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White Paper on Peaceful Development
Special> White Paper on Peaceful Development
UPDATED: October 13, 2010 NO.41 OCTOBER 14, 2010
Progress in China's Human Rights in 2009
Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China September 2010, Beijing
Citizens' right to education is guaranteed. By the end of 2009 some 99.7 percent of the school-age population had access to nine-year compulsory education, and 99.5 percent of counties in China had provided nine-year compulsory education. In urban areas 96.64 percent of first-year elementary school students had received pre-school education, while in the rural areas the figure was 88.55 percent. In the same year, 99.4 percent of school-age children were enrolled in elementary schools, and 99.31 percent of them completed five years' study at elementary schools. Roughly, close to 99 percent of the children in the 12-14 age group were enrolled in junior high schools, and 94 percent of these children completed their three-year courses at junior high schools. About 79.2 percent of the children in the 15-17 age group were enrolled in senior high schools. In 2009 the enrollment of college students was 6.395 million, an increase of 318,000 over the previous year, and the enrollment of postgraduate students was 511,000, an increase of 65,000 over 2008. China attaches great importance to education in rural areas. In 2009 the central treasury appropriated 58.7 billion yuan as special funds for the promotion of compulsory education in rural areas. The funds included 35.7 billion yuan for public expenses, 13.8 billion yuan for supplying free textbooks, 5.1 billion yuan for the maintenance and renovation of school buildings, and 4.1 billion yuan for living expense subsidies for boarders from poor families. The state exempted 130 million rural students from sundry fees and textbook charges for compulsory education, and earmarked living expense subsidies for 11 million boarders from poor rural families in central and west China at the rate of 500 yuan per elementary school student per year and 750 yuan per junior high school student per year. In all elementary and middle schools in rural areas across China, the annual minimum budgets of public expenses for each elementary school student and for each junior high school student reached 300 yuan and 500 yuan, respectively, in the same year. By the end of 2009 over 6,063 buildings of junior high schools in rural areas of central and west China had been renovated, covering a total area of 12.81 million square meters. An investment of over 11 billion yuan was put into the distance-education network project for rural schools. The money was used to buy equipment for 360,000 rural elementary and middle schools in 23 provinces in central and west China and the Production and Construction Corps of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The equipment included a total of 402,000 sets of audio and visual players, 279,000 sets of TV-computer equipment receiving education programs from satellites and 45,000 computer rooms with multimedia installations.

China has improved the system of providing assistance to poor students. In 2009 the central treasury earmarked 9.28 billion yuan in national scholarships for secondary vocational schools, providing financial aid to nearly 12 million students, or 90 percent of the total number of first- and second-year students in these schools. The central treasury also appropriated 2.4 billion yuan for these schools to exempt poor rural students and students taking agriculture-related programs from tuition for the autumn semester. About 4.4 million students in these schools benefited from this fund. In 2009 the central treasury earmarked 600 million yuan in educational assistance funds pooled from lottery earnings for public welfare to give financial aid to 600,000 senior high school students from poor families. A 7.05 billion yuan national scholarship fund was assigned to colleges, benefiting 4.6943 million college students nationwide. Student loans became available in 24 provinces, and 22 had extended loans to students in 2009. The same year witnessed an additional of 600,000 students receiving the student loans. When the 2009 autumn semester began, 532,500 poor students were enrolled by colleges through the express "green channels." These students accounted for 95.5 percent of extremely poor students, 36.1 percent of students from poor families and 9.1 percent of all new students.

In the meantime, the people's cultural life is being increasingly enriched. By the end of 2009, China was publishing 43.7 billion copies of newspapers, 3.1 billion copies of periodicals/magazines, and 7 billion volumes of books. The country had 2,478 art troupes, 3,214 cultural centers, 2,833 public libraries, 1,996 museums, 251 radio stations, 272 TV stations, 2,087 radio and TV stations, and 44 radio and TV stations exclusively for education purpose. There were 173.98 million cable TV users, and 62 million users of cable digital TV services. The overall population coverage rates of radio and TV broadcasting were 96.3 percent and 97.2 percent, respectively. In 2009 China made 456 feature films and 102 other films including popular science films, documentaries, animated cartoons and so on. By the end of 2009 China had 4,035 archive institutions, giving the public access to 79.91 million files.

The building of a public cultural service system covering both urban and rural areas has been accelerated, and service capabilities and levels have been markedly enhanced. In 2009 there were 2,850 public libraries and 3,223 art and cultural centers at and above the county level, and 38,736 cultural stations across China. A total of 1,749 museums had offered free access by the year 2009. Since February 7, 2009 the National Library has reduced or eliminated charges for some of its services.

The national cultural resources sharing project transforms the country's excellent cultural resources to digital format, and then disseminates them through the Internet, satellite, television and mobile phone networks, enabling the building and sharing of the best of our cultural heritages across the nation. By 2009 some 757,000 service outlets at all levels for cultural resources sharing had been established. The volume of shared digital cultural information had reached 90 TB, including 70,132 hours of video resources, 52,691 titles of e-books and 3,604 e-periodicals. Of these, 1,510 hours of video resources and 1,250 titles of e-books were available in five minority languages, namely, Tibetan, Mongolian, Uygur, Kazakh and Korean. By the end of 2009 the cultural resources sharing project had provided services to 700 million people.

