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‘Double Standards and Hypocrisy’: China Publishes Report on 2020 Human Rights Abuses in US

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Since declaring China a “malign actor” who poses a major threat to the US in 2018, the US has opened a new ideological offensive by claiming China has a bad human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong – an offensive that has only gained steam since US President Joe Biden took office in January.

In a sharp rebuke to US criticisms of Chinese internal policy, Beijing has published its own report highlighting the state of human rights inside the United States. The document notes extensive racial discrimination, continuous social unrest, record social inequality, and the government’s catastrophic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Titled “The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020,” the document published on Wednesday by the State Council Information Office begins with the infamous last words of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died in May 2020 while handcuffed and held against the ground by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeated “I can’t breathe!”

Floyd’s death touched off the largest uprising seen in the United States in half a century as millions poured into the streets to speak out against endemic anti-black violence by police and vigilantes – and were met with batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. More than 10,000 people were arrested by US police in just two weeks, and some activists face trumped-up charges that could land them in prison for decades.

“The US government, instead of introspecting on its own terrible human rights record, kept making irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in other countries, exposing its double standards and hypocrisy on human rights,” the report states. “Standing at a new crossroads, mankind is faced with new, grave challenges. It is hoped that the US side will show humility and compassion for the suffering of its own people, drop hypocrisy, bullying, ‘Big Stick’ [diplomacy] and double standards, and work with the international community to build a community with a shared future for humanity.”

‘Incompetent’ COVID-19 Response Causes ‘Slaughter’

The report highlights the central role of the US government in allowing the COVID-19 pandemic to grow as widely and as quickly as it did, as well as for allowing it to persist for as long as it has.

The combined effect has been that with just 5% of the world population, the US has accounted for 25% of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost 20% of deaths from the disease. On Thursday, data collected by The New York Times found that at least 545,300 Americans had died from COVID-19 and 30.5 million infected.

The US government’s slow response and the dismissive attitude of its central leadership enabled the virus to take hold and ensured that it hit communities far harder than was necessary. “Had the American authorities taken science-based measures to contain the pandemic, this could have been avoided,” the report notes. “But since they had not, the pandemic, as epidemiologist and former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) William Foege had put it, is ‘a slaughter’ to the United States.”

The chaotic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in 2020 has led to dire consequences, according to the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020, which was released by China’s State Council Information Office on Wednesday.

Decline of US Democracy

In addition to the domination of American politics by moneyed interests, the report also notes the corresponding decline in public trust among the US population and the ultimate culmination of divisiveness, distrust and despondency in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

During the incident, supporters of the sitting president, Donald Trump, rallied to defend his rejection of the November 2020 election results, and militant elements led a storming of the national legislature that temporarily dispersed Congress in the middle of certifying the election results. The move failed and the results were later certified, but not before the Capitol was ransacked and five people – four rioters and one Capitol Police officer –  were killed.

The incident caused shock around the globe as the “beacon of democracy” became “what its leaders used to condemn: being unable to avoid violence and bloody destruction during transfer of power.”

“The scenes (the US Capitol building violence) we have seen are the result of lies and more lies, of division and contempt for democracy, of hatred and rabble-rousing – even from the very highest levels,” the report quotes German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier as saying the day after the insurrection.

Ethnic Minorities Face Poverty, Police Terror

The report’s section on racial discrimination notes, in addition to a series of damning statistics illustrating systemic discrimination and inequality faced by minority communities, that world leaders have spoken up time and time again about the state of human rights in the US.

It notes, for example, that Michele Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights whose commentary about humanitarian crises in Venezuela and other nations often makes US news, has also been highly critical of the state of humanitarian affairs in the United States as well. For example, in May 2020 in response to the killing of Floyd and the mass demonstrations sparked by his death, Bachelet condemned racist police brutality as well as inequality and racial discrimination in health, education, and employment in the US. In the aftermath of the January 2021 Capitol insurrection, Bachelet said it was the “destructive impact of sustained, deliberate distortion of facts, and incitement to violence and hatred by political leaders.”

