The Record of Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2019
State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China
I. Civil and Political Rights in Name Only
II. Absence of Basic Guarantee of Social and Economic Rights
III. Ethnic Minorities Suffer from Bullying and Exclusion
IV. Severe Discrimination and Violence Against Women
V. Vulnerable Groups Living in Difficulties
VI. Migrants Suffer Inhumane Treatment
VII. The United States Wantonly Trampled on Human Rights in Other Countries
"We lied, we cheated, we stole ... It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a speech on April 15, 2019.
The remarks of US politicians have completely exposed their hypocrisy of adopting double standards on human rights issues and using them to maintain hegemony.
The United States claims to be founded on human rights, touting itself as a world human rights defender. Following a framework of its own narrow understanding of human rights and using its core interests of pursuing global hegemony as a yardstick, the United States released annual reports on other countries' human rights every year by piecing together innuendoes and hearsay. These reports wantonly distorted and belittled human rights situation in countries and regions that did not conform to US strategic interests, but turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the persistent, systematic and large-scale human rights violations in the United States.
This report is based on a variety of published data, reports and research findings. The facts detailed in the report prove that in recent years, especially since 2019, the human rights situation in the United States has been poor and deteriorating.
— The United States is a country with the worst gun violence in the world. The number of mass killings in the United States hit a record high of 415 in 2019, with more than one happening for every day of the year. In total 39,052 people died from gun related violence in the United States in 2019. A person is killed with a gun in the United States every 15 minutes. “This seems to be the age of mass shootings,” commented USA Today.
— Elections have become money games for the rich. Spending in the 2018 elections for Congress topped $5.7 billion, making the battle for control of the House and Senate the most expensive midterm ever. In 2018, the 10 largest individual donors funneled more than $436 million to Super PACs (political action committees) in the midterm elections. The race to raise money for the 2020 presidential election is heating up. Candidates have raised more than $1.08 billion for the election.
— The United States has the most serious polarization between the rich and poor among developed countries. The Gini Index grew to 0.485 in 2018, the highest level in 50 years. The wealthiest 10 percent of US households control nearly 75 percent of household net worth. The bottom 50 percent saw essentially zero net gains in wealth from 1989 to 2018.
— The United States is currently the only developed country where millions of people are hungry. There were 39.7 million people living in poverty in the United States, according to US Census Bureau figures released in 2018. On a single night in the previous year, more than half a million Americans lacked permanent shelter. There were 65 million adults who chose not to seek treatment for a medical issue because of the cost.
— Racial hate crimes in the United States have shocked the world. White supremacy in the United States has shown a resurgence trend. The majority of domestic terror related arrests were linked to white supremacist violence. A white man opened fire and killed 22 people at a Walmart superstore in El Paso, Texas. His motive was hatred toward Hispanics. "The United States has always been in the midst of a white nationalist terrorist crisis," said a comment.
— Shootings and brutal abuse of African Americans by policemen are frequent. African American adults are 5.9 times more likely to be incarcerated than white adults. An UN Special Rapporteur called such racial disparities a vestige of slavery and racial segregation.
— The racial gap in employment and wealth is striking. Over the past 40 years, workers of African descent have consistently endured an unemployment rate approximately twice that of their white counterparts. The typical wealth for a white household is nearly 10 times that for African Americans. If current trends continue, it could take more than 200 years for the average family of African descent to accumulate the same amount of wealth as its white counterparts.
— Religious intolerance continues to deteriorate. Pew Research Center surveys showed that about 82 percent of respondents say Muslims are subject to at least some discrimination in the United States. Some 64 percent say Jews face at least some discrimination in the United States. Extremists inspired by extremist ideology were responsible for 249 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018. An UN report noted the exceptionally violent anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.
— The United States has the most dangerous situation for women among high-income countries. In 2015, an astounding 92 percent of all women killed with guns in these countries were from the United States. Women in the United States were 21 times more likely to die by firearm homicide than women in peer nations. Every month, an average of 52 women were shot and killed by an intimate partner. Up to 70 percent of US women had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.
