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Human rights record of the United States in 2012 (Chinese viewpoint) (chinadaily.com.cn)
68 points by mmavnn 1422 days ago | hide | past | web | 84 comments | favorite

"Americans are the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. According to a CNN report on July 23, 2012, there were an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians in the U.S. and more than 100,000 people were shot by guns each year. In 2010, there were more than 30,000 deaths caused by firearms."

There are roughly 11,000 gun based murders each year in the US. The US doesn't first have a gun violence problem, it has a black poverty problem mixed with horrible drug laws that drive it all.

The rate of gun homicide for blacks is 15/100k. For Asians it's 1/100k, for whites it's 2/100k. It's almost a 700% greater likelihood that you're going to be murdered by gun if you're black than white. If you fix the black poverty problem, and fix the drug laws, the rate of gun homicides would plunge off a cliff.

And besides, Switzerland is as heavily armed per capita as the US is, and they do not have a rampant gun homicide problem. The reason the US does, is explained by poverty and drug laws.

Also worth noting: the US homicide rate is roughly the lowest it has been in 50 to 60 years. If it continues to fall as it has been, it'll be back to levels not seen since the 19th century. Not to beat a dead horse, but fix the drug laws and America would be exceptionally low on the homicide per capita scale.


I'm not disagreeing, but there's one thing I don't understand. China has more poor people, and their poor are poorer, and their drug laws are as bad as the US's, if not worse. If the problem is just poverty and drug laws, shouldn't we see more violence in China?

It's poverty + drug laws + guns, that is the killer cocktail. You can't hardly come up with a worse combination.

China has violence, but they don't have much gun violence because 1) guns are often beyond the financial capabilities of their poor, and 2) there aren't very many guns per capita.

In the US it isn't difficult to come up with $150 if you're poor and want a black market gun. The US poverty line for a household of 1 starts at $11,500 (it goes without saying how much higher that is than most incomes in China, so the availability of cash to buy a gun for even someone that's poor is radically higher in the US).

A good example of this in action is Brazil. Their gun homicide rate is twice that of the US. They have some intense poverty and guns, and thus have a very high gun homicide rate (eg compared to China, that just has poverty but limited guns).

Also it's fair to say, to top it off, that the US has a far more violent culture in general than China, that amplifies the problem. I'm not speaking of state sponsored violence mind you.


The US has a problem with black market guns, no doubt about it. The US Government is doing almost nothing about that in their attempts to further regulate legal gun ownership.

Your stats aren't quite accurate. Homicides by gun in the US is at least a 50% to 60% black poverty + drug law problem. And that doesn't count the substantial spillover effect of the violence that drug prohibition creates (along with the poverty it all creates by lifestyle impact, arrests that lead many to a life of crime, etc etc etc). There are a million black men in prison in the US that are often 'stuck' in a crime way of life after they get out (their lives are made far more difficult and a life of crime becomes 'easier' to follow), as their lives have been destroyed by the drug prohibition laws.

"In 2009, for example, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 54% of all murders committed, overwhelmingly with guns, are murders of black people"

And that's mostly black on black crime. I don't mind providing further data if you like.


"Data for 2008 indicate that, of 16,277 murders, 10,568 were committed by males, 1,176 were by female, and 4,533 were committed in which the offenders sex was unknown. Likewise, 5,943 (36.5%) were committed by black/black Hispanic offenders, 5,334 (32.8%) murders were committed by white/white Hispanic offenders, 273 (1.7%) were committed by offenders of other races, and 4,727 (29%) murders were committed by offenders whose race is not known"


It's interesting to see the availability of firearms to citizens presented as a violation of human rights.

>Firearms-related crimes posed serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens in the U.S. Some shootings left astonishing casualties, such as the school shooting in Oakland, the Century 16 theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

Also, please be aware that this is a translation, which explains for the awkward and sometimes grammatically incorrect wording of this article.

> It's interesting to see the availability of firearms to citizens presented as a violation of human rights.

The U.S. is an outlier among liberal democracies in its constitutional insistence that access to firearms is a human right. It's also, significantly, an outlier in its rate of firearm-related deaths, with a rate of over 10 per 100,000, similar to Panama and the Philippines and three times higher than the next highest liberal democracy.

