Human rights issues in the US 'long-term, systematic' problem: Chinese FM
Published: Apr 18, 2022 08:51 PM
Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry Photo: cnsphoto

Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry Photo: cnsphoto

In the wake of the fatal shooting of an African-American man by police in the US during law enforcement, China's Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the US, noting that human rights problems in the country are long-term and systemic in nature.

On April 4, 26-year-old Congolese-American Patrick Lyoya was shot dead by police during a traffic stop, almost two years after the tragic death of George Floyd. The footage of the incident showed the Lyoya was forced to lay face down on the ground, while a white policeman straddled him and then shot him in the back of his head.

Asked to comment on the incident at a routine news conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin expressed deep concern, noting that numerous facts show that racial discrimination, gun crime and violent law enforcement are not isolated cases in the US, but are long-term, systemic problems.

"More than a year since Floyd's 'I can't breathe' wail, hundreds more ethnic minorities have died at the gunpoint of US law enforcement officers," Wang said.

Wang cited data showing that African-Americans are not the only minority group being oppressed in the US - A total of 93.7 percent of Muslim Americans live in the shadow of "Islamophobia," 81 percent of Asian American adults believe violence against Asian groups is increasing, and Latinos, who make up 19 percent of the US population, own only 2 percent of the country's wealth. Only 22 percent of Americans believe that police treat all Americans equally.

The US legal system is structured to favor the rich and punish only the poor, especially minorities, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, citing Fernand de Varennes, the UN Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on minorities.

The US is the world's worst country for gun violence and the only developed country to have had mass shootings every year for the past 20 years, Wang said.

In 2020, 45,222 people in the US died in gun-related incidents, a 43 percent increase from 2010. According to a 2018 survey, 75 percent of US teens cite violent shootings as a major source of stress for them. According to an April 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of Americans believe gun violence is a major problem that needs to be addressed. Yet for the past 25 years, the US federal government has failed to introduce a gun control bill.

The US is descending into a country where human rights are systematically violated, Wang said.

"The US is not qualified to point finger at other countries on human right issues," Wang said. "What it should do is to face up to the serious human rights problems that are prevalent in the country and seriously reflect on how to address the root causes of the deteriorating human rights situation."

Global Times