The Information Office of the State Council
on Thursday released a report entitled "The Human
Rights Record of the United States in 2002."
Following is a summary of the document:
State Department released the "Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices for 2002" on March 31, when the United
States is facing condemnation from people of various
countries in the world for unilaterally launching a war
With the United States pretending to be
"the world's judge of human rights," the reports
once again assessed the human rights situations in over 190
countries and regions in the world.
The reports carry
distorted pictures and accusations of human rights
conditions in China and other countries, but they mention
not even a word of the human rights problems in the United
Therefore, it is necessary to make
known to the world the human rights violations in the United
States in 2002.
I. Ineffective Protection of Life and
Security of Person
In American society, excessive
violence has resulted in ineffective protection of life and
security of the person.
According to a report
released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on
Oct. 28, 2002, the United States recorded 11.8 million crime
offenses in 2001, a 2.1 percent increase over 2000.
The offenses included four violent crimes (murder and
non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and
aggravated assault), and three property crimes (burglary,
larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). Firearms were
involved in 26.2 percent of violent crime cases, and murder
cases increased by 2.5 percent.
There was an offense
in every 2.7 seconds, and there were 44 murders, 248 rapes
and 26 hate crimes each day. Among the crime offences were
15,980 murders and 90,491 forcible rapes.
many major American cities went up in 2002. In Washington
D.C., drug abuse, gang violence and prostitution ran
rampant, and crime went up by 36 percent from 2001; in
Boston the crime rates increased by 67 percent, and in Los
Angeles, by 27 percent.
The murder rate in the United
States was five to seven times higher than most industrial
During January-November 2002, New York City
reported 489 murder cases; Chicago registered 485 homicide
cases, in which 515 people were killed; and Detroit reported
During the same period Los Angeles
reported 595 murder cases with 614 people killed, up 11.3
percent and 20.5 percent compared to the same period in 2001
and 2000, respectively (Los Angeles, Nov. 21, 2002, AFP).
The Constitution of the United States provides that
the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be
infringed, and the constitutions of 44 states in the nation
include provisions safeguarding citizens' right to possess
In the United States, guns owned by private
individuals exceed 200 million, averaging nearly one for
every citizen. In 2002, the numbers of gun buyers across the
United States went up by 13 percent to twice over previous
years, and the number of rifle owners increased even faster.
The National Rifle Association of the United States
has over 2.8 million members. Excessive gun ownership has
led to frequent shootings, and victims of firearms-related
crime number more than 30,000 a year.
On March 26, a
retired sheriff's deputy in Merced County, California, shot
and killed his 5-year-old daughter and his three
stepchildren while his estranged wife was out for a walk,
then committed suicide with the body of one of the
youngsters in his arms.
On May 30, a gunman opened
fire inside a grocery store at a Top Valu Market near the
downtown marina in Long Beach, California, killing a woman
and a 7-year-old girl and wounding four others before he was
fatally shot by police (Long Beach, California, May 31,
From October 2 to October 22, serial gun
shooting cases occurred in Washington D.C. and neighboring
Maryland and Virginia states, in which ten people were
killed and three others were seriously wounded.
number of gun shootings went up by 40 percent in Los Angeles
in 2002 over 2001. Between the evening of November 19 and
the early morning of November 20, five separate cases of gun
shooting took place in downtown Los Angeles, leaving two
people dead and seven others wounded.
among juveniles in the United States have remained high,
with youngsters accounting for 20 percent of violent crime.
Drug abuse among youngsters has kept increasing. Drug
abuse among tenth-grade high school students in the United
States went up from 11.6 percent in 1991 to 22.7 percent in
2001, and 34.4 percent of senior high school students in New
York City have at least taken marijuana once.
2001, there were 638,000 narcotics-related cases, and drug
abuse accounted for 25 percent of violent crime in the
After the September 11 terrorist
attacks, crime in schools decreased as most schools have
installed metal detectors and video cameras, but it was
reported that 6 percent of the students still carried guns
Violence in schools such as bullying rose
by 12 percent, and at least 10,000 students in the United
States choose to stay at home once in a month for fear of
being bullied ("School Crime Decreasing, US Says, But
Students Still Fear Bullying, Reports Show", Dec. 10,
Violence in nursing homes for the aged in
the United States is worrisome. In March 2002, a report
submitted to the US Congress said that inmates in some of
such homes had suffered splash of cold water, battery and
However, such acts had never been
regarded as crime, and most of them had not been prosecuted.
Statistics show that there are 17,000 homes for the aged and
similar institutions in the United States, housing 1.6
million aged Americans.
Violations of law have been
found in about 26 percent of them, and two percent of which
have caused physical injuries.
