OK; to be fair, we deserved this:
“The remarks of US politicians have completely exposed their hypocrisy of adopting double standards on human rights issues and using them to maintain hegemony.”
We’re constantly interfering in China’s domestic policy — the raids on Hong Kong and imprisoning protestors, slavery-level factory conditions, selling political prisoners for their organs — and we’ve got the gall to lecture them on how they run their own country. Meanwhile, even our headlines are full of our own sins. Touché, China. Touché.
Having said that, their report (full English text here) is kinda weak. I mean, heck — I’ve written about worse than this. And it’s not uniformly correct or even logically consistent. So, sure they’re right here and there, and it’s poetic justice and all, nicely ironic — but they could have lambasted us so much worse.
This is the trouble with all the crap marked Made In China, I tell ya… (Kidding! I’m kidding! …but I also don’t buy iPhones, for what that’s worth.)
So, point by point, here’s my response to the Chinese:
- “In total 39,052 people died from gun related violence in the United States in 2019. A person is killed with a gun in the United States every 15 minutes.”
That poor man! What — they keep reviving him or something?
OK, seriously: Most of these are suicides. Include “Death By Cop” and a few bystander deaths and the overwhelming majority by a huge factor are suicides. China’s got its own suicide problem; we don’t need a lecture from them on that. Our homicide rate isn’t markedly higher than that elsewhere, and neither is suicide.
- “Elections have become money games for the rich.”
Sure, yes, Bloomberg. On the other hand, look what happened to Bloomberg. ‘Nuff said.
- “The United States has the most serious polarization between the rich and poor among developed countries.”
I’m not sure where China comes up with that. They’re home to some of the very richest in the world and some of the very poorest. Yes, according to one statistical index it’s true, but we also have a bunch of people in the middle — unlike China. So — true, sure, but from the Chinese this is weak tea.
- “There were 39.7 million people living in poverty in the United States…”
Yes. Very true. And the overwhelming majority of them are better off than the overwhelming majority of Chinese. Our standard of living is that much higher.
- “…half a million Americans lacked permanent shelter…”
Correct. Actually, about seven times this number will experience homelessness for some period over any given year. Then again, some of them are staying in a long-term hotel while relocating due to jobs or divorce or some other major life change.
This is one area where the Chinese do better than the US. We have a massive transient problem, one which includes a couple million runaway kids. Because of restrictive Chinese travel laws, running away isn’t really an option over there. (Not sure that’s an improvement, but it must be acknowledged.) Likewise, we dump our mentally ill out on the streets wholesale; China… well, I’m not sure what China does these days. During the Cultural Revolution there were some summary executions, but things are much calmer now.
But this is an easily solved problem, and one we fail to address with depressing regularity. It’s shameful.
- “Racial hate crimes in the United States have shocked the world. White supremacy…”
This is what happens when you rely on the headlines without reading the stories or looking at statistics. We’re down to about 400 KKK members right now. That’s one in a million. I’m sure there’s similar ratios in other cultures.
The Civil Rights Act was 1964; our old racists are dying off. Give us another four decades and most of this will take care of itself.
- “African American adults are 5.9 times more likely to be incarcerated than white adults.”
True. And Uighur Chinese are 95% more likely to be in concentration camps than Cantonese. Pot calling the kettle sooty here.
Not that we’re all that clean, mind; the statistic is correct. It’s more accurate if we look at urban poor rather than divide it by race; the causal relationship becomes far more clear. There’s no path to prosperity from the inner cities, and there ought to be. On the other hand, it’s the kids themselves that upset the schools, and there’s reasons for that — heck, there’s reasons for everything. If it were a simple problem we’d have solved it by now.
But it is and remains the shameful truth about life here in America.
- “The racial gap in employment and wealth is striking…”
- “Religious intolerance continues to deteriorate. Pew Research Center surveys…”
They’re taking the results of surveys of public perception. The reality is far different; crimes based on religious intolerance are actually on the decline. The surveys indicate bias instilled by media coverage rather than actual truth.
And… since when does China, which routinely imprisons preachers and priests, get to lecture anyone about religious intolerance? Hard pass on this one, folks.
- “The United States has the most dangerous situation for women among high-income countries.”
Yes and no. On the one hand, women are more frequently killed in the United States than China as victims of violent crime. On the other, they’re less likely to be sex-trafficked, forced to remain in abusive marriages, and have their deaths covered up by the government.
In a free society, violent crime is going to be more common than in a regimented one, and it’s more likely to go unpunished. That’s a fundamental truth, axiomatic. Is it a reason to live in a more restricted country? …well, I suppose that’s up to people to decide for themselves. If, that is, they happen to live in the United States and not China.
On the other hand, there is a lot of truth here, particularly relative to Europe (if not China); the incidence is especially high in poverty enclaves. How to address it… Again, if this were simple, it would have been solved by now. It’s not simple. But reducing endemic poverty should help address the difference.
- “Child poverty is a shocking problem…”
Yes it is. No excuses. This is one area where China — at least today — beats us hands-down. Forty years ago, not so much — mass infanticide — but today. I recommend UBI.
- “Poverty among the elderly…”
Less of a problem. We’ve got Social Security, and it works… more or less.
