Castro blasts US on Chinese rights report
Cuba's Fidel Castro yesterday praised a report from China that blasted human rights in the United States, as he slammed Washington for hypocrisy on the issue.
Beijing's report released earlier this month, which lamented the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and reports of waterboarding and harsh treatment of US enemy combatants, showed "the disastrous situation of human rights in the United States," said Castro, 84, according to remarks noted in state media.
The report, issued each year to rebut an annual State Department report on human rights around the world that routinely criticizes China, said the United States "has turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation and seldom mentions it."
"We've had 50 years to condemn these hypocrites," noted Castro, who just this past week stepped aside to let his brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, to head the ruling Communist Party, a post he had held since the party's founding in 1965.
The Cuban government have been accused of human rights abuses, as well. Activists say the government limits freedoms of speech, the press, and peaceful assembly, and that it holds political prisoners.
The State Department meanwhile on Friday announced that China and the United States will hold human rights talks in Beijing next week, amid a Chinese crackdown on government critics that the US condemned.
Authorities in China have launched their toughest clampdown on dissent in years since anonymous online appeals emerged in February calling for weekly protests to emulate those that have rocked the Arab world.