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Chinese media rebukes US over Ferguson violence, racism

Protesters Michael Richardson, center, and Elizabeth Johnson, right, of Tacoma, Wash., hold a sign that reads "Justice for Michael Brown" as they attend an evening rally Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Tacoma, Wash. Photo: AP

China's state media published commentaries accusing the US of human rights hypocrisy for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of an unarmed black man, which triggered clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

More than a week after a small-town police officer shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in suburban St Louis, the Ferguson story has gone viral globally. Middle East protesters have offered Twitter advice to American protesters on how to cope with tear gas. Media in Russia and Iran have criticised treatment of protesters in Ferguson.

"This is probably the largest protest launched by African Americans in recent years," the Global Times, an English-language offshoot of the People's Daily, wrote in an editorial on Tuesday. "It tells us that racism still overshadows minorities in the US even while they have got a black president."

A day earlier, a commentary in China's Xinhua news service struck a similar theme.

"The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even if in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home," wrote Xinhua writer Li Li.

The author concludes that the United States should drop what it is doing overseas and turn its attention inward. “Each country has its own national conditions that might lead to different social problems. Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”

In its editorial Tuesday, Global Times said that the United States "owes African Americans historical debts, which has resulted in many racial problems." In response to those problems, said the editorial, US leaders have employed "a fairly tough approach ... pushing African Americans to integrate into mainstream society at the cost of destroying their original cultures."

While not a top topic on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, Ferguson is attracting comment from many Chinese netizens.

"How can the 'heaven of freedom' institute curfew?" wrote one commentator, Meimei from Beijing. "This is an absolute violation of human rights of the American people! We can't help but to ask, what right does the police have to shoot a walking man without a reason?"

Another Chinese commentator, Yahai from Dalian, in Liaoning province, said the riot reflected "America's racial discrimination of yet another time, the stubborn disease of America ... When America talks about human rights, it should first settle its own human rights problems."

Yet some Chinese commentators took a different view, including one that reflected Beijing's priorities when dealing with unrest.

"America has its own method in dealing with such riots, and has been very decisive and resolute in carrying out the curfew," wrote Zhang Yiwu, a professor from Peking University. "This means that America's social regulation is fairly effective. It cannot let itself fall into a mess of anarchy."


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Rhythm Media Group is a multi-media company, operating a US-based Chinese daily newspaper, The China Press, and the paper's website - uschinapress.com (which has mobile-app version), as well as a Beijing-based English website Sino-US.com. The group boasts 15 branch offices across the US, and a number of cultural centers focusing on culture-related business in the North America, Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Launched in September 2012, the Sino-US.com is designed to serve as a bridge between China and the US, and to keep its readership inside or outside China better informed by providing news and insights on China's current affairs, culture, life, business, people and sports.

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