Calls for China to improve its human rights record has been going on for years, and state-run CCTV has had about enough of it. CCTV has broadcast its own documentary to shame one of China’s biggest critics of human rights offenses, the United States of America, by arguing the US is a “hypocrite” for failing to do what it criticizes others for.
The documentary revealed the “United States’ double standards on human rights-related issues, whereby the US pokes its nose into other countries’ internal affairs while leaving many of its own problems unsolved.”
The show said human rights are a diplomatic tool used by the US to get what it wants on the international stage, and not actually something important to itself and its citizens. The show is devoted to testing the USA’s commitment to human rights, summed up in the title “The Human Rights Record of the ‘Human Rights Defender'”.
The CCTV documentary puts the blame on US exceptionalism, saying that the US thinks of itself as a superior country that needs to “police” the world. The show quotes John Withrop’s 1630 “city upon a hill” sermon for being the inspiration for US exceptionalism.
Liu Huawen, executive director of the Human Rights Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), casts the first stone in doubting the US’s true intentions:
Looking at the records of the US’s human rights diplomacy, it has given itself a voice to pass judgment on other countries outside of the framework (and procedure) of the UN.
Chang Jian, deputy director of the Human Rights Research Center at Nankai University, said the US is only speaking out for its own self interests when accusing a country like China of human rights abuses:
When it speaks of human rights, on the surface it says that human rights are higher than sovereignty, higher than anything, but in reality, the interests of the US are higher than anything.
But as the show continues with a deluge of facts and statistics meant to embarrass the US for its human rights abuses, the bias of the CCTV “documentary” becomes more evident.
Testimony by “human rights expert” Antonio Ginatta:
I expect the US to look at its own domestic record and improve its own domestic record. It is hypocritical to say to other countries that it should improve their own records while it does not improve its own.
And yet, even though Ginatta’s words echo that of China’s authorities, the organization he belongs to regularly criticized China for its human rights violations as well.
The CCTV documentary fails to mention that Ginatta is a member of Human Rights Watch (HRW), a group focused on protecting human rights throughout the world. Besides having a blocked website, HRW is not particularly respected in China. Just last month, an op-ed in the China Daily blasted Human Rights Watch for “subjective bias and prejudice” for criticizing the lack of freedom of religion in China.
The documentary again makes a self-referential criticism when it calls out the US on its wealth inequality. CASS Institute of American Studies researcher Ji Hong said, “The wealth is concentrated in the hands of even fewer people. This inequality between rich and poor is very serious in the US.”
Meanwhile, China’s own wealth inequality is veering dangerously out of control with reports that the country’s top one percent own up to a third of all property in China. As well for the first time ever, China has the most billionaires in the world at 568 while some estimates put the number 50 percent higher.
As well, the documentary takes the USA to task for the proliferation of police brutality inflicted on minority communities, bringing up cases like Tamir Rice, a 12 year-old boy who was gunned down by police while playing with a toy gun in a park. The show points out that racism has become systemic in police departments around the country, going largely unchecked by US authorities.
However, Chinese news media aren’t as quick to condemn police brutality when dealing with the case of Peter Liang, a former NYC police officer who has been convicted of manslaughter for having accidentally discharging his firearm, killing an innocent civilian. The Beijing News reported “Liang is being made a scapegoat for a series of police killings of African-Americans” while a China Daily op-ed points out that even though white police officers have enjoyed the laxness of the law when it comes to police brutality, “non-whites are not treated equally in the country”.
The documentary digresses the furthest away from the topic of human rights when it delves into US gun control. As convoluted as this topic is, what with the high number of victims shown by the documentary, firearm ownership in the US remains a protected right of all citizens under the second amendment.
The documentary highlighted the ability of a free press to expose corruption within a country. Not only did it credit the Miami Herald for exposing the human rights abuses of the Lowell Correctional Institution in 2015, it also noted that CBS was brave enough to report on US troops destroying villages during the Vietnam war. China, by contrast, does not have a free press.
Here’s the video: