Von Rompuy Human Rights Inspector in China

Von Rompuy Human Rights Inspector in China

Strangely, this post is mostly about European Human Rights & China. China’s human rights record is slightly better than the USA’s – though neither is a paragon of virtue– and that China has drawn ahead of the US since the death of Mao. Most of the accusations against China are either total fabrications like the so-called Tiananmen “massacre” or gross distortions. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and a committed, right wing Capitalist. Here’s his take on this week’s “Human Rights Reports” from the US Government (Here’s China’s):

The US government is the second worst human rights abuser on the planet and the sole enabler of the worst–Israel. But this doesn’t hamper Washington from pointing the finger elsewhere.

The US State Department’s “human rights report” focuses its ire on Iran and Syria, two countries whose real sin is their independence from Washington, and on the bogyman- in-the-making–China, the country selected for the role of Washington’s new Cold War enemy.

Hillary Clinton, another in a long line of unqualified Secretaries of State, informed “governments around the world: we are watching, and we are holding you accountable,” only we are not holding ourselves accountable or Washington’s allies like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the NATO puppets.

Hillary also made it “clear to citizens and activists everywhere: You are not alone. We are standing with you,” only not with protesters at the Chicago NATO summit or with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or anywhere else in the US where there are protests. (ref)

The State Department stands with the protesters funded by the US in the countries whose governments the US wishes to overthrow. Protesters in the US stand alone as do the occupied Palestinians who apparently have no human rights to their homes, lands, olive groves, or lives. Read more…


Glenn Greenwald writes: Drone filmmaker denied visa. Muhammad Danish Qasim is a Pakistani student at Iqra University’s Media Science and is also a filmmaker. This year, Qasim released a short film entitled The Other Side, a 20-minute narrative that “revolves around the idea of assessing social, psychological and economical effects of drones on the people in tribal areas of Pakistan.” A two-minute video trailer of the film is embedded below. The Express Tribune provided this summary of the film, including an interview with Qasim:

The Other Side revolves around a school-going child in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan. The child’s neighborhood gets bombed after the people of the region are suspected for some notorious activities. He ends up losing all of his loved ones during the bombing and later becomes part of an established terrorists group who exploit his loss and innocence for their own interests.
On the reasons for picking such a sensitive topic, the film-maker said, “Most of the films being made right now are based on social issues, so we picked up an issue of international importance which is the abrogation of our national space by foreign countries.”
When asked how this film on terrorism will be different from all the others that have been released since 9/11, he said, “The film takes the audience very close to the damage caused by drone attacks. I have tried my best to connect all the dots that lead to a drone attack and have shot the prevailing aftermath of such attacks in a very realistic and raw manner.”

In particular, “the film identifies the problems faced by families who have become victims of drone missiles, and it unearths the line of action which terrorist groups adopt to use victimised families for their vested interests.” In other words, it depicts the tragedy of civilian deaths, and documents how those deaths are then successfully exploited by actual Terrorists for recruitment purposes. [Continue reading…]

The next time you see or hear an accusation about “human rights” in China, ask yourself this:  In China’s 3,000 year history, when has its people’s human rights been better?

You’ve probably guessed the answer: never.  China’s human rights have reached their highest level in 3,000 years and are steadily improving.  New laws are being debated and passed.  Police are being trained, judges schooled, prosecutors curbed, officials warned and jailed.

Specifically, China’s minorities (usually the worst-treated group in any country) are enjoying unprecedented freedom, prosperity, and privileges that Han Chinese can only dream about, like unlimited family size and access to higher education.  Unlike Australia’s Aborigines, America’s Native Americans, Europe’s Romany, Japan’s Ainu, India’s Naxalites…the list goes on.  Meanwhile, Americans’ human rights have been heading in the opposite direction.  In the past ten years the United States has made it “legal” for its government to

  1. Spy on its own people secretly.
  2. If you see the government spying you may not warn the subject.
  3. Arrest its own people secretly.  If you see the arrest you may not tell anyone.
  4. Imprison its own people indefinitely, without trial (Bradley Manning)
  5. Torture its own people (and anyyone else) secretly
  6. Kill its own people secretly, without trial (Anwar al-Awlaki)
  7. Attack any country, regardless of threat, and kill uncounted civilians. Iraq, Pakistan.)

In contrast, here’s a report on China’s human rights you may have missed, from the EU Observer:

EU officials more Nuanced on Human Rights After Trips to China. ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS – Recent trips to China by Catherine Ashton and Herman Van Rompuy have helped them to see human rights from a Chinese point of view, China’s EU ambassador has said.  The ambassador, Song Zhe, told journalists in Brussels on Friday (8 July) that some EU diplomats tend to “lecture” China on values.

“It has been 400 years since world power shifted from east to west and during this time people in Europe have developed a habit of viewing things from above and lecturing others,” he said.  He blamed the problem on lack of knowledge, saying Chinese society has come along in leaps and bounds in terms of people’s rights to economic development and rights to education even if it falls short in other areas.

Asked if EU foreign relations chief Ashton and EU Council President Van Rompuy take a hard line on values, Song answered that extensive visits by the top officials, in 2010 and in May this year, have seen them take a more nuanced approach.  “Ashton and other political figures from the EU, even ordinary people who have been to China and have seen the situation on the ground, the progress we’ve made, hold a more positive view of what China has achieved,” he said.  The ambassador zoomed in on two anecdotes.

“Ashton visited a small village, a very normal elementary school. Despite poverty in the region, the school was well equipped – this illustrates that despite economic difficulties the local authorities attach great importance to education, that the Chinese government is working to ensure that everybody gains access to education.”

When Van Rompuy visited a former disaster zone in the Sichuan province “what surprised him was the nice line-up of buildings in the area, with no sign of the [2008] earthquake.”
For its part, Human Rights Watch reports that China is currently undergoing the worst wave of repression in its modern history, with systematic censorship of free media, brutal crackdowns on ethnic minorities and hundreds of dissidents disappearing into so-called “black jails.” [Human Rights Watch ignores the USA’s much more serious offences.–Ed.]

Song noted that China is “far from perfect. There is huge room for improvement and a long way to go.” He repeated the often-heard line that his country should not be measured by Western standards because it is going through unique economic and social changes which are “unprecedented in world history” in terms of their speed. “We don’t speak of a Chinese model because we are still in an experimental phase. We’re still learning. Our model is constantly taking in new ingredients from the EU and US models.”

In an insight into how Beijing sees international relations, Song defended China’s opposition to an EU-sponsored draft UN Security Council resolution condemning mass killings in Syria. “The principle we uphold is to respect the will of the country to choose its own path of development,” he said.

CIA medical staff gave specifications on how to torture post-9/11 detainees

CIA medical personnel acknowledged that placing detainees in small boxes barely large enough to fit their bodies inside was not “particularly effective”, but they still provided guidance permitting interrogators to continue using the so-called “confinement boxes” for hours on end. Sensitive agency documents, declassified on Tuesday, provide a new level of detail on the intimate involvement of its medical staff during its post-9/11 torture program. Officials assigned to the Office of Medical Staff (OMS) provided precise specifications for enforcing sleep deprivation, limiting the caloric intake of detainees’ food, and the proper positions for waterboarding, as outlined in a 2004 document providing “guidelines on medical and psychological support” for torture. More…

China’s Human Rights? Who can judge?

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