Bachelet spoke out again last week as Chauvin’s trial for Floyd’s death began, saying, “To end racial injustice in law enforcement, we cannot simply see the tip of the iceberg, we must face the mass below the surface. We must address the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, and its context of colonialism.”

Tendayi Achiume, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, also condemned “the existential threat of police brutality and police violence” in the US and joined other members of the UN Human Rights Council in a statement supporting the George Floyd protests.

The ethnic minorities in the United States are devastated by racial discrimination, and racism exists in a comprehensive, systematic and continuous manner, according to the Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2020, which was released by China’s State Council Information Office on Wednesday

The report also notes the “countless crimes against humanity and genocides” committed by the US government against Native Americans, who have been deprived of the vast majority of their ancestral lands and “still live a life like a second-class citizen.” It notes the endemic poverty on reservations and the high rates of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses caused by “toxic radioactive environments,” which cause high rates of birth defects as well. The report later notes that Native religions have been trampled on as well, particularly by the opening of sacred land sites for mining and logging.

In addition, the report notes the stark rise in anti-Asian racism, reporting that one-quarter of Asian-Americans have been bullied for their race in the last year and that “some American politicians have misled the public on purpose,” blaming Chinese people for the deadly pandemic.

In addition, it notes that asylum seekers were treated “cruelly,” highlighting the enormous migrant detention facilities as well as the deportation of thousands of children during the pandemic.

Rising Inequality

However, the report notes that inequality has spread across all of American society, with the poorest 165 million Americans holding as much wealth as the richest 50 Americans.

“The epidemic has aggravated wealth inequality,” the report says, noting that the government’s response to the out-of-control pandemic has caused mass unemployment, deprived millions of people of health insurance coverage, and plunged tens of millions of Americans into hunger.

Rogue State

Finally, the report notes the rogue behavior of the US abroad. It notes that the US has walked away from its commitments to the World Health Organization and Paris Climate Accord, has bullied international organizations such as the International Criminal Court and UN Human Rights Council, and kept unilateral sanctions in place against a number of countries during the pandemic. In addition, then-US President Donald Trump pardoned four Blackwater mercenaries previously convicted of slaughtering civilians in Iraq during the US’ occupation war there.



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Texas Deputy AG Apologizes for Slamming Simone Biles as ‘National Embarrassment’

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US gymnast Simone Biles received immense support from Americans this week after announcing she would not be competing in the Team USA final, nor the women’s individual all-around gymnastics final, due to personal mental health concerns. At the same time, the 24-year-old has received backlash from many individuals who viewed her pull-out as weak.

Aaron Reitz, deputy attorney general for Texas, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to issue an apology to Biles, and recant a statement in which he panned the record-setting US gymnast as a “national embarrassment.” 

“In a moment of frustration and disappointment, I opined on subjects for which I am not adequately versed. That was an error. I can’t imagine what Simone Biles has gone through,” Reitz claimed. “Simone Biles is a true patriot and one of the greatest gymnasts of our time.”

“I apologize to her, and wish her well,” the deputy AG concluded, emphasizing that his “personal social media comments” do not represent the views of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, nor the Office of the Attorney General. 

Reitz’s since-deleted tweet against Biles, who was born in Texas and still resides in the Lone Star State, quoted another post that applauded the 1996 Olympic performance of Team USA gymnast Kerri Strug. Strug, one of the US’ “Magnificent Seven,” severely injured her ankle during the first half of the vault competition, but refused to bow out of the event and ultimately led her team to win the US’ first gold medal in women’s gymnastics. 

“Contrast this with our selfish, childish national embarrassment, Simone Biles,” Reitz said in his quote tweet. 

The deputy AG’s attempt at using Strug’s story to chastise Biles fell flat, as the two-time Olympian threw her support behind the 24-year-old on Tuesday. 

