China Shares Human Rights Protection Experience with the World
Li Junru, former vice president of the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), opened his speech on the topic of human rights at this year’s Beijing Forum on Human Rights held on July 26 by analyzing a report released by foreign media. An online article from Sydney Morning Herald on July 15 reported that a local farm in Fiji created wealth by planting juncao (an herbal plant for growing edible mushrooms) assisted by China, and local farmers expressed gratitude to the Chinese government. “The aid from China enables locals to enjoy the most basic rights to survival and development,” said Li. As the largest developing country in the world, China is willing to share its experience in the area of human rights protection with people worldwide, and make the development of global human rights governance fairer, more just, reasonable, and inclusive.
The forum was co-hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development. Nearly 200 people, including senior officials, experts, and scholars from nearly 70 countries and international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), and representatives of diplomatic envoys in China attended the forum and had in-depth exchanges on the theme of “working together towards fairer, more equitable, reasonable, and inclusive global human rights governance.”
People Enjoying a Happy Life
Chinese President Xi Jinping met via video link with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on May 25 in Beijing. In his remarks, Xi expounded the major issues related to the development of China’s human rights cause, bringing in aspects of Chinese history and culture, and demonstrated China’s principled stand of being committed to safeguarding and protecting human rights in an all-round way.
“In the practice of promoting and protecting human rights, China has combined the Marxist concept of human rights with its concrete reality and with its fine traditional culture, and by learning from the achievements of many great civilizations, found a path of human rights development that conforms to the trend of the times and suits its national conditions,” said Professor Zhang Yonghe, executive director of the Human Rights Institute, Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Chinese people today are enjoying broad, full, and comprehensive democratic rights. “The human rights of the Chinese people have been guaranteed in an unprecedented way,” said Zhang.
“China has won the battle against poverty in an all-round way, lifted nearly 100 million rural people out of poverty, solved challenges of regional overall poverty, and completed the arduous task of eliminating absolute poverty. This in itself is a great success for the protection of human rights,” said Gustavo Sabino Vaca Narvaja, ambassador of Argentina to China. He also said that following a path of human rights protection that suits oneself lays a significant foundation for the sound development of human rights on the international stage. The human rights of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people have been unprecedentedly guaranteed, which in itself is a huge contribution to the progress on human rights in the world. “China insists on combining the principle of universality of human rights with China’s actual conditions, and maintains that the rights to subsistence and development are the primary rights, all of which provide important experience for the development of human rights in various countries, especially developing countries,” said the ambassador.
“Human rights in China are not only about eliminating extreme poverty, but also continuously improving the living conditions of the 1.4 billion people. Therefore, President Xi pointed out that the essence of China’s current development is to achieve common prosperity,” said Jorge Castro, president of Argentina’s Institute of Strategic Planning. He added, “This in no way means returning to egalitarianism based on poverty, but rather taking advantage of sustained economic development to systematically expand opportunities for economic and personal development for all strata of Chinese society, to improve productivity and per capita income.”
According to Castro, China incorporated the protection of human rights into its constitution in 2004, and then in 2007, “respecting and protecting human rights” was officially written into the CPC Constitution, marking a huge progress in China’s human rights cause. China has accumulated rich experience in the protection of human rights both in practice and theory especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, which Castro thinks other countries can learn from. “These achievements have been made because President Xi has repeatedly pointed out that ‘living a happy life is the primary human right’. Respecting and protecting human rights has become an important principle of the Chinese governance,” he said.
Promoting Global Security
Security is a prerequisite for promoting development and protecting human rights. In recent years, regional conflicts such as the Ukraine crisis have occurred frequently, causing serious food and energy crises around the world, and people’s rights to subsistence and development have also come under direct threat. Research reports show that global energy prices will increase by more than 50 percent in 2022, and nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa will not be able to afford energy expenditures to meet their basic needs. Non-energy prices, including agriculture, will rise by nearly 20 percent. The number of hungry people in the world is expected to exceed 300 million during the coming years. The emergence of these humanitarian crises has once again sent a warning to the world: Without security, the protection of human rights is empty talk. Only development that is based on security is sustainable, and then human rights can be truly protected and promoted.
President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, advocating the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind. This inclusive concept is open to all people and all countries around the world and embodies the true ideas of human rights and democracy.
According to Hussein Askary, vice chairman and board member of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, the BRI is an initiative that unites the people of the world, promotes global economic development, and maintains world security. “The initiative can build a world order that promotes the right to development for mankind, and solves the three development bottlenecks of capital shortages, infrastructure shortages, and skilled labor shortages for developing countries,” Askary said. He believes that the BRI provides countries with opportunities for economic development and “is the perfect tool to guarantee the right to subsistence and development, and to eradicate hunger, poverty, and disease.”
Askary also believes that the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals must be seen as a target of human rights. “If these obstacles are not addressed, human dignity will be compromised. There is no peace without economic development, and human rights cannot be better protected without peace.” In this regard, he suggested that all parties coordinate development and security, promote the implementation of the Global Security Initiative, advocate a common, cooperative, and sustainable security concept, create a secure environment for global common development, and lay the foundation for the protection and promotion of human rights.
President Xi Jinping has emphasized on many occasions that the Chinese people are willing to work with the people of other countries to uphold the common human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, safeguard human dignity and rights, and promote more just, rational, and inclusive global human rights governance, to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind and create a better future for the world.
In recent years, the concept of “building a community with a shared future for mankind” has been written into the resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council. China’s solutions such as “the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights” and “promoting win-win cooperation in the field of human rights” have won wide approval and support from the international community.
Tahir Farooq, editor-in-chief of Daily Ittehad of Pakistan, said that the raging COVID-19 pandemic around the world deeply impressed upon him the significance of President Xi’s idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind. “The virus knows no borders, and the pandemic does not discriminate between races. In the fight against the pandemic, mankind is a community with a shared future,” he said. Farooq highly appreciates China’s full cooperation with the world in the fight against the pandemic. “China’s announcement to provide a package of humanitarian and development assistance to the least developed countries and other severely affected countries fully reflects the humanitarianism that puts life first, and is the best example of promoting the protection of human rights in the world.”
Bhofal Chambers, speaker of the House of Representatives of Liberia, highly praised the efforts made by the CPC and the Chinese government to resolve global human rights issues in terms of China’s aid, participation, and support for women and children’s rights protection in other countries, and peacekeeping operations. He believes that China is a powerful force in promoting and defending human rights around the world. “During the long-term civil war in Liberia, the Chinese peacekeeping force not only helped maintain a peaceful and secure environment for locals, but also helped Liberia to consolidate the long-term stable situation, especially in terms of economy, trade, agriculture, education, etc., providing various conditions and support for Liberia,” he said.
John Ross, former director of economic and business policy of London and senior fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, believes that China’s human rights philosophy focuses on tangible results. It has achieved remarkable results in eliminating absolute poverty, safeguarding women’s rights and interests, and safeguarding people’s right to life and health under the pandemic, and has contributed to improving the human rights situation around the world, he said.
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