Editor's Note: The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published on Sunday a white paper titled Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China. Following is the full text:
A senior thanks volunteers for their service at an elderly-care apartment in Beijing's Fengtai district on Sept 11. (CAI YANG / XINHUA)
I. A Splendid History of China's Human Rights Protection
II. People-centered Approach in Human Rights Protection
III. Continuing to Improve People's Living Standards
IV. Effectively Ensuring That People Enjoy Their Rights
V. Protecting the Rights of Special Groups
VI. Strengthening the Rule of Law for Human Rights
VII. Full Participation in Global Governance of Human Rights
VIII. Advancing the International Cause of Human Rights
October 1, 2019 is the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a day of special significance not only for China but for the entire world. As a result of the developments that have taken place in the PRC over the 70 years, the people of China are living a happier life, the world is more prosperous, and human society is more diverse and colorful.
Seventy years ago, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) the people of China were emancipated and became masters of their country. Over the subsequent seven decades, the Chinese nation has stood up and grown prosperous and is becoming strong; all basic rights of the people are better respected and protected; and China has made regular contribution to the international cause of human rights.
Living a happy life is the primary human right. Since the day of its foundation, the CPC has set its goal to work for the wellbeing of the people of China, for national rejuvenation and for human progress. Since the founding of the PRC, and especially since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has been guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. The nation has constantly reviewed the experience gained in human social development, integrated the principle of universality of human rights with national conditions in practicing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and espoused a people-centered view of human rights. China regards the rights to subsistence and development as its primary and basic human rights. It endeavors to improve the rights of all its people in a coordinated manner and works for their rounded development. Both history and present circumstances attest that China has opened a new path of human rights protection based on its national conditions, and increased the diversity of human civilizations.
As a key member of the international community, China raises high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefits, staunchly safeguarding world peace, promoting common development, and advancing development through cooperation while promoting human rights through development. It fully participates in global human rights governance, and works strenuously to advance the international cause of human rights.
I. A Splendid History of China's Human Rights Protection
The PRC is a socialist country led by the CPC. The original aspiration and the mission of the Party is to seek happiness for the people of China and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and putting the people at the center of all its work is the supreme pursuit of the Party in its governance. The Party's leadership is the fundamental guarantee for the people of China to have access to human rights, and to fully enjoy more human rights. This leadership is therefore in the interests of all people of China, critical for their pursuit of a happy life, and provides the foundations for the cause of human rights in China.
The progress in human rights in China parallels the country's overall progress in recent times, and results from the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The cause of human rights in China has gone through three phases since 1949:
The first phase: Founded in 1949, the PRC established a basic socialist system and achieved the most extensive and profound social transformation in China's history, laying down the basic political prerequisite and establishing the institutions for developing human rights in China.
Between 1840 and 1949, due to repeated invasions by foreign powers, a corrupt ruling class, and a backward social system, China was gradually reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Frequent wars, instability, a shattered economy, and a destitute populace - this is an accurate portrayal of China at that time. The people suffered under the oppression of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism, and had no access to human rights at all.
With the founding of the PRC, China achieved and then defended true, complete national liberation and independence, which provided the fundamental guarantee for the subsistence, freedom, and personal security of the people, and created fundamental conditions to effectively protect and continuously improve all of their rights.
The PRC established and consolidated the political system of people's democracy, which guarantees the people's rights to be masters of their country. The Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which was adopted on the eve of the founding of the PRC and served as the provisional Constitution of China, stipulates: people have the right to vote and to stand in election in addition to a wide range of political rights and freedoms; and women have the same rights as men in all respects, including politics, economy, culture, education and social life. The 1954 Constitution of the PRC, which was adopted at the First Session of the First National People's Congress (NPC), set up the principles of people's democracy and socialism, established the system of people's congresses, and provided institutional guarantees for ensuring all power in the PRC belongs to the people. It included a chapter specifying the basic rights and obligations of citizens.
The various democratic reforms and social programs carried out by the PRC during this period created conditions for economic and social development and protection of human rights. The land reform in the early 1950s abolished the feudal system of land ownership that allowed for exploitation by the landlord class. As a result, Chinese peasants were economically liberated and became masters of their country. Suppressed rural productive forces were unleashed and peasants' economic status and living standards were greatly improved. The democratic reform of the production and management of state-owned factories, mines, and transportation operators that started in 1950 set up factory management committees and workers' congresses in these entities, and hence made workers true masters of their enterprises. The Marriage Law promulgated in 1950 abolished the feudal marriage system that sanctioned arranged or forced marriages, enabled men's superiority over women, and neglected children's interests. It established a new marriage system featuring monogamy, freedom of marriage, gender equality, and protection of the legitimate interests of women and children. In addition, China promoted education and healthcare, established labor insurance and social relief systems, and created a nascent social security system with public employers being the building blocks.
The PRC established a complete, comprehensive economic system to boost economic growth, which laid the economic foundations for human rights protection. The newborn People's Republic quickly recovered from the devastation of past wars. In only three years its economy and the people's standard of living rose to the highest level in history. On this basis China started socialist transformation of agriculture, handcrafts and capitalist industry and commerce, and established a basic economic system of socialism. This provided the basic institutional guarantee for the people to participate in economic development and share the fruits of their work on an equal footing.
The PRC soundly rejects ethnic oppression and discrimination, and forges an interethnic relationship characterized by equality, mutual help and unity. The success of the system of regional ethnic autonomy effectively guarantees the equal rights of all ethnic minority groups in China as well as their right of autonomy in handling affairs of their own groups and regions.
The second phase: The reform and opening up launched in 1978 opened the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has emancipated and developed the productive forces to a great extent. As a result the people's rights to subsistence and development and other basic rights are better protected, and the cause of human rights in China has made huge progress.
Reform and opening up was a great new revolution undertaken by the people of China and led by the CPC under the new conditions of that era. Under the leadership of the CPC, the people review experiences and lessons drawn from socialist construction, adhere to the path of socialism, keep economic development as our central task, uphold the Four Cardinal Principles and reform and opening up, and build socialism with Chinese characteristics. The CPC pursues development as its top priority in governance and rejuvenation of the nation and the key to solving all China's problems. It vigorously builds up productive forces and strives to better protect human rights through development, and has thereby aroused great enthusiasm among the people.
In the course of reform and opening up, the CPC has made respecting and protecting human rights a goal of its governance, and added new elements to advancing the cause. In 1997, the 15th CPC National Congress committed to: "...ensuring that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedom endowed by law, and respecting and guaranteeing human rights." In 2002, "Human rights are respected and guaranteed" was written into the report to the 16th CPC National Congress as an important goal of socialist political progress. In 2007, the report to the 17th CPC National Congress further pointed out: "We must respect and guarantee human rights, and ensure the equal right to participation and development for all members of society in accordance with the law." And in the same year, this principle was written for the first time into the CPC Constitution.
In the course of reform and opening up, China adheres to governance based on the Constitution, which provides the fundamental legal guarantee for comprehensive progress in human rights. In 1982, the Fifth Session of the Fifth NPC adopted the current Constitution of the PRC, which clearly defines the substance and basic form of socialist democracy. It provides that all citizens are entitled to civil rights, political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights. In the following years, the NPC adopted five amendments to the Constitution to better protect human rights. These covered the basic economic system, distribution system, protection of citizens' private property, and social security system. In particular, the amendment adopted at the Second Session of the 10th NPC added the line "The State respects and preserves human rights" into the Constitution, a move that has strongly guaranteed and advanced human rights in China.
In the course of reform and opening up, China has incorporated the protection of human rights into national development strategies and plans. In 1991, the Chinese government published its first white paper on human rights - Human Rights in China. It formulated and implemented the National Human Rights Action Plan, which set phased goals and tasks for respecting and safeguarding human rights. China has also made targeted action plans relating to the economy, culture, society, the environment and other fields, as well as plans to protect the rights of specific groups, such as ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, to ensure that all the people of China can fully enjoy their rights.
In the course of reform and opening up, China has established and improved institutions for protecting human rights that are suited to its national conditions. A human rights protection system with Chinese characteristics has taken shape. The Chinese government has put into place a number of systems and mechanisms, including those dealing with subsistence allowances, the minimum wage, labor security supervision, labor dispute settlement, employment assistance, and compulsory education (primary and middle schools). With the promulgation of the General Principles of the Civil Law and Tort Liability Law, China has established a system of protection for the right to dignity. In addition, it has advanced household registration reform, and made consistent improvements to the election system, the community-level self-governance system, the system for transparency of government affairs, the litigation system and the system for intellectual property protection.
The third phase: The 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 marks the advent of a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China espouses the people-centered development philosophy, works hard to ensure and improve people's wellbeing, and continues to strengthen legal protection for human rights. As a result, the cause of human rights in China has made headway on all fronts.
In building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, full respect for and protection of human rights is an important goal of China's endeavors to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This establishes the importance of human rights from a strategic perspective. The CPC Constitution amended and adopted at the 18th National Congress reaffirms the principle of respecting and protecting human rights. In 2014, the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee adopted the "Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Rule of Law", which emphasizes the need to "provide stronger judicial protection of human rights" and to "strengthen awareness throughout the whole of society about the need to respect and safeguard human rights." In 2017, the 19th CPC National Congress established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guiding ideology of the CPC, and categorically stated that we should "strengthen legal protection for human rights to ensure that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms as prescribed by law." This provides fundamental basis for us to advance the cause of human rights in China.