Canada, which has roughly the same culture and economy as the United States and shares the same continent, has a firearm death rate only one-fifth of the United States. Australia, which also has a similar culture, has a firearm death rate one-tenth of the United States. The United Kingdom's firearm death rate is one-fortieth that of the United States.

I get that many Americans believe their 2nd Amendment is what restrains the government from tyranny, but the evidence across all the stable liberal democracies manifestly discredits this hypothesis. What keeps a government from tyranny is not the threat of armed revolt but ongoing broad civic engagement in a dense, complex and mutually reinforcing fabric of democratic institutions, traditions, practices and civic values exercised in open, transparent and accountable ways at every level of resolution from the federal government to municipal affairs.

I would go so far as to argue that America's cultural hostility to the idea of government - the deep-seated belief that governments can never be trusted and will only behave (barely) under the constant threat of armed rebellion - is actually a major obstacle keeping the U.S. from becoming more functional and more accountable to its citizens.

It's a failed 18th century idea that is holding America back from joining the rest of the industrialized world's norms of civility, and it helps to explain why the U.S. is an outlier in so many varied measures of life, health and wellbeing.

It's also, significantly, an outlier in its rate of firearm-related deaths,

The US is also an outlier in it's rate of bludgeoning and stabbing, at 1.7/100,000. By contrast, the murder rate (all weapons) in western europe is 1.0/100,000, southern europe is 1.4/100,000, and northern europe is 1.5/100,000.

I suppose bill of rights causes stabbings and beatings also?



The US rate of violent crime is half that of Canada, and 75% lower than Britain. It's lower than France, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, and so on.


Worth noting a couple of points made in an article in Telegraph (which is of a similar political view to the Mail) that covers the same ground:

"Researchers admit that comparisons of crime data between countries must be viewed with caution because of differing criminal justice systems and how crimes are reported and measured."

"A Home Office spokesperson said: “These figures are misleading. Levels of police recorded crime statistics from different countries are simply not comparable since they are affected by many factors, for example the recording of violent crime in other countries may not include behaviour that we would categorise as violent crime. "


NB I'm not denying that the UK probably has more violent crime than the US (although I suspect that, just as with gun crime in the US, this is highly concentrated in particular areas and times).

I agree, there's little question it changes quite a bit based on definition of violent crime. However, it's a sizable margin of difference. For example it notes that Canada is roughly twice the US on violent crime, if you doubled the US number to match the variance in definition (if that's the case), it'd still be a distinctly interesting data point.

To extend that: according to my understanding of a discussion I had with my cousin (a police officer in Australia), threats of a violent crime are recorded as a violent crime, as far as statistics are concerned there.

That is to say, "I have a knife... give me the money" is the same as stabbing someone, even if there was no knife.

In the US if you walk into a convenience store, say that you have a knife or gun, and take the money, that's recorded as a violent crime.

Thanks for the information. I guess I didn't really come out and say "I don't know how it works in other countries", but I imagine that it's the little things like that, maybe differences across all countries, that make this kind of thing really hard to easily quantify.

Actually your data further validate the other user's point, since in the ratios you mention are much less significant in terms of deviation that the ones related to firearms deaths.

I wouldn't call the US an "outlier" for the data you mention.

The US never had communism, nazism, tyrants governing the country. Try to pull off concentration camps against your own people like Hitler or Stalin did when they are heavily armed.

There is no way people wouldn't defend their families from going to concentration camps if they were armed. History shows that this holds true. The Government is afraid of armed people as it should be. That is a good thing. Not bad.

This is a foolish post - sorry to be so blunt.

Civilians standing alone do not stand a chance against the combined arms of a standing army. Does not matter if they all have guns or not. What counts is explosives, range, airpower - oh and the idea that one side has their families to worry about.

There was armed resistance to the rounding up - look at the warsaw ghetto. [1] This was armed civilians fighting an invading army, which took a huge German effort to subdue. But they did subdue it - in a way horrifically reminiscent of the US in Fallujah. (No I am not comparing US Army in Iraq to Nazis. But watch the footage on both events and then try to not worry)

If you think that the right to bear arms is there to stop tyranny, you should expand it to the right to bear Semtex, armoured vehicles and aircraft. That is why Afghanistan and Iraq were / are such a mess - the other side is fighting back with real weapons, not pop guns. Armies are frightened of other armies. Not armed civilians.

