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China censures America on human rights

Report issued in response to US global study

President Xi Jinping of China, shown at an April 8 meeting, has promised to increase government transparency.

Reuters/Pool

President Xi Jinping of China, shown at an April 8 meeting, has promised to increase government transparency.

BEIJING — China slammed the human rights record of the United States in response to Washington’s report on rights around the world, saying that US military operations have infringed on rights abroad and that political donations at home have thwarted the country’s democracy.

The report released Sunday in China, which defines human rights primarily in terms of improving living conditions for its 1.3 billion people, also cited gun violence in the United States among its examples of human rights violations, saying it was a serious threat to the lives and safety of America’s citizens.

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The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012 report said the US government continues to strengthen the monitoring of its people and that political donations to election campaigns have undue influence on US policy.

‘‘American citizens do not enjoy a genuinely equal right to vote,’’ the report said, citing a decreased turnout in the 2012 presidential election and a voting rate of 57.5 percent.

The report from the information office of the State Council, or China’s Cabinet, which mostly cited media reports, said there was serious sex, racial, and religious discrimination in the United States and that the country had seriously infringed on the human rights of other nations through its military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

The United States’ annual global human rights report issued Friday by the State Department said China had imposed new registration requirements to prevent groups that might challenge government authority from emerging.

Chinese government efforts to silence and intimidate political activists and public interest lawyers continued to increase, the report said, and authorities use extralegal measures such as enforced disappearance to prevent the public voicing of independent opinions.

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It also said there was discrimination against women, minorities, and people with disabilities; people trafficking; the use of forced labor; forced sterilization; and widespread corruption.

China’s authoritarian government maintains strict controls over free speech, religion, and political activity — restrictions that the United States considers human rights violations.

In a separate development, Chinese authorities said they have detained six anticorruption activists in recent days, expanding their crackdown on a citizen-led campaign against official graft.

The detained activists, including a prominent rights lawyer, had been demanding that senior Communist Party officials publicly disclose their personal wealth, according to lawyers and rights advocates.

Four of the six activists are still being held, according to their lawyers.

They said the police had raided the homes of at least two detainees and confiscated laptops, video cameras, and other items.

The populist campaign, dubbed the New Citizens Movement by its organizers, begun late last year with a petition drive that collected thousands of signatures.

It has attempted to dovetail with a pledge by President Xi Jinping to clean up the corruption that he says poses a threat to the ruling Communist Party.

In January, Xi promised to remove high-ranking officials and midlevel bureaucrats, but the public clamor for asset disclosure has so far received a tepid response from Chinese leaders.

The campaign has picked up steam in the five weeks since Xi consolidated power by adding the title of president to his other titles, Communist Party general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The change in leadership has given liberals at least a faint hope that Xi will follow through on promises to increase government transparency.

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