China bashes US over racism, inequality, pandemic response

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A copy of a Chinese government-issued report on human rights in the United States is seen before a press conference at the State Council Information Office in Beijing, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. China lashed out Wednesday at the U.S. over racism, financial inequality and the federal government's response to the coronavirus in an annual report that seeks to counter U.S. accusations of human rights abuses by China's ruling Communist Party. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING – China took the U.S. to task Wednesday over racism, financial inequality and the federal government’s response to the coronavirus in an annual report that seeks to counter U.S. accusations of human rights abuses by China’s ruling Communist Party.

The 28-page report issued by China’s Cabinet opens with “I can't breathe,” a reference to George Floyd, the Black American who was declared dead last May after a police officer pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for about nine minutes.

The document released by the State Council Information Office said the U.S. in 2020 “saw its own epidemic situation go out of control, accompanied by political disorder, inter-ethnic conflicts, and social division.” It also highlighted the Jan. 6 insurrectionist attack on the Capitol as well as gun violence and health disparities.

“What happened on Capitol Hill revealed the shortcomings of U.S. democracy,” Chang Jian, the director of a center for human rights studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, said at a government news conference.

“And that is the two political parties would sometimes do everything they can to advance their own interests. ... They would incite division and violence among the people. So can U.S. society continue to prosper under its current democratic system? I would put a question mark on it.”

China issues the report each year in response to U.S. criticism of its record on issues such as abuses against minority groups in the western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet and a crackdown on opposition voices in Hong Kong.

It has used the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed many more people in the U.S. than in China, to highlight the Communist Party’s handling of the outbreak — and by extension, what it sees as the benefits of its system.

“To defeat the epidemic requires mutual help, solidarity and cooperation among all countries. However, the United States, which has always considered itself an exception and superior, saw its own epidemic situation go out of control, accompanied by political disorder, inter-ethnic conflicts, and social division," the report said.