— Child poverty is a shocking problem. Around 12.8 million US children lived in poverty and a total of 3.5 million children under five were poor, with 1.6 million of those children living in extreme poverty. "No child should have to worry where her next meal will come from or whether she will have a place to sleep each night in the wealthiest nation on Earth," commented the Children's Defense Fund in a report, adding that yet "about one in five children in America lived in poverty and faced these harsh realities every day."
— Poverty among the elderly is becoming more and more serious. One in 12 seniors aged 60 and older — 5.5 million people — did not have enough food. About 40 percent of middle-class Americans would live close to or in poverty by the time they reach age 65.
— The US government's treatment of immigrants has become increasingly harsh and inhumane. The "zero-tolerance" policy caused the separations of many children from their families. US immigration authorities had separated more than 5,400 children from their parents at the Mexico border since July 2017. A total of 24 immigrants, including seven children, have died in US custody since 2018.
— The United States is "the most warlike nation in the history of the world." The United States has spent $6.4 trillion on wars it launched since 2001, which resulted in more than 800,000 deaths and left tens of millions displaced.
I. Civil and Political Rights in Name Only
The United States flaunts itself as "the land of freedom" and a "beacon of democracy," which, however, is just something imaginary that fools the people and the world. The lack of restraint in the right to hold guns has led to rampant gun violence, posing a serious threat to citizens' life and property safety. Worsening money politics distorts public opinion and makes the so-called democratic election a game for the rich.
Politics has led to a proliferation of guns. The manufacture, sale and use of guns in the United States is a huge industrial chain, forming a huge interest group. Interest groups such as the National Rifle Association made large political donations for presidential and congressional elections. The intertwined drawbacks of party politics, election politics and money politics make it difficult for the legislative and executive authorities to do anything about gun control, only allowing the situation to deteriorate. According to an US online media report dated Dec 11, 2019, the United States has far more guns than any other country and in 2017 the estimated number of civilian-owned firearms in the United States was 120.5 guns per 100 residents, meaning there were more firearms than people. A Nov 20, 2019 report on the website of the Center for American Progress said that a person is killed with a gun in the United States every 15 minutes, citing figures on shooting deaths from 2008 through 2017. In total 39,052 people died from gun related violence in the United States in 2019.
Mass shootings occurred one after another. The United States is a country with the worst gun violence in the world. Frequent mass shootings have become a defining feature of the United States. Citing figures from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) , the online edition of The Mirror reported on Dec 30, 2019 that the number of mass killings in the United States hit a record high of 415 in 2019, with more than one happening for every day of the year. That compares with 337 in 2018; 346 in 2017; 382 in 2016; 335 in 2015 and 269 in 2014, the first year the GVA kept records. The three worst US shootings of 2019 took place in El Paso, Texas, Virginia Beach, and Dayton, Ohio, which killed 22, 12 and nine people, respectively. "This seems to be the age of mass shootings," commented USA Today in an online report.
Violent crimes number is alarming. The "Crime in the United States, 2018" report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2019 showed that in 2018, an estimated 1,206,836 violent crimes occurred nationwide, including 16,214 murders, 139,380 rapes, 282,061 robberies, and 807,410 aggravated assaults. The "Criminal Victimization, 2018" report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2019 showed that the number of violent-crime victims aged 12 or older in the United States was 3.3 million in 2018, rising for three consecutive years.
People's property safety is at risk. The "Crime in the United States, 2018" report released by the FBI showed that in 2018 there were an estimated 7,196,045 property crime offenses in the nation, with a rate of property crime estimated at 2,199.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. Property crimes in 2018 resulted in losses estimated at $16.4 billion. Among the property crimes were an estimated 748,841 thefts of motor vehicles and 1,230,149 burglaries. The estimated rate of motor vehicle thefts was 229 per 100,000 inhabitants. Vehicles stolen were worth an estimated total of more than $6 billion. Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,799.
Poor handling of cases by the police resulted in the loss of public confidence. Incidents reported to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) of the FBI in 2018 involved nearly 6.6 million criminal offenses and nearly 7 million victims. The website of Pew Research Center reported on Oct 17, 2019 that in the United States in 2018, 45.5 percent of violent crimes and 17.6 percent of property crimes were cleared, citing FBI figures. Many victims did not report a crime out of a feeling that police "would not or could not do anything to help." In 2018, only 43 percent of violent crimes and 34 percent of property crimes tracked by the Bureau of Justice Statistics were reported to police.
