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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, China Top U.S. Report On Rights

WASHINGTON -- The United States on Wednesday flailed friend and foe alike in its annual human rights report, citing China, Russia, Egypt, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia among states that continued abuses in 1995.

The report, covering 194 countries, more strongly than ever undercut a fundamental tenet of U.S. policy toward China, saying experience there proved economic growth and trade "cannot by themselves bring greater respect for human rights."

Beijing "continues to commit well-documented human rights abuses in violation of international norms," it said.

"Although there was greater emphasis on legal reform, by year's end almost all public dissent against the central authorities was silenced," it added.

In Russia, the report found "continued and widespread use of Russian military force against civilians in Chechnya, the undermining of official institutions established to monitor human rights and the continued violation of rights and liberties by security forces."

The rights record of President Boris Yeltsin's government remained uneven, as last year, but there were "reversals and worsening in some areas, most notably in the conduct of the war [against separatists] in Chechnya," it said.

The report, prepared by the State Department, is required by Congress and has been released every year since 1977. It inevitably draws harsh protest from nations subjected to criticism, especially since the United States routinely executes prisoners and has often supported repressive regimes for strategic reasons.

The criticism comes at a sensitive time in U.S. relations with both China and Russia.

Ties with China remain tense, fanned by new and continuing disputes over arms transfers, trade and Taiwan.

After directly linking U.S. trade benefits to China's human rights record, President Bill Clinton dropped that connection in 1994, arguing that expanded trade would open China to greater interaction with the West and eventually, improved human and political rights.

But the report said the experience of 1995 only added to the evidence that rights progress in China also requires "a willingness by political authorities to abide by fundamental international norms."

The report did not spare U.S. friends from criticism.

NATO ally Turkey was cited for "serious" abuses, including restrictions on freedom of expression and excessive use of force against Kurdish civilians, while Egypt was faulted for a campaign against Islamic extremists involving extrajudicial killing and torture. Both countries are major U.S. aid recipients.