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China: United States Report
May 28, 2012 11:28 AM   Subscribe

China's has just released its report, "Human Rights Record of United States in 2011". This annual report covers gun crimes, OWS, freedom of the press, unemployment, and more. via
posted by rebent (140 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can the Chinese read this online or is there a firewall?
posted by Ideefixe at 11:31 AM on May 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


Once the scale tips negative aren't they Human Wrongs?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:32 AM on May 28, 2012


Cute.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The leaders are busy, the people are happy, and foreign countries are in chaos.

This will fit nicely into the third section of your nightly CCTV news.
posted by Winnemac at 11:36 AM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cute.

Sure, but no more so than when America does the same, and they play this game all the damn time. It's no surprise that China would borrow from their playbook.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:37 AM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't they just put aside their difference and bond over their mutual love of torture and squashing dissent?
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 AM on May 28, 2012 [27 favorites]


Whatever happened to Mefites pot and kettle?

Still, many valid points are lost when you consider this particular source.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:41 AM on May 28, 2012


Valid points are valid regardless of the source.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:46 AM on May 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


Can the Chinese read this online or is there a firewall?

They can read this, China Daily isn't blocked by the Great Firewall since it's heavily influenced by the government.

It'd be nice if both governments would focus on fixing what's wrong instead of mud-slinging.
posted by arcticseal at 11:47 AM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Valid points are valid regardless of the source.

But more easily disregarded by those who need to hear them when they come from a source considered "bad". But then, even the most impartial sources are too often disregarded by those who need to hear them...
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The biggest thing to pay attention to here is the sources. When looking at the Human Rights situation in China, The State Department is forced to rely on its own and often clandestine sources. No one really doubts their authenticity, while US Government have been known to lie about all sorts of things, the State Department has a solid reputation for being on the level with regards to Human Rights. On the other hand, the "State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China" is so thoroughly discredited, untrustworthy, and impotent a source of information that they are forced to use data from publications of the American media, non-profits, and Federal Government. Things we already know.

They know that everyone in this thread knows that they would never publish honest figures that they made themselves. If anything this report proves every year the point that America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights and that the People Republic of China is still backward and oppressed.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:55 AM on May 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


What part of "American Exceptionalism" don't they understand?
posted by Trurl at 12:01 PM on May 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Slightly unrelated but I recently met a guy (here in the U.S.) who basically blamed China for all of the world's ills. Gorilla poaching and rapacious extraction of Africa's resources? China. Failure of American renewable energy initiatives? China. World economic problems and low wages? Etc.

He began to sound like the victim of some vast reeducation program.
posted by nowhere man at 12:01 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> If anything this report proves every year the point that America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights

Surely you can't be serious. Are you claiming that this report is all lies? Each claim is heavily sourced.

Are you simply unaware of countries where you have real human rights, like Canada or Scandinavia?

Certainly China is hardly a paragon of human rights! And the US is certainly somewhat better, but how much better - and for how long?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:03 PM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


For maximum chuckles they should've released this report on June 5th.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:05 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


> who basically blamed China for all of the world's ills

Simple people need simple problems because simple solutions are all they understand. Usually force.
posted by stbalbach at 12:07 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Tibet.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:13 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


All valid points. I guess the crucial irony here, as a US citizen, is that I am able to read this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:13 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


You know reading this document is it really "human rights abuses"? They throw in everything they can find. for example "Homicide cases in Detroit in 2011 saw a 13.5 percent rise over 2010". Is that an abuse, or simple crime statistics for a major city? And where do those number stand historically? There is no context. I seriously doubt reports of this nature about China deal with homicide rates, unless they are notable for some reason like historic highs or caused by some reason. The rest of the document is similar, it feels like nagging.
posted by stbalbach at 12:15 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights

That presupposes a pretty weird notion of human rights, since much of the stuff in the (admittedly hypocritical) Chinese report is uncontroversially true, at least in the sense of being consistent with data from publications of the American media, non-profits, and Federal Government.

Which, if any, of the activities described in the report would you say is unproblematic from the point of view of human rights? If you are American, in which country (the US or China) do you have a chance of making even a tiny difference, human rights-wise?

What is the point of comparing the human rights records of various nations, instead of simply focusing on mitigating the human rights problems in one's own nation, in absolute terms? (This question is directed at the US and Chinese authorities, too, I guess. Since they're presumably reading this, I eagerly await their answer.)
posted by kengraham at 12:16 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are there any other sources on the planet which takes as assessment of the US and the states of its human rights record? I know the US does this for a lot of other countries, but aside from China, who is compiling such a report about the US?
posted by hippybear at 12:18 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The 'one true superpower' is getting ragged on and having its rusted innards shown for all to see?

More of this please.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:19 PM on May 28, 2012


lupus_yonderboy: " Surely you can't be serious. Are you claiming that this report is all lies? Each claim is heavily sourced."

Wait what? Try reading that comment again from the beginning. My central point was that they were forced to heavily source their claims with verifiable American data because we wouldn't be able to trust a damn thing they'd say otherwise, in addition to the fact that they'd never be able to collect better data anyhow. The value of the State Department's report is not so much in how it nags the Chinese Government, but in how the statistics it reports are often unavailable to anyone other wise, much less Chinese citizens.

Besides, we are reading this report and judging its claims from an uncensored standpoint, Chinese citizens do not have the luxury of reading the State Departments report.

lupus_yonderboy: " Are you simply unaware of countries where you have real human rights, like Canada or Scandinavia?"

Both Canada and Scandinavia have their problems too, just check the State Department's reports.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:22 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Homicide cases in Detroit in 2011 saw a 13.5 percent rise over 2010". Is that an abuse, or simple crime statistics for a major city?

Not all human rights abuse is perpetrated by the state directly, and not all human rights abuses are intentional. Some abuses arise from social and cultural conditions that have rendered the public unusually violent compared to the populations of other developed nations. Government policy is partially responsible. The folks in power have the responsibility not only to not commit outright atrocities, but also to actively avoid policies leading to the creation of an impoverished, largely unemployed, desperate underclass. To whatever extent high crime rates are a consequence of, say, inequality of economic opportunity caused by policies that favour profit-taking over a functioning economy, those crime rates reflect human rights abuses by those responsible for those policies.
posted by kengraham at 12:23 PM on May 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


The conversation at ChinaDaily may have gone something like this:

ChinaDaily Editor: It is time to release the report of the human rights violations of The United States

Underling: But sir, they will simply say how can China comment on human rights when they have censorship and the death penalty for civil offenses.

ChinaDaily Editor: Perhaps, but there is the point that in China, we are direct about our need to shape information. In the United States, they proclaim to be free, but actually, many of the people watch Fox News for their opinion. They do not know that their information is being shaped. Assuming you are censoring information, is it better for the people to know that it is censored, or for them to think it is free when in reality it is censored?

Underling: But sir, assuredly you realise that Fox News is owned by The Murdoch, and he has won control of their minds fairly through capitalist manoeuvres. Thus, they have in essence requested – and actively endorse – censorship from The Murdoch and Others Like Him. In China, our people have not chosen censorship, rather it has been thrust upon them. Therefore, can not the Americans make the claim that censorship in their case is through consent, whilst in our case it is dictated?

ChinaDaily Editor: So your concern is that we will be releasing stories that they have chosen as a people to ignore? That our report contains information, which they have access to, but intentionally banish from their society. And in that case, are you asking why we would release such information, when it may anger them? Do you care that we anger them? They say these things about our country, why would we not respond in kind?

Underling: Yes, they have access to them, yet the news is filled with reports of The Marriage Of The Kardashian and The Implosion of Europe. They must know they have these problems, for they proclaim to have a free press. And if they have a free press, then assuredly, they will know about these stories. Thus, what good will it be to simply provoke their anger? They choose to know about The Kardashian and ignore the systemic violence affecting their society, thus why will we provoke their anger when it is obvious that they choose not to know the things which we will say?

ChinaDaily Editor: Why do they choose to ignore these stories in favour of spending their energy on The Kardashian?

Underling: Perhaps it is because they have access to these stories that they choose to ignore them?

ChinaDaily Editor: Continue...

Underling: If they have access to this information, and they choose to ignore it, they can masquerade illegitimacy behind the cloak of legitimacy. It is the Bush Principle of plausible deniability, it is enough for the information to be available. Whether or not it is used in decision-making is irrelevant, the fact that it is available neutralises the responsibility of people to actively use it.

ChinaDaily Editor: Why do the Americans constantly pay attention to the human rights violations of China while ignoring the ones that they perpetrate themselves?

