In a new report on America's human rights record, China reeled off snapshots of America's social ills, from murder, rape and homelessness to the scandal over fabricated stories that befell the New York Times.

The report, released on Monday, was based on articles in US newspapers and US government statistics.

It seized on nationally publicised incidents like the fatal clash last November between Cincinnati police and a 41-year-old black man, the latest incident of racial tension in the Midwestern city which was hit by race riots in 2001.

"Forty years after Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech, the equal rights pursued by America's blacks and other minorities remains a dream that can be aspired to, but not attained," the report said.

Flawed democracy?

"As in previous years, the United States is again playing the part of the world's 'human rights police'. And as in previous years, the US report again leaves out the United States' age-old malpractices and problems with human rights"

Chinese report on US human rights

China also exposed the weight big business exerts on the American electoral process, quoting Britain's Independent newspaper as saying President George Bush had amassed $200 million for the 2004 campaign.

"The presidential election, viewed as a symbol of American democracy, in reality is a money game played by the rich."

But the Communist nation reserved one of its harshest indictments for American actions abroad since the September 11 attacks.

Quoting another report in the Independent, it said 13,000 unarmed men, women and children died in attacks led by US-led forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, calling the Iraq campaign the bloodiest for civilians since the Vietnam War.

Beijing's annual assessment of human rights in America came in retaliation to the US report on 191 countries last week, which upbraided China for "backsliding".

World policeman

A US official also said Washington was heading in the direction of a UN resolution on China's rights record.

"As in previous years, the United States is again playing the part of the world's 'human rights police'," the Chinese report began.

"And as in previous years, the US report again leaves out the United States' age-old malpractices and problems with human rights.

"Because of this, we also cannot but do as we've done in previous years, and help the United States fill in its record on human rights."

China says it must maintain social 
stability at all cost 

Whereas the US charges target abuses of individual liberties, Beijing insists that basic human rights means putting priority on sheltering, clothing and feeding its 1.3 billion people - and preserving social stability at almost any cost.

Sharp differences

The Communist government also bristled at what it deems to be perennial US meddling in others' domestic affairs.

Last week, China flatly rejected US accusations of extrajudicial killings and torture, suppression of political and religious groups and foot-dragging on steps towards democracy in Hong Kong.

It was the fifth straight year Beijing has issued a report on the rights record of the United States.

Sharp differences notwithstanding, the two countries engage in a human rights dialogue.