Saturday, 2 May 2015

China's top paper rounds on U.S. over Baltimore protests

The Straits Times, 1 May 2015

BEIJING - China's top newspaper criticised the United States yesterday following protests in Baltimore over the death of a 25-year-old black man, saying it exposed the fallacy of US claims to being an equal society.

China, frequently taken to task by the United States and other Western nations for its own human rights problems, rarely misses an opportunity to hit back.

Every year, it issues its own report about the human rights situation in the United States.

The People's Daily, the official paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that the unrest in Baltimore and other cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, exposed the "systemic weakness of the US system".

"Each time, when the hatreds old and new of US racial contradictions boil over, it clearly tells the world that the declaration 'all are born equal' in this so-called 'field of dreams' still has yet to take root," the paper said.

It was published under the pen name "Zhong Sheng", meaning "Voice of China", often used to give views on foreign policy.

Protesters in the mostly black city of Baltimore have sought answers about the fate of Mr Freddie Gray, who died after suffering spinal injuries while in police custody.

The People's Daily said that the part of town where Mr Gray lived was blighted by poverty and unemployment, and that nationally, the gap between the rich and the poor had continued to increase.

If US politicians did not tackle this "persistent ailment", then future unrest would become an almost daily occurrence, the commentary said.

The paper made no mention of China's own problems with inequality or racial discrimination, something rights groups say is becoming more and more of an issue in places such as Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people.

China's ruling Communist Party also takes a tough line on any form of public protest that may challenge its rule.


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