In building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, the people's aspiration to live a better life is the focus of all the country's work, and China strives to give the people a stronger sense of gain, happiness and security. It bases the cause of human rights on the endeavors to solve the principal contradiction in Chinese society, focuses on people's ever-growing needs for a better life, and promotes full and balanced progress in all human rights. China promotes well-rounded development of the people as a principle of human rights, applies the new development philosophy, presses ahead toward common prosperity for all, and strives to build a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
In building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, China focuses on achieving the Two Centenary Goals and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. For this purpose it put forward the Five-point Strategy (promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental progress in a coordinated way), so every citizen's rights can be fully protected in each of these spheres. For this new era it has also introduced the Four-pronged Strategy: to complete a moderately prosperous society in all respects, further reform, advance the rule of law, and strengthen Party discipline, which provides a strong guarantee for advancing the cause of human rights in China on all fronts. China respects and guarantees human rights throughout the process of modernizing its national governance system and capacity. It has strengthened legal protection for human rights and reformed and refined the systems to protect human rights, and it safeguards citizens' rights through the combination of modern institutions and the rule of law.
II. People-centered Approach in Human Rights Protection
In developing human rights over the past 70 years, China has combined universal principles with the prevailing realities of the country, forming a system of human rights with a people-centered approach. The basic elements are:
Human rights are a historical and developmental concept. Born under certain historical circumstances, the concept evolves as times change. Different nations have different tasks and take different approaches to ensure human rights, because they differ in terms of stage of development, economy, culture and society. Diversity in developing human rights should be respected. They can only be effectively ensured by combining universal principles with the prevailing realities of different countries. Every country has room for improvement in protecting human rights. There is no universally applicable model, and human rights can only advance in the context of national conditions and people's needs.
The rights to subsistence and development are the primary rights. Poverty is the greatest obstacle to providing human rights. It would be well-nigh impossible for humanity to ensure any right without the production and supply of goods and materials. The effective guarantee of the right to subsistence and the steady improvement of living standards are the preconditions and foundations for fulfilling and developing all other human rights. From the mid-19th century, China suffered repeated foreign aggressions and fell into poverty and backwardness. Living in misery, the people enjoyed utterly no right of any kind. The Chinese know very well what survival requires - no poverty and no hunger. Prioritizing people's rights to subsistence and development, China has committed to liberating and developing productive forces, eliminating poverty, and enhancing its level of development. All this has laid the foundation for fulfilling the various rights of the people.
Human rights mean the integration of individual and collective rights. There is no collective development without individual development; individuals can only enjoy well-rounded development in a collective environment. In China, equal attention has been paid to developing collective rights and ensuring individual rights, so that the two are integrated, coordinated, and mutually-enhancing. Individual rights can only be maximized in the context of collective rights. The Chinese government strives to ensure the rights of every individual and all its citizens by seeking prosperity for the country, rejuvenation for the nation, and wellbeing for the people.
Overall progress in all rights is a major principle of realization of human rights. All human rights are interdependent and inalienable. China coordinates the planning and promotion of all rights and endeavors to achieve a balanced development of economic, social, and cultural rights and civil and political rights. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC and the Chinese government has sought to make overall economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental progress, known as the Five-point Strategy, and made comprehensive moves to complete a moderately prosperous society in all respects, further reform, advance the rule of law, and strengthen Party discipline, known as the Four-pronged Strategy. In this way, China has made comprehensive progress in human rights through an integrated approach.
People's sense of gain, happiness and security is an important criterion for evaluating human rights. The core spirit of CPC governance lies in fulfilling the people's aspiration for a better life by realizing, safeguarding and developing their fundamental interests, and in enhancing their sense of gain, happiness and security. For everyone to fully enjoy human rights, we must uphold the people-centered approach, prioritize the people's interests before anything else, and ensure a good life for the people. We must ensure that the fruits of development offer greater benefits to all the people in a fair way, enable every person to enjoy opportunities for self-development and a good life, and prevent them from fear and threat.
Fairness, being reasonable and inclusiveness are the basic principles of international human rights governance. The international community should uphold the shared values of humanity - peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom.
It must safeguard human dignity and rights, and strive for fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance. China is a supporter, practitioner and promoter of international human rights. It opposes politicizing human rights or applying double standards in matters related to human rights, and encourages the international community to address human rights issues in a fair, objective and non-selective manner. China is engaged in extensive, in-depth international exchanges, dialogue and cooperation concerning human rights, and works with the rest of the world to build a global community of shared future and a beautiful world.
The free and well-rounded development of every person is the ultimate goal of human rights. The free development of each individual is the precondition for the free development of all people. Human rights are people's rights; human rights development means people's development. We must create the conditions for people's self-actualization. By building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, China aims to fulfill the people's aspirations for a better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a beautiful environment. It aims to enable every person to enjoy self-development and serve society with dignity, to ensure equal opportunities for all to live a rewarding life and realize their dreams, to improve their wellbeing, and to promote their well-rounded development.
III. Continuing to Improve People's Living Standards
China is the world's largest developing country. It has always been the CPC's most fundamental mission in governance to ensure adequate food and clothing for the people, achieve better development, and give the people a better life. Upholding the rights to subsistence and development as the primary human rights, China strives to enhance people's wellbeing through development in order to better protect their human rights.
The right to food is effectively guaranteed. In the early days of the PRC, the country faced many difficulties, such as a weak agricultural base dependent on the weather, and low grain yield. As a result many Chinese did not have enough to eat and suffered from malnutrition. Over the years the Chinese government has carried out rural land reforms to stabilize and improve land contracting system in rural areas. With improved irrigation infrastructure, China's agriculture has seen a continuing rise in productivity and steady increase in the output of main agricultural products.
Total grain output soared from 113.18 million tons in 1949 to 657.89 million tons in 2018, and the area of irrigated farmland from 15.94 million ha in 1949 to 68.1 million ha in 2018. China's output of grain, meat, peanut, tea, and fruit has topped the world for many years. China feeds approximately 20 percent of the world's population using 6.6 percent of the fresh water resources and 9 percent of the arable land of the world; it has succeeded in improving nutrition and eradicating hunger.
Absolute poverty eliminated. Poverty is the biggest obstacle to fulfilling the human rights of the Chinese people. In the past, the world knew an old, weak China mired in poverty, its people living in dire misery. Since the founding of the PRC, the CPC and the Chinese government have led the people in a great fight to eliminate poverty, highlighted by a campaign which since 1978, the year when reform and opening up was launched, has focused on development-oriented poverty alleviation in rural areas. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has taken poverty elimination as the primary task, made it a defining indicator in completing a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and laid out plans to win the final battle against poverty. It has been made clear that by 2020 there must be no more rural people living below the current poverty line and no more impoverished counties, and regional poverty must be eradicated. The 19th CPC National Congress has made new plans for targeted poverty eradication, one of the three final tasks that must be accomplished to achieve all-round moderate prosperity.
Between 1978 and 2018 the number of rural poor fell from 770 million to 16.6 million calculated against China's poverty line set in 2010, and the incidence of poverty in rural areas dropped from 97.5 percent to 1.7 percent. More than 10 million people rose and remained above the poverty line every year from 2012 to 2018. With the highest number of people moving out of poverty, China was the first developing country to realize one of the UN Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction. This achievement represented 70 percent of the global poverty reduction effort.
Living standards improved markedly. In 1952, China's GDP was RMB67.9 billion, with a per capita GDP of RMB119. In 2018, China's GDP reached RMB90 trillion, 175 times that of the 1952 figure in real terms. The per capita GDP was RMB64,644, and the per capita gross national income was US$9,732 - above the average level of middle-income countries. The per capita disposable income of Chinese citizens in 1956 was RMB98, and the per capita consumer spending was RMB88. In 2018, the per capita disposable income reached RMB28,228, a 36.8-fold increase in real terms over that of 1956; the per capita consumer spending was RMB19,853, a 28.5-fold increase over 1956 in real terms; the Engel coefficient was 28.4 percent, 35.5 percentage points lower than that of 1978. In 2018, every 100 urban households had 41 family cars, and every 100 rural households had 22.3 family cars; every 100 households had 249.1 mobile phones.
Following the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the real growth in disposable rural income has outpaced urban income. The gap between urban and rural incomes has narrowed, with the ratio falling to 2.69 in 2018.
Safe drinking water. A program was launched in 2005 to guarantee safe drinking water in rural areas. By the end of 2018, a total of 520 million rural residents and 47 million teachers and students in rural areas had gained access to safe drinking water, 173 million rural residents had a better and more steady supply of drinking water, and the percentages of centralized water supply and running water supply reached 86 percent and 81 percent in rural areas. In 2009 China attained one of the UN Millennium Development Goals - halving the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water - six years ahead of schedule. As of 2018, there were more than 11 million water supply facilities in rural areas, and a complete rural water supply system had been formed to serve 940 million people.
The government has conducted examination and assessment of key drinking water sources nationwide, to ensure they meet safety standards. In 2016, 618 surface water sources, each supplying drinking water for 200,000 people or more, and all ground water sources, each supplying 20 million or more cu m of drinking water annually, were incorporated into the Catalogue of China's Major Drinking Water Sources. In 2018, 90.9 percent of the 871 drinking water sources serving cities at the prefecture level and above reached the required standard. In 2018, 90 percent of all households had piped water supply, 95.2 percent had access to safe drinking water, and 96.3 percent had convenient access to drinking water.
