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Chinese Editorial Denounces Gun Violence as Stain on US Human Rights Record

"It's inhumane for the U.S., which boasts about its human rights record, to turn a blind eye to gun violence, snub increasing calls for gun control, and risk more innocent lives."

A Chinese newspaper offered a harsh rebuke of U.S. lawmakers who have for years refused to enact gun legislation that would curb mass shootings. (Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr/cc)

An editorial in a newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party sharply criticized the U.S. in the midst of the current debate over gun control—a debate that's been resolved for decades in most of the world's industrialized countries—and accused the U.S. of hypocrisy in touting its human rights record.

"It's inhumane for the U.S., which boasts about its human rights record, to turn a blind eye to gun violence, snub increasing calls for gun control, and risk more innocent lives," read the opinion column in the English-language version of the Global Times. "The U.S. has no other choice but to adopt gun control. The right of life is the most fundamental human right. The right to bear arms cannot overpower the individual's right to live."

While the U.S. government acts as an arbiter of human rights abuses around the world, the paper said, it has failed to protect its own citizens as many legislators accept donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun lobby which has opposed even widely popular gun reforms like universal background checks and has aggressively marketed military-style semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, frequently used in mass shootings, as an appropriate firearm for hunting and home-defense.

"Washington has been pointing an accusing finger at other countries over human rights... However, more Americans have been killed by gunfire in the country than American soldiers being killed in all U.S. wars," read the column. "Gun ownership in China is strictly regulated, which helps reduce gun-related crimes and deaths. The U.S. should learn from China and genuinely protect human rights."

While China has its own record of human rights abuses, its stringent gun control measures have kept mass shootings like the one the that took place in Parkland, Florida last week from becoming the regular occurrence that they are in the U.S.

In China's annual report on global human rights last year, it noted the U.S. government's "serious infringement on right to life [and] personal security."

"In 2016, the U.S. government exercised no effective control over guns, law enforcement departments abused their power, and crimes were not effectively contained," wrote China's State Council Information Office. "As a result, civil rights, especially the right to life, were seriously threatened and people's personal rights were continuously infringed upon."

The report listed several recent deadly mass shootings, and also decried the incarceration rate in the U.S.—higher than any other country in the world.

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