II. Serious Human
Rights Violation by Law Enforcement Officials
rights of ordinary Americans have met with challenge after
the September 11 terrorist attacks. The anti-terrorism law
USA Patriot Act, which took effect on October 26, 2001,
provides law enforcement agencies with greater powers for
investigation, including wiretapping of phone calls and
Internet E-mail communications by suspect terrorists.
A Federal Court of Appeals on November 18 ruled that
the Department of Justice asking for expanding its
investigative powers is constitutional, and therefore should
not be restricted. It aroused great concern among the
American public that the DOJ would encroach upon their right
of privacy in its work.
Commenting on the court
ruling, US House Judiciary Committee Representative John
Conyers said in a statement the same day, "Piece by
piece, this Administration is dismantling the basic rights
afforded to every American under the Constitution."
Some civil rights and electronic information organizations
worried that there would have no effective protection of
civil rights after the ruling.
Police brutality is a
chronic malady in American society. On July 6, 2002, a
bystander videotaped a scene in which several white police
officers at Inglewood, Los Angeles, slammed the head of a
handcuffed 16-year-old black, named Donovan Jackson, on a
squad car and punched him in his eyes, neck and hands.
Afterwards, one police officer involved was ordered a paid
leave. In contrast, the man who filmed the videotape was
detained on July 10.
In another incident, on July 8,
Oklahoma City police officers repeatedly beat a black
suspect on the ground with their batons. The suspect was
pepper-sprayed twice. On September 16, police in Boston shot
at a suspect car hijacker in the downtown area and wounded
him seriously. The incident led to a mass demonstration
against police brutality.
Indiscriminate arrests are
another serious problem in the United States. According to
an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU), prosecutors declined to bring charges in 15,798
arrests in 2001, or 26 percent of the 60,412 cases they
reviewed that year, the vast majority brought by Baltimore
In 2002 the number of monthly arrests
increased by 15 percent over the previous year to 7,832.
Prosecutors declined to charge in24 percent of the cases.
Two-thirds of the cases they dropped were dropped on the day
of arrest because they could not be proved in court (May 9,
Within half a year after the September 11
terrorist attacks, the FBI detained for security reasons
more than 1,200 non-US nationals, mainly men from Muslim or
Middle Eastern countries (Washington, Dec.10, 2002, EFE).
Most of them were detained for overstaying their visas, and
according to rules the detention should last for no more
than 48 hours. However, many were actually held in custody
for a month or more, or even up to 50 days.
custody, they were deprived of their basic rights -- making
phone calls, access to a lawyer, family visits, being
informed of the reasons for the detention, or challenging
the lawfulness of the detention.
They were let out
for exercise and air less than an hour a day. Many were
handcuffed, and some were even bundled. Those falling ill
could not get timely medical treatment.
In many cases
torture was used to extract confessions, and unjust charges
were often reported in the United States. According to a
Reuters report on February 11, 2002, US authorities
confirmed that over 200 inmates had been wrongly convicted
since 1973; among them 99 inmates on death row had been
proved innocent, but most of them had not got compensations
(Washington, Feb.11, 2002, Reuters).
Ray Krone walked
out an Arizona courtroom a free man in April 2002 after
spending 10 years and three months in prison, with more than
two years in the death cell (USA Today, June 18, 2002). Yet,
he could hardly obtain any compensation from the state
government in accordance with state laws.
A black man
in Detroit, named Eddie Joe Lloyd, served a term of 17
years, three months and five days in jail on a charge of
raping and murdering a teenage girl before he was freed in
August 2002 (New York Times, Aug. 27, 2002).
wrong verdicts are closely related to confessions from
innocent people extracted by police. According to an ABC
(American Broadcasting Company) news report on March 15,
2002, every year thousands of criminals are convicted on the
basis of confessions obtained from police interrogations.
Also according to the ABC news report, in 1993, Gary
Gauger, a man in Illinois, was forced to confess he had
killed his parents, a crime he did not commit, when he broke
down after 21 hours of police interrogation. He was then
sentenced to death for double murder. Two years later, the
real killers confessed to the crime in an unrelated federal
investigation. Gauger was freed in 1996, after spending
three years behind bars.
The United States is one of
the few countries to impose capital punishment on child
offenders and mentally ill people in the world. Twenty-three
US states permit the execution of child offenders (under 18
at the time of the crime). Two thirds of the executions of
child offenders over the past decade worldwide were carried
out in the United States.
