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Pledge to address human rights issue
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08:28, April 22, 2008

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Despite achievements in advancing human rights, the country does not ignore existing problems and pledges to solve them, a leading Chinese human rights expert said yesterday.

"People's civil and political rights are protected, but there are still some problems," Luo Haocai, president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, told the inaugural Beijing Forum on Human Rights.

"China's political and economic systems are not perfect; democracy and the legal system are not mature, and urban and rural development is imbalanced.

"There are still problems in employment, education, medical care, housing, social welfare, income distribution, production safety and environmental protection."

He said China had never shunned the problems and had pledged to solve them through economic and social development, and the continuous improvement of democracy and the legal system.

"On the other hand, some Western countries adopt double standards on the human rights issue and condemn China and other developing countries, but turn a blind eye to their own human rights problems," he said.

Luo stressed that the right to development is of primary importance in developing countries as it paves the way for the full realization of human rights.

Luo also said that the country values not only the protection of individual human rights but also collective human rights, which is an important reason for China's stability, social harmony and people's freedom.

Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, said: "China always attaches great importance to putting people first, upholds the principle that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing in its fruits."

It was his first public appearance since his appointment to the post on April 10.

Nina Karpachova, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, told the forum that double standards prevail in international dialogue on human rights, and called for more understanding from other countries on the role China plays in the world.

Karpachova, who has been participating in human rights forums sponsored by China for 10 years, said "the fact is that China has achieved huge economic growth and has become more confident. It now plays a balancing role in a uni-polar world".

"China has played an active role in promoting global harmony and the whole world benefits from it."

Experts at the forum yesterday also called for dialogue on human rights between different countries or civilizations.

Human rights are universal, but the international community must treat different aspects of human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, director of the division of multilateral affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, said.

"Equitable and mutually respectful dialogue would contribute to the enhancement of international cooperation in this field," he said.

Ibrahim Nsiru Mantu, former deputy president of the Senate of Nigeria, added that "the respect for human rights should consider differences in national cultures or other civilizations".

More than 110 representatives from 32 countries and international organizations are attending the two-day forum.

Source: China Daily

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