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|Monday, April 09, 2001, updated at 15:26(GMT+8)|
Full Text of White Paper on China's Human Rights (II)The Information Office of the State Council issued Monday, April 9, a white paper on China's human rights cause in 2000. The following is second part of the full text of the white paper entitled Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2000:
V. Protection of Women and Children's RightsSustained efforts have been made to promote and effectively protect Chinese women's rights in the political, economic, social, educational, marital, domestic and other spheres. The extent of Chinese women's involvement in the management of state and social affairs has markedly increased. The ratios of women deputies to the Ninth NPC and women members on the CPPCC Ninth National Committee have risen by 0.8 and 2 percentage points, respectively, as compared with the NPC and CPPCC National Committee of the last terms. At present, women civil servants account for one third of the country's total. Women hold leading posts in the Party committees and governments of 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, an increase of 46.47 percent over the figure five years ago. In the 668 cities of China, there are 463 women mayors and vice-mayors. Among the leaders of the federations of trade unions of each province, municipality and autonomous region, there are one to two chairwomen or vice-chairwomen.
The number of employed women has continuously grown, and their work involvement has become rational. By October 2000, the number of women employees had reached 330 million, accounting for 46.7 percent of the total number of employees in China. The employed women have tended to shift to tertiary industry from conventional industries. The ratio of women engaged in agriculture, and the extractive, manufacturing and building industries is declining, while the ratio in culture, education, science and technology, health care, finance, insurance, transportation, posts and telecommunications, state organs, mass organizations and other sectors, is increasing. Such a shift facilitates the comprehensive development of women in economic activities, since it is more suited to women's physiological characteristics. In 2000, a total of well over 40 million women in China's rural areas received agricultural high-tech training, five of whom won the "Prize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life" of the Women's World Summit Foundation.
Women's educational level has risen further. According to statistics, in recent years both the incremental extent of the length of education enjoyed by women above the age of 15 and the declining extent of their illiteracy rate are larger than men's, and the gap in the educational levels of the two sexes is further narrowing. In 2000, the average length of education enjoyed by women exceeded 6.5 years, and the length gap between adult men and women in this regard narrowed from 1.7 years in 1995 to less than 1.5 years. In the past few years, China has helped nearly three million illiterates each year to learn how to read and write, among whom 65 percent were women. By the end of 1999, the illiteracy rate of adult women was 21.6 percent, and the illiteracy rate of women between 15 and 45 years old was 7.2 percent. In the year 2000, the ratio of primary school attendance for girls throughout China reached 99.07 percent, almost equal to the 99.14 percent for boys. Female students in kindergartens, primary schools, vocational secondary schools, regular secondary schools, secondary normal schools, secondary technical schools and regular institutions of higher learning made up 46.08 percent, 47. 60 percent, 47.17 percent, 46.17 percent, 67.49 percent, 54.63 percent and 40.98 percent of the total number of students attending schools of the same kind, respectively. Among the nation 's professionals, more than 110 million were women, constituting 40.6 percent of the total, or an increase of 14.8 percent over 1995. Among those female professionals, 3.263 million and 436,000 have professional titles of middle and senior ranks, respectively. Furthermore, currently there are 70 female academicians at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, making up 6 percent of the total, which is a fairly high ratio internationally.
Women's health conditions have constantly improved. In 2000, there were 609 hospitals specially for women and children, employing 72,000 medical personnel, and 2,598 clinics for women and children, employing 75,000 medical personnel. By 1999, the ratio of health care for pregnant and puerperal women throughout the country had exceeded 86 percent, and 95.4 percent of rural women had access to the modern method of midwifery. The mortality rate of pregnant women and women in labor dropped to 56.2 per 100, 000 from 61.9 per 100,000 in 1995. Beginning in 2000, the Chinese government has practiced a two-year special plan in the western region and impoverished rural areas with 200 million yuan earmarked to combat the maternal mortality rate and eliminate trismus nascentium. In October 2000, the China Poverty Relief Fund formally started the Strategic Plan of "Action 120 for the Safety of Mother and Baby," committing itself in establishing health and first-aid organs for women and children at the county, township and village levels in the poverty-stricken areas in the six provinces and one municipality in the central and western parts of China, to improve the health care of poor mothers and babies, and eliminating the mortality rate of babies, pregnant women and women in labor. An estimated 32 million yuan is to go to this 10-year campaign.
