Child labor, along with racial inequity, transgender deaths, is ‘pulling off fig leaf’ over U.S. human rights, China says
The Chinese Government/Communist Party gets very annoyed and defensive when the United States criticizes China over its human right practices, in Xinjiang or Hong Kong, from zero-covid to zero dissent. China’s state media often calls for the U.S. to stop behaving like a “master teacher” on human rights and to look more in the mirror.
China is also very good at whataboutism. When the U.S. mentions genocide, China would say what about native Americans. When the U.S. mentions forced labor, China would say what about the slavery. And China can find all the whatabouts, and more, in America’s free media. Here are a few examples of stories China’s media has chosen in the last couple of months.
The not-for-profit Gun Violence Archives provides free online public access to accurate information about gun-related violence in the U.S. It publishes and updates daily statistics such as total number of deaths, injuries, number of children, teens, etc. China’s People’s Daily overseas edition, using the GVA statistics, posted a piece in October titled “More than 800 children already dead from gun shots. American-style human rights are dripping with blood.” The piece also asked if the U.S. could not protect its children, was it still a civilized country, echoing a May New York Times story titled “The Uvalde Shooting Shows America’s Deep Incivility.”
On Oct. 25, STAT, a service offering life science analysis, published an article titled “Covid-19 is an inverse equity story, not a racial equity success story.” The authors wrote why they didn’t agree with a NY Times essay stating that the change in Covid-19 death rates was an example of progress in the U.S. racial equity. They gave examples, such as life expectancy. The overall American life expectancy declined by 2.7 years, for instance, it was 6.6 for American Indian, 4.2 for Hispanic, and 4 for non-Hispanic Black populations. China Daily picked it up on Nov. 28 with its translation titled “American media: U.S. coronavirus pandemic set racial equality back,” along with a screenshot of STAT webpage.
On Nov. 1, the Washington Post carried a piece titled “Child labor remains a problem in the United States.” It mentioned how around a quarter of U.S. domestic produce was picked by child workers numbering an estimated 500,000 in 2021. It also pointed out the hypocrisy when the U.S. condemned child labor abroad as the U.S. was the only member country that had not ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. People’s Daily overseas edition followed up on Nov. 11 with an essay titled “Illegal employment of child labor pulls off America’s ‘fig leaf’ over human rights.” It started by saying the U.S. as the so-called “beacon of human rights” had a new scandal over human rights. It continued with stories of child labor in Hyundai in Alabama, on American farms, and accused the U.S. using child labor while calling itself guardian of human rights.
On Nov. 13, AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) published an article titled “Racism — not race — drives health disparities.” It was about the work of and an interview with Linda Villarosa, journalist and author, on maternal mortality rates and disparities in the United States, especially how racism was a factor in Black women experiencing complications during pregnancy and birth. Xinhua News posted a short translation of the AAMC piece on Nov. 16 with a similar title “Racism drives health disparities in U.S.: report.”
On Nov. 16, U.S. News & World Report published a U.S. News–Harris Poll Survey from a national representative sample of 4,085 U.S. adults, with this title, “As America Aims for Equity, Many Believe Systemic Racism Doesn't Exist.” It stated that even as a majority of Americans believed systemic racism existed in the country, nearly half of white Americans were unconvinced, more than 80% of Black American respondents believed it did, more than 70% of Asian or Pacific Islander respondents and nearly 70% of Hispanics did. China Daily almost immediately, on Nov. 17, posted a translation and titled it differently, “Latest poll: 80% African Americans believe systemic racism exits in U.S.”
Also on Nov. 16, AP ran a story titled “Report: At least 32 transgender people killed in US in 2022.” It said according to the Human Rights Campaign’s annual report, at least 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming people had been killed in the U.S. in 2022. Among them, AP continued, transgender people of color accounted for 81% of known victims, and 59% were Black. China’s Reference News posted an abridged translation of the AP piece, with almost the same title “American media: At least 32 transgender people killed in U.S. this year.”