ĦĦĦĦBEIJING, April 3 (Xinhuanet) -- The Information Office of the State Council
on Thursday released a report entitled The Human Rights Record of the United
States in 2002.
ĦĦĦĦFollowing is a summary of the document:
ĦĦĦĦThe U.S. State Department released the Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices for 2002 on March 31, when the United States is facing condemnation
from people of various countries in the world for unilaterally launching a war
ĦĦĦĦWith the United States pretending to be "the world's judge of human
rights," the reports once again assessed the human rights situations in over 190
countries and regions in the world.
ĦĦĦĦThe reports carry distorted pictures and accusations of human rights
conditions in China and other countries, but they mention not even a word of the
human rights problems in the United States itself.
ĦĦĦĦTherefore, it is necessary to make known to the world the human rights
violations in the United States in 2002.
ĦĦĦĦI. Ineffective Protection of Life and Security of Person
ĦĦĦĦIn American society, excessive violence has resulted in ineffective
protection of life and security of the person.
ĦĦĦĦAccording to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
on Oct. 28, 2002, the United States recorded 11.8 million crime offenses in
2001, a 2.1 percent increase over 2000.
ĦĦĦĦThe offenses included four violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent
manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault), and three
property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). Firearms
were involved in 26.2 percent of violent crime cases, and murder cases increased
by 2.5 percent.
ĦĦĦĦThere was an offense in every 2.7 seconds, and there were 44 murders, 248
rapes and 26 hate crimes each day. Among the crime offences were 15,980 murders
and 90,491 forcible rapes.
ĦĦĦĦCrime in many major American cities went up in 2002. In Washington D.C.,
drug abuse, gang violence and prostitution ran rampant, and crime went up by 36
percent from 2001; in Boston the crime rates increased by 67 percent, and in Los
Angeles, by 27 percent.
ĦĦĦĦThe murder rate in the United States was five to seven times higher than
most industrial nations.
ĦĦĦĦDuring January-November 2002, New York City reported 489 murdercase;
Chicago registered 485 homicide cases, in which 515 people were killed; and
Detroit reported 346 murders.
ĦĦĦĦDuring the same period Los Angeles reported 595 murder cases with 614
people killed, up 11.3 percent and 20.5 percent compared to the same period in
2001 and 2000, respectively (Los Angeles, Nov. 21, 2002, AFP).
ĦĦĦĦThe Constitution of the United States provides that the right of the people
to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and the constitutions of 44 states
in the nation include provisions safeguarding citizens' right to possess guns.
ĦĦĦĦIn the United States, guns owned by private individuals exceed 200 million,
averaging nearly one for every citizen. In 2002, the numbers of gun buyers
across the United States went up by 13 percent to twice over previous years, and
the number of rifle owners increased even faster.
ĦĦĦĦThe National Rifle Association of the United States has over 2.8 million
members. Excessive gun ownership has led to frequent shootings, and victims of
firearms-related crime number more than 30,000 a year.
ĦĦĦĦOn March 26, a retired sheriff's deputy in Merced County, California, shot
and killed his 5-year-old daughter and his three stepchildren while his
estranged wife was out for a walk, then committed suicide with the body of one
of the youngsters in his arms.
ĦĦĦĦOn May 30, a gunman opened fire inside a grocery store at a Top Valu Market
near the downtown marina in Long Beach, California, killing a woman and a
7-year-old girl and wounding four others before he was fatally shot by police
(Long Beach, California, May 31, 2002, AFP).
ĦĦĦĦFrom October 2 to October 22, serial gun shooting cases occurred in
Washington D.C. and neighboring Maryland and Virginia states, in which ten
people were killed and three others were seriously wounded.
ĦĦĦĦThe number of gun shootings went up by 40 percent in Los Angeles in 2002
over 2001. Between the evening of November 19 andthe early morning of November
20, five separate cases of gun shooting took place in downtown Los Angeles,
leaving two people dead and seven others wounded.
ĦĦĦĦCrime rates among juveniles in the United States have remained high, with
youngsters accounting for 20 percent of violent crime.
ĦĦĦĦDrug abuse among youngsters has kept increasing. Drug abuse among
tenth-grade high school students in the United States went up from 11.6 percent
in 1991 to 22.7 percent in 2001, and 34.4 percent of senior high school students
in New York City have at least taken marijuana once.
ĦĦĦĦIn 2001, there were 638,000 narcotics-related cases, and drug abuse
accounted for 25 percent of violent crime in the United States.
ĦĦĦĦAfter the September 11 terrorist attacks, crime in schools decreased as
most schools have installed metal detectors and videocameras, but it was
reported that 6 percent of the students still carried guns to school.
ĦĦĦĦViolence in schools such as bullying rose by 12 percent, and atleast 10,000
students in the United States choose to stay at home once in a month for fear of
being bullied ("School Crime Decreasing, US Says, But Students Still Fear
Bullying, Reports Show", Dec. 10, 2002, Sun).
