International Department of the CPC Central Committee       BEIJING REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 2019       MONTHLY
Don't Turn Rights Wrong
By Lan Xinzhen 

 

College students pose for photos with the national flag in front of a flowerbed in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing on September 23 (VCG) 

It is a common practice among some Western politicians to criticize the state of human rights in China. Such politically motivated acts do not help promote human rights since they ignore the actual state of human rights in China and are intended to smear the country. People who have never been to China or mixed with Chinese people may be taken in, but those who have been to China or have knowledge of Chinese affairs will ignore the propaganda. 

Commonly, human rights refer to the right to life and survival, as well as the ability to participate in political, economic, social and cultural activities. These basic rights can be further divided into the right to racial and ethnic equality, development, employment, religious belief and so on. 

Before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Chinese people suffered from invasion by imperialist powers as well as exploitation by feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism that enabled the bureaucracy to plunder the economy. The Communist Party of China (CPC) fought to ensure that the Chinese people become the masters of their own country, with the guarantee of human rights for everyone. 

Over the past 70 years, to respect and safeguard human rights has become part of the basic systems in China. It has been written into the country's Constitution, the CPC Constitution and key documents such as the National Human Rights Action Plan as a crucial principle guiding the Chinese Government on the governance of the country, and its importance has been recognized nationwide. 

China is also a signatory to international social welfare pacts such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. 

Turning a blind eye to the CPC's efforts to improve the livelihood and rights of the Chinese people and denying China's progress in human rights development will only trigger a backlash. 

The right to life is the paramount human right. If citizens' right to life is not guaranteed and they face, for instance, gun violence that claims lives almost every day, human rights become empty talk. The same thing also holds true when people don't have enough to eat and wear. 

The Chinese Government puts the right to survival and development at the center of human rights. Development is the top priority since it is key to solving China's major problems. When people's living conditions improve, overall social welfare will improve too. 

 

Primary school students learn the Tibetan script in Lhasa, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, in 1991; A computer class at a primary school in Lhasa in July (XINHUA) 

Seven decades ago, China was home to the largest impoverished population. From the start of reform and opening up in 1978 to 2016, over 700 million people were lifted out of poverty. The government is committed to eradicating the remnants of extreme poverty in the country by 2020. 

China is the first developing country to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction, which has been recognized worldwide as the most outstanding achievement in its human rights development. 

Today, the average life expectancy in China has risen from 67.8 in 1981 to 77, above the world average of 72. The community-level healthcare system covers both rural and urban areas, and there are Internet-based monitoring systems for infectious diseases and public health emergencies. People's right to a clean environment is better protected. 

Some might argue that while economic growth brings better living conditions, the Chinese have no freedom of speech or assembly. This is a misunderstanding. The Chinese people's freedom of speech, assembly and communication, as well as their rights to vote and to be elected, property rights and a lot more are all guaranteed by the Constitution. 

Some people criticize China's human rights scenario because they are actually opposed to the CPC. But the fact is that it is the CPC that has been pushing forward the human rights cause in China. 

Today, the sense of human rights has taken root in Chinese minds and they are more aware of their own rights than ever before. Without the CPC's efforts, it would have been impossible for the human rights cause to make such progress in China. 

Of course, there still remains a lot to be improved. But given time, human rights will make even greater headway. But probably even then, some people will continue to malign China's human rights situation since it is a political exercise for them, no matter what the truth is. 

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