Underling: Obviously because The Murdoch continually distracts them with The Kardashian. I have heard more people can locate The Snooki on the map than Tibet.

ChinaDaily Editor: They are the wealthiest nation that has ever existed. Whilst some of the people will be distracted by bread and circuses, you do not become so powerful if the majority of the people are controlled by The Situation.

Underling: Ah, if their information is free and they know about their own human rights violations, yet they choose to focus on China's, they must gain something by focusing on China's human rights rather than their own.

ChinaDaily Editor: And what will they gain by this?

Underling: Well, as long as they can keep attention focused on China's human rights, they are averting that attention from their own. If we try to compare records equally, they then say that China is censored. Thus again distracting the argument from their own human rights records to China's governance policies.

ChinaDaily Editor: So why will we publish this article when we know what they will say and it provokes their anger?

Underling: Well, if we make enough noise about their hypocrisy, then they might finally broadcast The Kardashian to us. If it works with criticism within their own country, they will think it works internationally.

ChinaDaily Editor: Yes, my student, you have done well. If we are successful in provoking their anger, we will finally receive a broadcast feed of The Kardashian. No longer will we have to wait while their hackers attempt to circumvent The Great Freedom Wall to access The Pirate Bay. If our report has the desired effect, they will practically force us to watch the The Kardashian on CCTV4. On our televisions, not on our laptops. And when they give us The Kardashian, then we too can stop caring about human rights.

Underling: Sir, I have never had a dream as immense as giving up on our investigation of human rights to know what The Kardashian will do next. I understand now that you are a wonderful leader.

ChinaDaily Editor: My son, if we are victorious, we will stop caring about human rights, and our families will watch The Kardashian together.


Or maybe not.
posted by nickrussell at 12:26 PM on May 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


Blasdelb - I read your comment from the beginning. You're claiming that the US is the world leader in human rights - you've provided no evidence for this at all. I was very clear that the US does better than China - but "better than China" is hardly the gold standard for human rights.

By the way, your link goes to a page which directly mentions neither Canada nor Scandinavia, but links to literally hundreds of other pages. I tried using the search box for both these terms - and found nothing. What's the point of your link, please?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:28 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Calling out others is easy. (Just check out any mildly controversial thread on Metafilter.) My opinion of human rights status in any country is heavily influenced by how easily people and organizations in that country can call attention to problems in that country. I'm open to more evidence, but based on that the U.S. seems good, but not great, and China seems awful.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


China's has just released its report, "Human Rights Record of United States in 2011"

Subtitled, "Hello, Pot; this is Kettle."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:44 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: "Blasdelb - I read your comment from the beginning. You're claiming that the US is the world leader in human rights - you've provided no evidence for this at all. I was very clear that the US does better than China - but "better than China" is hardly the gold standard for human rights."

My claim was that in this respect we still lead the way in terms of Human Rights, and that the dramatically asymmetrical nature of the two reports does a lot to demonstrate this. My understanding is that the State Department's Human Rights report is still the gold standard, or is at least in parallel with the American NGO Amnesty international's report.

"By the way, your link goes to a page which directly mentions neither Canada nor Scandinavia, but links to literally hundreds of other pages. I tried using the search box for both these terms - and found nothing. What's the point of your link, please?"

The State Department's Website isn't that easy to navigate, there is a reason why everyone goes to the CIA's website for the State Department's data. On the light blue bar you'll find a drop-down menu that will allow you to search for Human Rights Reports by country, including the ones for Canada, the Scandinavian countries, and China. Just in case you keep having issues, here are the PDFs:

Canada
Sweeden
Finland
Norway (Probably the closest thing there is to a clean bill of health)
Denmark
China
posted by Blasdelb at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


If they really want to parallel things up, the White House should get someone to release a statement about how foreigners are spreading lies and interfering in domestic affairs to drive the American people apart and weaken the nation.

They could get a good back-and-forth going about which foreigners shouldn't be reporting on which things.
posted by Winnemac at 12:46 PM on May 28, 2012


Who would this report need to come from for it to not be mockingly dismissed?
posted by lucidium at 12:49 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


nickrussell: "Underling: But sir, assuredly you realise that Fox News is owned by The Murdoch, and he has won control of their minds fairly through capitalist manoeuvres. Thus, they have in essence requested – and actively endorse – censorship from The Murdoch and Others Like Him. In China, our people have not chosen censorship, rather it has been thrust upon them. Therefore, can not the Americans make the claim that censorship in their case is through consent, whilst in our case it is dictated?"

Heh, if my experience with Chinese graduate students in the US is any measure, there are an awful lot of Chinese with feelings that are conflictingly positive at best towards internal censorship. National unity and harmony taking a more important place.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:53 PM on May 28, 2012


Half a year ago Russia released its human rights report about the United States. The reaction of the US State Department was:

such reports can be a "useful mechanism provided that they are produced using objective methodology."

"We certainly don't regard it as interference in our internal affairs when foreign governments, individuals or organizations comment on or criticize U.S. human rights practices," he said, adding later, "In terms of our human rights record, we're an open book."


(As quoted by the Associated Press on Huffington Post)

I'd expect that the U.S. Government reaction to the Chinese report will be the same, and it seems an eminently reasonable position for all nations to adopt.
posted by ferdydurke at 12:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


lucidium: "Who would this report need to come from for it to not be mockingly dismissed?"

This is the Amnesty International Report on the Human Rights situation in the United States, I'm sure there are people who would mock it, but I'm not one of them.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:57 PM on May 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


When superpowers compete on human rights issues, everyone wins.
posted by litleozy at 1:02 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Blasdelb

FYI Amnesty international is not an American NGO; it was founded in London and has offices internationally. Labelling it an "American NGO" actually does its work on the US and the enemy-du-jour of the US a disservice.
posted by lalochezia at 1:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]



lupus_yonderboy: " Are you simply unaware of countries where you have real human rights, like Canada or Scandinavia?"

Both Canada and Scandinavia have their problems too, just check the State Department's reports.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:22 PM on May 28 [+] [!]



Don't worry, we're having that bar lowered for you guys, according to new internation standards soon everyone will have human rights.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:31 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some of us are so open-minded, our brains have fallen out.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:31 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Valid points are valid regardless of the source.

Yes, but what about the trains? Do they run on time?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:33 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trains running on time are on time regardless of the source.
posted by hippybear at 1:34 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah crap. I don't like them calling my kettle black, even if it is. I also don't want them coming over here to shine it up for me. Next year somebody over there will remember the genocidal tactics that accompanied Manifest Destiny, and then we'll really be in for it. Never mind. I don't know any of those guys, and I'm sorry about them stealing the land. No. We don't give this stuff back.

Still, now and then, in the quiet of the night, them little demons come crawling out from under the rocks to bite my ankles and I dream that: We are going to Hell in a Handbasket.

We get what we vote for. Anyhow, that moron B-43 didn't invent plausible deniability, but his handlers realized how many dollar signs they could wring out of it. The rest is decadence, hubris, callus disregard, shame, denial--all that. Yep. Oh, and we invent history as we need it.

nickrussell: Underling: If they have access to this information, and they choose to ignore it, they can masquerade illegitimacy behind the cloak of legitimacy. It is the Bush Principle of plausible deniability, it is enough for the information to be available. Whether or not it is used in decision-making is irrelevant, the fact that it is available neutralises the responsibility of people to actively use it.
posted by mule98J at 1:38 PM on May 28, 2012


The difference is that we can talk about human rights problems in the United States. In China, you are forbidden from doing so.

Democracy isn't a guarantee of getting things right. It gives us the chance to change things to make them better.

The rest is up to us.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:41 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The difference is that we can talk about human rights problems in the United States. In China, you are forbidden from doing so.

Democracy isn't a guarantee of getting things right. It gives us the chance to change things to make them better.

The rest is up to us.


You can want to change things, but God help you if you get more than 100 people together to try and do so.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:45 PM on May 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Can't they just put aside their difference and bond over their mutual love of torture and squashing dissent?
Well, that seems to be happening. The "MSM" doesn't seem to go after China very hard at all, which isn't too much of a surprise as business nowadays have a lot of investment there. And, keep in mind the US actually held on to some Uyghur prisoners in Guantanamo for years because the Chinese didn't want them released, despite not having any actual reason to hang on to them.

There was also the secret US/China collusion to derail some climate talks in 2009. (Ironically, the deal was negotiated by John Kerry, who likes to portray himself as an environmentalist)
On the other hand, the "State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China" is so thoroughly discredited, untrustworthy, and impotent a source of information that they are forced to use data from publications of the American media, non-profits, and Federal Government. Things we already know.
Well, what is it you think we're doing that they couldn't find out from our media? Do you think we really have some FEMA camps or something for them to blow the lid off of?
If anything this report proves every year the point that America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights and that the People Republic of China is still backward and oppressed.
All that shows is that the US government has a reputation for giving out accurate information, while the Chinese government doesn't. That has nothing to at all to do with human rights.