Improved housing conditions. Before the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, despite great difficulties, the government endeavored to address housing problems. At that time, housing was mainly provided by employers for workers in urban areas, while rural residents built their own houses. After 1978, urban housing reform was introduced to commercialize the sector, while the housing supply system was gradually improved. The housing conditions of urban and rural residents have improved markedly. In 2018, the per capita floor space of urban residents was 39.0 sq m, up by a factor of 5.8 from 1956, and that of rural residents was 47.3 sq m, up by a factor of 4.8 from 1978.
Since 2008, the government has introduced major construction projects to provide affordable housing to urban residents, and renovated dilapidated rural housing. By 2018, government subsidies had been used to build 70 million housing units in urban areas, 22 million poor people had received public rental subsidies, and 200 million poor people had received help for improving their housing conditions. The state has helped tens of millions of rural households move into proper accommodation, leaving their dilapidated houses built of such materials as beaten earth mixed with straw, adobe, timber and bark. There has been significant improvement in the capacity of rural housing to resist earthquakes and other natural disasters, and in the comfort level.
Efforts have been made in several areas:
improving the living environment in cities and the countryside;
carrying out environmental remediation and urban repair;
promoting energy-saving architecture and green architecture;
renovating existing buildings with energy-saving facilities;
furthering domestic sewage treatment and building a system of collecting, transporting and disposing of household garbage in rural areas.
By 2018, 84 percent of all administrative villages were provided with garbage treatment.
More convenient public transport. After 1949, the newly founded PRC took quick action to repair the transport routes damaged in war, and restored transport by water, land and air. From 1953 to 1977, a total investment of RMB84 billion was made in the construction of transport businesses owned by the people. Key projects such as the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, Capital International Airport, and Beijing-Shanghai Railway were completed, significantly improving the country's transport links. Since the 1990s China has accelerated construction of transport infrastructure and made it a key strategic goal, and continued to increase investment to build a comprehensive transport system. With an improved transport network, the country's transport capacity and efficiency have seen marked growth, enabling better services to travellers.
By the end of 2018, China's rail network had grown to 131,000 km, up by 500 percent from 1949, and the high-speed rail network had reached 29,000 km, accounting for more than 60 percent of the world's total. In 2018, the number of passengers travelling by rail reached 3.38 billion, 2.01 billion of whom travelled by CRH (China Railways Highspeed) trains. China has achieved leapfrog development in its road network, which, by 2018, had reached 4.85 million km in length, including 143,000 km of expressways. In 2018 13.67 billion individual trips were made by road in China, and 97.1 percent of administrative villages had bus services. Every county in China now has road access, and 99.9 percent of villages are connected to the road network. Total inland waterway mileage had reached 127,000 km. The mileage of regular flights had reached 8.38 million km, a 736-fold increase over 1950.
Better health for the people. Before 1949 China suffered from a very low level of medical and health services, and doctors and medicine were rare resources in the countryside and remote areas. Over the past 70 years, the Chinese government has established a sound medical and health care system, continued to increase financial input for advancing public health and medical technology, and launched the Health China initiative, increasing public access to health services throughout the life cycle. Life expectancy in China rose from 35 in the early 1950s to 77 in 2018, meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, and the people generally enjoy better health than people in high-income countries.
In 2018, the number of health service institutions increased to 997,000, a 271.78-fold increase from 1949, with health professionals growing 22.73-fold to 12.3 million. From 1949 to 2018, the number of health professionals per 1,000 people increased from 1 to 8.81, and the number of beds in medical institutions per 1,000 people grew from 0.16 to 6.03. A community-level health service system covering urban and rural areas is in place.
Basic public health services have improved, with the HBV infection rate among children under five dropping below 0.32 percent in 2014, and the national vaccination coverage among children topping 90 percent in 2015. Historic progress has been made in the prevention and control of major infectious diseases and endemic diseases, eliminating polio and basically eliminating iodine deficiency in 2000, filariasis in 2007, and neonatal tetanus in 2012. The prevention and treatment of cancer has been strengthened. The five-year cancer survival rate in the past decade grew from 30.9 percent to 40.5 percent.
The national fitness program has thrived. As of 2018, China had more than 3.2 million sports venues (a floor space of 1.84 sq m per capita) across the country, and more than 400 million people took part in regular exercises.
Improved social assistance. In the early 1950s, China was in a state of economic stagnation. The people were poor. There was a large number of victims of natural disasters or disability; many were old people or orphans who had no family to turn to. The CPC and the Chinese government carried out emergency assistance, giving money and supplies to the poor and cleaning the mess left by old China. Later, social security was mainly provided by employers in urban areas and production brigades in rural areas, and the state and collectives offered assistance to special groups including orphans, people with disabilities, and rural people eligible for the "Five Guarantees" (food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses). Since 1978, the year when reform and opening up was launched, China has further improved its assistance system in both urban and rural areas, and provided relief to groups with special difficulties. Through years of effort, China has formed a social assistance system supplemented by public participation, with subsistence allowances, disaster relief, medical assistance, education assistance, housing assistance, employment assistance, temporary assistance, and assistance and support for people in extreme difficulty.
As of March 2019, the average subsistence allowance for urban residents was RMB591 per month, and that for rural residents was RMB4,953 per annum. All rural subsistence allowance standards at county (city) level reached or exceeded the national poverty line. People living in extreme difficulty received RMB6,693 per person per annum in rural areas, and RMB9,096 per person per annum in urban areas. From the 18th CPC National Congress to August 15, 2019 China launched 157 national emergency responses in the wake of major natural disasters, issuing a total of RMB60.27 billion as living subsidies for disaster relief from central funds. Between 2013 and 2018, on a yearly basis the government temporarily relocated more than 9 million people affected by disasters, provided relief to more than 70 million people, and restored and rebuilt more than 500,000 damaged houses. In 2018, the government offered subsidies for 76.74 million poor people on subscribing to the basic medical insurance system, medical assistance to 53.61 million inpatients and outpatients, and assistance to 1.55 million homeless persons and beggars.
Improved postal and telecommunications services. At the beginning of the PRC, China had only 706,000 km of postal routes, with 146,000 km of parallel, long-distance open-wire lines. Over the past 70 years, postal and telecommunications services have kept expanding, with quick progress in telecommunications infrastructure. IT applications and the internet have been developing rapidly, and people's right to communication has been fully guaranteed.
As of 2018, China had 275,000 postal and courier outlets, a 9.6-fold increase over 1949. The total length of postal routes and courier service networks reached 39.45 million km, about a 55-fold increase over 1949. Some 829 million people accessed the internet, 59.6 percent of citizens used the internet, and 98.6 percent went online via mobile phone. As of June 2019, the total length of fiber optic cable lines reached 45.45 million km, and 90 percent of internet users were fiber broadband subscribers. With 4.45 million 4G base stations, China has established the world's largest fixed broadband network and 4G network. Of the 1,586 million mobile phone users (3G and 4G users), 1,230 million were 4G users. Fixed broadband networks connected 91.8 percent of all households, and 97.1 percent of the population was using mobile broadband services. More than 98 percent of administrative villages had access to fiber optic cables and 4G services, taking the lead in the world in this regard. On June 6, 2019, with the issuing of the 5G commercial license by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, 5G services entered the market.
A woman visits an exhibition named Pursuing Happiness for the People: 70 Years of Human Rights Progress in China at the United Nations' main office in Geneva on Sept 9. (CHEN JUNXIA / XINHUA)
IV. Effectively Ensuring That People Enjoy Their Rights
Over the 70 years since the founding of the PRC, China has continued to improve its protection of the people's economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental rights, and ensured the development of human rights in all respects.
Personal rights and dignity are well respected and protected. Personal rights and dignity are the basic components of human rights, so China has consistently attached great importance to protecting such rights over the past 70 years. The Constitution of the PRC states that the personal dignity of citizens of the PRC is inviolable. The 19th CPC National Congress again emphasized the protection of personal rights, property rights and right to dignity, demonstrating the humane view of protecting people's personal dignity and promoting the well-rounded development of the individual person. The Civil Law in particular elaborates the right to dignity. China is now accelerating the reform of the household registration system. It has relaxed restrictions on the change of domicile, enabling eligible permanent residents with stable employment in urban areas to localize their residency. Inviolability of residence, freedom of correspondence and security of information are fully protected by law.
China fully safeguards workers' rights. Before the founding of the PRC, a large part of the urban workforce was unemployed. At the end of 1949 there were 180.82 million people across the country in employment, of whom only 15.33 million worked in urban areas. The urban unemployment rate was 23.6 percent. The employment situation has steadily improved over the past 70 years. By the end of 1978, the year when the policy of reform and opening up was adopted, the employed population had reached 401.52 million. After that, thanks to rapid economic growth and a policy that prioritizes employment, China's employed population expanded rapidly. During the six years from the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 to 2018, over 13 million new jobs were created each year, and the total employed population in 2018 reached 775.86 million. The registered unemployment rate remained at a low level below 4.1 percent for a long period of time.
