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新华网 2021-06-25 10:01


IV. Making Comprehensive Progress in Human Rights

The CPC upholds the rights to subsistence and development as the primary and basic human rights, and works hard to ensure and improve people's wellbeing through development. The Party makes every effort to achieve comprehensive progress in human rights and ensure the well-rounded development of all the people.

1. Ensuring the Right to Subsistence

After a long period of unremitting work, the Chinese people have attained liberation, secured adequate food and clothing, become better off and achieved moderate prosperity in all respects step by step, and they are now heading towards a higher level of common prosperity.

Poverty is the greatest obstacle to human rights. China has engaged in a huge program of poverty reduction focusing on development-driven poverty alleviation in rural areas. Since the 18th CPC National Congress held in 2012, the central Party leadership with Xi Jinping at the core has made specific plans and set clear goals and tasks for winning the battle against poverty. Resources across the Party and the whole country have been pooled for this battle. After eight years of continuous struggle, at the end of 2020 China achieved the goal of eliminating absolute poverty as scheduled. All the 99 million rural poor living below the current poverty line were raised from poverty, as were all the 832 counties and 128,000 villages classified as poor. Overall regional poverty no longer exists. China’s achievements in this field have written a new chapter in the history of human rights, and created a miracle in the global human rights effort. China is 10 years ahead in its plan to realize the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China’s contribution represents more than 70 percent of the global poverty reduction effort, and has significantly reduced the world’s impoverished population.

Living standards have improved. In 1952, China's GDP was RMB67.9 billion and its per capita GDP was RMB119. In 1978, the GDP figure was RMB367.9 billion and the per capita figure was RMB385. In 2020, GDP reached RMB101.6 trillion, and per capita GDP was RMB72,000, more than the threshold of US$10,000 for the second year. In 1956, per capita disposable income of Chinese citizens was RMB98 and per capita consumer spending was RMB88. In 1978, the figures were RMB171 and RMB151. In 2020, per capita disposable income stood at RMB32,189, and per capita consumer spending was RMB21,210.

The rights to life and health are better protected. Treating health services as a matter of public welfare, the CPC has continued to drive deeper reform of the medical and health care system. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee has followed two guidelines: “People’s health is a strategic priority for development”, and “Without a healthy population, we will be unable to achieve moderate prosperity”. Based on such understanding, the leadership took a major decision to carry out the Healthy China initiative. In 2019, the life expectancy of Chinese citizens rose to 77.3 years, compared with 35 years in 1949; the maternal and perinatal mortality rate dropped to 17.8 per 100,000; and the infant mortality rate to 5.6 per 1,000. Main health indicators were generally higher than the average level of middle- and high-income countries. The protection of women and children’s rights to life and health has been extended considerably. In this area, China is recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the 10 fast-track countries to MDGs 4 and 5a.

At the start of 2020, a Covid-19 epidemic spread in outbreaks all around the world. This is a global pandemic with the largest impact that humanity has encountered in a century, a serious crisis and a daunting challenge for the international community. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, China has put the people’s interests and their lives and health first – nothing is more precious than people's lives.

Launching the largest medical assistance operation since the founding of the PRC, China mobilized all its medical resources to support the efforts in Wuhan and other locations in Hubei Province. From January 24, Chinese New Year’s Eve, to March 8, it rallied 346 national medical teams, consisting of 42,600 medical workers and more than 900 public health professionals to the immediate aid of Hubei, especially the city of Wuhan. Nineteen provinces and equivalent administrative units assisted 16 other prefectures/cities in Hubei in the form of paired assistance. Employing proactive, science-based, and flexible ways of treatment, the medical workers did everything possible to treat each and every patient, from an infant only 30 hours old to a centenarian. The goal was to save every single victim whatever the cost. The Chinese government provided free treatment for patients. Government funds for Covid-19 control were made available in advance to ensure that they could receive timely treatment and local authorities could proceed smoothly with measures for medical treatment and epidemic control. The individual cost for treating some Covid-19 patients in critical conditions reached hundreds of thousands of yuan, and in some extreme cases even exceeded RMB1 million, all covered by the state.

