Happy Lunar New Year from the USC US-China Institute!
PRC State Council, Human Rights Record of the United States in 2015, April 14, 2016
China's Information Office of the State Council published a report titled "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2015".
- The use of guns was out of control in the United States, which severely threatened citizens' right of life. The frequent occurrence of shooting incidents was the deepest impression left to the world concerning the United States in 2015. There were a total of 51,675 gun violence incidents in the United States in 2015 as of December 28, leaving 13,136 killed and 26,493 injured.
- Citizens' personal security could not be guaranteed with the excessive use of violence by police. Police shot dead 965 people last year as of December 24, and the abuse of power by the police did not result in discipline. "Justice for Freddie" protests were staged in Baltimore, demonstrators in Chicago took to the street to demand justice in the death of Laquan MacDonald, and protesters in Minneapolis camped outside a police precinct after Jamar Clark was shot dead by police.
- The prison system in the United States was plagued by corruption and severely violated inmates' human rights. The guards in a prison in Florida scalded a mentally-ill inmate Darren Rainey to death in hot shower. The guards in Lowell Correctional Institution, the nation's largest women's prison, pressured hundreds of female inmates to barter sex for basic necessities and a shield from abuse, and 57 inmates have died in this prison over the past 10 years.
- Money politics and clan politics were prevailing and the political rights of the citizens were not safeguarded effectively. Companies and individuals were able to donate an unlimited size to super Political Action Committees (super PACs) to influence the presidential election. In this way, corporations could use money to sway politics and reap tremendous returns. There were comments that the political system of the United States had been subverted to be a tool that provided returns to major political donors. Family pedigree had become a primary factor for U.S. politics, with a few families and behind-the-scenes interest groups influencing the election using funds. The popular will was abducted by factionalism in the United States, because the interests involved in election made it unable for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to coordinate on and work out policies that were in line with the popular will.
- The lingering problems in U.S. society posed challenges for the country to fulfill its duty of safeguarding the economic and social rights of U.S. citizens. In 2014, there were 46.7 million people in poverty in the United States. Every year, at least 48.1 million people were classed as "food insecure." In 2015, more than 560,000 people nationwide were homeless. Seventy-nine percent of Americans believed it was more common for people to fall out of the middle class than rise up to it. There were still 33 million people in the United States with no healthcare insurance, and 44 million private-sector workers, about 40 percent of the total, did not have access to paid sick leaves.
- Racial conflict was severe in the United States, with race relations at their worst in nearly two decades. Sixty-one percent of Americans characterized race relations in the United States as "bad." Law enforcement and justice fields were heavily affected by racial discrimination, with 88 percent of African-Americans believing they were treated unfairly by police, and 68 percent of African-Americans believing the American criminal justice system was racially biased. Whites had 12 times the wealth of blacks and nearly 10 times more than Hispanics. It was said that the American Dream remained out of reach for many African-American and Hispanic families.
- The situation for American women was deteriorating and children were living in worrisome environment. In 2014, women in the United States were paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. The percentage of women in poverty increased from 12.1 percent to 14.5 percent over the past decade. The United Nations' International Labor Organization said that the United States was the only industrialized nation with no overall law for cash benefits provided to women during maternity leave. A total of 23 percent of undergraduate women said they were victims of non-consensual sexual contact. There were at least two school shootings a month in 2015 and almost two children were killed every week in unintentional shootings. About a quarter of the teenagers above 15 years old who died of injuries in the United States were killed in gun-related incidents. About 17.4 million children under the age of 18 were being raised without a father and 45 percent lived below the poverty line. About one fifth of all U.S. children lived in food-insecure households.
- The United States still brazenly and brutally violated human rights in other countries, treating citizens from other countries like dirt. Air strikes launched by the United States in Iraq and Syria killed thousands of civilians. The United States also conducted drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen indiscriminately, causing hundreds of civilian deaths. On October 3, 2015, the U.S. military bombed a hospital operated by "Doctors Without Borders" in the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan, in which 42 people were killed. Defying international condemnation, the United States still did not close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, which had been running for 14 years and still locked up nearly 100 people who had been under arbitrary detention for years without trial.
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