Oh, and the rise of UAVs is going to make the next insurgency a very different prospect.

Add in to this mix the basic human desire to think it is all going to go away, and no-one is that crazy. There is a story of a village running from the massacres in Rwanda, and they reach a river, and only one teenager crosses, the rest think they will be safe. The teenager is the only one left to tell the story.

Look at it this way - Hitler started small, targetting the criminals and the undesirables. Have you taken up arms to overthrown the White House now that Cuba is used for torture? What is your trigger point ? How do you find out that there are death camps? Warsaw happened because they rounded up Jews into one place before shipping them out. The Nazis learnt from that. Evil has analysts too.

What is the difference? It is not the grunts in the army. It is the need to have enlightened people in government. If we cant have that we will make do with sane politicans. The insane ones are harder to spot. You know Nixon used to end dinner chat at the white house with the line, "I could walk out of here and 45 minutes later, 500 million people would be dead?"

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto

Did Hitler or Stalin used "explosives, range and airpower" to move people to concentration camps? How you imagine this? Let's say there are 200 houses in a neighborhood. You know that in house #47 and in house #186 there are families that are Jewish/suspected anti-communists, etc. You need to get them out to the concentration camp. You do it by bombing the whole neighborhood? Let's say in Berlin or Moscow? Please explain how having weapons would NOT help families in these houses. Because what I'm telling you and what history tells us is that Secret Police (NKVD/Gestapo) will be sent there with guns to get these people at the gun point to their destination.

And number two: let's say you are a President of the USA. Let's say you do something really evil against the will of the people. Like - theoretically - sending all Mexicans to the camps. You say Mexicans are armed or not - no difference. Interesting.

This seems to be heading off HN ground but I will try and answer you. I guess that yes, in a certain respect, you are right.

However these genocides seem to take two (possibly three) forms

1. Hitler / Stalin Like a virus they replace the societal leadership function and use the "normal" mechanisms of law and order for their own ends. People are "arrested" and "tried" just like every day - but it is a farce.

Now at what point do you shoot a police officer? When is it socially acceptable to kill a cop? There just does not seem to be a point. So for years this can go on. Rounding up "criminals". I could put psychologists on stage to say "treatment of the whole family" is the solution for criminal activity - we are taking these families to family-re-start camps. You can make up anything for a while. Its only when the media provide proof that this is going on, that people are dying that maybe killing the next cop to arrest someone will be seen as righteous. But you could easily argue that 60 Minutes cannot be aired because it will incite people to shoot cops.

After the cop has arrested you, that's it, you have no guns, game over.

2. Serbia

This is very muddled but basically can be seen as just arrest / herd everyone out of a defined geographic area - for example it would be everyone in the street apart from #47 and #186. Round them all up with an army / militia and send everyone to a processing camp. Thus the removal of guns happens to a whole neighbourhood, and can be done with artillery and tanks. Cant arrest everyone cos they are all armed? Really it seems not to work like that. The mass graves in Serbia / Croatia are filled with military age people.

3. Rwanda. Half of your village attacks your family with knives. Imagine say the white folks in NYC deciding to kill the black folks using pitchforks [1]. This is hardly a controlled genocide so is less crime against humanity than WTF.

I was focusing on the first one - there seems to be no point where shooting a cop (even one in a black shirt) is something acceptable, even for people who would otherwise shoot back.

There is something built into us that perceives immediate danger as a threat, but if danger is kept far enough apart from the "now" we rationalise it away - even if it is bleedin' obvious. Its why i supported Blair/Bush invading Iraq - I mean the guy had a track record, of course he had WMD.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_draft_riots

Thank you for your reply. After all the downvotes I certainly appreciate it.

Ad.1. Hitler and Stalin wouldn't necessarily be interested in getting power in a society armed through their teeth and Constitution stating that the people have the power to act forcefully against tyrants using guns. Probably, Hitler would become a painter and Stalin would become a pop, or priest. Exactly, like a virus. It feeds and spreads on the weak body. Not on the one that's armed.