The guarantee for remuneration for labor, right to equal pay for equal work, right to rest and leisure, right to occupational safety and health, right to join in and organize a labor union, and right to participate in the democratic management of businesses and public institutions are protected by law, as is women workers' right to special protection. Universal mechanisms to adjust and assess the minimum wage have been established across the country, so as to ensure the basic living conditions of workers and their dependents. At present, each worker is entitled to 115 rest days and public holidays, and 5 to 15 days of paid holidays each year, as well as maternity leave, wedding leave, funeral leave and family reunion leave in line with the regulations. The number of primary-level labor unions rose from 207,000 in 1952 to 2.73 million in 2018 and their members grew from 10 million to 295 million during the same period.
China has established a social security system that covers the largest population in the world. There was no social security system in China when the PRC was founded. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, the state and employers began providing labor protection and other forms of welfare, and rural collectives provided peasants with a certain level of social security. After launching reform and opening up China gradually set up the world's largest social security system covering people of both rural and urban areas. It has continued to make improvements. By March 2019 basic endowment insurance covered 941 million people, work-related injury insurance 239 million, unemployment insurance 197 million, and birth insurance more than 200 million. The basic medical insurance system, including basic medical insurance for workers and for rural and non-working urban residents, now covers more than 1.3 billion people - almost China's entire population. China has substantially raised the amount of the basic pension of enterprise retirees every year since 2005. Per capita government subsidies for basic medical insurance for rural and non-working urban residents rose from RMB240 in 2012 to RMB520 in 2019. China pioneered a long-term nursing insurance system in 2016. China is improving its capacity to offer social security services. In 2016, it launched a real-time settlement of medical expenses for medical treatment incurred outside the provincial-level administrative area where the patient's medical insurance is registered, and this benefited a growing number of people. By March 2019, there were about 1.25 billion social security card holders, covering 89.6 percent of China's population.
Universal education expands remarkably. In the early days of the PRC, China's education system was poor and the general level of education was low. The net primary education enrolment rate was 20 percent and the gross junior secondary education enrolment rate was only 3 percent. There were only 117,000 college students and 80 percent of the population was illiterate. The new Chinese government paid close attention to the development of education. The enrolment rate of school-age children reached 95.5 percent in 1978, and the overall rate of illiteracy had dropped to 22.8 percent by 1982. Since the launch of reform and opening up, China has invested an enormous effort in implementing the education-first strategy, to modernize education and guarantee equal access to education for all. In 2018 the gross three-year preschool education enrolment rate reached 81.7 percent, and the children enrolled in government-funded and privately-run non-profit kindergartens accounted for 73.1 percent of all kindergarteners. The net primary education enrolment rate was 99.95 percent, the gross junior secondary education enrolment rate was 100.9 percent, and the completion rate of the free nine-year compulsory education was 94.2 percent. Availability of senior secondary education in China is now basically universal. In 2018, senior high schools had a total of 39.35 million students on campus. Higher education is becoming universal. In 2018, with 7.91 million newly enrolled students, there were a total of 38.33 million students studying in colleges and universities, representing a gross college enrolment rate of 48.1 percent. A modern vocational education and continuing education system has been established. In 2018, there were 11,600 vocational schools across China, with a total of 26.89 million students, including 9.26 million newly enrolled.
Public cultural services benefit more people. When the PRC was founded in 1949, provision of public cultural services was quite backward, with few public cultural facilities across the whole country-only 55 public libraries, 896 cultural centers, and 21 museums. Thanks to a constant effort over the past 70 years, socialist cultural undertakings in China are flourishing in every respect. A public cultural service system is in place, an increasing number of public cultural facilities are open to the public for free, and the cultural industry is developing rapidly.
In 2018 China had the following facilities and infrastructure:
3,176 public libraries (57.7 times of that in 1949)
3,328 cultural centers (art centers)
41,193 township (sub-district) cultural stations
340,560 community (village) centers
11.4 sq m of public library space per 1,000 people
30.7 sq m of public cultural facilities per 1,000 people
5,354 museums (4,743 open to the public for free) - one museum per 260,000 head of population
98.94 percent of the total population was covered by the broadcasting network
99.25 percent had access to television
9.5 billion copies of books were published (35 times of that in 1950).
It also had a significant capability to provide digital cultural services through public libraries, including 808 million e-books, 223,500 computers (including 146,300 e-reading terminals), and 1,200 terabytes of public digital cultural resources created through public digital cultural service projects. Work to popularize science has been further intensified to improve the public's understanding and appreciation of science and culture.
Chinese people enjoy real democracy. The Constitution clearly provides that all power in the PRC belongs to the people. The essence and the core principle of the socialist democratic political system is that the people are the masters of the country. The NPC and local people's congresses at various levels are the organs through which the people exercise state power.
The principles of universality, equality, direct election, indirect election, and competitive election are applied. All citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status, or length of residence, except persons deprived of political rights in accordance with the law. In line with the national conditions and reality, China has improved the election system to gradually ensure that both rural and urban areas have the same proportion of deputies from the represented population in elections of people's congress deputies, and that all regions, ethnic groups, and sectors of society have a certain proportion of deputies. In the elections of deputies to the people's congresses at county and township levels beginning in 2016, more than 1 billion constituents cast votes for nearly 2.5 million deputies.
Orderly development is seen in community-level democracy. A community-level self-governance system, featuring self-governance by urban and rural residents, and democratic election, consultation, decision-making, management, and supervision, is now in place and continues to improve.
China protects people's rights to know, to participate, to express, and to supervise. A mechanism through which public opinion is consulted in drafting laws has been set up and improved. Transparency of administrative work of the government is enhanced, and the channels for public participation in legislation and major administrative decision-making are constantly broadening. By 2018 the state legislatures had solicited public opinion on 172 draft laws, receiving 5.1 million comments from 150 million people.
A mechanism in which decisions are made in accordance with the law has been improved. This takes public participation, expert discussion, risk assessment, review of legality, and group discussion as legal procedures in major administrative decision-making, so as to make decisionmaking more reasonable, democratic and law-based. Democratic consultation is applied extensively as a mechanism at multiple levels. The content and procedure of consultation are regulated, and the forms, frequency, and effect of consultation are extending and increasing. Extensive consultation is conducted on matters concerning overall economic and social development and related to the vital interests of the people. By March 2019, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) had received 141,807 proposals and 130,299 of them were placed on file, published and transmitted 12,096 samples of public opinion, and adopted and carried out most of the proposals.
A public complaints reporting system has been established and improved. The national public complaints information system links public complaints and proposals administrative organs at all levels with more than 90,000 functional departments, town and township governments and sub-district offices, and 41 departments of the CPC and ministries of the central government. A people's proposal soliciting system has been set up. China provides smooth channels through which people express their opinion, offers innovative ways of public supervision, and puts in place convenient and effective online platforms for citizens to offer their views and advice, express their demands, and participate in social management in an orderly manner.
The Experience of Fengqiao, a town in Zhuji City, Zhejiang Province, is a good example of successful dispute resolution, by which "trivial matters are solved in the villages, major problems are settled in the town, and no conflict are passed on to the higher authorities." This model is being rolled out. People's mediation is closely linked to and synergizes with administrative, industry-and profession-based, and judicial mediation, and a diverse conflict and dispute solving mechanism is being improved, so that people can solve their problems quickly and on the site. The NPC Standing Committee carries out examinations of law enforcement. The CPPCC actively explores and improves the democratic supervision system and offers criticism and suggestions regarding problems arising in implementation of the decisions made by the Party or government.
China protects freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law. China follows policies on freedom of religious belief. Based on the conditions of the country and reality of its religions, China protects citizens' freedom of religious belief, builds active and healthy religious relations, and maintains religious and social harmony. In accordance with the Constitution and the law, the Chinese government supports all religions in upholding the principle of independence and self-management. It also supports religious groups, clerical personnel, and believers in managing their own religious affairs. The government manages religious affairs involving national and public interests but does not interfere in the internal affairs of religions. The state treats all religions fairly and equally, and does not exercise administrative power to encourage or ban any religion. No religion is given preferential treatment over other religions or enjoys special legal privileges. The major religions practiced in China are Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestant Christianity, with nearly 200 million believers and more than 380,000 clerical personnel. At present, there are about 144,000 places of worship registered for religious activities and 92 religious schools in China.
Environmental rights are better protected. Over the past 70 years, with rapid economic growth and industrialization, China has determined environmental protection as a national policy and included it in the functions and work of government. It has set up and continued to improve the mechanisms, policies, and legal system required for environmental protection. It advocates sustainable development, promotes a circular economy, and accelerates the process of clean and low-carbon transformation. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has determined environmental progress as a point of the Five-point Strategy. China advocates green development and harmony between human and nature. It is intensifying environmental governance, addressing the thorniest problems in the fight against air, water and soil contamination, and carrying out strict supervision over environmental protection work. The idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets has ingrained into people's minds. Through such efforts, China is rapidly improving the quality of its environment.
In 2018 clean energy resources, including natural gas, water, nuclear, wind and solar energy, made up 22.1 percent of China's total energy consumption, an increase of 15.5 percentage points over 1978. Between 2013 and 2018, the average PM10 intensity in 338 cities at and above the prefecture level fell by 26.8 percent, and the average PM2.5 and SO2 intensity in the 74 cities that took the lead in implementing the Ambient Air Quality Standards fell by 42 percent and 68 percent respectively. The proportion of excellent and good quality surface water increased to 71 percent while that of inferior Class V surface water dropped to 6.7 percent. An environmental protection zoning map has been drawn up that covers 95 percent of China's rare and endangered species and their habitats and about 45 percent of carbon sequestration by vegetation.