To put things into perspective, the US has more prisoners in total Then China, despite the fact that China has four times the population.
My central point was that they were forced to heavily source their claims with verifiable American data because we wouldn't be able to trust a damn thing they'd say otherwise
Right, but that has nothing at all to do with human rights. The Greek government, for example, was notoriously inaccurate in reporting financial data. I'm not aware of it having a particularly problematic human rights record.

Also, you said the US lead on human rights. That seems to imply more than "we're slightly better than them" but more that we are leaders in the world. If all you were saying is "we're better then China", that's probably true. If you are saying that the US compares favorably to Norway, or Japan or something, that doesn't seem particularly supportable, and certainly this document doesn't have anything to do with that.

There's more to human rights then the ability to read and post stuff on the internet. The ability to fly without getting groped at the airport is one example. Being able to tape the police without getting arrested would be another. There are huge problems with the criminal justice system, especially when the defendants are poor and can't afford a good lawyer. The fact that we have such a high incarceration rate means that there aren't enough resources to even properly and fairly review each case, and people are pressured into plea deals, etc. There are many countries in the world where this is less of a problem and every single other country in the world jails fewer of their citizens.
Both Canada and Scandinavia have their problems too, just check the State Department's reports.
Holy shit! Really? NO country is actually perfict? Here, why don't you compare those to the state department's reports on the the US? Oh wait, it's because there are none. So, clearly, you can't use those as a basis of comparison to the US itself.


Or are you just saying the US "leads" by promoting the idea of Human Rights? Like a fat person who tries to cajole other people to exercise and eat right?
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on May 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yes, but what about the trains? Do they run on time?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:33 PM on May 28 [+] [!]


Labor Minister Lisa Raitt said the freight service shutdown at Canada's second largest railway is hurting the economy.

Locomotive engineers and conductors went on strike Wednesday, shutting down freight service along nearly 14,900 miles (24,000 kilometers) of track in Canada and the U.S.

Raitt called Canadian Pacific Railway the backbone of the country's economy, and she has said she would force strikers back to work if necessary.

"The strike can't go on," Raitt told Parliament. "We need to get the trains running again."

posted by Stagger Lee at 1:50 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Both Canada and Scandinavia have their problems too, just check the State Department's reports.

I don't think he was saying Scandinavia and Canada are devoid of human rights abuses; just that they do human rights a lot better than the US. Having lived in all three regions, I'd be inclined to agree, and it seems AI backs that up, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:53 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Finland is not a part of Scandinavia.

Both Canada and Scandinavia have their problems too, just check the State Department's reports.

What exactly are the problems you're referring to? At least in Scandinavia, a few hate crimes in the double digits does not a human rights problem make. I don't see any issues there as systematic either. I've lived in Norway, there are problems like anywhere else, but you have to look really hard over there.

Over here in the US it's much more noticeable to the naked eye...
posted by palbo at 2:03 PM on May 28, 2012


Blasdelb: thanks for the links.

I read the Canadian one and skimmed the rest. Interesting reading, there were some things I didn't know about. But surely the small number of actual cases in these reports prove the disparity between these other countries and the US in human rights?

For example, the Canadian report talks a lot about the abrogation of the rights of the native peoples - a huge issue in Canada, to be sure - but nothing compared to the ongoing centuries-long series of abuses in the United States of its native peoples! Within my lifetime, Canada gave 20% of its landmass back to its native peoples - when was the last time an aboriginal land claim held up in a US court? (don't send me the links, I know it happens, but it's very rare...)

More subtly, the report does not mention many things that Canada considers human rights and the United States does not. There is still no ERA, but in Canada, not only is gender protected against discrimination but also sexual orientation - and same-sex marriage is legal and same-sex partners legally have exactly the same rights as hetero couples.

The report doesn't mention them - because the US doesn't believe they are human rights.

And finally, of course, many people including myself think it completely fair to bring up the hundreds of thousands of people of color languishing in brutal American jails for victimless crimes. The huge disparity of the administration of the law between "poor colored folks" and rich white people is a massive civil rights violation, whether you care to admit it as such.

But it doesn't matter - even if you omit all that insanity, you're still a lot more likely to have your "inalienable civil rights" impinged upon in the US than in Canada or Scandinavia, and those articles you sent me to just reinforced that fact to me.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:04 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Finland is not a part of Scandinavia.

Finland. The country where I quite want to be.
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on May 28, 2012


Who would this report need to come from for it to not be mockingly dismissed?

This thread is overwhelmingly dominated by those who are suggesting that there is little to no difference between the US and China on human rights issues. The question that comes to my mind is the opposite one. Who would this report need to come from for it not to draw sneering "pot meet kettle" comments from the average Mefi punter?

A jingoistic inability to see anything wrong with your country is a terrible blindness, to be sure--but so is a knee-jerk refusal to acknowledge that there can be any areas at all where it is simply night-and-day better than other countries. When it comes to human rights and due process of law, China really does have nothing, at all, to teach the US.
posted by yoink at 2:12 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


> This thread is overwhelmingly dominated by those who are suggesting that there is little to no difference between the US and China on human rights issues.

Point to ONE person who said that.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:13 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Point to ONE person who said that.

Can't they just put aside their difference and bond over their mutual love of torture and squashing dissent?
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 AM on May 28 [8 favorites +] [!]


There is a strange need to not just criticize the United States but to believe it some strange sort of worst of all possible worlds. I wonder if people in Canada and Norway do the same thing, where they'll feel that they can't exactly be proud of their democracy (like those damn, dangerous Americans), and that they too must feel shame less it be viewed as nationalism.

I hope not. I hope everyone gets to be proud of their country, even as they concentrate on how to make it better. I sure am.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:19 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]




There is a strange need to not just criticize the United States but to believe it some strange sort of worst of all possible worlds. I wonder if people in Canada and Norway do the same thing, where they'll feel that they can't exactly be proud of their democracy (like those damn, dangerous Americans),


Lately our government is modelling itself after the American system, but we're still doing a bit better than you guys in areas such as justice, foreign intervention, healthcare, and most of the other points the article hit on.

Uh. Sorry. :-/
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:22 PM on May 28, 2012


There's no need to apologize, Stagger Lee. I take it from your comment that you're part of a nation that you feel has done better (is it Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Denmark?). I'm glad for your accomplishments and you should certainly be proud of your part in them. I only hope that the United States gives some good to the world that is even felt there other than a sense of what not to do.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:26 PM on May 28, 2012


Lord Chancellor: Perhaps you're not familiar with The Whelk's mode here, but more often than not, he's being quite jokey with his comments. Taking what he wrote as any kind of illustration of "US is just as bad as China when it comes to human rights" and not instead seeing it as an ironic commentary on how both countries do, indeed, squash dissent and use torture against perceived enemies is either a deliberate misreading of the comment or is evidence of your own desire to find this equality in others to support your own agenda.
posted by hippybear at 2:28 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I only hope that the United States gives some good to the world that is even felt there other than a sense of what not to do.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:26 PM on May 28 [+] [!]



Canada.

Snark aside, I actually think there are some fantastic things enshrined in the American system. Fundamentally, the American political system is more democratic than the Canadian one. Seriously. I mean, we have a fucking monarch.

But there are still some pretty gaping human rights and quality of life holes there, and I don't envy those at all.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:29 PM on May 28, 2012


Hippy Bear, I think it would be unkind for you to immediately assume that I'm looking for equivalence. I think The Welk's (obviously) snarky manner was both playing for comic effect and trying to show that as far as human rights go, the United States and China are in the same ballpark. I don't think I would have to look for that equivalence to get it from that comment.

I mean, I guess we could say, "The United States has problems as far as human rights abuses go, but not nearly as bad as China or other countries that criticize it around the world." I could agree with that. If you, the Whelk, or Lupus_Yonderboy we're going for that sentiment, I apologize. I certainly was not attempting to appear disingenuous.

By the way, Stagger, I very much love Canada. Back when I was in the military, I visited the RMC and saw a bit of Ontario. It's a great place that has much to be proud of and much to be ashamed of, but I certain don't think the shame clouds the pride. If I lived there, I would certainly be glad.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:40 PM on May 28, 2012


The critical difference is that the Chinese government generally contains its abuses of human rights to its own territory.
posted by moorooka at 2:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


"hippybear" "The Whelk"

Just sayin'
posted by hippybear at 2:44 PM on May 28, 2012


When it comes to human rights and due process of law, China really does have nothing, at all, to teach the US.