The current round of Covid-19 vaccination is free to all. With informed and voluntary consent of the recipients, the vaccines and vaccination costs are borne by the medical and health care insurance fund with subsidies from the state budget.


2. Ensuring Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights

Employment is pivotal to people's wellbeing. The CPC prioritizes employment in economic and social development. It carries out a pro-employment strategy and pursues a more proactive employment policy. In 2020, to compensate for the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, the CPC Central Committee coordinated epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development. Employment topped the list of measures to stabilize the six fronts (employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations), and to guarantee the six priorities (jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government). A series of policies and measures were launched to reduce the burden on businesses, and stabilize and expand employment. As a result, the urban unemployment rate at the end of 2020 stood at 5.2 percent; 11.9 million new urban jobs were created, 2.9 million more than the forecast of 9 million.

China has put in place the world’s largest social security system, including pensions, medical and health care, and social assistance, expanding coverage and improving protection. In 2020, the basic medical insurance scheme covered 1.36 billion people, and a total of 44.3 million urban and rural residents received subsistence allowances. By April 2021, a little over 1 billion people had subscribed to basic old-age insurance across the country. In 2016, China pioneered a long-term nursing insurance system and launched real-time settlement of patient’s medical expenses for treatment incurred outside the administrative area of insurance registration.

Living conditions continue to improve. At the start of reform and opening up the per capita floor space of urban residents was only 6.7 sq m and rural residents 8.1 sq m. In 2019, the corresponding figures were 39.8 sq m and 48.9 sq m. Construction projects have been launched to provide affordable housing to urban residents, providing better housing to 200 million poor, and dilapidated rural dwellings have been renovated.

Travel facilities are also improving. At the end of 2020, China’s road network totaled 5.2 million km in length, 64 times of the figure in 1949 when the PRC was founded. China’s figure of 161,000 km of expressways is the highest in the world. The rural road network reached 4.4 million km, and 99.4 percent of administrative villages had bus services, realizing the dream of the rural people to have easy access to public transport. Urban passenger transport services such as buses, trams, and rail transit have developed rapidly. New business models such as online car-hailing, online bicycle rental, and time-share leasing continue to emerge. At the end of 2020, the rail network extended 146,000 km, including 38,000 km of high-speed rail. The country had 241 civil aviation airports.

The right to education is guaranteed. Investment in education has grown substantially; conditions and standards in schools have greatly improved; rural education has been strengthened, and major strides have been made in ensuring equal access to education. Free compulsory education is available across the country. In 2020, the completion rate of the free nine-year compulsory education was 95.2 percent; in this metric China has reached the average of high-income countries. China’s gross enrollment rate in senior secondary education was 91.2 percent, higher than the average of upper-middle-income countries. Vocational education has developed rapidly, and higher education is transitioning from mass access to universal access. In 2020, about 9.7 million undergraduate students and 1.1 million postgraduates enrolled in colleges and universities.

Socialist cultural undertakings in China are flourishing in every respect. A public cultural service system covering both urban and rural areas is in place, and an increasing number of public cultural facilities are open to the public without charge. In 2019, China had 44,073 public cultural centers, including 33,530 township cultural facilities; the centers hosted 8,094 literary and artistic groups; and the township facilities hosted 441,800 amateur art groups. There were 3.7 million sports venues nationwide covering an area of 3.1 billion sq m, or a per capita area of 2.2 sq m. This represented a significant increase in public sports venues including stadiums, fitness centers, sports parks (or parks with sports facilities), and open fitness facilities.

China upholds the basic national policy of environmental protection, and follows the path of sustainable development, believing that a good eco-environment is the most inclusive form of public wellbeing. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the central leadership has adopted the philosophy of green development: “Clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets.” It has incorporated eco-environmental progress into the Five-sphere Integrated Plan of building socialism with Chinese characteristics together with economic, political, cultural and social progress, and pursues green and low-carbon development with priority given to the eco-environment.