V. Protecting the Rights of Special Groups
Over the 70 years since the founding of the PRC, China has, based on its conditions, adopted targeted measures to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minority groups, women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, ensuring their equal status and giving them the equal opportunity to participate in social life and enjoy the fruits of the country's material and cultural progress.
China effectively guarantees ethnic minority rights in administering state affairs. All 55 ethnic minority groups have deputies at the NPC and members in the CPPCC National Committee. The 13th NPC has 438 deputies from ethnic minority groups, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total number of deputies. In recent years, among the candidates passing the national civil service admission examination, ethnic minority candidates made up more than 13 percent, higher than the ethnic minority population ratio in the country (8.49 percent). The ethnic autonomous areas enjoy the right of autonomy in a wide range of fields as prescribed by law: politics, economy, education, science and technology, culture and health. In addition to the powers assigned to local authorities, the people's congresses of ethnic autonomous areas also have the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and other separate regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the ethnic group or ethnic groups in the areas concerned.
The standing committees of all the people's congresses in the 155 ethnic autonomous areas have members of ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy acting as director or deputy director. The chairpersons of autonomous regions, governors of autonomous prefectures, and heads of autonomous counties are all citizens from the ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy of the said areas.
The ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas have leapfrogged in social and economic development. Over the last 70 years, the state has treated the social and economic development of ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas as an important element of national development. Through a series of strategic measures such as large-scale development of western China, actions to enrich border areas and their residents, efforts to develop smaller ethnic groups, efforts to preserve and promote ethnic minority style villages and towns, paired-up assistance, and special planning for ethnic minority undertakings, the Chinese government has increased its investment in the fight against poverty in ethnic minority areas, which has given a significant boost to local social and economic development. The total GDP of the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang, and the three provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai where there are a large number of ethnic minorities reached RMB9.06 trillion in 2018, an increase of 7.2 percent over 2017, which was 0.6 percentage point higher than the national average. The impoverished population in these regions dropped to 6.03 million, with the incidence of poverty reduced to 4 percent. Infrastructure, public services, and living conditions in ethnic minority areas are seeing rapid progress.
Education for ethnic minorities and in ethnic minority areas has developed rapidly. China has adopted a series of measures to improve educational equality and ensure ethnic minorities' right to education. These measures include: opening schools for students from ethnic minority groups, opening preparatory courses and special classes for ethnic minorities at colleges and schools in other provinces and municipalities, giving preferential treatment to students from ethnic minority groups when they take exams to enter higher levels of education, running residential schools in farming and pastoral areas, and prioritizing ethnic minority areas in higher education development. Nine-year compulsory education (elementary and junior high schools) is universal in ethnic minority areas. In Tibet Autonomous Region and south Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, students are exempt from charges for education for a total of 15 years from preschool to senior high school. In Xinjiang in 2018, the gross preschool education enrolment rate reached 96.86 percent and the net primary education enrolment rate was 99.94 percent.
The freedom of ethnic minorities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages is fully protected. In China, with the exception of the Hui and Manchu peoples who generally use Han Chinese, the other 53 ethnic minorities have their own spoken languages, and 22 groups use a total of 28 written scripts. The state protects by law the legitimate use of the spoken and written languages of ethnic minorities in the areas of administration and judicature, press and publishing, radio, film and television, and culture and education. It has established a database for the endangered languages of ethnic minority groups, and initiated the Program for Protecting China's Language Resources. As of March 2019, there were 714 radio and television stations in ethnic autonomous areas. The broadcasting stations across the country run 46 television channels and 56 radio programs in ethnic minority languages. The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region publishes newspapers, books, audios, videos, and electronic publications in Han Chinese, Uygur, Kazakh, Kyrghyz, Mongolian and Xibo languages, and uses various spoken and written languages in radio and television programs. The state provides bilingual education in ethnic minority areas, forming a basic bilingual education system that extends from preschool to senior high school. In 2018, there were 6,521 primary and middle schools catering to ethnic minority students in China, giving courses in both Han Chinese and ethnic minority languages, with 206,000 full-time teachers teaching such courses to 3.09 million students.
Cultural heritage and relics of ethnic minorities are effectively protected. Traditional ethnic minority cultures are important components of Chinese culture, and the common cultural wealth of the whole nation. The Chinese government has promulgated laws, established specialized government bodies, and increased spending to inherit, pass on, and develop the cultures of ethnic minority groups. The Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace of Lhasa, Old Town of Lijiang, Site of Xanadu, Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, and Tusi Sites are all included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Of all the cultural items from China included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, 21 are related to ethnic minorities. At national level, 492(36 percent) of the 1,372 cultural items included to date in China's intangible cultural heritage list are related to ethnic minorities. Of the 3,068 representative trustees of China's intangible cultural heritage, 862(28 percent) are from ethnic minority groups. China has set up 21 national-level cultural preservation experimental areas, 11 of which are located in ethnic minority areas. Twenty-five provinces and equivalent administrative units have institutions that catalogue and study ancient classics and recordings of ethnic minorities. By 2018, about one million privately-held ethnic minority ancient classics and recordings (excluding books collected in museums and temples), including many rare editions, some of which only had a single extant copy, had been rescued and catalogued. China has launched the compilation of Collection of Ancient Classics and Recordings of Chinese Ethnic Minorities, including about 300,000 books.
Religious freedoms of ethnic minority groups are protected. Normal religious activities and religious beliefs of ethnic minorities are protected by law, and their normal religious needs are satisfied. China has published translations of the religious classics of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and other religions in multiple languages. Tibet Autonomous Region has 1,787 venues for practicing Tibetan Buddhism, and over 46,000 resident monks and nuns. The state has issued the Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas of Tibetan Buddhism. The Living Buddha reincarnation is a succession system unique to Tibetan Buddhism, and is respected by the state and governments at different levels of the autonomous region. Tibet now has 358 Living Buddhas, 91 of whom have been approved and confirmed through historical conventions and traditional religious rituals. The system whereby Tibetan Buddhist monks study sutras has been improved. The state has issued the Measures on the Conferment of Academic Titles in Tibetan Buddhism (Trial). By 2018 a total of 117 monks from Tibet had received senior academic titles in Lhasa and 68 from the High-level Tibetan Buddhism College of China, Beijing. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has 24,800 venues for practicing religious activities, including 24,400 mosques, and 29,300 clerical personnel. Students can receive undergraduate education in Xinjiang Islamic Institute. More than 1.76 million copies of the Quran and Selections from Sahih of al-Buhari have been distributed. The hajj is well planned, organized and conducted to ensure a safe and orderly pilgrimage.
The protection of women and children is improving. The Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests and the Law on the Protection of Minors lay the legal foundations in this area. The Chinese government has enacted three guidelines on women's development and three on children's development, advocating and ensuring gender equality and strengthening the protection of children's rights. It works harder to protect the rights and interests of women employees, such as the right to work and to safety at work, and maternity benefits. It forcefully punishes sexual assaults on and maltreatment of minors, and trafficking of women and children. It promotes mechanisms preventing sexual criminals from engaging in restricted occupations, and compulsory reporting of campus sexual assaults. The state has promulgated the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, which protects the legal rights and interests of woman and other family members through compulsory reporting, admonition from public security organs, personal protection order, emergency protection and other measures. The government makes every effort to ensure school safety, punishing school violence and bullying. It intensifies supervision over the duties of the parents or other entrusted guardians of left-behind children whose parents work in other places and takes strict action on any crimes against this group of children. China makes full use of advanced technologies like the internet to rescue abducted children. It has established a DNA bank for abducted children, set up a missing children information release platform managed by the Ministry of Public Security, and activated a joint urgent rescue mechanism for missing children.
The protection of women and children's right to health is improving. Before the founding of the PRC in 1949, the maternal and perinatal mortality rate was over 1,500 per 100,000, the infant mortality rate was 200 per 1,000, and the anticipated life expectancy of women was only 36.7 years. After 1949, the situation improved considerably. The anticipated life expectancy of women in 2015 rose to 79.43 years. In 2018 the maternal and perinatal mortality rate dropped to 18.3 per 100,000, and the infant mortality rate fell to 6.1 per 1,000. Nutritional improvement projects for children in impoverished areas were launched in 2012, benefiting 7.22 million children from 715 impoverished counties in 14 national contiguous impoverished regions of 21 provinces and equivalent administrative units. The government has launched a program of free cervical and breast cancer checkups for women, and brought the two into the scope of national subsidies for serious illnesses. By 2018 China had provided free cervical cancer checkups for 100 million and free breast cancer checkups for 30 million, and subsidized 132,200 impoverished rural women with diseases using over RMB1.3 billion collected through public welfare lotteries and social funds, to the sum of RMB10,000 each person. It has increased the investment for health care of women and children in rural, remote or border areas, and has subsidized more than 74 million rural women for their expenses of hospitalization during childbirth. The government has initiated the "Water Cellar for Mothers" program to provide reliable sources of drinking water for people, especially women, in the western regions of China, and the "Health Express for Mothers" program to provide medical and health services to the women and children in impoverished areas.
