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Thursday, March 09, 2006

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BEIJING Mar 9, 2006 (AP)— China on Thursday lashed out against U.S. criticism of its human rights record, saying racial discrimination and crime were still rife in the United States and prisoners were being abused at U.S.-run detention centers abroad.

The State Council, China's cabinet, denounced the United States for what it said were rampant violence and widespread discrimination against minorities especially blacks in its annual response to the State Department's report on human rights worldwide.

"For a long time, the life and security of the people of the United States has not been under efficient protection," the Chinese report said.

Blacks are given heavier criminal penalties, arrested more frequently and are more likely to be targeted for hate crimes, the report said.

It also criticized American troops for brutality at prisons in Iraq and the detention camp for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"As in previous years, the State Department pointed the finger at human rights situations in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but kept silent on the serious violations of human rights in the United States," it said.

It is "an act that fully exposes its hypocrisy and double standard on human rights issues," said the report which drew mostly from stories and statistics in the American press.

The response came one day after the State Department said the Chinese government's human rights record "remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous and serious abuses."

The U.S. report said repression worsened in China in 2005, with a trend toward "increased harassment, detention, and imprisonment" of people seen as threats to the Chinese government. It also mentioned tightened controls over print, broadcast and electronic media and censorship of online content.

The State Department study, published each year since 1977, offers a comprehensive analysis of all countries in the world except the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Washington's report ignored China's progress in human rights, which he claimed "not only met with the satisfaction of the Chinese people but also has been widely affirmed by the international community."
You talking to me?

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AN UNPRECEDENTED wave of unexplained execution-style killings and abductions in Iraq has heightened fears of an underground Shiite backlash against Sunni insurgents, believed to be blessed by Shiite religious leaders.

Despite constant official denials and empty promises to disband militias that operate inside - or alongside - units of the Shiite-controlled security forces, Baghdad had one of its worst days on Wednesday. Fifty people were abducted in a daylight raid on a security agency, and the city was reeling from the discovery the night before of 18 men in an abandoned minibus. Almost 50 others died violently across the country in the same 24-hour period.

Progress

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"I just want to say that George W. Bush is the syphilis president."

-Kurt Vonnegut
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