China urges US to 'reflect on own issues' after State Department rights criticism

[JURIST] China's Information Office of the State Council [official website, in Mandarin] issued its now-annual report [text] on violations of human rights in and by the United States Thursday a day after the US State Department scolded China [report text] for a variety of human rights abuses in its annual series of country reports on human rights around the world [JURIST report]. Among other things, the Chinese report noted:

The United States of America is [sic] the world's largest prison and has the highest inmates/population ratio in the world. A December 5, 2007 report by EFE news agency quoted statistics of U.S. Department of Justice as saying that the number of inmates in U.S. prisons has increased by 500 percent over the last 30 years. By the end of 2006, there were 2.26 million inmates in U.S. prisons, up 2.8 percent from a year ago. The number is the highest over the last six years. The U.S. population only accounted for 5 percent of the world total, but its inmates made up 25 percent of the world total. There were 751 inmates in every 100,000 U.S. citizens, far higher than the rates in other Western countries (EFE news agency, December 5, 2007). Among the inmates, 96 percent were serving sentences of more than one year, which equaled about one in every 200 U.S. citizens serving a sentence of more than a year (Prisoners In 2006, U.S. Department of Justice, www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs). Since the September 11 attacks, reincarceration rate has been rising in the United States. According to statistics, about two thirds of the inmates would commit a second crime within three years after releasing. Two out of three inmates would be caught again after their release and 40 percent would be put behind bars again.
On Wednesday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua [media website] accused the US [Xinhua report] of "turning a blind eye to to the efforts and historic achievements China has made in human rights" and of distorting facts and making "irresponsible remarks on China's ethnic, religious and legal systems." The two countries have recently made a regular practice of trading rights accusations at the time of the State Department report release, with Chinese sensitivity growing in the run-up to and follow-up from the 2010 Beijing Olympics [JURIST report].


 

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