China: U.S. Human Rights Hypocrisy

China fired back Thursday at U.S. criticism of its human rights record, issuing a report that denounced the United States for offenses ranging from allowing crime and poverty at home to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The report — issued annually in response to the U.S. State Department's global human rights survey — accused the American military of committing "wanton slaughters," killing thousands of foreign civilians and torturing detainees.

"The atrocity of U.S. troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the infringement of human rights of foreign nationals by the United States," said the report released by the press office of China's Cabinet.

The State Department survey released Monday accused China's communist government of persecuting dissidents and religious activists and said prison inmates were tortured and mistreated.

The U.S. report's criticism ranged from China, where a wave of detentions targeted writers and political commentators, to Iran with executions and Burma with a ruling junta not bound by constitutional restrictions.

However, the United States did not monitor itself in the report.

Washington is likely to again seek censure of China next month at the annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Such motions to censure in the past have been killed by China's allies on the commission.

The Chinese report accused the United States of hypocrisy in condemning conditions in foreign nations while staying silent on its own.

"In 2004, the atrocity of U.S. troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community," the report said.

"It is quite ironic that on Feb. 28 of this year, the State Department of the United States once again posed as the 'world human rights police,"' it said.

The report cited the case of Zhao Yan, a Chinese woman who was beaten and attacked with pepper spray by a U.S. border guard during a visit to Niagara Falls. The guard has been charged with battering her.

In other criticisms, the report said racism was deeply entrenched in the United States. It said politics were manipulated by the wealthy and dismissed the U.S. electoral system as a "contest of money."

The report cited census bureau figures saying numbers of Americans living in poverty had been rising for three straight years to 35.9 million in 2003.

By Christopher Bodeen