Not a Police Officer. A highly feared Gestapo/NKVD. This is not police. Both Gestapo and NKVD were extremely feared and hated. No problem shooting their "officers". There is a joke in Poland from Communistic Times: an anti-communistic movement member goes to the Church because he want to confess. During the confession the priest asks him what sins he committed. And the guy says: Dear Priest, I killed a KGB agent. And the Priest replies: Son you came here to confess or to pride yourself. These guys were truly hated in their societies. General public in USSR would love to hear that someone is finally shooting bastards killing them in millions in 1930s. Are you kidding me?

However, you make very interesting point with our tendency to rationalize away even if it is "bleeding" obvious. That's extremely good point. And my answer to this is: in 300 million people in the US, you will find at least thousands (I think millions) who will see very well what is going on. As they existed in Nazi Germany too. Even when more than 90% Germans chose to follow their leader. What I'm saying is that this is precisely why you make a republican (not possible to take away by popular vote) law allowing everyone to have a gun. So maybe at least one among those thousands or millions will be able to shoot our hipotetical tyrant before it's too late.

Ad.2. Serbia - come on, were they armed? Were they? Were the people armed there? If I know they are taking me to the death camp, I'd prefer die fighting with dignity than to be slaughtered in a death factory.

Ad.3. Yeah, you can't stop people from killing each other. We're talking about the state going crazy because the "Dear Leader" went insane. So not really applicable.

While the US didn't treat people in concentration camps as poorly as Stalin or Hitler did, there were 110,000 Japanese Americans put in concentration camps in 1942. Were they just not heavily armed enough?


Tell that to the unfortunate Americans of Japanese descent who where thrown into "internment" camps after Pearl Harbour. I doubt any guns would've helped them change government's mind.

The point is that any given Japanese individual would have been perfectly justified in defending their self with a gun, versus being put into internment.

Jews having guns in Germany would not have stopped Hitler due to their relatively small numbers, but it would have been completely proper for them all to defend themselves instead of having their families sent to slaughter.

If a dozen people are coming to attack my home, I'll probably lose that fight, but it doesn't mean I won't attempt to defend myself with a gun if I can rather than just capitulate to their brutality.

Of course there's also a drastic difference between Hitler and Stalin's gulags vs the Japanese internment camps. While a complete violation of their rights, there was never any consideration toward committing genocide against the Japanese in the camps.

I'm not sure if you are being facetious. However, on the assumption that you are serious, there is no reason to think that more arms would have helped the minorities in Germany persecuted by the masses. The groups targeted by the Nazis were small (by comparison) and would never have had any chance of successfully defending themselves against the aggressions of the state and its citizens, no matter how well armed.

There were a lot of weapons in private hands in Weimar Germany, and that was not the least of the factors that made it chaotic. And once Hitler was in power, it really didn't matter who had a rifle or a pistol stashed in the house--with the police and military willing to take extreme measures, private firepower had no real chance.

I suppose you can consider that the high number of deaths due to firearms in the US goes against the right to "life[1], liberty and security of person".

From a European point of view, the US right to carry/own a weapon is so used and out of control that it affects this basic right to life.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_life

If you deprive someone of their life with your weapon, that's a crime called murder. There is no right in the US to actually shoot anyone; you do realize that?

It is not about if you have the right to shoot, it is about if you have the right not to get shot

"It's interesting to see the availability of firearms to citizens presented as a violation of human rights."

It's a view a good majority of citizen in modern Democracies, excluding the US, would agree wholeheartedly with.

Although I would define it more as "government wilfully endangering the lives of its citizens" rather than "violation of human rights".

Imagine trying to keep 1.2 billion people under a what amounts to a fascist/statist control if they were are as heavily armed as USasians

Nothing easier than that. Guns were very widely available in Germany after World War 1. http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcnazimyth.html

Please realize that gun ownership as a constitutional right is an almost exclusively American idea and considered absolutely ludicrous by almost everyone else.

Speaking for seven billion people are you?

The first thing fascist or communist countries do is strictly control who has access to guns. Supporters of the regime, in the case of Nazi Germany, were allowed to keep their guns, but other people were stripped of their weapons.