ĦĦĦĦViolence in nursing homes for the aged in the United States is worrisome.
In March 2002, a report submitted to the U.S. Congress said that inmates in some
of such homes had suffered splash of cold water, battery and sexual assault.
ĦĦĦĦHowever, such acts had never been regarded as crime, and most of them had
not been prosecuted. Statistics show that there are 17,000 homes for the aged
and similar institutions in the United States, housing 1.6 million aged
ĦĦĦĦViolations of law have been found in about 26 percent of them, and two
percent of which have caused physical injuries.
II.Serious Human Rights Violation by Law
ĦĦĦĦThe rights of ordinary Americans have met with challenge after the
September 11 terrorist attacks. The anti-terrorism law USA Patriot Act, which
took effect on October 26, 2001, provides law enforcement agencies with greater
powers for investigation, including wiretapping of phone calls and Internet
E-mail communications by suspect terrorists.
ĦĦĦĦA Federal Court of Appeals on November 18 ruled that the Department of
Justice asking for expanding its investigative powers is constitutional, and
therefore should not be restricted. It aroused great concern among the American
public that the DOJ would encroach upon their right of privacy in its work.
ĦĦĦĦCommenting on the court ruling, U.S. House Judiciary Committee
Representative John Conyers said in a statement the same day, "Piece by piece,
this Administration is dismantling the basic rights afforded to every American
under the Constitution." Some civil rights and electronic information
organizations worried thatthere would have no effective protection of civil
rights after theruling.
ĦĦĦĦPolice brutality is a chronic malady in American society. On July 6, 2002,
a bystander videotaped a scene in which several white police officers at
Inglewood, Los Angeles, slammed the head of a handcuffed 16-year-old black,
named Donovan Jackson, on a squad car and punched him in his eyes, neck and
hands. Afterwards,one police officer involved was ordered a paid leave. In
contrast,the man who filmed the videotape was detained on July 10.
ĦĦĦĦIn another incident, on July 8, Oklahoma City police officers repeatedly
beat a black suspect on the ground with their batons. The suspect was
pepper-sprayed twice. On September 16, police in Boston shot at a suspect car
hijacker in the downtown area and wounded him seriously. The incident led to a
mass demonstration against police brutality.
ĦĦĦĦIndiscriminate arrests are another serious problem in the United States.
According to an investigation by the American CivilLiberties Union (ACLU),
prosecutors declined to bring charges in 15,798 arrests in 2001, or 26 percent
of the 60,412 cases they reviewed that year, the vast majority brought by
ĦĦĦĦIn 2002 the number of monthly arrests increased by 15 percent over the
previous year to 7,832. Prosecutors declined to charge in24 percent of the
cases. Two-thirds of the cases they dropped weredropped on the day of arrest
because they could not be proved in court (May 9, 2002, Sun).
ĦĦĦĦWithin half a year after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the FBI
detained for security reasons more than 1,200 non-US nationals, mainly men from
Muslim or Middle Eastern countries (Washington, Dec.10, 2002, EFE). Most of them
were detained for overstaying their visas, and according to rules the detention
should last for no more than 48 hours. However, many were actually held in
custody for a month or more, or even up to 50 days.
ĦĦĦĦWhile in custody, they were deprived of their basic rights -- making phone
calls, access to a lawyer, family visits, being informed of the reasons for the
detention, or challenging the lawfulness of the detention.
ĦĦĦĦThey were let out for exercise and air less than an hour a day. Many were
handcuffed, and some were even bundled. Those falling ill could not get timely
ĦĦĦĦIn many cases torture was used to extract confessions, and unjust charges
were often reported in the United States. According to a Reuters report on
February 11, 2002, U.S. authorities confirmed that over 200 inmates had been
wrongly convicted since 1973; among them 99 inmates on death row had been proved
innocent, but most of them had not got compensations (Washington, Feb.11, 2002,
ĦĦĦĦRay Krone walked out an Arizona courtroom a free man in April 2002 after
spending 10 years and three months in prison, with morethan two years in the
death cell (USA Today, June 18, 2002). Yet,he could hardly obtain any
compensation from the state government in accordance with state laws.
ĦĦĦĦA black man in Detroit, named Eddie Joe Lloyd, served a term of 17 years,
three months and five days in jail on a charge of rapingand murdering a teenage
girl before he was freed in August 2002 (New York Times, Aug. 27, 2002).
ĦĦĦĦThe wrong verdicts are closely related to confessions from innocent people
extracted by police. According to an ABC (AmericanBroadcasting Company) news
report on March 15, 2002, every year thousands of criminals are convicted on the
basis of confessions obtained from police interrogations.
