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Advancing human rights

Updated: 2011-09-30 08:17

China Daily

Implementing new stage of national action plan will lift basic conditions to a higher level, benefiting the people

Editor's note: Amid the country's ongoing efforts to work out the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015), Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, gave an interview to Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday about the new program. The following are excerpts of what he said:

The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) was initiated after the successful conclusion of the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010). The Chinese government in late July published an assessment report on the implementation of the plan, elaborating on the full implementation of China's first-ever national program on human rights development, which was drafted in April 2009.

The new action plan on human rights for the next few years marks a significant step for China toward implementing its constitutional principle of "respecting and guaranteeing human rights", pushing for scientific development, promoting social harmony and realizing a well-off society in an all-round way.

Respecting and guaranteeing human rights is an important part of China's strategic thinking of the Scientific Outlook on Development and its bid to build a harmonious socialist society. It also remains an important principle for the Communist Party of China to govern the Party and the whole nation as well as a principled requirement to implement the Constitution and the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) for national economic and social development.

The making of the first human rights action plan has promoted the substantial development of China's human rights cause and received widespread positive approval among Chinese people. The next few years will be a crucial period for China to build an all-round, well-off society, deepen the reform and opening-up and accelerate the transformation of its economic development mode. It will also be an important period for the country to strengthen the protection and promote the development of human rights conditions.

Nevertheless, some problems have also cropped up in the process of China's rapid economic and social development, such as looming imbalances, non-coordination and unsustainability in its development, all issues that will affect to a large extent the improvement of people's human rights if not effectively dealt with.

The new action plan to be drafted by the central government aims to further promote the full development of the country's human rights cause, build a harmonious society and promote more fairness and harmony. Under the direct leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and extensive participation from the country's legislative, administrative and judicial bodies and various social circles, the action plan will lay down concrete policies and measures to promote and protect human rights in the economic, political, cultural and social fields.

With the Deng Xiaoping Theory and the "Three Represents" as its guideline and in the hope of an in-depth implementation of the Scientific Outlook on Development, the action plan will continue to put top priority on people's rights to subsistence and development and practically guarantee their economic, political, social and cultural rights.

To draft the new action plan (2012-2015), the following principles should be abided by:

The first principle is to promote human rights in line with the law. China will, based on the constitutional principle that the State respects and protects the human rights of its citizens, and the provisions of citizens' basic rights and obligations prescribed in the Constitution, other laws and regulations as well as the basic spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international human rights conventions, improve the laws and regulations and institutional mechanisms of respecting and safeguarding human rights from legislation, law enforcement, judicial and administrative aspects and promote the development of the cause of China's human rights in an all-round way.

The second is to promote human rights in a comprehensive and coordinated way. According to the principle that various types of human rights are interdependent and indivisible, departments will make joint efforts to promote comprehensive and coordinated development of economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights, individual human rights and collective human rights.

The third is to promote human rights in a steady and scientific way to combine the universal standards and the concept of human rights and China's national conditions.

Combining democratic political construction, legal system construction and the objectives and tasks of economic and social development of the 12th Five-Year Plan, the country will work out the objectives, tasks and measures of protecting and promoting human rights over the next four years in a realistic manner.

The objectives and tasks of the new national human rights action plan is, first, to protect people's economic, social and culture rights in a more comprehensive manner. The protection of human rights will run through the whole process of promoting scientific development and social harmony, run through all the aspects of balancing urban and rural development, development among regions, economic and social development, development of human and nature, and domestic development and opening-up. We will adhere to the principle that development for the people, depending on the people, and the fruits of development shared by the people, and do our best to ensure that all our people enjoy their rights to education, employment, medical and old-age care, and housing.

Second, we must protect civil and political rights according to the law more effectively. We will continue to adhere to the leadership of the CPC, that people are the masters and the principle of rule of law. We will continue to develop socialist democratic politics, actively and steadily push forward political system reform, expand citizens' orderly political participation, improve the democratic system, enrich the forms of democracy, expand democratic channels, carry out democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision, and protect people's rights for information, participation, expression and supervision.

Third, we must protect legal rights and the special rights of ethnic groups, women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities more adequately.

Fourth, we must further strengthen human rights education to improve citizens' awareness of human rights.

Fifth, we must carry out international exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights more actively.

The key of the National Human Rights Action Plan lies in action and implementation. The 56 organizations of the joint meeting mechanism for the National Human Rights Action Plan will, according to the principle of "each performing its own functions, and dividing the work with individual responsibility", actively and seriously implement the action plan.

(China Daily 09/30/2011 page8)