Liberal democracies also strictly control who has access to guns, and they go right on being liberal democracies, albeit with much lower rates of death by firearms. What's your point?

The point is you're wrong in the conclusion you're drawing.

Switzerland is a liberal democracy, and every person has a gun basically. Meanwhile they have effectively zero gun crime.

Britain has strict gun laws, and that has not dented their violent crime rate.

Mexico has strict gun laws, and their gun homicide rate is higher than in the US. Why? The drug trade + poverty.

America has a poverty + drug law problem. That's easy to prove by looking at the gun homicide rate from the 19th century, before alcohol prohibition invented organized crime, and before the modern drug wave + prohibition drug laws. Americans were heavily armed in the 19th century, without the rampant homicides by gun we see today in poor urban areas.

Some important points about Switzerland:

* Switzerland constitutes an organized state militia in which the government obligates its citizens to undergo military weapons training with annual reserve training until age 30.

* Citizens in the militia are required to possess and maintain weapons, but the use and storage of those weapons - and particularly their ammunition - is very tightly regulated (e.g. ammunition sold at a shooting range must be used there).

* Citizens who decide to keep their weapons after their reserve obligations are complete must have a licence.

* Citizens who want to purchase a gun must get a permit to do so. To get a permit, you must have a clean criminal record and pass a psychological screening. (Single shot rifles do not require a permit.)

* The sale of automatic and selective-fire weapons is forbidden. (It is possible to buy one with a special permit from the police.)

In short, Swiss gun laws are based on the idea that citizens may be called on to defend the country from attack; whereas American gun laws are based on the idea that citizens may have to defend themselves from their own government.

The rules that govern responsible gun ownership and use in Switzerland would never be accepted in the United States by 2nd Amendment maximalists or the politicians they have intimidated.

One more thing: despite the stricture of Swiss gun laws, Switzerland still has a firearms-related death rate - 3.84 per 100,000 - that is on the high end of liberal democracies; one-third the American rate and almost double the Canadian rate.

Your stats on Switzerland are very misleading.

You're listing gun deaths, but that is not gun deaths by crime / homicide. That counts suicides and accidents.

Why don't we start counting in this discussion, how many people drown or die by poor choices while driving cars, while we're at it? Why do I care how someone chooses to commit suicide either?

The rate for Switzerland for gun crime / deaths is extraordinarily low.

"Government statistics for the year 2010 records 40 homicides involving firearms, out of the 53 cases of homicide in 2010. The annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population was 0.70, which is one of the lowest in the world. The annual rate of homicide by guns per 100,000 population was 0.52"





Also, the origination of the 2nd amendment was for self defense against foreign invasion as well (and in fact it was for self defense period). It was not just directed at our own government. The assumption has never been that the US would be solely protected from foreign invasion by the military, that's a notion that began from the 1930s forward with the quantum leap in military hardware.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it stipulate that the 2nd amendment is for defending against the US Government.

The writings of the founding fathers back me up on that point. During the Civil War, soldiers from the north and south often brought their own weapons (to defend against a foreign aggressor), and that would apply just as well against the British in 1812.

It's not misleading to point out that a country with more guns has more gun-related deaths. Indeed, it would be misleading not to point this out. A death is a death, and a preventable death is a preventable death.

Consider this: in the 1970s, Britain switched from coal-gas furnaces to natural gas, which has a much lower level of carbon monoxide. During the period when the country made the switch, the suicide rate dropped by a third and has remained lower ever since.

When people no longer had convenient access to carbon monoxide poisoning, a significant fraction of people who would otherwise have committed suicide did not do so. The conclusion is that a person's likelihood of going through with committing suicide is at least partially a function of how easy it is to do it.

In the United States, over half of all suicides are via firearms. Looked at differently, two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides. (Less than a thousand Americans die annually due to accidental gunshots, but they are responsible for over 20,000 injuries a year.)

Not surprisingly, if you look at the distribution of deaths due to injury by firearm, the death rates are highest in states that have the highest rates of gun ownership. The relationship is straightforward: states with more guns per capita have more gun injuries and deaths per capita.