ĦĦĦĦAlso according to the ABC news report, in 1993, Gary Gauger, a man in
Illinois, was forced to confess he had killed his parents, a crime he did not
commit, when he broke down after 21 hours of police interrogation. He was then
sentenced to death for double murder. Two years later, the real killers
confessed to the crime in an unrelated federal investigation. Gauger was freed
in 1996, after spending three years behind bars.
ĦĦĦĦThe United States is one of the few countries to impose capitalpunishment
on child offenders and mentally ill people in the world.Twenty-three U.S. states
permit the execution of child offenders (under 18 at the time of the crime). Two
thirds of the executions of child offenders over the past decade worldwide were
carried outin the United States.
ĦĦĦĦSince 1985, 18 child offenders had been executed, half of them in Texas
State (May 9, 2002, EFE). The executions in 2002 also included three child
offenders and one mentally ill man. There were 80 child offenders on death row,
and the figure in the case of the mentally retarded was estimated to be around
200 to 300. (The Amnesty International)
ĦĦĦĦPrisons in the United States are jam-packed with inmates. According to a
report of the Bureau of Justice Statistics under the Department of Justice
released on August 25, 2002, the adult U.S. correctional population reached a
record of almost 6.6 million at the end of 2001, or fourfold of the 1980 figure.
About 3.1 percent of the nation's adult population, or 1 in every 32 adult
residents, were on probation or parole or were held in a prison orjail. Roughly
two million Americans are currently behind bars.
ĦĦĦĦIn a report titled "A stigma that never fades", the British business
magazine Economist said that America is "the world's mostaggressive jailer", and
"when local jails are included in the American tally, the United States locks up
nearly 700 people per 100,000". (The Economist, August 10, 2002)
ĦĦĦĦPoor management of prisons leads to lack of protection of inmates'
legitimate rights. Extortion, abuse, violence and sexualassault are serious in
prisons of the United States.
ĦĦĦĦAn Amnesty International report released on May 14, 2002 said inmate Frank
Valdes at the Florida State Prison was beaten to death by guards in July 1999.
Autopsy reports proved massive injuries, including 22 broken ribs and a
fractured sternum, nose and jaw, and there were boot marks on his face, neck,
abdomen and back.
ĦĦĦĦThe three guards involved were charged of second-degree murder in 1999. But
the Florida State prosecutors decided in February 2002 to drop the charges.
ĦĦĦĦAccording to reports of U.S. human rights organizations, brutalities
targeted at inmates number about 100,000 a year in American prisons. A former
chief law officer of Virginia State estimated the number of such brutalities to
be at least 250,000 oras many as 600,000 a year.
ĦĦĦĦSexual assaults between male inmates are prominent in the prisons. Most of
such assaults are coupled with the use of force, causing spread of HIV virus and
physical and mental injuries on victims. The prison and judicial departments
remain indifferent towards such complaints and take no punishment measures.
ĦĦĦĦThe Sun newspaper reported on August 31, 2002, the Baltimore City Detention
Center has a poorly run system of health care and suicide prevention. In some
cases, the problems resulted in jail suicides, heart attack deaths and fatal
asthma spasms that federalauthorities deemed preventable if the inmates had been
ĦĦĦĦIn another case, a fire killed eight inmates locked in cells inMitchell
County jail in North Carolina and injured 13 others. The prison authority blamed
lack of water sprinklers for the tragedy.
ĦĦĦĦIII. Money-driven Democracy
ĦĦĦĦBoasting itself to be the "model of democracy", the United States has been
trying hard to sell to the world its mode of democracy.
ĦĦĦĦIn fact, American "democracy" has always been democracy of the rich, a
small number of the population. Just as an article in theInternational Herald
Tribute of the January 24, 2002 issue says, "The American problem is domination
of politics by money."
ĦĦĦĦThe dominant role of money in American politics has been very obvious, and
elections have in fact been turned into races of money.
ĦĦĦĦDuring the midterm elections in 2002, spending on campaigning TV
advertising amounted to 900 million US dollars, surpassing thatfor the
presidential election in 2000.
ĦĦĦĦAccording to an analysis made by the Associated Press based of data from
the Federal Election Commission, in the 2002 midterm elections 95 percent of the
seats in the House of Representatives and 75 percent of the seats in the Senate
went to candidates who had spent the most in campaigning.
ĦĦĦĦIn a report filed on August 30, 2002, AP said President George W. Bush, in
order to win control of the House and the Senate, cashed in on his cachet to
raise donations for midterm elections of his Republicans, and collected 110
million US dollars for threeGOP candidates in Oklahoma and Arkansas, setting
records in campaign cash raising ("Bush raises nearly $110 million for
Republicans, setting record", Aug. 30, 2002, Sun).
ĦĦĦĦElection of judges in the United States is also like a race of money. In
the year of 2000, judge candidates in only two states bought TV advertising,
whereas during the midterm elections in 2002, chief justice candidates in nine
states bought TV commercials.