I can think of numerous "suspected terrorists" who might disagree with you, had we not used drone bombers to kill them without trial. Assuming it was not one of the (deeply regrettable!) occasions when we killed dozens of civilians instead.
posted by Trurl at 2:45 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't they just put aside their difference and bond over their mutual love of torture and squashing dissent?

Sorry, this statement is absolutely not at all equivalent to "suggesting that there is little to no difference between the US and China on human rights issues."

No one is making that point.

And it's rather a shame that it's China that's putting out this report, because it really has nothing whatsoever to do with China, does it? It's a report on the United States - at question is its truth or lack thereof - who wrote it is completely beside the point, surely?

Again, the question is whether it's true or not - we all agree, China is a lot worse than the US, but this is a report about the United States.

But is anyone actually denying the facts of this report? Not that I see - difficult given all the citations.

I see some quibbles about what the penal system has to do with human rights...
but what about the conclusions, which are basically that the United States shoots and incarcerates an astonishingly and unjustly large portion of its inhabitants compared to almost every other country on Earth?

So it seems to me that the only reason to keep talking about China is that you don't really have any way to refute the report itself, so you ignore the contents, and simply repeat the idea that China is a lot worse - one we all agree with.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:04 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The critical difference is that the Chinese government generally contains its abuses of human rights to its own territory.

Extent of said territory subject to change.
posted by Artw at 3:07 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Extent of said territory subject to change.

Do you want to compare how many countries their soldiers are based in with how many countries our soldiers are based in?
posted by Trurl at 3:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


My central point was that they were forced to heavily source their claims with verifiable American data because we wouldn't be able to trust a damn thing they'd say otherwise
Right, but that has nothing at all to do with human rights. The Greek government, for example, was notoriously inaccurate in reporting financial data. I'm not aware of it having a particularly problematic human rights record.


Ok, but transparency about these things is an essential part of the process. I'm opposed to the death penalty in the US, but at least here, the number of executions is a matter of public record, and basically the entity of trials and appeals are open to the public. Even the executions themselves are often witnessed by members of the media, though legal challenges are ongoing to ensure that access. The system has a lot of flaws, which is why I think we shouldn't be executing prisoners and should improve criminal justice, but we at least know what we're talking about because all the circumstances of each case are open to public inspection.

In contrast, the number of executions in China is generally regarded as a state secret and there is little transparency into the specifics of individual cases. Human rights groups are forced to piece together their data from networks of secret sources within the country. The very fact that this information is secret is a human rights problem, because we cannot discuss and seek to improve what we don't know.
posted by zachlipton at 3:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I apologize hippybear and the Whelk. I dislike getting people's names wrong and hope that wasn't a source of contention.

Trurl seems to be making the "they are equivalent" statement, but then again, I'll ask him to clarify so as not to be unfair. Trurl, do you believe that the United States and China are in the in the same boat as far as human rights are concerned.

And the fact that this is from China is absolutely fair game. This report gives NOTHING that isn't already known or reported on. Most of it's sources are from the same sources that have posted here. The only salient thing about the report, the only new thing, is that it's the Chinese government making it. If we wanted to argue about the substance of the report, we would use something from a country generally known for upholding human rights or an international organization that's respected here, such as Amnesty International.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:20 PM on May 28, 2012


lupus_yonderboy: "More subtly, the report does not mention many things that Canada considers human rights and the United States does not. There is still no ERA, but in Canada, not only is gender protected against discrimination but also sexual orientation - and same-sex marriage is legal and same-sex partners legally have exactly the same rights as hetero couples.

The report doesn't mention them - because the US doesn't believe they are human rights.
"
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on the status of LGBT rights on International Human Rights Day
delmoi: "Well, what is it you think we're doing that they couldn't find out from our media? Do you think we really have some FEMA camps or something for them to blow the lid off of? "
WTF? The point is that there are no FEMA camps or whatever, whearas in China there very much are secret camps for all sorts of nefarious purposes. Our State Department, NGOs and media regularly blow the lid on that kind of shit.
delmoi: "All that shows is that the US government has a reputation for giving out accurate information, while the Chinese government doesn't. That has nothing to at all to do with human rights. "
It is a lot more than that. We could not have this conversation in China, Full Stop. Addressing Human Rights issues, both foreign and domestic, is a supported and valued exercise in the United States. That is HUGE.

We certainly have our issues, though it is important to consider how many of them stem from the fact that we are a Union that includes states which would be considered developing nations if independent, many of whom would be failed states within days without Federal support. The economic realities of Michigan, Louisiana, and Mississippi as opposed to Norway make for reasonably forgone conclusions.
delmoi: "Holy shit! Really? NO country is actually perfict? Here, why don't you compare those to the state department's reports on the the US? Oh wait, it's because there are none. So, clearly, you can't use those as a basis of comparison to the US itself. "
The State Department doesn't really have the ability to judge the United States, it does however actively encourage reports like this Chinese one as well as the Russian ones and ones by NGOs.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:22 PM on May 28, 2012


But is anyone actually denying the facts of this report? Not that I see - difficult given all the citations.

I am.

This is not an Amnesty International report, honest criticism of the US's flaws. This is not a censored stories report. This is propaganda explicitly designed as a weapon or distraction from honest reports about China. It uses citations out of context as a way of making sweeping statements that say "see American views on human rights should be ignored."

Obviously, many of the issues are real, but everything here was cherry-picked for a reason. Why concentrate on the rise in grand larcenies in NYC and but the rise of homicides in Detroit? Well, homicides fell in NYC (as in most major cities), so they can't mention that. Why pick two particular cases of water rights among Native Americans? So they can say "Native Americans are denied their due rights." And so many comments seem to legitimate this view.

And the facts are often completely made up. Take this example:

The US imposes fairly strict restriction on the Internet, and its approach "remains full of problems and contradictions." (The website of the Foreign Policy magazine, Feb 17, 2011) "Internet freedom" is just an excuse for the United States to impose diplomatic pressure and seek hegemony.

The article doesn't say that, the actual text of the article referred to says, among other things: "These events highlight how the Internet is empowering a range of non-state actors in ways that challenge all governments' relationships with their citizens. Clinton's speech acknowledged this development, and reaffirmed the U.S. government's commitment to the free and open, globally interconnected Internet as a core component of its foreign policy.

Clinton acknowledged -- without naming specific cases -- the extent to which the United States and other democracies face their own unresolved dilemmas about the Internet age. These include the difficulty of balancing the legitimate needs for law enforcement and intellectual property protection with the imperative of protecting free expression, privacy and other civil liberties.

Her comments on WikiLeaks underscored how Washington is grappling with the disruptive implications of a globally interconnected digital network. Still, she said, "WikiLeaks does not challenge our commitment to internet freedom."

->
posted by blahblahblah at 3:23 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Trurl, do you believe that the United States and China are in the in the same boat as far as human rights are concerned.

Of course not. China will have to begin killing a great deal more civilians, in several more countries, before they can be compared with us.
posted by Trurl at 3:25 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


The United States has mighty strength in human, financial and material resources to exert effective control over violent crimes.

In the United States, the violation of citizens' civil and political rights is severe. It is lying to itself when the United States calls itself the land of the free

Oy vey. Can't you Stalinists find somebody who can actually write in American English? This prose is so stilted and crappy it gives me brain-pain.
posted by jason's_planet at 4:03 PM on May 28, 2012


This thread is overwhelmingly dominated by those who are suggesting that there is little to no difference between the US and China on human rights issues.
I'm beginning to wonder if you're just trolling.
Point to ONE person who said that.
Can't they just put aside their difference and bond over their mutual love of torture and squashing dissent?
posted by The Whelk at 11:41 AM on May 28 [8 favorites +] [!]
There is a strange need to not just criticize the United States but to believe it some strange sort of worst of all possible worlds.
That's an example of what's called a joke. If I say Americans and Japanese can bond over their appreciation of Anime, it does not mean I think their enthusiasm is equivalent.
I wonder if people in Canada and Norway do the same thing, where they'll feel that they can't exactly be proud of their democracy (like those damn, dangerous Americans)
Why don't you ask them what they think of America's human rights record? I mean, you seem to be missing the obvious possibility: That people's view of the US human rights record has nothing to do with their where they're from, but is in fact based on how the actual US. human rights record in actual reality
Do you want to compare how many countries their soldiers are based in with how many countries our soldiers are based in?
I think he means Tibet or something. But obviously china has been around for a long time and it's borders have changed over time, so has America's.
WTF? The point is that there are no FEMA camps or whatever, whearas in China there very much are secret camps for all sorts of nefarious purposes. Our State Department, NGOs and media regularly blow the lid on that kind of shit.
Well, the way you wrote it it sounded like you were saying the Chinese were, like, lame or something because they couldn't report anything that wasn't in the media. But most everything is going to be in the media, other then perhaps abuses that go on in rural areas by local police and never get reported on.
We certainly have our issues, though it is important to consider how many of them stem from the fact that we are a Union that includes states which would be considered developing nations if independent, many of whom would be failed states within days without Federal support. The economic realities of Michigan, Louisiana, and Mississippi as opposed to Norway make for reasonably forgone conclusions.
Oh please. The per-capita GDP of those states is $37,616, $47,467, and $32,967

Compare that to Euro zone countries like France at $36.3k (€29k), the UK at $34.7k(€27.7) Spain at $29.2k (€23k euro) Portugal at $20.1k (€16k euro). Or Romania at $7.2k (€5.8).


