Countries scolded on human rights lash U.S. on Ferguson
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BEIJING — Countries long the targets of U.S. scoldings for human rights abuses revel in the opportunity to call out Americans for the angry protests that have convulsed Ferguson, Mo., after the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
State-run media in China air extensive and often-critical coverage of the events in Ferguson. Editorials have pointed out the hypocrisy of the United States criticizing China for its treatment of Tibetans and ethnic minorities while apparently committing abuses at home.
“It’s ironic that the U.S., with its brutal manner of assimilating minorities, never ceases to accuse China and countries like it of violating the rights of minorities,” The Global Times wrote last week. The popular tabloid, published by the People’s Daily, is the main mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party and often takes a stridently nationalistic tone.
Another state-run news agency, Xinhua, noted that police in the USA used rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters — tools Xinhua says are used only “under extreme caution in other countries, where police usually use riot shields and batons instead to reduce damage.”
Other countries usually at the pointed end of U.S. criticism, including Russia, Egypt and Iran, also condemned the police response in Ferguson.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week that the United States needs to clean its own house if it wants to call itself a “bastion of human rights” that “declares its own ‘exceptionalism.’ “
“I would like to advise the American leaders to pay more attention to restoring order in their country before imposing its dubious experience on other states,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and religious authority, has tweeted regularly in English with the hashtag #Ferguson to chide the United States over human rights abuses.
“Today the world is a world of tyranny and lies,” he wrote. “The flag of #humanrights is borne by enemies of human rights w/US leading them! #Ferguson.”
A spokesman for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry urged the United States last week to exercise “restraint” and to respect the rights of people who wanted to peaceably assemble in Ferguson. The United States has repeatedly criticized Egypt for cracking down on political protests.
The protests in Ferguson have gotten widespread coverage in Chinese media. One commentary in Xinhua appeared under the headline “The shadow below the Statue of Liberty” and urged the United States to turn its critical eye on itself.
“Facing this notorious record, when America directs her torch to check on the morality and human rights situation in other countries, it’s time for her to shine it on herself,” Xinhua wrote.
The news agency reported that a human rights society in China urged the United States to “correct its double standards on human rights” and “reflect on its finger pointing over other countries’ human rights records.”
To safeguard U.S. social peace and security, Xinhua wrote, “it is highly advisable for the country to make extra efforts to effectively uproot racism in all fields so as to prevent tragedies from recurring.”
China does not permit coverage by domestic or international media outlets of its own protests — including frequent uprisings in northwest Xinjiang province by the Muslim Uighur people, who complain of Chinese repression — but it did allow coverage of the protests in Ferguson.
China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, and Xinhua sent reporters to Ferguson.
Leger reported from McLean, Va. Contributing: Sunny Yang