ĦĦĦĦ"Money politics" has made more and more American people lose interest in
ĦĦĦĦStatistics show the United States has experienced declining voter turnout
in presidential election years for about four decades.
ĦĦĦĦMeasured against the voting age population, turnout in presidential
election years fell from its high of 62.8 percent in 1960 to an estimated 51.2
percent in 2000.
ĦĦĦĦIn contrast, 60 percent of eligible voters shunned the midterm elections in
2002, leaving the voter turnout at 40 percent.
ĦĦĦĦA survey of minority voters in three cities of California showed almost all
the surveyed were fed up with the fact that money can buy over politics and were
not interested in political participation.
ĦĦĦĦAsian American voters reckon money had too much influence over politics,
which is unfair; African Americans and Hispanics felt being shut out of the door
of politics and had become its victims.
ĦĦĦĦThe United States has been flaunting its "freedom of the press," but it met
with criticism from many sides in 2002 in this respect.
ĦĦĦĦIn an annual report published on Feb. 21, 2002, the International Press
Institute accused the United States of violating freedom of the press and said
it is the most astonishingevent of 2001 that the way the Bush administration
treated the work of the media during the Afghan war and the practices of the
Bush administration attempting to suppress freedom of speech by independent
media (Vienna, Feb. 21, 2002, AFP).
ĦĦĦĦTwo senior journalists with the Washington Post wrote in their book
entitled "The News About The News: American Journalism In Peril" that practices
of pursuing profits have destroyed the senseof mission of the journalistic
community of the United States, andbelieved an overwhelming majority of media
owners and publishing businessmen forced newspaper editors and TV news
executives to concentrate on profits as opposed to quality of coverage (New
York,March 29, 2002, AP).
ĦĦĦĦIn its annual report published on May 2, 2002, Reporters Without Borders
exposed since September 11 attacks, the United States has exerted pressure on
the journalistic community in the war against terrorism, which has restricted
freedom of the press (Paris, May 2, 2002, EFE).
ĦĦĦĦOn August 6, 2002, a major news organ in the United States published a
survey showing the public wanting the media to "shut up".
ĦĦĦĦThe survey found among the respondents, 69 percent believe the media is
biased, and over two thirds of them read news reports with disbelief.
ĦĦĦĦIV. Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness
ĦĦĦĦThe United States is the only superpower in the world, however,the poor,
hungry and homeless have formed a "Third World" in this most developed nation,
owing to the widening gap in wealth betweenthe rich and the poor and social
ĦĦĦĦIn the last two years, a series of scandals of major corporate fraud were
exposed in the United States, resulting in a credibility crisis and financial
losses, which has deprived ordinary Americans of a sense of economic security
due to the serious losses they suffered. The Labor Department of the United
States reported on January 10, 2003 that between 2001 and 2002, the United
States lost 1.6 million jobs. In December 2002, the country's unemployment rate
was six percent; the number of joblesspeople stood at 8.6 million; and employers
slashed payrolls by 101,000 workers (Jan. 11, 2003, Sun).
ĦĦĦĦIn the United States, 60 percent of households own stock shares.As
corporate fraud scandals brought down the stock market, its capitalization was
slashed by 2.5 trillion US dollars, with the employees of the affected big firms
and their shareholders suffering great losses. Since energy giant Enron filed
for bankruptcy protection, its stock price plunged from 85 US dollars a share to
less than one US dollar a share. Millions of Enron stockholders have suffered
enormous losses. A large number of Enron employees lost all their pension funds,
while teachers, firefighters and some government workers lost one billion US
dollars in pensions.
ĦĦĦĦWorldCom's filing for bankruptcy also plunged its stock share price to a
few cents from 62 US dollars; 17,000 of its employees became jobless, while
investors had their interests severely damaged (June 26, 2003, Sun).
ĦĦĦĦThe gap in wealth between rich and poor has become even wider. The U.S.
Federal Reserve reported on January 22, 2003 that between1992 and 1998, the gap
in wealth between the 10 percent of families with the highest incomes and the 20
percent of families with the lowest incomes increased by 9 percent, but between
1998 and 2001, the gap jumped by 70 percent.
ĦĦĦĦThe Washington Post reported on September 24, 2002 that the top20 percent
residents with highest income in the United States accounted for 50 percent of
the total income of the country, whilethe share of the richest 5 percent (with
an annual income of 150,000 US dollars and above) in the national total went up
from 22.1 percent in 2000 to 22.4 percent in 2001.
ĦĦĦĦPoverty and hunger have kept increasing. According to the Census Bureau of
the United States, in 2001, another 1.3 million people fell below the poverty
line; in 2002, the poor population continued growing.
ĦĦĦĦAccording to the American organization Bread for the World,, 33million
Americans lived in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger in
2002. The newspaper USA Today reported that the nation's estimated 3 million
homeless had harder times in 2002,as authorities reduced assistance to them and
tough laws were passed against them (USA Today, Dec. 27, 2002).