It's ridiculous to blame "economic realities" for the problems of those states when most of them (except Mississippi) are wealthier per capita then France or the UK, and all of them are wealthier then Spain and Portugal, and in fact have six times the money per person as Romania. In fact Louisiana is richer, per person then Germany ($39k/€31k) or even the Netherlands ($45k/€36). Sweeden, Denmark and Luxembourg are the only euro zone countries richer then it. meanwhile Spain and Portugal have pretty good reputations for human rights, I believe. So does Germany and the Netherlands.
The State Department doesn't really have the ability to judge the United States, it does however actively encourage reports like this Chinese one as well as the Russian ones and ones by NGOs.
Okay, so I guess when you said "leadership" you just meant it was convincing other people to write reports? Like I said: a fat person who cajoles others to diet and exercise. Like Rosie O'Donnell back when she had her own TV show. She was always pushing healthy living on her show, So she was a "Fitness leader".

I don't think many people are going to parse the phrase "Human rights leader" that way, if you claim some country is one.
(I was curious what Amnesty international had to say about Romania. this was from the top google search result:
The New York Times newspaper reported in August that a secret US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prison had been constructed in Bucharest. The government denied this and emphasized that it co-operated with all the international commissions set up to investigate the allegations of the existence of CIA detention centres on their territory. The European Commission reacted with a repeated call for full, independent and impartial investigations to establish the truth.
In a response to a request by the APADOR-CH, the government confirmed that some CIA-operated aircraft took off and landed on Romanian territory, as had previously been identified by a Council of Europe report.

The report of the Senate commission of inquiry, which had investigated allegations in 2006 and 2007 regarding the existence of CIA detention centres in Romania and was adopted in 2008, remained classified.
So basically, one of the poorest countries in the Eurozone, and their biggest human rights abuse was helping the US with theirs (Along with discrimination against Gypsies, apparently. Other then that, there was a single instance of police torturing a suspect. In 1997)
posted by delmoi at 4:29 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't win by not coming in last. Unless it's against an elephant...

Two tourists and a guide were walking through the jungle. The guide says, "if an elephant charges, run." One of the men chuckles, "I hear elephants can run pretty fast, what if it catches up?" The other friend replies, "We don't need to outrun the elephant, we just need to outrun you." Hearing this, the first tourist looks a bit cross. The guide laughs aloud, "Oh we'll be fine if there's an elephant or two. If we see three elephants, then we have to worry."

"Not coming in last", in elephants or human rights, is quite a dangerous goalpost.
posted by nickrussell at 4:45 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tibetians vs American Indians. Consider the ongoing situation with Lakota children being taken by South Dakota social workers to be raised by white families. Free Dakota!
posted by humanfont at 4:57 PM on May 28, 2012




America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights

Good lord, what an insular (and ignorant, really) worldview - I would have thought you, if not most Americans, would have a little more awareness than that. America ceded that territory decades ago, if indeed it ever was a leader in human rights.

Honestly, "leads the way" snort, it's just too much when the smoke is still rising from Iraq, people are still locked up on Guatanomo - or worse in Cairo or Kazakhstan at US request - being tortured with state mandate but without charge, People in Idaho or Iowa or whatever have a $3 minimum wage, the death penalty for God's sake.

Does the US have better human rights than China? Undoubtedly. Are they a human rights leader in the world? Not even close.
posted by smoke at 5:19 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]




Noam Chomsky:
My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it. So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.
posted by Trurl at 5:25 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Point to ONE person who said that.

"Little to no" not "no." And others have pointed out multiple examples. And then several of those examples have come in to the thread to insist that they were in deadly earnest.

If your response to China talking about human rights issues in the US is to say that this is the 'pot calling the kettle black' or to suggest that China would need to start upping its game to match the US's record, you have made no serious attempt to educate yourself about human rights in either the US or China.
posted by yoink at 5:50 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anything this report proves every year the point that America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights

Not according to the Economist, Reporters Without Borders, Transparency International, Privacy International, or Gallup (Wiki, with direct links).

Human Rights Watch also has a lot to say about the US' human rights records (World Report 2012)
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:53 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


People in Idaho or Iowa or whatever have a $3 minimum wage

Wrong.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:02 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


China has a /what/?

Again, what?

*ROTFLMAO* *wipes tears*
posted by clvrmnky at 6:09 PM on May 28, 2012


Wrong.

Well, it was merely part of my broader point that the US is shit (though not as shit as China) when it comes to human rights, however...

From the link you so delightfully provided: "Iowa: Most small retail and service establishments grossing less than 300,000 annually are not required to pay the minimum wage. Tipped employees can be paid 60% of the minimum wage, which is currently $4.35."

Australia's minimum wage (and our dollar is basically at parity to yours): $15.51.

The prosecution rests.
posted by smoke at 6:11 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wyoming - "$2.13 for employees receiving tips"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:14 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is an impossible discussion to have, because there's no objective standard to what's being discussed here.

Yes, the death penalty exists in both the U.S. and China, but it's certainly easier to find yourself dead in China, as Charles Manson could tell you.

The U.S. exports violence? Sure, if you're not counting the constant threat of invasion hanging over Taiwan (a country defended by the U.S.).

Your free speech is curtailed in the U.S.? I'm sure it is. But go see if you can start a birther conspiracy about Wen Jiabao.

How about gay rights? The U.S. certainly struggles with gay marriage. China only made homosexuality legal -- not marriage, homosexuality as a concept -- in 1997.

What else sucks in the U.S.? Women's issues? Glass ceilings? Seventy-five cents on the dollar? Chinese health care includes forced abortions. You want a real war on women? China will fucking well give you one.

The U.S. ain't perfect. It will never be. It won't even ever be Sweden (although I wish it could be, if only for the Bikini Team). But fuck you. If you don't like something, you can change it. Because it's the GODDAMN HOME OF THE BRAVE.

Happy Memorial Day, bitches.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:18 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The U.S. ain't perfect. It will never be. It won't even ever be Sweden (although I wish it could be, if only for the Bikini Team). But fuck you. If you don't like something, you can change it. Because it's the GODDAMN HOME OF THE BRAVE.

FYI, when people who aren't American read stuff like that, it basically conforms to a noxious and unfair stereotype of Americans that already gets plenty of play around the world. "Fuck you" and "goddamn home of the brave" are not conducive to a dialogue, and I would argue that - if any such notions existed - the march to Iraq in the face of massive opposition and built around a lie put paid to the notion of how easy change is if you don't like it.

I think the kernel of comparisons between US and China is that both are invested in lying to their populations about basic human rights and where they set on an international scale of the same.
posted by smoke at 6:25 PM on May 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


But fuck you. If you don't like something, you can change it.

This sort of sentiment in the USA is often followed by "or you can leave", which is the option I chose, in no small part because of the popularity of this sort of creeping jingoism (to put it charitably).
posted by junco at 6:31 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


hippybear: "Trains running on time are on time regardless of the source."

In addition to the moral bankruptcy of sacrificing freedom for convenience, it is a false dilemma anyway. Mussolini never made the trains run on time
posted by Blasdelb at 6:41 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


smoke,

I would like to learn more about the 'basic human rights' that my (US) government is lying to me about where they equal China's same position.

Please elaborate if you will.

Thx,
tf

P.S. Your international scale may be skewed. I understand there are more nations than the US and China. Maybe a full comparison between all nations which are neither China nor the US will clarify your point.
posted by timfinnie at 6:41 PM on May 28, 2012


How about gay rights? The U.S. certainly struggles with gay marriage. China only made homosexuality legal -- not marriage, homosexuality as a concept -- in 1997.

