Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009
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China's Information Office of the State Council published a report titled The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009 Friday. Following is the full text:
The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009 on March 11, 2010, posing as "the world judge of human rights" again. As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China, but turn a blind eye to, or dodge and even cover up rampant human rights abuses on its own territory. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States.
I. On Life, Property and Personal Security
Widespread violent crimes in the United States posed threats to the lives, properties and personal security of its people.
In 2008, US residents experienced 4.9 million violent crimes, 16.3 million property crimes and 137,000 personal thefts, and the violent crime rate was 19.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons aged 12 or over, according to a report published by the US Department of Justice in September 2009 (Criminal Victimization 2008, US Department of Justice, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov). In 2008, over 14 million arrests occurred for all offenses (except traffic violations) in the country, and the arrest rate for violent crime was 198.2 per 100,000 inhabitants (Crime in the United States, 2008, http://www.fbi.gov). In 2009, a total of 35 domestic homicides occurred in Philadelphia, a 67 percent increase from 2008 (The New York Times, December 30, 2009). In New York City, 461 murders were reported in 2009, and the crime rate was 1,151 cases per 100,000 people. San Antonio in Texas was deemed as the most dangerous among 25 US large cities with 2,538 crimes recorded per 100,000 people (The China Press, December 30, 2009). The murder rate rose 5.5 percent in towns with a population of 10,000 or fewer in 2008 (http://www.usatoday.com, June 1, 2009). Most of the United States' 15,000 annual murders occur in cities where they are concentrated in poorer neighborhoods (http://www.reuters.com, October 7, 2009).
The United States ranks first in the world in terms of the number of privately-owned guns. According to the data from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), American gun owners, out of 309 million in total population, have more than 250 million guns, while a substantial proportion of US gun owners had more than one weapon. Americans usually buy 7 billion rounds of ammunition a year, but in 2008 the figure jumped to about 9 billion (The China Press, September 25, 2009). In the United States, airline passengers are allowed to take unloaded weapons after declaration.
In the United States, about 30,000 people die from gun-related incidents each year (The China Press, April 6, 2009). According to a FBI report, there had been 14,180 murder victims in 2008 (USA Today, September 15, 2009). Firearms were used in 66.9 percent of murders, 43.5 percent of robberies and 21.4 percent of aggravated assaults (http://www.thefreelibrary.com). USA Today reported that a man named Michael McLendon killed 10 people in two rural towns of Alabama before turning a gun on himself on March 11, 2009. On March 29, a man named Robert Stewart shot and killed eight people and injured three others in a nursing home in North Carolina (USA Today, March 11, 2009). On April 3, an immigrant called Jiverly Wong shot 13 people dead and wounded four others in an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton, New York (The New York Times, April 4, 2009). In the year 2009, a string of attacks on police shocked the country. On March 21, a 26-year-old jobless man shot and killed four police officers in Oakland, California, before he was killed by police gunfire (http://cbs5.com). On April 4, a man called Richard Poplawski shot three police officers to death in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On November 29, an ex-convict named Maurice Clemmons shot four police officers to death inside a coffee shop in Parkland, Washington (The New York Times, December 1, 2 and 3, 2009).
Campuses became an area worst hit by violent crimes as shootings spread there and kept escalating. The US Heritage Foundation reported that 11.3 percent of high school students in Washington D.C. reported being "threatened or injured" with a weapon while on school property during the 2007-2008 school year. In the same period, police responded to more than 900 calls to 911 reporting violent incidents at the addresses of Washington D.C. public schools (A Report of The Heritage Center for Data Analysis, School Safety in Washington, D.C.: New Data for the 2007-2008 School Year, http://www.heritage.org). In New Jersey public schools, a total of 17,666 violent incidents were reported in 2007-2008 (Annual Report on Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse in New Jersey Public Schools by New Jersey Department of Education, October 2009, http://www.state.nj.us). In the City University of New York, a total of 107 major crimes occurred in five of its campuses during 2006 and 2007(The New York Post, September 22, 2009).