ĦĦĦĦA survey report published by the U.S. Conference of Mayors indicates that
the year 2002 witnessed an average of 19 percent increase in requests for
emergency food assistance in 25 large cities in the country, and also an average
of 19 percent increase in requests for emergency shelter assistance in 18 major
cities, the steepest rise in a decade.
ĦĦĦĦAnd all the cities in the survey expect that requests for both emergency
food assistance and shelter assistance would increase again in 2003. Boston
Mayor and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Thomas M. Menino commented,
"The world's richest and most powerful nation must find a way to meet the basic
needs of all its residents."
ĦĦĦĦThe Associate Press reported on November 3, 2002 that 777,000 people in Los
Angeles, or 33 percent of its population, were food insecure and could not
always afford to put food on the table. By July 2002, homelessness in New York
grew by 66 percent compared with four years ago (Aug. 20, 2002, AP). In 2002,
Los Angeles County alone had 84,000 homeless people, and every night, 43 percent
of 9,000-15,000 vagrants could not find shelters and had to sleep on downtown
ĦĦĦĦAccording to statistics by relevant American organizations, thecurrent
homelessness situation in the United States has become nearly as severe as at
the end of World War II. Most vulnerable topoverty and hunger are pregnant
women, the aged, people without ID,and single-parent families. The report by the
U.S. Conference of Mayors indicates that among those requesting for emergency
food assistance, 48 percent were members of families with children; 38 percent
of the adults requesting such assistance were employed; ofthe homeless, 39
percent were from families with children, 22 percent were employed, and 73
percent were from single-parent families.
ĦĦĦĦV. Women and Children are in Worrisome Situation
ĦĦĦĦDiscrimination against women is common in the United States. USA Today
reported on January 6, 2003 that women hold merely 14 percent of seats in
Congress. According to a survey report released by researchers at Rutgers
university, discrimination against ethnic minorities was found in one third of
business firmsin the United States, and discrimination against women was
reported in one fourth of 200,000 firms. In hospitals, shops, restaurants and
bars, women of African, Latin American and Asian descent made up 70 percent of
those who have been hurt.
ĦĦĦĦAmerican women are likely to become victims of crimes and violence. A study
report published by the Harvard School of PublicHealth on April 17, 2002 said
that American females are at the highest risk of murder, and the US female
homicide victimization rate is 5 times that of all the other high income
countries combined. The United States accounts for 70 percent of all
femalehomicides in the 25 high income countries, and 4,400 American females are
murdered each year, with about half by firearms.
ĦĦĦĦAmerican women are also likely to become victims of sexual assaults. In
2002, several scandals of sexual assaults on women byclergies were exposed.
According to reports, over the past five years, in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan,
New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin, a number of faith healing-related
sexual assaults were exposed, with some faith healers found to have rapedwomen
during the therapy.
ĦĦĦĦPolice and public prosecutors believe that hundreds of women inLos Angeles
and other places were sexually abused when they soughthelp from faith healers
(March 13, 2002, L.A. Times). Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that a survey
conducted by researchers at St. Louis University in 1996 but kept under wraps
after completion shows that about 40 percent of American Catholic nuns (nearly
35,000) have been sexually abused, often at the handsof a priest or another nun.
(Jan. 5, 2003, Washington, AFP).
ĦĦĦĦAmerican children often fall victim to domestic violence, social crimes,
their parents' divorces, and abandonment. Accordingto a study published by
researchers at Harvard University in 2002,in American states and regions with
high gun ownership, children have more chances to be murdered, to commit suicide
or to meet accidental death. Between 1988 and 1997, a total of 6,817
children,aged 5-14, were shot to death in the 50 states of the United States
(Boston, Feb. 28, 2002, Reuters).
ĦĦĦĦYoung girls missing and the kidnapping of children are frequent.Statistics
show that in the United States, 58,000 children were kidnapped by people other
than their families each year, and 40 percent of them were slain in the end.
Another 200,000 children were kidnapped by their family members, mostly for the
right of custody (Washington, Aug. 6, 2002, Xinhua News Agency).
ĦĦĦĦIn 2002, a series of scandals of sexual assaults on children byCatholic
clergies were exposed. An article titled "Sins of the Fathers" published by the
Newsweek magazine on March 4, 2002 reported that the child-sexual-abuse
settlements may have cost theAmerican church one billion U.S. dollars during the
1986-1996 period. Some 80 priests have been accused of sexually abusing
children, with one said to have assaulted more than 100 children over the past
ĦĦĦĦThe Sun newspaper reported on April 29, 2002 that there were 46,000 priests
in the United States, and in the past 18 years at least 1,500 had been charged
(Sun, Apr. 29, 2002). According to the newspaper Christian Science Monitor, the
targets of sex-related crimes committed by American clergies were mostly
children,and since 1985 over 70 clergies and priests were imprisoned for
molestation of children (Christian Science Monitor, March 21, 2002).