Umm. State level anti-sodomy laws were still on the books in 14 states in 2003, when they were overturned by the Supreme Court.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:47 PM on May 28, 2012


How about gay rights? The U.S. certainly struggles with gay marriage. China only made homosexuality legal -- not marriage, homosexuality as a concept -- in 1997.

Lawrence v. Texas was won in 2003.

In other words, if you were a gay man or woman in the United States before 2003, you could have been arrested by local, state or federal authorities and charged with any manner of crimes, as seen fit by whoever had your freedom in his claws.

That's if you managed to survive incarceration. This wasn't some abstract or vague threat, either, but a daily reality for most GLBT folks, even in major cities. God help you if you were a transsexual in need of help from Philadelphia police, for example — some have died in custody as recently as the late 1990s.

When it comes to civil rights, America has a shameful record. In some specific ways, a record that is somehow even worse than China.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:48 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hi timfinnie, I'm not really interested in getting into some kind of top 40 human rights back-and-forth. My contributions in this thread have been in response to the claim "America leads the way in human rights."

I maintain that this is patently untrue, China's existence being neither here nor there.
posted by smoke at 6:59 PM on May 28, 2012


I would like to learn more about the 'basic human rights' that my (US) government is lying to me about where they equal China's same position.

This claim was never made. Read the comment again.

The claim was that both the US and China and invested in lying to their populations about human rights, and how they rank against other countries, not that they are equal in terms of their positions on human rights.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:20 PM on May 28, 2012


From Amnesty International
Right to health – maternal mortality

Hundreds of women continued to suffer preventable pregnancy-related deaths. There was no progress towards meeting targets set by the government to reduce maternal deaths, and disparities based on race, ethnicity, place of residence, and income persisted. Several bills were introduced into Congress during the year that would address health disparities, provide grants to states to form mortality review boards and expand best practices. At the end of the year, none had yet been passed into law.
This comment, recurring every year, continues to disturb me. Can't we do any better ever?
posted by francesca too at 7:44 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


smoke,

Pardon my ignorance, but I read:

I think the kernel of comparisons between US and China is that both are invested in lying to their populations about basic human rights and where they set on an international scale of the same

as a statement of interest. You obviously have something to go with here. Provide the reasoning. That is what I want. The 'top 40' is a postscript -- ignore it if you can't deal with the actual international scale as you stated a knowledge of.

And HTWRT, pls also read my comment in the same good faith as the one I am questioning. Comparisons that rely on a knowledge that isn't imparted are useless. Thx.
posted by timfinnie at 7:55 PM on May 28, 2012


The difference is that we can talk about human rights problems in the United States. In China, you are forbidden from doing so.

Democracy isn't a guarantee of getting things right. It gives us the chance to change things to make them better.

The rest is up to us.

You can want to change things, but God help you if you get more than 100 people together to try and do so.


Better it be hard but not impossible to get the 100 people together to start moving on some thing than only 100 people running a country of more than a billion.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:03 PM on May 28, 2012


What really bothers me about this discussion is that it is, amazingly, accomplishing exactly the hypocritical goal of the Chinese government: to make the case that the US (and other countries) should not be allowed to talk about human rights.

Of course the US is hypocritical too, most nations are, but pressure on China to improve human rights has been effective in the past. As much as the US has done terrible things, it has also been a major force in advancing the importance of human rights around the world. The US talk about freedom is not just cynical manipulation (though it is that, too), it is also a real goal of the US government at the same time.

Read the US State Department Report, the Chinese report reads like a parody or Pee Wee Herman - "I know you are but what am I."

You can continue to fight for human rights in the US, without undermining the legitimacy of demanding human rights elsewhere. This document is propaganda, even if it is partially true propaganda, there is good reason to be very suspicious of the intent of this report- it is to prompt exactly the response that seems prevalent in this thread.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:16 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Provide the reasoning. That is what I want. The 'top 40' is a postscript -- ignore it if you can't deal with the actual international scale as you stated a knowledge of.

I can't speak for smoke, but my comment above provided a link to a number of different international scales regarding a range of different human rights.

Regarding your 'good faith' comment, I honestly don't get what you mean. I was responding to what I perceived to be a factual inaccuracy, nothing more.

Cohesive and accurate rankings or ratings on criteria as varied and nebulous as 'human rights' are notoriously hard to do. However, you may be interested in the CIRI Human Rights Data Project, run out of the University of Connecticut. The CIRI project includes an overall ranking on human rights. The data goes back to the early 80s.

The US doesn't even rank in the top 10 countries in the 2010 report, BTW.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:34 PM on May 28, 2012


Although it should be said that China is, unsurprisingly, in the bottom 10.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:43 PM on May 28, 2012


The US doesn't even rank in the top 10 countries in the 2010 report, BTW.

Actually, it ranks #5. China is second from the bottom.

(not intended jerk-ishly)
posted by blahblahblah at 8:43 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, it ranks #5. China is second from the bottom.

That's technically correct, but not accurate. Because of the way the rankings work (a number out of 30), many countries have the same score, particularly at the extremes. The US had a score of 26/30 in 2010, which is the 5th highest score (equal with a number of other countries), but there are 13 countries that had better scores. So it's ranked at #5, but still not in the top 10 countries.

This is all by the by. I would like to be clear that it is not my contention that the US is on par with China regarding human rights. I, like smoke, am merely responding to the claim made above that US is the world leader in human rights issues. It's comparatively good, but it's clearly not the best.

That doesn't make this Chinese 'report' any less laughable though. It's propaganda. And like the best propaganda it mixes the lies with a dash of truth.

(not intended jerk-ishly)

Didn't take it as such.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Provide the reasoning. That is what I want.

Well, I feel like I have already provided several examples of human rights and lies pertaining to human rights abuses that the US engages in (that many, many other countries do not), and I think it's pretty indisputable that the US - as a whole - promotes itself as a world leader in human rights/"the free world", which in fact it's not.

What really bothers me about this discussion is that it is, amazingly, accomplishing exactly the hypocritical goal of the Chinese government: to make the case that the US (and other countries) should not be allowed to talk about human rights.


I disagree - not that it's not silly propaganda and its goal; obviously it is silly propaganda and China has an appalling record on human rights. I don't think anyone is debating that, despite the whole "with me or agin me" vibe I'm getting from timfinnie.

However, I and many others here and elsewhere are quite able to argue that both China and the US could make substantial improvements with regard to human rights, and both are perfectly entitled to criticise the other if they so desire.

I find it interesting, the most vociferous defenders of the US in this thread are essentially using the same argument that China uses against the US, "Those guys!? What right do they have to accuse us of human rights violations?"

To which I can only say, J'accuse. Both countries are shitty for human rights. If the criticisms are cogent, it matters not who makes them, or how much worse other abuses are. Thankfully for the patriots in this thread, many of the criticisms in the report are silly - probably because China can't really tear into the US for doing things China does and thinks is okay as well (cf. death penalty, treatment of indigenous population, wage and working conditions, minority protection, so on and so on).
posted by smoke at 9:02 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


This sort of sentiment in the USA is often followed by "or you can leave", which is the option I chose,

I would consider it, if only it were that easy. Believe it or not, every country in the world is not waiting with open arms for Americans to move in.
posted by bongo_x at 9:03 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


To which I can only say, J'accuse. Both countries are shitty for human rights. If the criticisms are cogent, it matters not who makes them, or how much worse other abuses are

Really? You can't even participate in this kind of discussion in China. It is for all intents and purposes a one-party state.

The idea that there's even a comparison is laughable. You can say anything you want in the US. Literally, the limits are child porn and yelling fire in a crowded theater. There? Not so much.

In China, there are 55 different capital crimes. Here there is only one. China executes more people than the rest of the world combined.

The idea that the two countries are "both shitty" implies that there is an equal level of human rights problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In China, the law allows the government to hold a person without charge for 37 days. In the US it is 24 hours.

In China, you can be forced to incriminate yourself. You can be put in jail for three years without judicial trial.

In China, you may not live where you wish.

35.9% of Chinese families may not have more than one child. But hey, since 2002, they cannot use physical force to abort a child.

It's fucking laughable to even compare the two. As in without basis in reality.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:23 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ironmouth is right. I have some problems with varous aspects of my own culture (as evidenced by the Memorial Day MOH thread) but the idea smoke is peddling is crazypants. America has some problems, possibly a few more problems than a small number of Northern European nations, but lumping it in with China is indeed laughable.
posted by Justinian at 10:38 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The idea that the two countries are "both shitty" implies that there is an equal level of human rights problems.