- “The US government’s treatment of immigrants has become increasingly harsh and inhumane…”
Again, this is from the headlines, not the facts. There was a statistical spike of problems on the Mexican border in 2017; the agencies are better funded now, and there’s more oversight and fewer harsh policies. We’re now more or less back to Obama-era rates and holding steady.
The big difference here is that folks aren’t flocking to get into China illegally, and those few that do tend to vanish completely, never to be seen again. China doesn’t get to lecture us on this point.
- “The United States is the most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
Well, Genghis Khan was pretty impressive — and where was it he came from again? Likewise, there’s Rome, France under Napoleon, Germany under Hitler, the Chinese annexation of the South China sea…
No, here I have to disagree. We have a massive military, but it’s mostly employed right now in an effort to force peace on warring nations. We haven’t invaded anyone since the last administration, in fact, and not so much even then. It’s been almost twenty years since we started a war.
- “Citizens’ personal dignity and privacy are systematically violated…”
Yes, yes they are. And we voted for it, God help us. I’m not going to suggest that China’s any better than we are, mind — heck, a lot of the for-profit commercial hacking these days is performed by the Chinese government against American citizens.
But it’s still true that we do the same things to ourselves.
- “Prison management disorders resulted in frequent abuse scandals…”
This can happen when there’s Federal oversight and a free press. The scandals are good news. It’s the abuse that’s bad. Ever spend a night in a Chinese jail?
- “America’s self-touted “freedom of the press” is in name only.”
This from China?!
Seriously. Look at me. I can say whatever the hell I want. In China, if you criticize Xi’s handling of Coronavirus, you get hauled off to ‘reeducation’.
- “Demonstrators were arrested for protesting against government policies.”
Hong Kong. The Uighurs. Tibet. Shut the f#$% up, China.
- “The health gap between the United States and countries with the same level of development continues to widen…”
True. Undeniable. For-profit medicine was a terrible idea, and we need to stop it ASAP.
- “Drug abuse is getting worse.”
Yes, yes it is. This is one of the problems we have in a free society. It’s even frequently a problem in a non-free society, as witness opium abuse under the Jiaqing Emperor.
Generally speaking, it’s actually three separate problems in the US — and only one of them can be addressed by increasing enforcement, that of painkiller addiction through irresponsible prescription. Endemic poverty and despair are best addressed in other ways.
- “Shrinking government financial aid leads to a surge in financial pressure on college students.”
Indeed — though, in truth, government contributions have only been increasing. We have more and more people in college, and it costs more per person rather than less as one might expect. Again, this is a complex problem, but the assertion true.
On the other hand, China has only six million students in higher education at any given point in time — a miniscule percentage of their population by comparison. Again, I deny their moral authority to lecture us on this point.
- “Racism is pervasive in the workplace and in everyday life…”
Uighurs. Tibetans. Mongals. Dai. Kazakhs. Yes, we have problems here, but we don’t mass-exterminate; we don’t do the concentration camp thing (not since WWII, anyway), and so on. I’ve already addressed racism in the USA; it’s something that free speech permits, and it’s a societal problem that can only repair itself over time.
- “The rights of indigenous people have been violated.”
Certainly. And, as above, I deny the Chinese any moral authority to lecture us on the subject. Come to that, there’s very few modern nations without a history of foreign conquest over indigenes; I’m trying, but I can’t think of a single country that hasn’t ruthlessly exterminated and oppressed its own people. Greenland, perhaps… except, no, that’s ruled by Denmark.
Again, this is a national shame. It must be addressed. Much of it, there’s absolutely no way to improve things by any noticeable fraction — but we must do what we can.
- “The United States Wantonly Trampled on Human Rights in Other Countries”
The final section is a condemnation of the consequences of American militarism. It’s difficult to dispute. And the bottom line is a simple one: Anyone who engages in war tramples the rights of others. That’s axiomatic.
On the other hand, China’s record isn’t much better; they too play their proxy games with war and armaments and supply. And, during a time where they’re engaging in adventurism in the South China Sea, pursuing conquest and resources militarily, it’s difficult to see how they have any authority to lecture us.
That’s actually a pretty good summation of the whole mess, to be honest: China lacks the moral authority to lecture us on most of these issues. On the other hand, a few of these are also ones where we lack any grounds to lecture China. We’re not saints; we’re not the international white knights we often pretend to be.
Chinese government press published this; it’s propaganda. The purpose of propaganda is to influence thought with lies, not to promote open and honest dialogue. In this instance, it likely signals an intention to institute a complete and permanent central takeover of Hong Kong in the very near future, using control of the Coronavirus as its cover. Right now, I’d like to unequivocally register my objection to such an action — not that this will matter, except perhaps to get my site banned in China.
And again, it’s propaganda — lies disguised as truth. As such, even me treating it seriously is, in a sense, playing their game and spreading their message. But I’ve long found that it’s only the truth that can defeat lies.
Anyway — maybe I’m wrong. Given that there are twenty-four points that I dealt with and a dozen I skipped, it’s actually pretty likely I’m wrong somewhere. But at least I offer a counterpoint to each of these, plus honesty where I believe China’s propaganda is correct. I do the best I can, folks.
Which is why I call this place “The Not Fake News” — that’s the ideal.
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