The state has adopted measures to effectively protect women's rights against infringement. To curb domestic violence, bigamy and taking concubines more effectively, perfect the family property system and protect women's rights in marriage and the family against infringement, the NPC mobilized people of various circles to conduct serious research for the revision of the Marriage Law, and publicized the draft amendments to the Marriage Law in January 2001 for public discussions. So far, the people's congresses and governments at all levels have formulated over 20 local regulations and policies for preventing and curbing domestic violence. By the end of October 2000, 13 provinces and 47 prefectures, cities and counties throughout the country had established the system of joint conference for protecting women's rights, attended by many departments, to regularly coordinate, supervise and examine the work of protecting women's rights and interests. The court system has set up 544 collegiate panels for safeguarding the rights and interests of women and children, employing 4,266 full-time cadres from women's organizations as people's assessors to directly participate in the trial of cases involving women's rights and interests. Between April and July 2000, the public security organs launched a nationwide movement to crack down on crimes of abducting and trafficking in women and children, in accordance with the law, and uncovered some 20,000 such cases, which involved 7,600 criminal gangs, saving or making proper arrangements for the resettlement of a large number of women and children who had been abducted and sold.
The rights of children have been effectively protected. China has constantly upheld the prophylactic immunization filing system for children to prevent and control pneumonia, diarrhea, rickets and iron-deficiency anemia. China has also conducted a baby- friendly campaign, advocated breast feeding, built baby-friendly hospitals, provided health care services such as children's nutrition guide, monitoring of children's growth, examination of newborn infant diseases, and preschool education for children, increasingly improving children's growth level and nutrition conditions. In 2000, child mortality dropped by one third as compared with 1990, and the rate of malnutrition among children dropped by 50 percent. To promote the healthy development of children, the Program for the Safe and Healthy Development of Chinese Children was initiated in October 2000. The basic tasks of this program are, through a series of publicity activities and providing training and services, to create a favorable social environment for the sound development of children, help children to stay away from dropout, disease, injury and crime, and effectively protect the rights and interests of children. By the end of 1999, the "Hope Project" had received a total of 1.84 billion yuan in donations, with which it had helped the construction of 7,812 "Hope" primary schools and aided 2.3 million dropouts. In 2000, the Children's Foundation of China raised some 81 million yuan to support the implementation of the "Spring Buds Program," helping a total of 1.05 million girl dropouts return to school.
VI. Equal Rights and Special Protection for Ethnic MinoritiesIn China, ethnic minorities enjoy not only all the rights citizens are entitled to by the Constitution and laws as the Han people do, but also the special rights enjoyed only by ethnic minorities according to law. To guarantee the equal rights and special rights and interests of ethnic minorities, China practices a system of regional ethnic autonomy in ethnic minority areas. In February 2001, the Standing Committee of the Ninth NPC made amendments to the Law Governing Regional Ethnic Autonomy, upgrading the system of regional ethnic autonomy as part of the basic political system of China. New stipulations added in the Law include: carrying out necessary special policies in the ethnic autonomous areas, and increasing investments in and accelerating the development of these areas, which have further strengthened the legal guarantee of autonomy in the autonomous areas. According to statistics, the 55 ethnic minorities in China have a combined population of more than 100 million, or 8.41 percent of the country's total population, of which 75 percent enjoy regional ethnic autonomy.