Satellite images show that from 2000 to 2017, China contributed a quarter of the world’s newly forested land, ranking first among all countries. According to preliminary calculations, China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 were 48.4 percent lower than that in 2005, over-delivering on its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 40-45 percent. In 2020, clean energy consumption accounted for 24.3 percent of total energy consumption, a rise of 17.7 percentage points from 1978. The average concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in cities at or above the prefecture level fell by 28.8 percent compared with 2015; and the proportion of excellent and good quality surface water (I-III) grew to 83.4 percent while that of inferior Class V surface water dropped to 0.6 percent.


3. Coordinating Protection of Civil and Political Rights

Personal rights protection has been strengthened in China. The Constitution states that “the personal freedom of citizens of the PRC shall not be violated.” The Legislation Law stipulates that matters involving criminal offences and penalties, compulsory measures and penalties involving deprivation of a citizen’s political rights or restriction of personal freedom, and the justice system must be governed by laws developed by the National People‘s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee. The Criminal Law sets the principles of legality, equality before the law, and punishment fitting the crime. It punishes criminal acts that violate citizens’ rights to life, health, freedom, etc., as provided for by the law. The Criminal Procedure Law states in the General Provisions that respecting and protecting human rights is one of the objectives of this law, and defines the principles of presumption of innocence and exclusionary rule to protect the human rights of criminal suspects, defendants and criminals. The Civil Code states that a natural person’s right to life, life safety and dignity are protected by law and free from infringement by any organization or individual. The Law on Administrative Penalty, the Administrative Compulsion Law and other administrative laws protect the personal rights of citizens by regulating administrative power. China has successively abolished the systems of re-education through labor and of detention education to better protect the personal freedom of its citizens.

The right to vote is guaranteed by law. The right to vote and to stand for election is a basic political right of citizens defined in the Constitution: 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. The principles of universality, equality, combination of direct and indirect elections, competitive election and secret ballot are applied to ensure equal right to vote for everyone in accordance with the law. The election system ensures that both rural and urban areas are represented by people’s congress deputies in proportion to their population, and that all regions, ethnic groups, and sectors of society have a certain proportion of deputies.

People's rights to know, to be involved, to express views, and to supervise the exercise of power are better protected. A mechanism through which public opinion is consulted in drafting laws has been established and improved. By April 2021, the state legislatures had solicited public opinion on 230 draft laws. A total of 425,762 comments were received for the draft Civil Code alone, collecting 1,021,834 pieces of opinion.

Administrative work of the government has been made more transparent. Following the principle that public disclosure is the rule rather than the exception, a list of well-defined powers, a list of responsibilities and a negative list for governments at different levels have been introduced across the country. The power list for governments at provincial, city and county levels has been published nationwide.

The mechanism in which decisions are made in accordance with the law has been improved, with a focus on the effectiveness of public participation and the quality of expert discussion, so as to protect the citizens’ right to participate in administrative decision-making.

The public complaints reporting system has been steadily improved to ensure problems are handled in a lawful and timely manner, and people’s legitimate rights and interests are protected. The national public complaints information system links the public complaints and proposals departments of all the provincial-level administrative units on the Chinese mainland, and 42 departments of the CPC Central Committee and ministries of the central government. This system makes it easier for people to report information, or raise suggestions, complaints, or requests.

A system to solicit proposals from the public has been set up. China provides smooth channels through which people express their opinions, and offers innovative means of public supervision. It has put 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, making such platforms an important channel for realizing whole-process democracy.

Citizens and social organizations have the right to supervise state organs and public functionaries. The NPC Standing Committee performs its constitutional and legal duty of supervision. The system for recording and reviewing regulations, rules and other normative documents has been improved, and a national platform has been set up to this end.