I'm not really interested in implications, so much as what I actually say. FFS, from my own comments in this thread:

"Does the US have better human rights than China? Undoubtedly. Are they a human rights leader in the world? Not even close."

"The US is shit (though not as shit as China) when it comes to human rights"

So yeah, that's exactly what I've been arguing.

the idea smoke is peddling is crazypants

What? The idea that the US is does not lead the way when it comes to human rights? Is that really so controversial? Goodness me, some Americans are very sensitive when it comes to criticism. Upset as it may make you, I think you'd find my attitude is prevalent in the wider world - namely: the US is hypocritical, arrogant, and deeply cynical when it comes to championing freedom and human rights on the global stage.

This does not abrogate other nations but when the US is supporting terrible regimes in Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, formerly Egypt, Libya and more; is directly responsible for millions of deaths from Iraq, to Chile, to the Phillipines and beyond; has huge portions of the population trying to control reproductive rights, working conditions; supports state-sponsored executions, assasinations of US and other nationals; legalised torture, warrantless wiretapping, and being held indefinitely without charge; stealing land and breaking contracts with indigenous populations etc etc etc. I think some criticism is warranted - especially when large numbers of the population are so misled as to think that this country is a world leader in human rights, I mean, come on.

The fact that the defense comes down to "China did it first/worse!" is pretty shitty, especially when a freaking lawyer is making the argument, among others.

I dunno what else I can contribute here. I try to judge arguments on their merits, not on whose making them, or even why - though that can be good context.
posted by smoke at 11:10 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


What? The idea that the US is does not lead the way when it comes to human rights?

But you go beyond that and make blanket statements which draw direct equivalence where there is none. "Both countries are shitty at civil rights" and so on.
posted by Justinian at 11:26 PM on May 28, 2012


smoke: “This does not abrogate other nations but when the US is supporting terrible regimes in Kazakhstan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, formerly Egypt, Libya and more; is directly responsible for millions of deaths from Iraq, to Chile, to the Phillipines and beyond; has huge portions of the population trying to control reproductive rights, working conditions; supports state-sponsored executions, assasinations of US and other nationals; legalised torture, warrantless wiretapping, and being held indefinitely without charge; stealing land and breaking contracts with indigenous populations etc etc etc. I think some criticism is warranted - especially when large numbers of the population are so misled as to think that this country is a world leader in human rights, I mean, come on.”

Have you actually read the report? This is emphatically not what it is saying. It's a misleading and often flat wrong report. That's what matters. I appreciate the desire to be open-minded, but on an unbiased read this report isn't worth much.
posted by koeselitz at 11:29 PM on May 28, 2012


– I mean, if the China report accused the US of "trying to control reproductive rights," I might be there with you, but I think that would be a bit rich even for them.

Those above who have called this report propaganda were correct. I have problems with the US, and I am not hesitant to point them up when the time comes; but those who love freedom and justice ought to see this report for the bullshit it is and point a finger at its source, the largest and most violently dangerous human rights violator in the world today: the Chinese government.
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 PM on May 28, 2012


smoke: “What? The idea that the US is does not lead the way when it comes to human rights?”

By the way – Blasdelb's comments have been wildly misinterpreted. I think it's obvious and clear that the US does indeed lead the way on human rights in this respect. The US State Department produces more quality reports on human rights in other countries throughout the world than any other entity, including the UN. That's a pretty clear fact. You said yourself that you try to take arguments on their face, without discounting them merely because of who made them. Well, we should do that consistently. No matter what we think of the United States' record itself in human rights, it is clear that the State Department is a world leader in recording human rights violations and making them publicly known.
posted by koeselitz at 11:41 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blasdelb's comments have been wildly misinterpreted.

Not really. He has been quoted fairly. If he meant to say something else other than making his demonstrably untrue claim, he should have said that, instead.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tibet
posted by Vibrissae at 8:13 PM on May 28


Vietnam
Korea
Iraq
Afghanistan
Guatemala

To name just a few.
posted by aychedee at 2:48 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Laos
Chile
posted by Wolof at 3:31 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: I think it's obvious and clear that the US does indeed lead the way on human rights in this respect.

So because the US reports accurately on the human rights abuses of other countries, that makes it a leader on human rights?

Unfortunately, it does matter what we think of the US record on human rights, regardless of its ability to report those abuses by others. It matters because the US is/was the worlds superpower and has historically and continues to take the high moral ground on this issue. It matters because the US frequently uses that high moral ground to withhold aid to the third world, to pressure countries into political, military and economic positions favourable to the US, and to support war crimes when it suits their own interests.

I think most other countries want a US that is aware of its history, of how it earned the high ground on human rights issues, and why it is important for everybody that it regain it.
posted by bigZLiLk at 3:57 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The list of countries the United States has committed atrocities in could go on for a very long time. To be clear, there is no doubt that China's human rights record is far worse domestically. I don't think anyone is suggesting otherwise. But it's a complete joke that the US puts a list out on other countries who commit violations, while getting pissed off when their own hypocrisies are pointed out to them. Yes, we know about the secret prisons they have around the world, but we have no idea exactly what kind of abuses are going on there. How fucked up is it that the US sends people accused of terrorism to black sites in countries that are on the top of their Human Rights Abuse list, just so they can act in a way that would be illegal on their own territory. They are supposed to be a model for human rights, but they're more of a 'Do as we say, not as we do' country.

Cool Papa Bell: The U.S. ain't perfect. It will never be. It won't even ever be Sweden (although I wish it could be, if only for the Bikini Team). But fuck you. If you don't like something, you can change it. Because it's the GODDAMN HOME OF THE BRAVE.

I saw this comment last night, and the more I think about it, you must be joking, right? Please tell me this was a joke. It's an awful stereotype for an educated person to perpetuate.
posted by gman at 4:48 AM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


In China, the law allows the government to hold a person without charge for 37 days. In the US it is 24 hours.

Depends on if you are only counting the known prisons or the secret ones hosted outside the US.

In China, you can be forced to incriminate yourself. You can be put in jail for three years without judicial trial.

In the US (well just far enough outside of the US for its laws not to really be applied) you can be tortured into saying whatever might make the torture stop and held for as long as your jailers like.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 4:55 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the US it is 24 hours.

NDAA.
posted by kengraham at 5:14 AM on May 29, 2012


"both shitty" implies that there is an equal level of human rights problems.

No. For example, the walls of a cell occupied by a prisoner driven insane by confinement, and a small patch of dry leaves in the woods following a bear's departure are both shitty, but the quantity, source, consistency, and texture of shit involved is very different in each case. Those places are both shitty, but not equal.

The numbers 7 and 13 are both prime and the human rights records of the US and China are both deplorable, and one can posit all of these "boths" without claiming and two of the compared objects (integers, human rights records, bear shit) to be "equal".
posted by kengraham at 5:28 AM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


NDAA

I was going to make a joke along the lines of "37 days? Try 37 months." But of course some of our guests in Guantanamo have been there 3 times longer than that.

But we'll soon be told it's a specious comparison. China will imprison a person for no reason other than it believes them to be a threat to its power. When we imprison someone without trial, it's because they're an Evil Terrorist too dangerous to be afforded due process.
posted by Trurl at 5:38 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


> But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it

> If you don't like something, you can change it.

This lot? Actually do something? Hardly. But count on 'em to argue about it on metafilter.

Does the US have better human rights than China? Undoubtedly. Are they a human rights leader in the world? Not even close.

I don't have many illusions about the USA's human rights record, but I don't have many about China's, either. I am entertained by the rhetorical parallelism between the "American #1"-ers and the "American #0"-ers on display here.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:44 AM on May 29, 2012


This lot? Actually do something? Hardly. But count on 'em to argue about it on metafilter.

I find this type of accusation really cheap and sneering; leaping to the conclusion that not a soul here does anything with their daily lives to try and create change for the better, when the accuser has no way of knowing this, at all. It's just a blanket dismissal of everything said so far, and doesn't really contribute anything. It reminds me of the same people who sit comfortably at home and dismiss protesters as being "bored college kids" with nothing better to do.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:52 AM on May 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


bigZLiLk: “So because the US reports accurately on the human rights abuses of other countries, that makes it a leader on human rights?”

Nope. That's where the misquoting and misinterpretation started: where people assumed that that was the case.
posted by koeselitz at 7:28 AM on May 29, 2012


Then what do you think he meant by "America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:52 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


This lot? Actually do something? Hardly. But count on 'em to argue about it on metafilter.

Would you share with us the greater efforts you're making to alleviate the human rights abuses of our government? They might prove useful to others.