ĦĦĦĦMany children have encountered serious difficulties in their life, medical
treatment and education, and many of them have not received parental love and
care. According to a report published by the Public Policy Institute of
California in November 2002, 20 percent of Californian children aged under 5
years live in poverty,compared with the national average of 15 percent. The New
York Times reported last July that the proportion of American children who grow
up in parentless families is increasing, from the previous 7.5 percent to the
present 16.1 percent.
ĦĦĦĦThe non-governmental Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children says
in its 2002 report that nearly 5,000 children were detained every year by the US
Immigration and Naturalization Service for entering the United States illegally.
Their average age is 15 years, with the youngest only one and a half years.
ĦĦĦĦMost of these children did not have other criminal records except illegal
entry. However, over 30 percent of these children were commingled with young
offenders, handcuffed and shackled, sent to prisons or detained in warehouses
with very poor safety conditions.
ĦĦĦĦVI. Deep-rooted Racial Discrimination
ĦĦĦĦRacial discrimination is deep-rooted in the United States. Senate
Republican leader Trent Lott had repeatedly made remarks supporting racial
segregation during his political life. He had tried by every means to prevent
the Congress from passing a bill on establishing the birthday of Martin Luther
King, a murdered civil rights leader of the blacks, as a national holiday.
ĦĦĦĦOn December 5, 2002, when attending a 100th birthday party for Sen. Strom
Thurmond from South Carolina, who ran for the presidency in 1948 as a
segregationist candidate, Lott said that the United States would be better off
if Strom Thurmond had won the presidency that year. Lott's remarks triggered
strong reactionof the Congressional Black Caucus.
ĦĦĦĦIn the end, Lott quitted his post as Senate Republican leader under the
pressure of public opinion ("Black Caucus unforgiving after Lott's apology" by
William M. Welch, Dec. 11 2002, USA Today).
ĦĦĦĦFor more than 100 years between 1862 and 1965, the United States had
enforced a law restricting immigrants from Asia and forbidding marriage between
immigrants of Asian descent and white people. Many states nullified the law in
the 1940s-1960s, but it is still in effect in the states of New Mexico and
ĦĦĦĦRacial discrimination is serious in law enforcement. According to a study
by the Justice Policy Institute of the UnitedStates, blacks constitute only 12.9
percent of America's total population, but black prisoners account for 46
percent of the total in jail in the nation; approximately one in every five
blacks is jailed for some time during his or her life.
ĦĦĦĦThe number of blacks in jail is greater than that of blacks at college. In
2000, about 800,000 blacks were in jail, compared withonly 600,000 blacks
registered in institutions of higher learning.Among the new inmates put in
prison since 1980, people of African and Latin American descent have accounted
for 70 percent.
ĦĦĦĦThe Sun newspaper reported on Jan. 8, 2003 that defendants who kill white
people are significantly more likely to be charged withcapital murder and
sentenced to death than are killers of non-whites, and a black offender accused
of killing a white victim is most likely to be put on death row.
ĦĦĦĦThe paper quoted a study as saying that the probability that someone
accused of killing a white person will be charged with capital murder is 1.6
times higher than the probability for a black-victim homicide. Blacks who kill
whites are two and one-halftimes more likely to be sentenced to death than are
whites who kill whites, and three and one-half times more likely than are blacks
who kill blacks. Though a majority of Maryland's homicide victims were black, of
the 12 inmates on Maryland's death row awaiting execution, eight were black, and
all were convicted of killing white people.
ĦĦĦĦMinorities are among the poorest groups in the United States. A Federal
Reserve report issued on January 22, 2003 said that the gap in wealth between
American whites and ethnic minorities widened by 21 percent between 1998 and
2001. The US Census Bureau reported in its 2002 annual report on income and
poverty that in 2001, the poverty rate in the United States rose to 11.7
percent; the poverty rate was 22.7 percent among African Americans, and 21.4
percent among Hispanics, both nearly double the rate for other ethnic groups.
ĦĦĦĦAfrican American and Hispanic homeowners paid higher interest rates for
housing loans than white people did. In the metropolitanarea of Washington D.C.,
among households that made at least 120 percent of the typical income in the
area, 32 percent of blacks held high-interest loans while only 11 percent of
whites did; among households that made 80 percent or less of the typical income,
56 percent of blacks had high-interest loans and 25 percent of whites did.
ĦĦĦĦMinorities also suffer from unfair treatment in schooling. Racial
segregation in public schools has got even worse than decades ago. Only four of
all 185 school districts across the United States witnessed increase in
black-white exposure (exposureof black students to white students) between 1986
and 2000. The 24school districts with the worst racial segregation were found in
Texas and Georgia states.