The ten highest states by firearm death rate are: D.C. Alaska, Louisians, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas and Alabama. The ten lowest states are: Hawaii, Massachussetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine and Iowa. (You could overlay a red-state blue-state electoral map over the same data and it would match almost perfectly.)

Looked at still differently, several recent studies have found that states with the weakest gun regulations have the highest rates of gun deaths by homicide, suicide, accidental deaths, deaths of children and so on, even when you control for the rate of household firearm ownership. That is, gun death rates are higher in states with weaker gun laws, independent of the level of gun ownership (though of course they also correlate).

Bottom line: if the United States had more of a Swiss approach to gun ownership, with its rigorous controls, restrictions and training requirements, its guns would kill far fewer people each year. But the very people most determined to own firearms are also most determined not to allow the government to exert the kind of regulation and oversight that would mitigate the risk.

> Mexico has strict gun laws, and their gun homicide rate is higher than in the US. Why? The drug trade + poverty.

Also add the gun trade. Drugs go north from Mexico, guns flow back south from the US. If the US didn't have such a huge arms industry, the murder rate in Mexico/central america would invariably decrees since the only other large arms producer in the Americas is...Brazil.

tl;dr guns and drugs are heavily related in a wicked trade relationship.

> Speaking for seven billion people are you?

6.7 billion, give or take a few dozen million, yes.

> The first thing fascist or communist countries do is strictly control who has access to guns.


> Supporters of the regime, in the case of Nazi Germany, were allowed to keep their guns, but other people were stripped of their weapons.

I'd be the first to consider it a huge warning sign when people are stripped of anything selectively depending on race, religion or political affiliation. That's the important part, not that it was about guns.

And speaking for 6.7 billion people doesn't strike you as arrogant eh?

Saying something is non-sense, doesn't make it so, fortunately.

Both the Bolsheviks and the Stalin led Communists attempted to remove guns from the lower classes in Russia. Indeed, Stalin instituted extreme gun restrictions, and then proceeded to terrorize the people of course. About the only thing you could get away with in Stalinist Russia was a hunting rifle in rural areas. Even when the Communists first took over Russia, they quickly passed laws as part of the criminal code stipulating that unauthorized ownership of a gun would result in hard labor, so they moved to strictly control all ownership by dictate and fear.

Hitler's Nazi party initially attempted gun restrictions by performing house to house searches of their opponents to confiscate guns. The Weimar Government before him had already previously ordered the surrender of all firearms. All the Nazis had to do was selectively enforce the Weimar Government's already strict gun laws. But that wasn't enough, so in March 1938 the Nazis wrote their own strict gun control laws.

But let's just read from history on how it worked in practice...

"On November 9, 1938 and into the next morning, the Nazis unleashed a nationwide race riot. Mobs inspired by the government attacked Jews in their homes, looted Jewish businesses, and burned synagogues, with no interference from the police. The riot became known as "Kristallnacht" ("night of broken glass"). On November 11, Hitler issued a decree forbidding Jews to possess firearms, knives, or truncheons under any circumstances, and to surrender them immediately."

It's obviously not that the fascists needed to disarm everybody, just their opponents. That's a critical point.

One of the things the Nazis of Germany and the Communists of Russia have in common, is they immediately looked to control guns, so as to restrict opposition. It's common sense that that is exactly what a violent regime would do.

It's probably be as easy as keeping all the black people as slaves or second class citizens.

Well, I think some people see it as a recklessly irresponsible thing to do for citizens' safety.

Reading between the lines...

1] Military has too big a delta over civilians; how can I help reduce that delta sanely?

2] Too much of our communications remains plaintext; how do I roll out crypto today?

3] Our economy has non-productive members; how can I help those who want help?

4] People still don't like most other people; how can I detect/counter any biases I might have?

5] People still sexually abuse and torture other humans; how can I help victims, and help deter future violence?

6] Children don't have rights; how can I help children who want to accept adult responsibilities?

7] The US military costs a lot and seems to only make enemies. What can I do to make it act more like Switzerland's army, but without compulsory service? Or to at least be adequately compensated as World Police.

