China lambastes U.S. in annual rebuttal to rights criticism

BEIJING (Reuters) - China lambasted the United States on Tuesday for hypocrisy and its own rights problems such as racism and political scandals, in its annual rebuttal to criticism from Washington about China’s human rights record.

The United States labeled China, Russia, Iran and North Korea on Friday as “morally reprehensible” governments that it said violated human rights within their borders on a daily basis, in the State Department’s global human rights report for 2017.

In the annual Chinese response to the U.S. report, China’s State Council, or Cabinet, said the United States “hurled abuse” at other countries with its falsehoods.

“It seems that in this world only the United States’ human rights situation is perfect,” it said. “Looking back on 2017, those with even the slightest sense of justice can see that the United States’ own human rights record is, as usual, notorious for its misdeeds, and continues to worsen.”

African Americans are seven times more likely to be mistakenly jailed for murder, and violent crime keeps rising, according to the report, which was carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency and cited international media including the BBC and CNN for its sources.

It even took aim at what the report described as “serious abuses in the U.S. style of democracy”.

“U.S. money politics keeps fermenting, and the rich guide the direction of politics. The weak face increasingly harsh restrictions on voting, and scandals involving politicians are frequent.”

Human rights have long been a source of tension between the world’s two largest economies, especially since 1989, when the United States imposed sanctions on China after a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

China routinely rejects criticism of its rights record and has pointed to its success at lifting millions out of poverty.

But the ruling Communist Party brooks no political dissent and President Xi Jinping’s administration has seen a sweeping crackdown on rights lawyers and activists.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie