By Wang Chen
September 26, 2011
Since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy, the Chinese government has made great efforts to incorporate the principle of universal human rights into China’s national conditions, to inherit and carry forward the fine cultural traditions of the nation, to draw on foreign development experience, and to promote the core values of socialism. The country has taken practical and effective steps to promote human rights, and is taking a socialist path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics.
First, China’s development path of human rights adheres to the principle of putting the people first and fully protecting their economic, political, social and cultural rights. The Chinese government, which holds the traditional idea that people are the root of a country, has developed a people-oriented scientific outlook on development and made great efforts to ensure that development is for the people and carried out by the people and that they share in the fruits of development. China has developed a comprehensive outlook on human rights development by promoting all-around education, protecting the people’s fundamental interests and meeting the growing material and cultural needs of the people.
Second, the path also features the pursuit of harmony, equality and justice. The Chinese government carries forward the fine cultural traditions of the nation, takes building a socialist harmonious society as its goal, properly handles the contradictions among the people and other social contradictions, coordinates the interests of various social groups, and struggles for social equity and justice.
Furthermore, it attaches great importance to promoting social construction, improving people’s living standards and expanding public services to ensure that all the people enjoy the rights to education, employment, medical and old-age care, and housing. It has also made great efforts to improve social management to keep good public order, provide the people with favorable living and working conditions, and maintain social stability and unity.
Third, the Chinese government always adheres to the idea of exercising state power for the people to safeguard the interests of the people. The Chinese government always requires its officials of various levels to firmly remember the mission and tenets of the people’s government, put the people in the most important position, regard the people’s standpoint as the most fundamental political standpoint, firmly foster the thought of serving the people wholeheartedly and the spirit of being responsible for the people truly and sincerely, put the people in their minds, think for the people, work relying on the people, do everything for the people, exercise the power for the people, care about the people’s concerns, advance the welfare of the people, sincerely do practical things for the people, try hard to solve difficulties for the people, persistently do good deeds for the people and always be servants of the people.
Fourth, the Chinese government always attaches great importance to the harmony between the human and nature in the course of modernization. The Harmonious Integration of Heaven and Man is a peculiar concept of the traditional Chinese culture. It means that all humans and things must accord with the order of nature so that the harmony between the human and nature could be realized.
Out of the viewpoint of safeguarding the people’s environment right, the Chinese government has proposed the mission of firmly setting up the idea of ecological civilization and building up the ecological civilization, and it also requires that the people should take the harmonious coexistence, virtuous cycle, comprehensive development and sustainable prosperity of man and nature as a tenet, establish a sustainable economic development mode and healthy and reasonable consumption mode and attach importance to the harmonious development of the human and nature and the improvement of the environment.
After Reform and Opening-Up started, China’s human rights cause has made great universally acknowledged achievements, and China’s human rights situation has reached a new high mark.
The living standard of the Chinese people has greatly improved. China has achieved the historic leap from barely having enough food and clothes to being fairly well off.
The number of China’s poverty-stricken rural people has greatly decreased. In 1978, the population of China’s poverty-stricken rural people was 250 million, accounting for more than 30 percent of China’s total rural population. At the end of 2010, the population of China’s poverty-stricken rural people was about 2.7 million, accounting for less than 3 percent of China’s rural population.
The pace of developing a socialist country under the rule of law is accelerating. Currently, more than 99 percent of Chinese citizens above 18 years old are entitled to the right to vote and be elected. Chinese citizens enjoy extensive basic freedoms, basic human rights, freedom of speech and beliefs and extensive free private space.
China’s human rights protection system is increasingly perfect. China’s human rights education has gradually been popularized and citizens’ awareness of human rights has been remarkably enhanced.
The Chinese government has attached great importance to the protection of human rights. China released the “Assessment Report on the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010)” in 2009. This is China’s first national plan on human rights. Thanks to two years of continuous efforts, China has accomplished all targets and tasks set out in a national human rights action plan as scheduled, marking that the cause of human rights in China has entered a new stage.
Meanwhile, China should be well aware that it is still a developing country and still faces the issue of the lack of balance and coordination in its development. China’s human rights cause is still faced with many challenges and China will have a long way to go to achieve the lofty goal of enabling all citizens to fully enjoy human rights.
The Chinese government has paid particular attention to international exchanges and cooperation concerning human rights, and is willing to learn from other countries’ experience to overcome its own shortcomings and work with them to jointly advance the sound development of the cause of international human rights.
The Chinese government has highly praised the roles played by the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in promoting the development of human rights across the world and the international human rights cooperation. It has also fully embraced the ideals and pursuits of human rights set out in the declaration. The Chinese government has joined 25 international human rights conventions, including the “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.” It has faithfully fulfilled the obligations demanded by the conventions and submitted its performance reports to relevant institutions in a timely fashion. It has also established sound working relationships with international human rights institutions, including the U.N. Human Rights Council.