In announcing her department’s annual human rights report, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made multiple references to the elephant in the room — the United States’ own tarnished record, saying “America must first be an exemplar of our own ideals.”

Beyond pro forma self-reflection, the report contains the requisite admonition of China, Russia and North Korea — countries where the U.S. sees worsening human rights conditions.

The BBC:

The US state department has criticised China in an annual report on human rights around the world.

China’s human rights record worsened in some areas despite the country hosting the Beijing Olympics, the report said.

On a trip to China last week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said co-operation between the two countries should take precedence over tensions.

But she also said she had held candid discussions on human rights issues with her Chinese counterpart.

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