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Full Text: National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) (2)
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13:57, April 13, 2009

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Introduction

The realization of human rights in the broadest sense has been a long-cherished ideal of mankind and also a long-pursued goal of the Chinese government and people.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese government, combining the universal principles of human rights and the concrete realities of China, has made unremitting efforts to promote and safeguard human rights. Hence, the fate of the Chinese people has changed fundamentally, and China has achieved historic development in its efforts to safeguard human rights. It is worth mentioning that, since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy at the end of 1978, China has enshrined respect for and protection of human rights in its Constitution as a major principle of government, and has taken effective measures to promote the cause of human rights, while enhancing the material and cultural life of the Chinese people and providing firm guarantees for their political, economic, cultural and social rights. Thus, a new chapter has opened in the history of the development of the cause of human rights in China.

China is a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, low per-capita share of resources, underdeveloped productivity and unbalanced economic and cultural development. Having just entered the stage of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way and accelerating socialist modernization, China is faced with the arduous tasks of reform, development and stabilization. Due to the influences and limitations of nature, history, culture, economic and social development level, and other factors, China still confronts many challenges and has a long road ahead in its efforts to improve its human rights situation.

By putting people first, the Chinese government makes sure the constitutional principle that "the state respects and protects the human rights of its citizens" is implemented. While respecting the universal principles of human rights, the Chinese government in the light of the basic realities of China, gives priority to the protection of the people's rights to subsistence and development, and lawfully guarantees the rights of all members of society to equal participation and development on the basis of facilitating sound and rapid economic and social development. In the practice of governance, the Chinese government stands by the principle that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing its fruits, spares no effort to solve the most specific problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people, promotes social equity and justice, and strives to ensure that all the people enjoy their rights to education, employment, medical and old-age care, and housing. The Chinese government persists in ensuring the people's position as masters of the country, expands citizens' orderly participation in political affairs at each level and in every field, improves the institutions for democracy, diversifies its forms and expands its channels, carries out democratic election, decision-making, administration and supervision in accordance with the law to guarantee people's rights to be informed, to participate, to be heard, and to oversee. In addition, the Chinese government advocates strengthening international communication, dialogue and cooperation regarding human rights, collaborating with other countries to accelerate the healthy development of the international cause of human rights, and contributes its share to building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.

The Chinese government unswervingly pushes forward the cause of human rights in China, and, in response to the United Nations' call for establishing a national human rights action plan, has instituted the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) on the basis of painstakingly summing up past experience and objectively analyzing the current situation. The plan defines the Chinese government's goals in promoting and protecting human rights, and the specific measures it is taking to this end.

The plan was framed on the following fundamental principles: First, in pursuit of the basic principles prescribed in the Constitution of China, and the essentials of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the plan is aimed at improving laws and regulations upholding human rights and advancing the cause of China's human rights in accordance with the law; second, adhering to the principle that all kinds of human rights are interdependent and inseparable, the plan encourages the coordinated development of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights, and the balanced development of individual and collective rights; third, in the light of practicality and China's reality, the plan ensures the feasibility of the proposed goals and measures, and scientifically promotes the development of the cause of human rights in China.

The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) involves broad participation by the relevant government departments and all social sectors. The Chinese government has established the "joint meeting mechanism for the National Human Rights Action Plan" for the purpose of working out a good plan. The Information Office of the State Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two members of the "joint meeting mechanism", take the responsibility of convening meetings. Other members include: Legislative Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Committee for Social and Legal Affairs of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Education, State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Health, China Disabled Persons' Federation, and China Society for Human Rights Studies, altogether53 organizations.

A group of experts from universities and research institutions, including Nankai University, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shandong University, China University of Political Science and Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing University, Wuhan University, Renmin University of China, and the Central Party School, also participated in the drafting and formulation of the plan. In the drafting and formulation process, joint meetings were held on many occasions to conduct thorough discussions with relevant government departments; several symposia were convened with representation from over 20 organizations, such as China Law Society, All-China Lawyers' Association, China Legal Aid Foundation, China Environmental Protection Foundation, Chinese Society of Education, China Women's Development Foundation, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Foundation for Disabled Persons, and China Foundation for Human Rights Development, to solicit suggestions for revisions through thorough discussions among social and non-governmental organizations, universities and research institutions, and other social sectors.

The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) is a document explaining the policy of the Chinese government with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights during the period 2009-2010, covering the political, economic, social and cultural fields. Governments and government departments at all levels shall make the action plan part of their responsibilities, and proactively implement it in line with the principle of "each performing its own functions and sharing out the work and responsibilities." All enterprises, public institutions, social and non-governmental organizations, press and media agencies, and the general public shall give vigorous publicity to this action plan, and expedite its implementation. Initiated by the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the "joint meeting mechanism for the National Human Rights Action Plan," comprising legislative and judicial organs and departments under the State Council, is responsible for coordinating the implementation, supervision and assessment of the plan.

The State Council has approved this action plan and has authorized its Information Office to promulgate it as follows.


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