Since 1985, 18 child
offenders had been executed, half of them in Texas State
(May 9, 2002, EFE). The executions in 2002 also included
three child offenders and one mentally ill man. There were
80 child offenders on death row, and the figure in the case
of the mentally retarded was estimated to be around 200 to
300. (The Amnesty International)
Prisons in the
United States are jam-packed with inmates. According to a
report of the Bureau of Justice Statistics under the
Department of Justice released on August 25, 2002, the adult
US correctional population reached a record of almost 6.6
million at the end of 2001, or fourfold of the 1980 figure.
About 3.1 percent of the nation's adult population, or 1 in
every 32 adult residents, were on probation or parole or
were held in a prison or jail. Roughly two million Americans
are currently behind bars.
In a report titled "A
stigma that never fades", the British business magazine
Economist said that America is "the world's most
aggressive jailer", and "when local jails are
included in the American tally, the United States locks up
nearly 700 people per 100,000". (The Economist, August
Poor management of prisons leads to lack of
protection of inmates' legitimate rights. Extortion, abuse,
violence and sexual assault are serious in prisons of the
An Amnesty International report
released on May 14, 2002 said inmate Frank Valdes at the
Florida State Prison was beaten to death by guards in July
1999. Autopsy reports proved massive injuries, including 22
broken ribs and a fractured sternum, nose and jaw, and there
were boot marks on his face, neck, abdomen and back.
The three guards involved were charged of
second-degree murder in 1999. But the Florida State
prosecutors decided in February 2002 to drop the charges.
According to reports of US human rights
organizations, brutalities targeted at inmates number about
100,000 a year in American prisons. A former chief law
officer of Virginia State estimated the number of such
brutalities to be at least 250,000 oras many as 600,000 a
Sexual assaults between male inmates are
prominent in the prisons. Most of such assaults are coupled
with the use of force, causing spread of HIV virus and
physical and mental injuries on victims. The prison and
judicial departments remain indifferent towards such
complaints and take no punishment measures.
newspaper reported on August 31, 2002, the Baltimore City
Detention Center has a poorly run system of health care and
suicide prevention. In some cases, the problems resulted in
jail suicides, heart attack deaths and fatal asthma spasms
that federal authorities deemed preventable if the inmates
had been properly treated.
In another case, a fire
killed eight inmates locked in cells in Mitchell County jail
in North Carolina and injured 13 others. The prison
authority blamed lack of water sprinklers for the tragedy.
III. Money-driven Democracy
Boasting itself to
be the "model of democracy", the United States has
been trying hard to sell to the world its mode of democracy.
In fact, American "democracy" has always
been democracy of the rich, a small number of the
population. Just as an article in the International Herald
Tribute of the January 24, 2002 issue says, "The
American problem is domination of politics by money."
The dominant role of money in American politics has
been very obvious, and elections have in fact been turned
into races of money.
During the midterm elections in
2002, spending on campaigning TV advertising amounted to
US$900 million, surpassing that for the presidential
election in 2000.
According to an analysis made by
the Associated Press based of data from the Federal Election
Commission, in the 2002 midterm elections 95 percent of the
seats in the House of Representatives and 75 percent of the
seats in the Senate went to candidates who had spent the
most in campaigning.
In a report filed on August 30,
2002, AP said President George W. Bush, in order to win
control of the House and the Senate, cashed in on his cachet
to raise donations for midterm elections of his Republicans,
and collected US$110 million for three GOP candidates in
Oklahoma and Arkansas, setting records in campaign cash
raising ("Bush raises nearly $110 million for
Republicans, setting record", Aug. 30, 2002, Sun).
Election of judges in the United States is also like
a race of money. In the year of 2000, judge candidates in
only two states bought TV advertising, whereas during the
midterm elections in 2002, chief justice candidates in nine
states bought TV commercials.
politics" has made more and more American people lose
interest in political participation.
the United States has experienced declining voter turnout in
presidential election years for about four decades.
Measured against the voting age population, turnout
in presidential election years fell from its high of 62.8
percent in 1960 to an estimated 51.2 percent in 2000.
In contrast, 60 percent of eligible voters shunned
the midterm elections in 2002, leaving the voter turnout at
A survey of minority voters in three
cities of California showed almost all the surveyed were fed
up with the fact that money can buy over politics and were
not interested in political participation.
American voters reckon money had too much influence over
politics, which is unfair; African Americans and Hispanics
felt being shut out of the door of politics and had become
The United States has been flaunting its
"freedom of the press," but it met with criticism
from many sides in 2002 in this respect.
In an annual
report published on Feb. 21, 2002, the International Press
Institute accused the United States of violating freedom of
the press and said it is the most astonishing event of 2001
that the way the Bush administration treated the work of the
media during the Afghan war and the practices of the Bush
administration attempting to suppress freedom of speech by
independent media (Vienna, Feb. 21, 2002, AFP).
senior journalists with the Washington Post wrote in their
book entitled "The News About The News: American
Journalism In Peril" that practices of pursuing profits
have destroyed the sense of mission of the journalistic
community of the United States, and believed an overwhelming
majority of media owners and publishing businessmen forced
newspaper editors and TV news executives to concentrate on
profits as opposed to quality of coverage (New York, March
29, 2002, AP).