It's always interesting reading reports on the US through a Chinese media perspective. Stories go round relatively regularly using very carefully selected snippets of news to paint a particularly negative portrait that isn't factually wrong, but so narrowly focused that it misses the overall picture (deliberately)

On the parts really stabbing into US communications monitoring, I suspect the reasoning is so the Chinese government can say "Look, it's even worse in the west!" to cover the extent of their own filters and monitoring (which most Chinese people are only vaguely aware of. Most of them take what they're told by the Chinese government as simple fact, and even when they can see the facts from a less biased perspective still refuse to accept it)

It's always interesting reading reports on China through a US media perspective. Stories go round relatively regularly using very carefully selected snippets of news to paint a particularly negative portrait that isn't factually wrong, but so narrowly focused that it misses the overall picture (deliberately)

On the parts really stabbing into Chinese communications monitoring, I suspect the reasoning is so the US government can say "Look, it's even worse in China!" to cover the extent of their own filters and monitoring (which most American people are only vaguely aware of. Most of them take what they're told by the US government as simple fact, and even when they can see the facts from a less biased perspective still refuse to accept it)

Human rights are objectively better in the US than in China. Not perfect here either by any means, but the indicators are clearly, objectively better. Which is what every major human development index says worldwide, not just those peddled by our country. The UN HDI ranked the US as #3 and China as #101. It's not even a contest.

Does HDI measure human rights? It seems to based on combining life expectancy at birth, years of schooling and GNI per capita:


I'm not really disputing that. I just thought it was interesting that the GP's comments didn't seem any less 'truthy' if you switched the roles of the US and China. Think of it as a fun exercise in examining unconscious bias, if you like!

Stories go round relatively regularly using very carefully selected snippets of news to paint a particularly negative portrait that isn't factually wrong, but so narrowly focused that it misses the overall picture (deliberately)

Well.... everyone does that.... it's called marketing/progaganda/etc.

Oh, absolutely, but it's very strongly propaganda, across every state-owned media source (so, all of them) and in all educational material to the point it's accepted as the whole story surprisingly frequently (and not just about the US. Tibet gets the same level of spin but in reverse. Everything is sunshine and rainbows in the mountains, according the the Chinese media and education system)

It's a good thing we have that new perspective.

Here in Spain there is no independent press at all. You have the "left" press and the "right" press. Each one talks wonders about their preferred party and throws shit at the others. So you have look into the "left" press to know extensively about the shit from the right party, and vice versa. Similarly, the best perspective about what's wrong with the US is found on non US-friendly press, even if it sounds hypocritical to denounce human rights violations from China.

However, press in the US is likely to be much more independent and self-critical than in China (you WILL find self-critical press in the US but not in China, after all).

> Here in Spain


it's easier to be aware that journalism just works that way - ideologies are commercialized.

> spain/poland/russia/uk/germany/france/italy/everywhere...

Television news in the UK is legally required to be independent, fair, and balanced.

Yeah, that's what I suspect, but my first-hand knowledge comes only from Spain.

It's a very sad situation.

There can be no improvement without awareness. Criticism can be uncomfortable, but, if properly analysed and acted upon, it is healthy. Although I do not think that this criticism was intended to be constructive, we can easily treat it as such, and gain advantage from it. A fusillade of brickbats can, if caught deftly, be quickly built into strong foundations.

This isn't a real Chinese viewpoint, this is propaganda issued by state. I know many Chinese who are throughly disgusted by the official media.

Does that make it any less true?

Are you implying that each line of that piece is incorrect and only a propaganda? If yes, then you need to get out of American Propaganda first and if No, then your statement doesnt make any sense in this context.

True. Unfortunately there is a length limit on submission titles, and it was the best I managed within the constraints. I don't believe it makes it a less interesting read from a Western viewpoint, though.

Reads like The Onion.

This is strictly r/worldnews material.

Yeah, right. Anything about americans is always about the world. I never want to say thing, but this is so stereotypical US behavior.

China talking about the US is world news related, yes.

The two largest economies in world history spatting over human rights is absolutely world news. If that doesn't qualify, nothing does.


I'm relieved to see that an article about a git command (the second today, on the same command) is #1 on HN right now, while an article reporting on human rights violations in the world's most powerful country is ranked #38.