Furthermore, it is worth noting that Biles is no stranger to performing with adversity. When the US Women’s Gymnastics team took home gold at the 2018 World Championships in Qatar, Biles dominated in nearly every competition, despite intense stomach pains from what was later confirmed to be a kidney stone. 

Despite her pull-outs this year, Biles has continued to root for her fellow Team USA gymnasts. She also expressed in a Wednesday social media post that “the outpouring [of] love & support I’ve received has made me realize I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before.”



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Aid cuts make a mockery of UK pledges on girls’ education | Zoe Williams

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With all the fanfare Covid would allow, the global education summit opened in London this week. Ahead of the meeting, the minister for European neighbourhood and the Americas was on rousing form. “Educating girls is a gamechanger,” Wendy Morton said, going on to describe what a plan would look like to do just that.

The UK, co-hosting the summit with Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, plans to raise funds for the Global Partnership for Education, from governments and donors. The UK government has promised £430m over the next five years.

There followed a number of reasons why the issue is so important, all of them absolutely sound: on any given indicator, from GDP to infant health and beyond, a nation stands or falls by how well, for how long, and how inclusively it educates its girls.

The issue has never been more important than during this pandemic, which in many countries is hitting a peak having already affected girls disproportionately.

These are all the right words, even in the right order, yet they land completely at odds with the government’s behaviour.

Lis Wallace, head of advocacy at the One campaign, is most immediately concerned with these pledges being fully funded. There are two core targets: one is to increase girls’ access to education, the other is to boost the key milestone for all children – that they’re able to read and understand a simple story by the age of 10.

The past 18 months have been devastating for education, particularly in countries where it’s harder to access to online learning. About 1.6 billion children are out of school across the world. There’s a target to raise $5bn (£3.6bn), “which is a drop in the ocean of what is required to meet the global learning crisis”, Wallace says. It looks as though this summit will raise no more than $4bn, which is nothing less than a “failure of statecraft”, as Wallace explains: “It’s challenging when the host government is stepping back and making aid cuts for it then to ask other countries to step up.”

This is a depressing echo of the G7’s failure earlier this year; commitments to share vaccine doses with low-income countries came too little, too late, with devastating results, and it’s hard to avoid the question of whether that outcome would have been different if the host nation had role modelled some generosity.

Furthermore, there’s some confused causality in the minister’s assertion that staying in school protects girls from “forced child marriage, gender-based violence and early pregnancy”. The exact inverse is true: it is largely teenage pregnancy that forces girls out of school in the first place, and to try to use education in lieu of sexual health and reproductive provision is illogical.

Esi Asare Prah, who is a youth and advocacy officer in Ghana for MSI Reproductive Choices, describes a situation in which 5,000 to 7,000 girls drop out of school each year after becoming pregnant – last year, 2,000 of them were between 10 and 14. Across sub-Saharan Africa, MSI estimates that up to 4 million girls drop out or are excluded from school every year due to pregnancy.

“These girls are most likely to be on the street, doing menial jobs; their children will not make it into higher education. It creates a cycle of poverty and a cycle of slums. For me, the foundation of it is that you can’t seek to invest in education for girls in sub-Saharan Africa and cut down funding for sexual and reproductive health. If you treat development issues as isolated, you will have the same issues of 50 years ago chasing you into the future.”

Here, the recent cuts to the aid budget make a mockery of these pledges on education: UK funding to the UN Population Fund recently went down by 85%.

There is inspiration to take from this summit, nevertheless; President Kenyatta has been leading the charge not only on education but also on the climate crisis, and there is a solidarity and sense of purpose between poorer nations that may yet inspire greater generosity from donors. Whatever it achieves, though, it will be despite its UK host not because of them.

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[Ticker] US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken affirmed his country’s support to conduct additional investigations into the origins of the Covid-19 after meeting with the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Wednesday, Reuters reported. “He stressed the need for the next phase to be timely, evidence-based, transparent, expert-led, and free from interference,” a US state department spokesperson said in a statement.

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