Women's rights to participation in the administration of public affairs and social and economic development are protected. Women are guaranteed the right to participate in the administration and deliberation of state affairs. The 13th NPC has 742 female deputies, accounting for 24.9 percent of the total, 12.9 percentage points higher than the figure for the First NPC in 1954. And the 13th CPPCC National Committee has 440 female members, making up 20.4 percent of the total, 14.3 percentage points higher than that for the First CPPCC National Committee in 1949. Since the 1990s, every CPC National Congress has attached importance to training and selecting female officials. The number of female civil servants was 65,000 in 1950; this figure had increased to 1.93 million, or 26.8 percent of all civil servants, by 2018.
The mechanism for protecting the rights and interests of the elderly is improving. China works to ensure the interests of the elderly, and advocates the virtues of respecting, providing for and assisting the elderly. In 2018, some 249 million Chinese were aged 60 or above, accounting for 17.9 percent of the total population. China formulated and amended the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, forming a legal and policy framework for old-age care.
Many of China's elderly were cared for in nursing homes previously. Now, a new system for the elderly is taking shape, where the elderly are provided with home care, taken care of by community and supported by social services, featuring a combination of nursing at home and mutual help. In March 2019, China had 168,100 institutions and facilities with 7.32 million beds to provide old-age services, in contrast with just 7,000 in 1978. In 2018, 29.72 million senior citizens received advanced age subsidies, 748,000 nursing subsidies, 5.2 million old-age service subsidies, and 30,000 other old-age subsidies.
The social security system for persons with disabilities is improving. China has established a subsidy system to provide for the living expenses of disabled persons in need and to pay the nursing costs of persons with severe disabilities. In 2018, this system benefitted over 21 million. A total of 25.61 million persons with disabilities were covered in old-age insurance schemes in both urban and rural areas, with 10.24 million receiving old-age pensions, and 9.25 million people with disabilities received urban or rural minimum living subsidies. And 5.76 million (96.8 percent) out of the 5.95 million people with severe disabilities received insurance subsidies from the government, which paid for their premiums. The government also paid fully or partly for premiums for another 2.98 million people with mild or moderate disabilities.
Rehabilitation is universally available to persons with disabilities. China makes concerted efforts in preventing disability, and works hard to improve rehabilitation services, in pursuit of the goal that "everyone in need has access to rehabilitation services". The government has enacted the Regulations on the Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, built up rehabilitation centers and fostered professionals capable of delivering consistent quality services. In 2018, there were 914 rehabilitation facilities at the provincial, city and county levels, and 9,036 rehabilitation service centers for persons with disabilities employed a team of 250,000 workers, and community rehabilitation services were provided in 2,750 counties (cities or districts). An assistance mechanism for providing rehabilitation services to children with disabilities has been established. In 2018, 79.8 percent of persons with disabilities were covered by rehabilitation services. Some 10.75 million disabled children and persons with certified disabilities received basic rehabilitation services.
The right to employment of persons with disabilities is guaranteed. China has established offices to serve persons with disabilities seeking employment. In 2018, there were 2,787 such offices with a staff of 15,000. The government has launched a program on employment skills training for persons with disabilities, setting up 500 national-level and 350 provincial-level vocational training bases. In 2018, another 494,000 persons with disabilities took part in training sessions. In recent years the number and the profile of disabled persons in employment have remained stable, with over 300,000 entering the workforce each year. In 2018, 367,000 persons with certified disabilities found jobs, of whom 118,000 were from urban areas and 249,000 from rural areas. That year, 9.48 million persons with certified disabilities were employed in urban and rural areas.
China gives strong support to creating an accessible environment and providing assistive appliances. The Chinese government enacted the Regulations on the Building of an Accessible Environment in 2012. To this end, 1,702 cities and counties are making efforts to improve accessibility and remove barriers, and among comprehensive service facilities in villages or communities across the country, 75 percent of entrances and exits, 40 percent of service counters, and 30 percent of restrooms have been equipped or upgraded for accessibility. Between 2016 and 2018, the government helped almost 3 million families with disabled members adapt their homes.
The government is also promoting information accessibility. By 2018, over 500 government departments had built accessible public service platforms, and more than 30,000 websites on government affairs and public services had removed barriers for persons with disabilities.
Local governments have formulated subsidy measures and subsidized those who purchase or supply assistive appliances and adaption services. In 2018, 3.19 million persons with disabilities benefited from adaption services for assistive devices such as white canes, visual aids and artificial limbs.
The government has relaxed the restrictions preventing persons with disabilities from applying for a driving license, and 279,000 people with physical or hearing disabilities have gained driving licenses, which grants them further mobility and improves their ability to participate in social life.
VI. Strengthening the Rule of Law for Human Rights
After the founding of the PRC, socialist rule of law was established in China to protect human rights by law. Over the past 70 years, China has established a relatively complete legal system to protect human rights. It upholds law-based governance, law-based exercise of power, and law-based government administration, and adopts a holistic approach to promote the rule of law across the nation, in government, and throughout society. To promote social fairness and justice, it has endeavored to ensure that a well-conceived approach is taken to legislation, that the law is strictly enforced, that justice is impartially administered, and that the law is observed by everyone.
Building a service-oriented government with limited powers and clear responsibilities. The state delimits administrative power in accordance with the law. China has established a principle under which administrative bodies should not take any action that is not mandated by law. It has introduced a list of well-defined government powers and a list of responsibilities, and prohibited any power not provided for by law, or any illegal use of power. In its effort to improve governance, China has accelerated the transformation of government functions, streamlining administration and delegating power to the lower levels, exercising better supervision over the market, and providing efficient services to business. The people and businesses are thus provided with better services. China has established strict procedures for administrative law enforcement and a system of benchmarks for administrative discretion, with unified standards in law enforcement and rigorous discretionary rules, to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the people and businesses. To make law enforcement more transparent, China has expanded the scope and channels of disclosure, and opened online portals for the public to obtain information. Twenty-five provinces and equivalent administrative units have online platforms providing information on law enforcement and on the progress and results of cases in process. Twenty-two provinces and equivalent administrative units disclose written judgments online, and 17 provinces and equivalent administrative units disclose administrative review decisions online. To strengthen the supervision of law enforcement, China has established a performance appraisal system with a focus on law enforcement, promoted IT application in law enforcement and the management and synchronized recording of case-handling procedures, and strengthened real-time supervision over law enforcement activities.
Ensuring independent and impartial exercise of judicial and procuratorial powers. China has issued five outlines for five-year reform of the people's courts and five plans on reform of the people's procuratorates. To protect citizen's right of action, it has implemented a case docketing and registration system across the board, which ensures that every case application receives a response. China has reformed the management of judicial personnel, adopted a quota system for judges and procurators, and initiated job security reform for judicial personnel, enabling them to be more regularized and professional. It has fully implemented a judicial responsibility system to ensure that those who have handled a case assume full responsibility for it. The judiciary has combined punishment and clemency in handling criminal cases, further improved criminal proceedings, and introduced reforms on showing clemency to suspects and defendants who cooperate fully. It has improved the fast-track sentencing procedure for criminal cases, further separated the handling of simple and complex cases, and formed a multi-layer criminal litigation system with Chinese characteristics. Where conditions permit, local courts and procuratorates under the provincial level have carried out unified management of personnel, funds and property. China is exploring setting up people's courts and people's procuratorates across administrative boundaries. The Supreme People's Court now has six circuit courts, and there are also courts that handle intellectual property and financial cases, and online courts. The state has strengthened the protection of public interest, and public interest lawsuits are filed by procuratorial organs. By March 2019, 157,095 cases of public interest had been handled by procuratorial organs.
Improving judicial openness. To increase judicial transparency, China has improved the platforms for releasing information on judicial process, trials, written judgments, and the execution of judgments, and the platform on disclosing information on cases handled by people's procuratorates. As of February 2019, China Judicial Process Information Online had disclosed information on 370 million cases, the National Court Hearing Online had broadcast 2.59 million court trials, and China Judgements Online had disclosed 63.82 million copies of judgments, attracting a total of 2.26 billion visits. Since its launch on October 1, 2014, the online information disclosure service of the procuratorates has disclosed information on the proceedings of 9.28 million cases and 580,000 items of information on major cases, put online 3.86 million legal documents, and booked 300,000 defense and litigation applications online. China has strengthened supervision over judicial activities, criminal proceedings, and civil administrative proceedings, and improved the system of people's jurors and supervisors.