Then again, if those efforts consist primarily of accusing Internet critics of insufficient patriotism, they might not.
posted by Trurl at 8:07 AM on May 29, 2012


we a had nuclear weapons monopoly for 4 years...either we are bad world dominators or terrrrrrible at capitalism.
posted by clavdivs at 8:16 AM on May 29, 2012


In the US it is 24 hours.

NDAA


Does not apply to any person arrested in the United States. Try reading the law. Section 1021 would be the part you're looking for.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:24 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does not apply to any person arrested in the United States. Try reading the law. Section 1021 would be the part you're looking for.

And what about the people the US have picked up elsewhere?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 8:30 AM on May 29, 2012


NDAA

I was going to make a joke along the lines of "37 days? Try 37 months." But of course some of our guests in Guantanamo have been there 3 times longer than that.

But we'll soon be told it's a specious comparison. China will imprison a person for no reason other than it believes them to be a threat to its power. When we imprison someone without trial, it's because they're an Evil Terrorist too dangerous to be afforded due process.


I love how somehow China and the US are the same, despite the fact that you have an extraordinary situation where 169 persons captured during quasi-military operations remain in Gitmo, but in China, its how every single citizen is treated. But oh yeah, they are the same.

There's no doubt that the Guantanamo situation is one that should be cleaned up and fixed. I wish the current Administration had been more successful in doing so (I suspect they feel the same way). But to act like this means that you can use the adjective "both shitty" to US and Chinese human rights records is laughable. Without basis in reality.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Missed that comment, MSTPT. That is true. Sorry about that.

What's odd is that Blasdelb appears to have started off arguing about the State department, and then moved on to something a bit grander. But who knows. (Certainly not me.)
posted by koeselitz at 8:37 AM on May 29, 2012


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "Then what do you think he meant by "America still leads the way in terms of Human Rights"?"

If I might interject here, assuming that you're referring to me, I'd like to explain what I meant.

Of course the United States has its own significant Human Rights issues, but there really is no comparable effort to what the US diplomatic core does to safeguard Human Rights in the world and backs up with the full force and might of the United States military as well as almost half of the world's financial infrastructure. Despotic regimes listen to us in a way that Norway and Canada just can't measure up to. This report is ultimately emblematic of that.

I'm sure no one in this community thinks that anyone in the party apparatus gives a single shit about the state of Human Rights in the United States, this report is a transparently childish attempt at I know you are but what am I. Our State Department is still the adult in the room and is the only external entity that is working effectively enough to problematize human rights abuses on a scale that makes the party apparatus feel threatened. The various European countries with more spotless records than our could only dream of having the positive influence over 'internal Chinese affairs' that this report is a naked response to.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:39 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does not apply to any person arrested in the United States.

I did not say it did. This is a thread about human rights, not (only) rights of humans located in the US.
posted by kengraham at 8:40 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course the United States has its own significant Human Rights issues, but there really is no comparable effort to what the US diplomatic core does to safeguard Human Rights in the world and backs up with the full force and might of the United States military as well as almost half of the world's financial infrastructure. Despotic regimes listen to us in a way that Norway and Canada just can't measure up to. This report is ultimately emblematic of that.

Well I appreciate the clarification. I think America's "shining city on a hill" when it comes to human rights has been tarnished by its domestic and foreign policies, and its support of totalitarian regimes - not to mention financing the overthrowing of democratically elected governments - if and when it suits them, so I'll have to disagree with you when it comes to the US being the human rights leader in the world. I think when it comes to human rights, a country should be judged by how it actually behaves with regard to human rights; now how it tells others to behave. There's no question in my mind that America is still a helluva lot better than many if not most countries in the world in this area, but I don't consider it top dog.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:44 AM on May 29, 2012


In other news:

* Greece has released its report on fiscal irresponsibility in Germany.
* The Taliban has provided a detailed account of Women's rights abuses in Israel.
* Japan has finalized its 2011 record of United States animal rights violations.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:53 AM on May 29, 2012


if those efforts consist primarily of accusing Internet critics of insufficient patriotism, they might not.

I don't know why you jumped to that conclusion, since there's been nary a bit of patriotism-impugning by me here. I don't think I've ever impugned a patriot around here at all, except, possibly, in some broadly satirical fashion. Usually I have no opinion at all on the amount of, or lack of some commenter's patriotism.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:38 PM on May 29, 2012


Dear Chinese rat bastard propagandists:

Thanks for helping us to see ourselves in the mirror. I just wish to return the gift with a couple more salient facts.

* Number of Native Americans who felt compelled to set themselves on fire in 2011: 0
* Number of empty cities built in the US in 2011 at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars while millions of homeless wandered the streets: 0
* Number of parents of slaughtered protestors who committed suicide in the US in 2011 because the US government was unresponsive to their inquiries: 0
posted by Twang at 3:39 PM on May 29, 2012


Chen Guangcheng: How China Flouts Its Laws
posted by homunculus at 10:09 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Point to ONE person who said that.
"Little to no" not "no." And others have pointed out multiple examples. And then several of those examples have come in to the thread to insist that they were in deadly earnest.
I don't think that's true at all. This is the only post I remember seeing where anyone pointed at anyone else, and it pointed to a comment by The Whelk, who never posted anything else in the thread and certainly never insisted he was 'earnest'.

I'm not going to go back and re-read every single comment, but can you point out what you're talking about? Because it seems false to me.
In China, there are 55 different capital crimes. Here there is only one. China executes more people than the rest of the world combined. -- Ironmouth
The total number of capital crimes isn't relevant, what matters is how many people in total are executed. Apparently there were between 5,000-6,000 executions in china in 2007, for a rate of 1 execution for every 260k people. In 2007 Texas killed 26 people for a rate of about one in a million.

So If you compare china to Texas alone the rate is only four times higher. On the other hand if you remove Texas then you actually reduce the US execution rate by a great deal.

Either way, in China or the US executions are extremely rare. However, you are much, much more likely to be incarcerated in the US then in China. So from the point of view of the average citizen, you're much more likely to be put in jail here then there. About 7 times more likely, in fact.

You could argue that all those people are guilty of crimes, and thus deserve to be in jail, but the same is true of people executed in China.
The idea that the two countries are "both shitty" implies that there is an equal level of human rights problems. Nothing could be further from the truth.-- Ironmouth
No it doesn't.
It's fucking laughable to even compare the two. As in without basis in reality.-- Ironmouth
"Compare" does not mean "Equate." You can compare the weight of a bowling ball and a feather, despite the fact the difference is great. It isn't really a complicated concept.
In China, the law allows the government to hold a person without charge for 37 days. In the US it is 24 hours.-- Ironmouth
Jose Padilla was a US citizen arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, and held without charge as an enemy combatant for years. Laws don't matter if they're ignored, with no consequence for breaking them. The Chinese actually have lots of great laws on the books, which are routinely ignored by the government.
I love how somehow China and the US are the same, despite the fact that you have an extraordinary situation where 169 persons captured during quasi-military operations remain in Gitmo, but in China, its how every single citizen is treated. But oh yeah, they are the same.-- Ironmouth
Yeah, I don't know why you're having so much trouble with reading comprehension, but no one said they were the same. Multiple people have said, over and over again, that they are not the same and no one has said they were the same
Blasdelb's comments have been wildly misinterpreted.
Not really. He has been quoted fairly. If he meant to say something else other than making his demonstrably untrue claim, he should have said that, instead.
-- Ironmouth
I think he only meant that the US pushes the human rights issue around the world, which is true. It's like a fat person telling people to lose weight. I think using the term "lead" in that sense is going to cause confusion, as usually when you say someone "leads" at something it means they are actually doing it, not just "do as I say, not as I do"

The problem, though is that our actions obviously undermine the message we are sending. If we say "Fix human rights!" and then go out and violate them, people won't take it seriously.
I did not say it did. This is a thread about human rights, not (only) rights of humans located in the US.
Yeah this is a good point. There is no reason why the way a government treats people outside of it's borders shouldn't be a part of it's human rights record.
posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on May 30, 2012


* Number of empty cities built in the US in 2011 at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars while millions of homeless wandered the streets: 0
What does this have do with human rights? That has to do with economics, where clearly the US is actually doing much worse then china for now (in terms of growth, unemployment and certainly debt), although some people think there's a huge bubble looming.
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on May 30, 2012


What does this have do with human rights?

Arguably, the right to housing, which is in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights - which China has ratified and the U.S. has not.
posted by naoko at 2:58 PM on May 30, 2012


Jose Padilla was a US citizen arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, and held without charge as an enemy combatant for years. Laws don't matter if they're ignored, with no consequence for breaking them.

Supreme Court Rejects ‘Dirty Bomber’ Case
posted by homunculus at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2012






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