ĦĦĦĦThe newspaper Christian Science Monitor reported on Jan. 21, 2003 that in
the state of Georgia 32 percent of white elementary school teachers left their
posts at predominantly black schools in2001. The situation was the same in
Texas, California and North Carolina. Lots of classes had to be taught by
substitute teachers who didn't have degrees and weren't licensed to teach, and
"black students aren't getting an equal shot at good schooling".
ĦĦĦĦAmong the third graders in elementary schools in California, 70percent of
white children met the required educational attainment standard, compared with
37 percent of black children and 27 percent of Hispanic children. The enrollment
rate of minority students in schools of higher learning was declining.
ĦĦĦĦA 2002 report by researchers of Harvard University pointed out that
America's pervasive legacy of slavery, racism, and substandard, segregated
health care for many of the nation's minorities has left a deep chasm between
the health status of mostminorities and whites. Blacks have enjoyed much poorer
medical treatment than whites ever since they came to America from Africa. ĦĦĦĦ
ĦĦĦĦAfrican Americans have much higher rates of heart diseases, diabetes, AIDS
and some cancers. Blacks have a cancer death rate about 35 percent higher than
that of whites, the AIDS cases among black women and children are 75 percent
higher than among white people, and African-American children also have much
higher rates of asthma and juvenile diabetes than white children. There is a
life expectancy gap of about seven years between whites and African Americans.
("Blacks suffer most from managed care, by Julianne Malveaux, Nov. 29, 2002, USA
ĦĦĦĦRacial discrimination has been on the rise in the United Statessince the
September 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. authorities have intensified
restrictions on new immigrants and slowed down its procedure for approving entry
of immigrants. Tougher regulations have been adopted, requiring new immigrants
to register their residences at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
offices, or otherwise face imprisonment, fines or even deportation. In August
2002, in airport safety inspections the FBI arrested a large number of immigrant
airport workers, mostly Latinos.
ĦĦĦĦDiscrimination against Muslims and Arabs is the most serious. According to
statistics from the Islamic Society of North America,48 percent of Muslims
living in the Unites States said their liveshave changed for the worse since
Sept. 11. By the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
approximately 60 percent of Muslims had experienced in person or witnessed acts
of discrimination against Muslims including public harassment, physical assault
and property damage. There had been nearly 2,000 vicious criminal cases against
Muslims, including 11 murders and 56 death threats.
ĦĦĦĦIn Los Angeles, assaults on Islamic institutions rose by 16 times from 28
in 2000 to 481 in 2001. In Toledo City, Ohio, more than 10,000 residents of Arab
descent were monitored and wiretapped by judicial departments after the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks and they were not allowed to talk to lawyers. Moreover,
judicial departments can have house search at any time.
ĦĦĦĦThe U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service announced in August 2002
that males from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan areto be fingerprinted on
entering the United States. In November thesame year, a new federal regulation
added another 13 countries including Afghanistan to the list. Males from these
18 countries, who are 16 years and older and on temporary visas to the United
States are subject to "special registration", to report to relevant departments
and be fingerprinted and photographed before the designated deadline.
ĦĦĦĦOn December 16, 2002, more than 1,000 Muslims from Iran, Iraq and other
Middle East nations went to the immigration offices in California for the
"special registration" procedures. However, most of them were detained by
immigration officers right away, under accusations of holding invalid visas,
overstaying their visas or other wrongdoing. The U.S. Department of Justice
later admitted that about 500 immigrants of Mideast descent were arrested.
ĦĦĦĦWhile statistics from local Islamic institutions showed that atleast 700
people were arrested, some even put it at about 1,000. News reports said that as
the immigration detention center was overcrowded, some of the detainees were
moved to prison. The detainees complained that they were stripped, searched, and
given prison suits after their clothes were taken away. Many people werelocked
in one cell, with no bed or quilt, and had to sleep on the icy cement floor.
ĦĦĦĦVII. Blunt Violations of Human Rights in Other Countries
ĦĦĦĦThe United States is following unilateralism in international affairs and
has frequently committed blunt violations of human rights in other countries.
ĦĦĦĦRegardless of the strong call for no war from the internationalcommunity,
the United States, together with a few other countries,launched a war against
Iraq on March 20, 2003. The war, which has openly violated the purpose and
principles of the UN Charter, has caused casualties of innocent Iraqi civilians
and serious humanitarian disasters.
ĦĦĦĦDuring its air attacks against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2002,
the U.S. troops dropped nearly a quarter-million cluster bomblets and raided a
number of non-military targets, causing heavy civilian casualties. The Time
newsweekly disclosed civilians killed in the Afghan war had exceeded 3,000.
