said Beijing's own record is getting worse, with harsh crackdowns on dissidents.

"The United States' tarnished human rights record has left it in no state -- whether on a moral, political or legal basis -- to act as the world's 'human rights justice,' " China said in an annual report on U.S. human rights.

The report cited the arrests of protesters participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States. Many protesters, it said, accused police of brutality.

It also said the United States has "fairly strict restrictions" on the Internet, saying the U.S. Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act both have clauses about monitoring the Internet, giving the government or law enforcement organizations power to monitor and block any Internet content "harmful to national security."

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"The facts contained in the report are a small yet illustrative fraction of the United States' dismal record on its own human rights situation," China's report said.

Thursday, the U.S. State Department criticized a number of countries, including China, in its annual report on human rights around the world. The human rights situation in China, it said, "deteriorated, particularly the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association," with Chinese forces reportedly committing "arbitrary or unlawful killings."

The report said Chinese authorities have held activists in unknown circumstances and placed their family members under house arrest. Abuses "peaked around high-profile events," including visits of foreign officials, milestone anniversaries and calls for street gatherings inspired by the Arab Spring.

The U.S. report comes after the arrival in the United States of one of China's best-known activists, Chen Guangcheng, after he escaped house arrest and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, marking a dramatic diplomatic showdown between Washington and Beijing while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting China for talks. China regularly criticizes U.S. interference with what it calls domestic political issues.

Although the U.S. report covered 2011, before the high-profile saga over Chen, it detailed concerns about Chen's treatment, including thugs' "severe" beatings of him and his wife. It said that Chen was denied medical care, while activists trying to visit his house in eastern Shandong province said they were "assaulted, detained, forcibly removed or otherwise abused."

The State Department report also criticized the human rights records of Myanmar, Syria, Bahrain, North Korea, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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