Guaranteeing the right to fair trial for all parties. China has promoted the reform of the criminal litigation system with a focus on adjudication, strictly enforced the principles of "no penalty without a law", evidence-based verdict, and exclusionary rule, improved the mechanism for witnesses to appear in court, and strengthened the role of court trials. China has fully guaranteed the right to defense of criminal suspects and defendants. A criminal suspect has the right to entrust a defender from the date when organs of investigation conduct the first interrogation or a compulsory measure is taken against the suspect. A defendant has the right to authorize a defender at any time. Pilot work has been launched to ensure duty counsels offer legal aid for all cases and legal defense is provided in all criminal cases, and legal aid stations can be found at all courts and detention houses, to ensure that defendants in all criminal cases can obtain legal defense and support in trial. The state protects defense lawyers' rights to meet their clients, to read case files, to investigate and obtain evidence, to conduct cross-examination, and to debate and defend, and other litigious rights. It has improved the mechanism for lawyers to perform their duties by law, formed a joint response system to ensure lawyers' right of practice, and established a platform to provide appropriate services to them. China implements the principle of presumption of innocence to prevent and correct miscarriages of justice. From 2013 to March 2019, people's courts at all levels acquitted 5,876 defendants, ensuring that no one should be prosecuted without criminal evidence. Wrongful verdicts on 8,568 criminal cases were overturned, including 49 major cases concerning Hugjiltu for rape and murder, Nie Shubin for rape and murder, and Zhou Jikun, Zhou Jiahua, Zhou Zaichun, Zhou Zhengguo and Zhou Zaihua for murder. The wrongly-convicted all received state compensation in accordance with the law. China has strictly controlled the death penalty, reducing the number of crimes for capital punishment by a significant margin. In 2007, the Supreme People's Court took back the right to review all capital sentences
Guaranteeing the legitimate rights and interests of criminal suspects, defendants, prisoners, patients abstained from drugs and people released after serving their sentence. China has regulated compulsory measures and reduced the application of compulsory custodial measures. When the detainees enter a detention house, they are informed of their rights and obligations, and their complaints are handled in accordance with the procedure. Prison affairs are open to the public. China has improved supervision over the law enforcement in prisons and detention houses, to ensure that prisoners' legitimate rights are not infringed. Some prisoners are allowed to leave prisons and visit their relatives. The system of community service has been extensively implemented. By the end of May 2019, a total of 4.45 million persons throughout the country had received community service orders. Of these, 3.75 million had completed their service, and 700,000 were still subject to their service orders. The recidivism rate in the case of those assigned to community service is low, only 0.2 percent. Between 1949 and 1975, amnesties were granted on seven occasions to war criminals, counterrevolutionary criminals and some prisoners facing criminal charges. In accordance with the Constitution, amnesty was granted to some prisoners in 2015 and 2019. The state has promulgated the Narcotics Control Law and the Regulations on Drug Rehabilitation, ensured the legitimate rights and interests of persons on rehabilitation, and carried out law enforcement supervision. China has improved the assistance and management system for people released after completing their prison sentence, ensures their access to social assistance, and provides assistance to them in employment so that they can smoothly return to normal life.
Improving the system of right remedy and assistance. The channels for applying for state compensation have been expanded, with more types of cases eligible for compensation and the burden of proof made clear. The state has increased compensation for infliction of mental distress, raised standards of compensation, and guaranteed that compensation is paid in a timely manner. The systems of administrative compensation, criminal compensation and non-criminal judicial compensation have been further improved. Criminal compensation has increased over the years along with economic and social development of the country. The daily compensation for violation of citizens' personal liberty has risen from RMB17.16 in 1995 to RMB315.94 in 2019. From 2013 to March 2019, the people's courts at all levels concluded 61,978 cases involving state compensation. China has improved the state judicial assistance system. It has established a judicial assistance committee to actively dovetail judicial assistance with social assistance and legal aid, and help victims in difficulty who have not been able to obtain effective compensation. From 2015 to 2018, RMB3.75 billion of judicial assistance was granted to victims in difficulty.
Providing quality and more convenient public legal services. A sound legal aid system has been established. From 2013 to 2018, legal aid institutions handled some 7.79 million legal aid cases, helping 8.48 million people and providing legal consultancy services to 45.27 million people. The state encourages the development of the profession of lawyers. As of 2018, there were 423,000 lawyers and more than 30,000 law firms across the country. China has improved public legal services, and opened a physical platform for providing public legal services, the "12348" free hotline for legal advice, and online legal services. It is convenient to make an application for legal services, and the review process has been streamlined for public benefit. By the end of 2018, there were 2,917 public legal service centers in counties, cities and districts, and more than 39,000 service stations in towns, townships and sub-districts. About 650,000 villages and communities had legal counselors, and all provinces and equivalent administrative units had opened the "12348" legal service hotline. China has reformed the management of forensic assessment to enhance assessment quality and credibility. By 2018, there were 3,834 forensic assessment institutions approved by and registered with judicial administrative organs, with more than 45,000 forensic appraisers
Enhancing public awareness of legal protection of human rights. After the PRC was founded, the government made an intensive effort to enhance public awareness and understanding of the Constitution, the Marriage Law, and ideas such as gender equality and freedom of marriage were gradually accepted by the public. Since 1986, China has implemented seven nationwide five-year plans on enhancing public awareness of the Constitution and the rule of law. China has included education on the rule of law into the national education system and teaching of human rights into primary and middle school education. Human rights majors and other related courses are offered in universities to cultivate human rights professionals. Special human rights training programs are conducted for officials at all levels, staff of organs of public security, procuratorates and courts, and judicial organs, and those who work in the media. China has eight national human rights education and training bases. Professional periodicals including Human Rights, Human Rights Studies, and China Human Rights Review are published in China. The China Society for Human Rights Studies has consecutively published blue papers titled Development of Human Rights in China, to advance research and education on human rights and promote understanding of the subject.
Striking against corruption to safeguard people's interests. In November 1949, the CPC Central Committee decided to establish discipline inspection committees at all levels. In 1955, the National Conference of the CPC elected a Central Supervision Commission. In December 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee elected a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, a sound system of intra-Party regulations has been formed based on the Party Constitution and supported by intra-Party regulations. In March 2018, the Supervision Commission of the People's Republic of China was established by law. Discipline inspection commissions of the Party and supervision commissions of the government at all levels jointly carry out full supervision over all public functionaries who exercise public power. From December 2012 to June 2019, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection investigated 389 officials registered at and supervised by the CPC Central Committee, and transferred 155 cases of suspected criminal activity to the judiciary. China has resolutely fought corruption that directly affects ordinary people's lives, and carried out special campaigns to address corruption and misconduct in poverty alleviation and problems undermining the public interest. It has carried out thorough investigations of criminal syndicate-related corruption and protection rackets, getting rid of corrupt officials who sheltered or connived with criminal syndicates.
A Chinese medical expert binds a woman's sprained ankle in March in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai. A 65-member team was dispatched by the Chinese Ministry of Emergency Management at the request of the Mozambique government. (NIE ZUGUO / XINHUA)
VII. Full Participation in Global Governance of Human Rights
While promoting the development of its own human rights, China upholds the principles of equality and mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, cooperation and mutual benefits, and common development. It has been active in UN human rights undertakings, fulfills its international human rights obligations, conducts extensive international cooperation on human rights, actively offers Chinese wisdom and solutions for global governance of human rights, and advances through concrete actions the global governance of human rights in a fairer, more rational and inclusive direction.
Engaging in international human rights undertakings. Since resuming its legitimate seat in the UN in 1971, China has sent delegations to every UN General Assembly and UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) conference, and actively joined in the reviews of issues concerning human rights. From 1979 to 1981, China attended the annual meetings of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) as an observer state. In 1981 China was elected a UNCHR member state at the ECOSOC's Management Segment. In 1982, China became an official member state of the UNCHR and has maintained this position ever since. Since the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was established in 2006, China has been elected as a member state four times. A number of experts recommended by China have served on multilateral human rights organizations or special commissions such as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations Committee against Torture, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
China maintains constructive contacts with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office (OHCHR), receiving eight visits by high commissioners to China, and inviting many of the OHCHR officials to visit China. In recent years, China has signed two memorandums of understanding on technological cooperation concerning judicial reform, police and human rights, human rights education, and implementation of human rights treaties, and held together with the OHCHR many international conferences on human rights. Since 1994, China has invited ten visits by eight UN representatives and groups: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, the United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. China handles letters from the Special Procedures of the UNHRC with due attention, carrying out any necessary investigations and giving timely replies.
Fulfilling obligations in the international instruments on human rights. China has signed 26 international human rights instruments, including six major ones such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. China abides by the provisions of these international conventions, fulfills all the obligations they prescribe, ensures that its policy formulation, legislation, and any amendments are consistent with these conventions, and submits periodic reports to give feedback on the progress made and any difficulties and problems encountered in implementing these international conventions. China attends all reviews from the treaty bodies on its implementation work. By March 2019, China had submitted 43 implementation reports on 27 occasions to these treaty bodies and received 26 reviews. China has conducted constructive dialogue with the relevant treaty bodies and adopted their suggestions in accordance with the actual conditions in China. China has also received three UNHRC Universal Periodic Review cycles since 2009, and the reports were adopted. China gives due attention and responsible feedback to all suggestions from other countries. Most countries have affirmed China's achievements in this regard and its contribution to international human rights.
Promoting international rules and mechanisms for protecting human rights. China has attended the meetings of the drafting groups of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, along with other important documents on human rights protection, making a significant contribution to drafting, revising and improving these rules. As one of the major promoters, China participated in drafting the Declaration on the Right to Development, assisting the UNCHR and the UNHRC to organize global discussions on fulfilling the right to development, and is committed to building mechanisms for actualizing the right to development. China actively participates in the formulation of international rules on labor protection and humanitarianism. China was one of the first signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It actively participated in and effectively promoted the whole multilateral process of climate change issues, and made a positive contribution to the adoption of the Paris Agreement.
China promotes the reform of UN human rights bodies, and played an important role in establishing the UNHRC and making the international human rights mechanism fairer, more objective and transparent. Together with other developing countries, it assists the UNHRC to review human rights issues in a fair, objective, nonselective and general manner. China supports the UNHRC in establishing specialized mechanisms for securing safe drinking water, cultural rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities, in calling for special conferences on food security and the global financial crisis, and in improving the international mechanisms for protecting human rights. China supports the necessary reform of the human rights treaty bodies, promoting dialogue and cooperation between the treaty bodies and signatory states on the basis of mutual respect.