The right of ethnic minorities to participate in the administration of state affairs on an equal footing and the autonomous right to manage their own regions and affairs are safeguarded by law. In the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee of successive terms, the percentage of ethnic minority representatives has far exceeded the proportion of the ethnic minority population in the national population, and each of the 55 ethnic minorities, no matter what their populations, has its own representatives. There are altogether 428 ethnic minority deputies to the Ninth NPC and 257 ethnic minority members on the CPPCC Ninth National Committee, accounting for 14.37 percent and 11.7 percent of the total, respectively. Among the chairperson or vice- chairpersons of the standing committee of the people's congress of an autonomous area there shall be one or more citizens of the ethnic group or groups exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned. The head of an autonomous region, autonomous prefecture or autonomous county shall be a citizen of the ethnic group exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned, and the other members of the people's governments of these regions, prefectures and counties shall include members of the ethnic group exercising regional autonomy as well as members of other ethnic minorities so far as it is reasonable. By the end of 1999, there were altogether 2.824 million ethnic minority cadres. In 2000, there were over 50, 000 ethnic minority cadres in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Tibetan cadres accounted for over 70 percent of the total number of cadres there. Tibetan deputies and those of other ethnic minorities exceeded 80 percent of the total number of deputies to the people's congresses of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The state implements an assistance policy toward the economic and social development of the minority regions, by providing funding, technology and personnel to promote the economic and social development and the improvement of the people's living standard in those regions. In 2000, the GDP of these regions increased by an average of 8.1 percent, compared with the previous year. This rate has been higher than that of the national average since 1997. The financial revenue of these regions increased by 14. 2 percent over that of the year before; and the total volume of retail sales of consumption goods increased by 9.0 percent over that of the previous year. From 1994 to 1999, the minority regions had solved the problems of food and clothing for over 30 million poverty-stricken people. In recent years, the annual financial set- quota subsidy from the Central Government to Tibet has been over 1. 2 billion yuan annually. The 62 aid-Tibet projects with a total investment of 4.6 billion yuan and another 716 projects, with a total investment of 3.2 billion yuan from ministries, commissions and other central government institutions, and 15 provinces and municipalities have been completed and put to use. According to statistics, the length of highways in Tibet has reached 25,000 km; the total installed capacity of electricity has reached 340,000 kw; and all counties in Tibet have set up telephone systems connected with the national one. An infrastructure suited to the development of a market economy is now in initial shape in Tibet. The GDP of Tibet has surpassed the ten billion yuan mark, and the growth rate of the region's economy has exceeded the national average for six years running, at 10.7 percent annually. There have been bumper harvests for the past 13 years, and now the Tibetans can support themselves with the grain, oil and meat produced by themselves. Nowadays, 98 percent of the commodities in Tibet are in excess of demand, a sharp contrast to the old days when 80 percent of needed goods in Tibet had to be transferred from the inland areas. The number of absolutely poor people in Tibet has been reduced from the 480,000 in 1994 to the present 70,000. Most of the people in Tibet today are fast on their way to living a relatively comfortable life.
The state makes great efforts to support the ethnic minority regions in developing education, and has set aside special subsidies and funds for this purpose. In 2000, the government began to carry out the "Project for Schools in Eastern Regions to Aid Schools in Poverty-Stricken Areas in the West" and the " Project for Large and Medium Cities in the West Aiding Schools in Poverty-stricken Areas in Their Own Provinces (Autonomous Regions or Municipalities)." Besides, the government worked out the " Proposals on Accelerating the Reform and Development of Vocational Education in Ethnic Minority Regions and Regional Ethnic Autonomy Areas," demanding that measures be taken to establish and perfect an effective system and safeguard mechanism for investment in vocational education development in ethnic minority regions and to train teachers and management personnel for these regions. According to statistics, in 2000 there were 925,000 full-time ethnic minority teachers and 18.5249 million ethnic minority students in schools of all levels and types across the country. Minority students in primary schools, middle schools and colleges accounted for 9.08 percent, 6.77 percent and 5.71 percent, respectively, of the total number of students in those schools. Now all the 55 ethnic minorities have their own college students, and some even are master's and doctor's degree holders. Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, the state has poured over one billion yuan into the development of education in Tibet. The state has not only set up Tibetan secondary and primary schools in inland regions, and Tibetan classes at inland universities, but it has also set up four universities and more than 1,000 secondary and primary schools in Tibet, bringing the attendance rate of Tibetan school-age children to 85.8 percent from less than 2 percent before 1951, and has trained over 30,000 personnel in various skills for Tibet.