ĦĦĦĦThe cluster bombs also left an estimated 12,400 explosive duds that
continue to take civilian lives to this day (Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and
Their Use By the United States in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch, Dec. 18,
2002). In 2001 the U.S. bombing of Mudoh village reduced the local population to
100 from 250 and leveled all buildings in the village to the ground. A similar
attack on Kakrakai village in central Afghanistan on July 1, 2002 left at least
54 civilians dead and more than 100 others injured (Newsweek, July 22, 2002).
ĦĦĦĦThe rights and interests of prisoners of war (POWs) were also violated.
According to CNN (Cable News Network), a total of 12,000Taliban fighters were
reported to have been captured since the U.S.launched its military action in
Afghanistan, but only 3,500 to 4,000 of them survived. It was found that these
POWs were locked into unventilated steel shipping containers after their
capture, and many of them died of sweltering heat, suffocation or extreme thirst
en route to the prison. Numerous mass graves in which the bodies of the dead
POWs were dumped have been found in Afghanistan. ĦĦĦĦ
ĦĦĦĦThere are also evidence of U.S. troops' involvement in the shipping of the
POWs. In November 2001, some 1,000 Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters who had
surrendered in the northern Afghan city of Konduz died on their way to the
prison after they were packed tightly into unventilated container trucks
(Washington, Aug. 18, 2002, AFP).
ĦĦĦĦAccording to media reports, in 2002 the United States was holding more than
600 detainees from 42 countries, mostly capturedduring the Afghan war, in its
military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, the detainees were denied
"prisoner of war" status by the U.S. government and therefore faced uncertainty
of their futures.
ĦĦĦĦIt was unclear for how long they would remain in custody or what kind of
treatment they would receive. These detainees were allegedly confined for 24
hours a day to small cells and were not allowed to meet their families or
lawyers. Former Al-Qaeda memberswere also subject to torture or other forms of
ĦĦĦĦHundreds of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed overseas, and such
troops have committed crimes and human rights abuses wherever they stay. Each
year U.S. troops stationed in the Republic of Korea (ROK) are caught responsible
for more than 400 traffic accidents, but only less than 10 cases would go for
trial in ROK courts.
ĦĦĦĦOn June 13, 2002, two U.S. soldiers driving an armored vehicle crushed two
14-year-old South Korean girls to death, but both offenders were acquitted by a
U.S. military tribunal in November. On Sept. 2, three other U.S. soldiers in
Kyonggi-do, ROK, started a tussle on a road, and they deliberately smashed a
taxi car parked on the roadside and beat up its Korean driver.
ĦĦĦĦEarlier reports said six American soldiers stationed in the ROKwere charged
with sexual harassment, assault and scuffle after drinking.
ĦĦĦĦThe U.S. troops in Okinawa, Japan has long been notorious for its constant
involvement in criminal cases such as arson and rape.Investigation shows that
after World War II U.S. soldiers have committed more than 300 sex crimes in
Okinawa, with over 130 rape cases reported since 1972.
ĦĦĦĦIn the wee hours of Jan. 7, 2002, Frederick Thompson, a U.S. Navy marine
stationed in Okinawa, was arrested by local police on charges of trespassing on
private property after he broke into theapartment of a 24-year-old woman. On
Dec. 3 the same year, the police department of Okinawa prefecture issued an
arrest warrant against Major Michael Brown of the U.S. Marine Corps, who was
accused of attempted rape and damaging of private articles, but the U.S. side
refused to hand him over to the police department. (Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 15,
ĦĦĦĦAccording to a news report in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo ofApril 1,
2002, there are more than 52,000 illegitimate children inthe Philippines
fathered by U.S. marines stationed in this Southeast Asian country before 1991.
Recently tens of Filipino teenage girls, some of them not yet 13, were sent to
Mindanao in southern Philippines, to entertain U.S. marines stationed there.
ĦĦĦĦVIII. Double Standards in International Field of Human Rights
ĦĦĦĦThe United States, taking a negative attitude toward the international
human rights conventions, is one of the only two countries in the world that
have not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. To
date, it hasn't ratifiedthe Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, which have got ratification from or accessionof most
countries in the world.
ĦĦĦĦIn 2002, the United States shrank remarkably from its previous stance on
international human rights affairs. It used to ask for the removal of any text
in UN draft resolutions that involved human rights conventions which all
countries were expected to observe or the U.S. government had not yet ratified,
on the pretext of the U.S. being not a state party to these conventions. When
its request was rejected, the United States would ask for a separate voting on
the text, or even cast the only dissenting vote.In July 2002, the United States
withdrew a 34-million-dollar contribution it had promised to the United Nations
Population Fund(UNFPA), forcing the UNFPA to cancel its projects of assistance
towomen in countries like Burundi, Algeria, Haiti and India.
ĦĦĦĦThe United States has been releasing annually Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices, censuring other countries for their human rights situations,
but it has turned a blind eye to serious violations of human rights on its own
soil. This double standard on human rights issues cannot but meet with strong
rejection and opposition worldwide, leaving the United States more and more
isolated in the international community. Enditem