Advocating and conducting international exchanges and cooperation concerning human rights. China prioritizes communication, exchanges, and cooperation with other countries in the field of human rights, and is committed to conducting constructive dialogue and consultations on human rights on the basis of mutual respect, openness, inclusiveness, communication and mutual learning. Since the 1990s, China has established dialogue and consultation mechanisms for human rights protection with more than 20 other countries. China has organized dialogues on human rights with international organizations and Western countries, including the US, the EU, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand, and held consultations on human rights with Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Belarus, Cuba, and the African Union. Since 1996, China has conducted technical cooperation on human rights with Australia and Switzerland. The China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) and other human rights NGOs in China have organized teams to visit dozens of countries in Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Oceania and Africa, and invited government officials, experts and academics on human rights from various countries to visit China, which has increased mutual understanding and trust. In recent years, China has hosted several international seminars on human rights, including the Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights, the Beijing Forum on Human Rights, the International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, the South-South Human Rights Forum, the China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights, the International Seminar on Human Rights and Museology, the Sino-American Dialogue on the Rule of Law and Human Rights, and the China-Germany Seminar on Human Rights, which increased China's circle of friends in exchange and cooperation on human rights, and enlarged mutual understanding with other countries in this regard.
Actively leading the reform of international human rights governance. In addition to making progress in its own human rights protection, China also attaches importance to leading the reform of the international human rights governance system. In 1954, together with India and Burma, China proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence: mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, which embodies the acknowledgement and appreciation of national independence, and respect for the decision-making power of independent countries and their peoples. In 1955, encouraged by China, the final Communiqué of the Bandung Conference incorporated "respect for fundamental human rights" as the first point into the 10-point declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation. The 10-point declaration passed at the Bandung Conference is a derivation and development of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The Non-Aligned Movement that rose in the 1960s set the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as its guideline. The declarations adopted at the 1970 and 1974 UN general assemblies accepted the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Over the six decades that have since passed, the influence of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence has expanded from Asia to the whole world. It has made a historic contribution to building a fairer and more reasonable international political and economic order and establishing a new type of international relations, and serves as a guide for the international governance of human rights.
Over the years, China has kept summing up its own experience in human rights protection, and provided the international community with Chinese wisdom and solutions. In 1993, China pushed for the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration among Asian countries. Holding the vice presidency of the Second World Conference on Human Rights, China participated in drafting the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. The UNHRC passed the resolution "The Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights" submitted by China, which introduced the concept of "promoting human rights through development" into international human rights for the first time. The idea of building a global community of shared future proposed by China has elicited a positive international response. The concept has been written into many resolutions of the UNHRC, the United Nations Security Council, and some other UN organizations. It plays an important role in advancing the international governance of human rights in a fairer, more reasonable and inclusive direction.
VIII. Advancing the International Cause of Human Rights
Since the founding of the PRC, in addition to advancing the human rights of its people, China has earnestly supported the just cause of other developing countries to break free from colonial rule, achieve national independence, and eradicate racial segregation. It has helped them to build up their capacity for development, and provided them with development assistance and humanitarian relief. These are great contribution to safeguarding world peace and development and furthering the international cause of human rights.
Supporting economic and social development in other developing countries. To help the peoples of developing countries to realize their rights to subsistence and development, China has long provided assistance to other developing countries and regions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in such fields as infrastructure, education, healthcare and agriculture. When providing international aid, China never imposes political conditions, nor does it interfere in the internal affairs of recipient countries. It always stands by the rules of mutual respect, each party treating the other as an equal, and keeping its commitments.
In 1963, China dispatched its first international medical aid team. By August 2019, it had dispatched 26,000 medical workers on aid missions abroad, who have treated 280 million patients. In 1964, the Chinese government announced the eight principles for foreign economic and technical aid, setting its basic policy for international assistance: these focus on equality and mutual benefit, and no conditions are attached. It has since provided international assistance that covers all sectors of economy and all fields of society, including industry, agriculture, education, medical care, and infrastructure. China has established partnerships for economic and technological cooperation with many developing peers, and helped build a significant number of infrastructure projects in these countries. Among them are the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, the Friendship Port in Mauritania, the Friendship Hospital in Central African Republic, the Luang Prabang Hospital in Laos, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Convention Hall in Sri Lanka, the Cairo International Conference Center in Egypt, the Moi International Sports Center in Kenya, and the National Stadium of Tanzania.
In recent years, President Xi and other CPC and government leaders have announced a raft of major foreign aid initiatives and measures at international events. In addition, they have offered multiple rounds of debt exemption for countries that have diplomatic relations with China - the least developed countries, heavily indebted poor countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing countries.
Helping other developing countries to build up their capacity for development. In the 1950s, China began to provide funds to people of other developing countries to study in China, and to help African and other Asian countries to build regular and technical schools. In the early 1960s, it began to dispatch teachers to other developing countries. In the 1970s and 1980s, it began to cultivate senior and mid-level technicians and managers for its aid targets by admitting their students. In recent years, China has set up the Assistance Fund for South-South Cooperation and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, and launched an economic and technical cooperation plan for BRICS countries. By providing training courses, dispatching managerial and technical professionals, and offering scholarships, it helps other developing countries to cultivate talent. In support of women's development worldwide, President Xi announced at the 2015 Global Summit of Women that China would invite 30,000 women from other developing countries to attend training in China, and would train another 100,000 female technicians in their countries. China initiated the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund. It also worked with other BRICS countries and established the New Development Bank and some other international financial institutions. While fully relying on mechanisms such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS, it has proposed the Belt and Road Initiative featured with extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Through cooperation projects with countries or regions along the routes of the Belt and Road, China shares its development opportunities and experience and thereby contributes more to improving the wellbeing of their peoples.
Providing humanitarian relief. Over the past years, China's humanitarian relief has increased, and the number of recipients has grown steadily. Throughout this process, China adheres to the principle of opposition to any interference under the pretext of humanitarianism. It never meddles in the internal affairs of recipient countries, and fully respects their culture and customs. China takes an active part in international humanitarian relief initiatives launched by UN organizations. In 1979, it joined the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and World Food Program, and resumed its activities in the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It has since made many donations to the UNHCR.
In 2004, China launched an emergency mechanism for urgent international humanitarian relief, under which it has provided relief to many countries. This relief includes food and other material assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Bangladesh, and technical aid to Southeast Asian countries to combat avian influenza. It also covers funding, personnel, and in-kind support to fight diseases and natural disasters:
in Guinea-Bissau against locust plague and cholera;
in Mexico against A/H1N1 flu;
in Africa against Ebola, yellow fever, plague and other infectious diseases;
in Nepal, Japan, Iran, Haiti, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico against earthquakes;
in Madagascar and the Caribbean countries against hurricanes;
in the US against Hurricane Katrina;
in the Philippines against Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda);
in the Indian Ocean countries against tsunami;
in Indonesia against 2018 Sunda Strait Tsunami;
in Malaysia, Myanmar and Pakistan against floods;
in Laos against a dam collapse in 2018;
in Chile against mountain fires.
China assisted 12 Asian and European countries to extract about 2,100 of their citizens in its evacuation operation from Libya in 2011, and again helped 15 Asian, African, European, and American countries to extract 279 of their citizens in the evacuation operation from Yemen in 2015.
Safeguarding world peace and security. An active advocate and a faithful practitioner of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China pursues a foreign policy of peace and peaceful coexistence with all countries, and is also a firm advocate of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. It is committed to advancing South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, and to narrowing the South-North gap. China has put forward proposals and initiatives and made concrete efforts to address many major international and regional flashpoints, such as the Palestinian issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Korean Peninsula issue, and the Syrian issue. It calls for all parties concerned to stay calm, exercise restraint, and solve disputes by political and diplomatic means.
China is also active in international cooperation on law enforcement and security. It has intensified cooperation under the framework of international and regional organizations, including the UN, the International Criminal Police Organization, and SCO, to combat terrorism, separatism, extremism, and drug-related crimes. China began to participate in UN peacekeeping operations in 1990. It now ranks first among the permanent members of the UN Security Council in terms of the number of peacekeepers dispatched, and is the second largest donor country to UN peacekeeping operations. By May 2018, China had sent more than 37,000 military and more than 2,700 police personnel to participate in about 30 UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan, Lebanon, Cambodia, Libya, and other countries and regions.
In the 70 years since its founding, the PRC has been working for the wellbeing of the people, and also for global development. Its unprecedented achievements in human rights protection have been witnessed by all and will go down in history. They represent the success of the Chinese path, a victory for the people of China. As we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the Chinese people are happy to share this success and victory with the peoples of the rest of the world.
The Chinese people are striving to achieve the Two Centenary Goals and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core. In future, as these goals are attained and China becomes a great modern socialist country, the Chinese people will certainly enjoy to the full more extensive rights and realize well-rounded development at higher levels.
In this new era, China will continue to uphold cultural diversity, communicate with and learn from other civilizations, and work with the international community for common development and prosperity, for progress in human rights worldwide, and for building a global community of shared future.
HONG KONG NEWS