The state safeguards the freedom of the ethnic minorities to utilize and develop their own languages. The organs of self- government in autonomous areas may use one or several languages commonly used in the locality, according to law, in performing their functions, in film, radio and television, and in books, newspapers and magazines. Since the 1950s, the Chinese government has helped over 10 ethnic minorities create and improve scripts of their own choice on the principle of voluntariness. Nowadays, 53 of the 55 ethnic minorities across the country have their own languages, including over 80 dialects; 21 ethnic minorities have a total of 27 scripts of their own in current use, which are all computer-readable; and many of the minorities have radio, film, television, books and periodicals in their own languages. The state helps the minority regions to institute teaching in the local languages or bilingual teaching and to enhance the editing of teaching materials in minority languages. Primary and middle schools in Tibet teach in the Tibetan language or in both the Tibetan and Chinese languages, and all the 181 textbooks, 122 teaching reference books and 16 syllabi of 16 courses used in schools from the primary to the senior high have been translated into Tibetan. After the establishment of the Mongolian Language Net, the first Tibetan language net in the world -- the Tongyuan Tibetan Language Net -- was established in December 1999 at the Northwest Institute for Ethnic Minorities in Lanzhou, Gansu Province.
The Chinese government sets store by protecting and developing the traditional cultures of ethnic minorities, and respects their folkways and customs in such aspects as diet, marriage, funeral, festival celebration and religious belief. In February 2000, the Ministry of Culture and State Commission of Ethnic Affairs jointly promulgated the "Proposals on Further Strengthening Ethnic Minority-related Cultural Work," stressing the need to protect the unique traditional cultures and rich cultural heritages of all the ethnic minorities and set up ethnic minority cultural and ecological preservation zones where possible, at the same time demanding that the Han-inhabited eastern developed regions increase their assistance to the minority-inhabited western regions in their projects for cultural development. To date, 24 art universities and colleges across the country have opened classes specially for training artists of minority origin, and all the colleges for ethnic minorities and some middle schools and colleges in autonomous areas have also offered special courses of study on minority literature, music, dance and fine arts. Since the 1990s, the central and local budgets have earmarked special subsides and funds for building, extending or repairing a number of libraries, cultural centers, cultural clubs, museums, cinemas and theaters. In recent years, the central and Tibetan regional governments have spent nearly 300 million yuan to repair and protect the Potala Palace, Sakya Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Drepung Monastery, the Guge Kingdom ruins in Ngari, and other important cultural and historical sites. At present, there are over 50 Tibetan studies institutes nationwide with over 2,000 researchers, and more than 10 Tibetological periodicals in the Tibetan, Chinese and English languages. The first four Tibetan- language volumes of the Tibetan epic King Gesar, the highest achievement of ancient Tibetan culture, have been published. The College of Tibetan Medicine, the biggest and most authoritative of its kind in China, has trained over 650 undergraduate students and students of junior college level and 10 master's degree students.
Due to the influence of natural, historical and other factors, the western region, where ethnic minorities are concentrated, lags far behind the south eastern seaboard region economically -- a fact which, to a large extent, restricts the improvement of the conditions for the subsistence and development of the minority peoples. To solve this problem once and for all, the Chinese government began in 2000 to implement a strategy for the all-out development of the west, at the same time intensifying its assistance to the minority regions in policy-related matters, funds and personnel. This will forcefully promote economic and social development in these regions, and the full realization of the equal rights of ethnic minorities.
VII. Actively Carrying Out International Exchanges and Cooperation in the Realm of Human RightsThe Chinese government always respects the purpose and principle of the Charter of the United Nations for promoting and protecting human rights, supports the UN efforts in this regard and actively participates in the UN activities in the realm of human rights.
The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the positive role of international conventions on human rights in promoting and protecting human rights, and has approved or acceded to 18 such conventions. The Chinese government signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1997 and October 1998, respectively. On February 28, 2001, the former covenant was deliberated and ratified at the 20th meeting of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee. This fully demonstrates the Chinese government's positive attitude toward carrying out international cooperation in human rights as well as China's firm determination and confidence in promoting and protecting human rights. In September 2000, the Chinese government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, becoming one of the first signatory countries to this Convention. China has always taken seriously those international conventions on human rights it has ratified, adopted various measures to fulfill its duties under these conventions and submitted timely reports on their implementation, as stipulated by related conventions, for deliberation and discussion by related UN organs. In 2000, the Chinese government submitted to the UN its eighth and ninth reports on the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and, in a timely manner, presented to the UN its report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. These have helped the UN concerned departments and the international community to gain a better understanding of the human rights situation in China.