Freedom of religious belief is guaranteed. Based on the realities of the country and the conditions applying to its religions, China follows the policies of separation of government from religion and of freedom of religious belief, maintains religious harmony, builds active and healthy religious relations, and respects and protects the citizens’ right to follow or not to follow any religion. The government protects normal religious activities, and manages religious affairs involving national and public interests but does not interfere in the internal affairs of religions. It supports all religions in upholding the principle of independence and self-management, and in carrying out external exchanges on the basis of independence, equality, friendship, and mutual respect. In China, believers and non-believers respect each other and live in harmony; they work together in China’s reform and opening up and socialist modernization for the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.


4. Protecting the Rights of Special Groups in All Respects

China maintains that all ethnic groups are equal. It ensures that people of all ethnic groups have equal rights to administer state affairs in accordance with the law. China protects the rights of ethnic minority groups through the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, the Electoral Law for the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congresses, the Education Law, the Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language, the Employment Promotion Law, and other relevant laws and regulations.

All 55 ethnic minority groups have deputies at the NPC and members in the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The 13th NPC has 438 deputies from ethnic minority groups, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total, and the 13th CPPCC National Committee has 247 members from ethnic minority groups, making up 11.5 percent of the total.

China has invested a significant effort in ethnic minority education. It works to ensure their right to education by running boarding schools in farming and pastoral areas, opening preparatory courses and special classes for ethnic minorities at colleges and schools, and prioritizing ethnic minority areas in developing higher education. 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.

With the exception of the Hui, who have used Han Chinese historically, and the Manchu and She peoples who now generally use Han Chinese, the other 52 ethnic minorities have their own spoken languages, and over 20 groups use nearly 30 written scripts. The Chinese government 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.

China has put in place a legal system of more than 100 laws and regulations that comprehensively protects the rights and interests of women and children. It has enacted three guidelines on women’s development and three on children’s development, coordinating protection of women and children with economic and social development.

China promulgated a special law to prevent and stop domestic violence and protect the legal rights of family members.

The Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law have been amended many times to strengthen the protection of minors. Robust action has been taken against criminal acts against minors, and the system of special protection for minors involved in crimes has been improved. In April 2021, there were more than 1,800 juvenile courts, and more than 1,500 juvenile prosecuting organs with more than 4,400 prosecutors.

Respecting the elderly is a traditional virtue of the Chinese culture. The Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly has been formulated and amended a number of times, while regional regulations were made in 31 provinces and equivalent administrative units to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the elderly. In November 2019, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council issued the Medium and Long-term Plan for Proactive National Response to Population Aging, strengthening the top-level framework for protecting the rights and interests of the elderly.

All provincial-level administrative units on the Chinese mainland have adopted the subsidy system for elderly people experiencing economic difficulties or suffering from disabilities. China is building a health service system for the elderly. In March 2021, China had more than 330,000 institutions and facilities with 8.2 million beds to provide services to the elderly. 14.8 million senior citizens received subsistence allowances; 3.8 million received assistance and support for people in extreme difficulty; 32.9 million received advanced age subsidies, nursing subsidies, and other old-age subsidies.

Protection of the rights of persons with disabilities has been strengthened. By April 2021, China had more than 90 laws and more than 50 administrative regulations on protection of the rights and interests of this group. China has established a subsidy system to provide living expenses for disabled persons in need and to pay the nursing costs of persons with severe disabilities. By 2020, this system had benefited 12.1 million of the former and 14.7 million of the latter.

China provides 12-year free education for disabled students with financial difficulties; 15-year free education for such students has been realized in Beijing, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Tibet, Xinjiang and some other provinces and equivalent administrative units. The government provides vocational training and employment services for persons with disabilities. By 2020, 6.3 million people with disabilities had received vocational skills training.

China gives strong support to creating an accessible environment, and developing the industry of assistive appliances for rehabilitation. It has established and implemented a rehabilitation and assistance system for children with disabilities, and made constant efforts to improve social care services for low-income people with severe disabilities. It is moving faster to develop community rehabilitation services for mental disorders, and to build mental health welfare institutions.


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