There's an unfortunate mix there of some interesting/troubling facts, and seemingly cherry-picked local news stories. It's decent yellow journalism though.

Chinese viewpoint === everybody else but the US viewpoint

So many comments basically saying Chinese media has no right to comment on human right issue as China does it so poorly. The whole point of this linked article is that the other side is thinking exactly the same. Talking about nationalism... there is just no objectivity on both sides. Both sides should just mind their own business - hell, like that gonna happen.

I don't see anybody saying they don't have a right to comment.

I see a lot of excellent points that it's a sad joke for China to comment on the US, while ignoring the brutality in their own backyard.

The Chinese government post one of these every year to "counter" the one that US-based human rights watch do every year. They definitely know that they are in no position to criticize. However there needs to be some context as to why they are publishing this.


True, but the best way to hear about what happens in country X is not always through X's MSM.

The same holds true for China and North Korea.

Tu quoque is a fallacy, though.

This is utter balderdash.

A nation that executes thousands of its citizens yearly, while also arranging sham trials and allowing affluent perpetrators to have body doubles serve lengthy prison sentences, should be the last to point fingers at any judiciary, elsewhere.

At least, Middle Eastern states follow Shariah, a religious code (however harsh or barbaric) that dictates the severity of the punishment.

These Chinese wastrels have no such consistency nor do they have the moral rectitude to hold every one, high-born or low-born, to the same rigor of enforcement.

Muslim theocracies often get a bad rap for their macabre laws and punishments.

The Chinese are the true compassion-less brutes. No country comes close to the way in which China "cleanses" its lower classes using a medieval "correctional" apparatus.

So take that state rag and shove it up Wen Jiabao's rear.








Not to mention the complete lack of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and almost completely non-existent property rights.

We're not talking marginal variances (in which case people reply by saying that the US isn't perfect on x y or z either), we're talking the wholesale lack of.

I can Google "gulf of tonkin" or look up the spraying of black communities with zinc cadmium sulfide by the military in St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s. I can read all about the bad things our government has done. In China they have to hide everything via censorship. The US is a basketcase right now, compared to the past, but it's approximately a million times more transparent than the Chinese system of government.

I am not in the slightest defending China's human rights record.

But hopefully you realise that none of the above refutes the article in the slightest. You have not addressed a single point in it.


On a scale of measurement of worthiness of a certain quality - any quality - if you fare so many orders in the negative that you barely register on the scale at all, it is generally held that you nary have a claim to call into question the measure of others.

You are not in that league.

You do not get to even raise your hand.

That's the privilege of similarly positioned peers who have earned the right to dispute or criticize owing to their own stellar record in that virtue.

Make sense?

Not to me. It seems the most directly adhominem argument possible. I think you should address the argument, not the arguer.

If Chinese do human rights violations, this doesnt mean USA is not doing it. If we are talking about violations dome by americans, lets stick to that. I am sure much positive can come from that discussion than finding faults with the messenger.

The US deserves criticism. Hefty doses of it. Particularly because our government is betraying the very principles the country is supposed to represent.

But faults? Mao killed tens of millions through forced famine alone, and he's practically worshiped as a god in China. There are no countries without bad marks on their records, but on the scale of recent bad marks, it's pretty twisted for China to criticize anybody.

Mostly agree, but, nitpick: I've only lived in China for about two years, but I don't think it's exactly right to say Mao is practically worshipped. I think it's better to say most Chinese people are thankful to him for various things he did, while accepting he also made terrible mistakes.

True, We (also others) used to look towards US for liberty, equality and democracy. Now there is no reason to believe that. Us now presents itself what not to do when you get developed.

If the Chinese do human rights violations...

I'm not even sure how to respond to that.

Chinese are one of the worst. But does US even wishes to get into that category. Ranking doesn't matter here, but belonging to that category is.

I think the point of the article was to point out the hypocrisy of the western media which paint countries such as China as "bad" and the US as "good", highlighting the problems in the former and under-reporting problems in the latter.

The article never made any claims about China having a better human rights record than the US. It simply illustrates the sort of reporting you'd get from a western media source about the US if they weren't so fundamentally biased.

LOOOOOOOOOOOOL, united states talks about human rights hehehehe

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