China attaches importance to the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting and protecting human rights, and has actively cooperated with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In March 2000, the Chinese government and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights together successfully sponsored the Eighth Symposium on Human Rights in the Asian-Pacific Region in Beijing, with representatives from over 40 Asian-Pacific countries attending. Chinese President Jiang Zemin wrote a letter congratulating the opening of the symposium, and Vice-Premier of the State Council Qian Qichen attended and spoke at the symposium. Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made a special trip to China to attend the symposium. In November 2000, Mary Robinson visited China again on invitation. During her stay in China, President Jiang Zemin and Vice-Premier Qian Qichen met with her, respectively, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry signed with her the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Mutual Agreement to Cooperate in the Development and Implementation of Technical Cooperation Programs. It is defined in the Memorandum that China will carry out project cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the two coming years in the fields of judicial administration, human rights education and legal system, as well as the fulfillment of the right to development and the economic, social and cultural rights. China has actively carried out cooperation with the special rapporteurs and working groups on thematic issues of the UN Commission on Human Rights. It has twice invited the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Commission on Human Rights to visit China, and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance has also visited China on invitation. China has, in a timely and earnest manner, answered the letters on human rights transmitted by the special rapporteurs of the Commission on Human Rights and other UN human rights mechanisms, clearing up a number of facts and helping the UN and international community toward a better understanding of China. In addition, China and the UN Development Program also jointly sponsored an international symposium on the problem of cults, to carry out exchanges and explore on how to deal with cults and safeguard human rights by various countries.
China has consistently advocated carrying out dialogues and exchanges by all countries on the human rights issue on the basis of equality and mutual respect so as to enhance understanding, promote consensus and reduce differences. In February and September 2000, respectively, China held the ninth and tenth dialogues on human rights with the European Union. China and the European Union held the fourth and fifth judicial symposiums in May and December, respectively. In February and October respectively, China and Britain held the fourth and fifth dialogues on human rights. In August, China held its fourth human rights dialogue with Australia. In October, China and Canada held the sixth dialogue on human rights. In May, China and Norway jointly held the fourth round-table meeting on human rights and the rule of law. In June, China, Canada and Norway held the Third Symposium on Human Rights in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2000, China held consultations and exchanges on human rights with Cuba, Laos and many other developing countries. In October, China successfully held the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation -- Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000 in Beijing, with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four heads of state from Africa, nearly 80 ministers from 45 African countries and leaders of related international and regional organizations attending. In the Sino- African Cooperative Forum Beijing Declaration adopted at the meeting, it is emphasized that the principle of universality of human rights and basic freedoms should be respected, and the diversity of the world and the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences must be safeguarded; that each country has the right to choose different ways and modes of promoting and protecting human rights domestically; and that politicalizing the issue of human rights and attaching human rights conditions to economic aid are themselves violations of human rights, and therefore should be firmly opposed.
The progress of human rights is an important aspect of the social development of all countries, and it is a historical process of continuous advance. China is a developing country with a huge population. Due to restrictions of nature, history, level of development and other factors, the human rights cause in China is in the process of developing, and there is still much room for further improvement in its human rights situation. In the light of China's national conditions and according to the people's wishes, the Chinese government aims to build a democratic and modernized country with a high level of civilization under the rule of law, actively learn from the beneficial experiences and cultural achievements of other countries, and, while maintaining social stability, expedite development, strengthen the democratic and legal systems, promote social ethical progress, and continuously push forward the development of the human rights cause in China. At the same time, China will, as always, actively participate in international activities in the realm of human rights, carry out wide-ranging cooperation and exchanges with other countries, and make its due contribution to promoting the healthy development of the international human rights cause.
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