Human Rights in Russia 'Under Siege': US State Dept.

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2009 3:49 PM CST
Police officers arrest a petitioner who tried to stage a protest in front of the State Council Information Office in Beijing.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Human rights in Russia are "under siege," and the Chinese government is engaging in "serious human rights abuses," the US State Department says. The finger-pointing, in an annual report released today, comes just a week after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited China and downplayed the US focus on rights abuses there in favor of economic and environmental challenges, Reuters reports.

In a preface to the report, which covers the final year of the Bush administration, Clinton tacitly acknowledged criticism of the American record over the past 8 years. “Not only will we seek to live up to our ideals on American soil,” she wrote, “we will pursue greater respect for human rights as we engage other nations.” The report singled out Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, among others. China’s record, it said, includes “extrajudicial killings, torture and coerced confessions.”