In its annual report published on May
2, 2002, Reporters Without Borders exposed since September
11 attacks, the United States has exerted pressure on the
journalistic community in the war against terrorism, which
has restricted freedom of the press (Paris, May 2, 2002,
On August 6, 2002, a major news organ in the
United States published a survey showing the public wanting
the media to "shut up".
The survey found
among the respondents, 69 percent believe the media is
biased, and over two thirds of them read news reports with
IV. Poverty, Hunger and Homelessness
The United States is the only superpower in the
world, however, the poor, hungry and homeless have formed a
"Third World" in this most developed nation, owing
to the widening gap in wealth between the rich and the poor
and social injustice.
In the last two years, a series
of scandals of major corporate fraud were exposed in the
United States, resulting in a credibility crisis and
financial losses, which has deprived ordinary Americans of a
sense of economic security due to the serious losses they
suffered. The Labor Department of the United States reported
on January 10, 2003 that between 2001 and 2002, the United
States lost 1.6 million jobs. In December 2002, the
country's unemployment rate was six percent; the number of
jobless people stood at 8.6 million; and employers slashed
payrolls by 101,000 workers (Jan. 11, 2003, Sun).
the United States, 60 percent of households own stock
shares. As corporate fraud scandals brought down the stock
market, its capitalization was slashed by US$2.5 trillion,
with the employees of the affected big firms and their
shareholders suffering great losses. Since energy giant
Enron filed for bankruptcy protection, its stock price
plunged from US$85 a share to less than US$1 a share.
Millions of Enron stockholders have suffered enormous
losses. A large number of Enron employees lost all their
pension funds, while teachers, firefighters and some
government workers lost US$1 billion in pensions.
WorldCom's filing for bankruptcy also plunged its
stock share price to a few cents from US$62; 17,000 of its
employees became jobless, while investors had their
interests severely damaged (June 26, 2003, Sun).
gap in wealth between rich and poor has become even wider.
The US Federal Reserve reported on January 22, 2003 that
between1992 and 1998, the gap in wealth between the 10
percent of families with the highest incomes and the 20
percent of families with the lowest incomes increased by 9
percent, but between 1998 and 2001, the gap jumped by 70
The Washington Post reported on September
24, 2002 that the top20 percent residents with highest
income in the United States accounted for 50 percent of the
total income of the country, while the share of the richest
5 percent (with an annual income of US$150,000 and above) in
the national total went up from 22.1 percent in 2000 to 22.4
percent in 2001.
Poverty and hunger have kept
increasing. According to the Census Bureau of the United
States, in 2001, another 1.3 million people fell below the
poverty line; in 2002, the poor population continued
According to the American organization Bread
for the World,, 33million Americans lived in households that
experience hunger or the risk of hunger in 2002. The
newspaper USA Today reported that the nation's estimated 3
million homeless had harder times in 2002,as authorities
reduced assistance to them and tough laws were passed
against them (USA Today, Dec. 27, 2002).
report published by the US Conference of Mayors indicates
that the year 2002 witnessed an average of 19 percent
increase in requests for emergency food assistance in 25
large cities in the country, and also an average of 19
percent increase in requests for emergency shelter
assistance in 18 major cities, the steepest rise in a
And all the cities in the survey expect that
requests for both emergency food assistance and shelter
assistance would increase again in 2003. Boston Mayor and
President of the US Conference of Mayors Thomas M. Menino
commented, "The world's richest and most powerful
nation must find a way to meet the basic needs of all its
The Associate Press reported on
November 3, 2002 that 777,000 people in Los Angeles, or 33
percent of its population, were food insecure and could not
always afford to put food on the table. By July 2002,
homelessness in New York grew by 66 percent compared with
four years ago (Aug. 20, 2002, AP). In 2002, Los Angeles
County alone had 84,000 homeless people, and every night, 43
percent of 9,000-15,000 vagrants could not find shelters and
had to sleep on downtown sidewalks.
statistics by relevant American organizations, the current
homelessness situation in the United States has become
nearly as severe as at the end of World War II. Most
vulnerable to poverty and hunger are pregnant women, the
aged, people without ID, and single-parent families. The
report by the US Conference of Mayors indicates that among
those requesting for emergency food assistance, 48 percent
were members of families with children; 38 percent of the
adults requesting such assistance were employed; of the
homeless, 39 percent were from families with children, 22
percent were employed, and 73 percent were from