Citizens' personal dignity and privacy are systematically violated. According to a Dec 6, 2019 report on the website of the Dallas Morning News, Texas is home to eight secretive surveillance centers, which, supported jointly by federal, state and local law enforcement departments, are created for the purpose of better sharing intelligence and better monitoring and analyzing social media and other online forums. A decade ago, when fusion centers were coming online, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a warning that the centers had ambiguous lines of authority and excessive secrecy. The threat, it stated, for "the creation of a total surveillance society," is real. According to an US Government Accountability Office report released on June 4, 2019, the FBI's face recognition office can now search databases with more than 641 million photos. Half of US adults — more than 117 million people — are in a law enforcement face recognition network, according to a Georgetown University study report, which raises serious questions about privacy and civil liberties violations, particularly for African Americans.
Prison management disorders resulted in frequent abuse scandals. A report carried by the website of the Department of Justice on April 3, 2019 said Alabama’s prisons for men fail to protect prisoners from prisoner-on-prisoner violence and sexual abuse and that prisoners experience serious harm, including deadly harm, as a result. The website of the Sun reported on Dec 10, 2019 that 14 women are suing the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in the United States over systemic abuse they claim to have endured at the prison. Allegations of sexual assault and harassment behind bars in the United States skyrocketed 180 percent from 2011 to 2015. Solitary confinement, which according to the United Nations is a torturous practice, causes severe mental and physical pain or suffering and may even lead to death. A 2017 survey of state prisons estimated around 61,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement in the United States on any given day, according to a Sept 4, 2019 report on the website of the Guardian.
Political elections were reduced to money games. CNN reported on Feb 7, 2019 that spending in the 2018 elections for Congress topped $5.7 billion, shooting past the $5.3 billion spent during the then-recording breaking 2008 presidential election and making the battle for control of the House and Senate the most expensive midterm ever. The Florida US Senate race was the most expensive contest of the midterms, with the spending topping $209 million. The winning candidate Republican Rick Scott poured more than $63 million of his personal fortune into the contest. In 2018, the 10 largest individual donors funneled more than $436 million to Super PACs (political action committees) in the most expensive midterm elections ever, according to a report dated Aug 14, 2019 on the website of the Time magazine. Big money in politics has overwhelmed the political process, granting wealthy special interests more power now than at any time in recent American history, "distorting the voices of everyday citizens and putting the foundation of our democracy at risk."
The race to raise money for the 2020 presidential election is heating up. According to data released on Dec 29, 2019 on the website of the Federal Election Commission, candidates have raised more than $1.08 billion for the 2020 presidential election and spent $531 million. In his first week as a Democratic US presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg launched a $40-plus million advertising campaign, according to a HuffPost report dated Nov 30, 2019. Presidential candidates have spent more than $100 million on digital ads, noted a report released by the Center for Responsive Politics on Nov 24, 2019.
America's self-touted "freedom of the press" is in name only. For the third time in three years, the United States’ standing in an annual index of press freedom declined, said a report released on the website of the Washington Post on April, 18, 2019. Data released by the website of the US Press Freedom Tracker on Dec 29, 2019 showed that in 2019 in the United States there were 38 journalists who were attacked, 28 incidents in which journalists were denied access to government events, nine journalists who were arrested or faced with criminal charges. Since 2017, at least 54 journalists have been subpoenaed or had their records seized and 36 journalists have been arrested while covering protests in the United States. The current US Administration is "mounting the most direct attack on press freedom in American history," according to a report dated Dec 12, 2019 on the website of the Guardian.
Demonstrators were arrested for protesting against government policies. Calls for the closure of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have intensified since the US Government in 2018 implemented its "zero tolerance" policy on immigration. About 100 protesters demanding an end to the ICE were arrested in New York City, according to a CNN report on Aug 11, 2019. At least 15 protesters were arrested in a demonstration organized by Greenpeace USA on Sept 12, 2019, said a report on the website of Houston Chronicle. Nearly 40 protesters attended a planned protest in Miami on Nov 29, 2019 for government action on climate change and one protester was arrested, according to a report on the website of Miami Herald.