US: Olympic host China lacks freedoms

WASHINGTON – The United States branded China an authoritarian human rights abuser Tuesday, citing alleged torture, state control of basic aspects of daily life, tight controls on religion and harassment of foreign charities.

China, host of the summer Olympics, has rampant and chronic human rights problems despite rapid economic growth that has transformed large parts of Chinese society, the State Department said in its annual accounting of human rights practices around the world.

The world’s most populous nation, China is an increasingly important U.S. trade partner and a chief competitor with the United States for energy and shrinking natural resources. It is the object of broad U.S. economic and diplomatic outreach, with mixed results.

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