In 2009 the state invested 407 million yuan in sports-for-all projects. The Regulations on National Fitness, promulgated by the state, was China's first specialized administrative document comprehensively and systematically regulating the development of national fitness undertakings in such aspects as administrative mechanism and national fitness plans and activities. The Regulations on National Fitness was also the first national regulations to stipulate that citizens have the right to participation in national fitness activities in accordance with laws.

V. Equal Rights and Special Protection For Ethnic Minorities

In China, citizens of all ethnic groups enjoy equal rights as stipulated in the Constitution and other laws. Citizens of ethnic minorities also enjoy special rights in accordance with the law.

The state guarantees by law ethnic minorities' equal rights in participation in the administration of state and regional affairs. At present, all 55 ethnic-minority groups have their own deputies to the National Peoples Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Ethnic groups with a population of more than 1 million have members in the NPC Standing Committee. At each past session of NPC, the proportion of ethnic-minority deputies to the total number of deputies was higher than that of the contemporary ethnic-minority population to that of the total national population. The standing committees of people's congresses in all 155 ethnic-minority autonomous areas have chairs or vice-chairs who are citizens of the ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned. The head of an autonomous region, autonomous prefecture or autonomous county shall be a citizen of the ethnic group exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned. By 2009 there were over 2.9 million ethnic-minority cadres in China, accounting for 7.4 percent of the nation's total number of cadres. About 9.6 percent of China's public servants were from ethnic minorities.

The state intensifies its support to the development of ethnic-minority areas, and the standard of living of ethnic minorities is steadily improving. In recent years, the state has formulated a series of favorable policies that have effectively propelled the socioeconomic development of ethnic-minority groups and regions. The documents include Opinions on Further Enhancing the Socioeconomic Development of Xinjiang, Opinions on Recent Support for Socioeconomic Development in Tibet, Opinions on Further Improving the Socioeconomic Development of Ningxia and Development Plan for the Guangxi North Bay Economic Zone. In 2009 China invested 1.24 billion yuan for the socioeconomic development of the areas inhabited by ethnic-minority people. In the same year the government invested a total of 780 million yuan, which effectively helped over 80 percent of villages inhabited by ethnic-minority people with smaller population to reach the targets mapped out in the Development Plan for Supporting Smaller Ethnic Minorities (2005-2010). With strengthened efforts for boosting border-region economies, China enlarged the national assistance scope to include 136 border counties and the area of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. In 2009 the state implemented new poverty reduction criteria, enlarged the scope of assistance and carried out comprehensive poverty-alleviation policies for the low-income rural population in the areas inhabited by ethnic-minority people. As a result, the rural population in dire poverty in ethnic-minority areas dropped to over 7.7 million in 2008 from 12.45 million in 2004. In 2009 most of the exceptionally poor villages in ethnic-minority areas had access to roads, power supply, telephones, and radio and TV coverage. They also had schools, clinics, safe drinking water for people and livestock, safe housing, basic farmland or grassland that guarantee adequate food and clothing, and per-capita food consumption and per-capita net income also reached national poverty-alleviation standards.

Public health care systems in ethnic-minority areas have picked up development speed. From 2004 to 2009 the state invested 4.7 billion yuan in the public health care systems, prevention and control of major diseases, immunization program, health care for women and children, medical personnel training, rural cooperative medical service and traditional ethnic medicine in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities. By the end of 2008 some 681 out of 699 counties in the ethnic autonomous areas had implemented the new system. Five autonomous regions and three provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai with large numbers of ethnic-minority inhabitants realized full coverage. The implementation speed of the system in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities overtook that of the national average.

The education level of ethnic minorities keeps increasing. Ethnic-minority areas have established complete education systems from pre-school to higher education, and the period of education for ethnic-minority population has increased significantly. Ninety-eight percent of school-age children in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities attend elementary schools. By the end of 2009 some 686 out of 699 counties in ethnic autonomous areas had realized nine-year compulsory education and met the target of basically eradicating illiteracy among the young and middle-aged population. The other 13 counties have plans to reach these goals in 2010. By 2009 China had altogether 15 institutions of higher learning for ethnic minorities. The number of full-time students at these schools reached 200,000, of whom 60 percent were from ethnic minorities. More than 300 universities and colleges had opened preparatory courses and regular classes for ethnic-minority students, with a total enrollment of 31,000.

The traditional cultures of ethnic minorities are protected and encouraged to develop. At the National Ethnic-minority Cultural Work Meeting in June 2009 the State Council issued the Opinions on Further Developing Ethnic-minority Cultural Undertakings, which outlined the major tasks, targets, and measures for the cultural development of ethnic minorities at present and for the years to come. It is a strong guarantee for further development and prosperity of ethnic-minority culture. Cultural facilities construction in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities is being enhanced. During the 11th Five-year Plan period (2006-2010), China is to provide a 3.857-billion-yuan subsidy to the central and western regions of the country, including 913 million yuan to the five autonomous regions and three provinces with large numbers of ethnic-minority inhabitants and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Through a cultural center construction plan, this subsidy from the government will be used as part of the investment to construct 23,400 comprehensive cultural centers in villages and townships. The state has provided financial aid to renew a large amount of broadcasting and film dubbing equipment for minority languages, has set up 10 minority-language film dubbing centers in Inner Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang, studied and developed state-of-the-art digital technology for film dubbing. The state is strengthening financial support for the maintenance and protection of key cultural relic protection units and the collection of valuable cultural relics in ethnic-minority areas. A special fund of 400 million yuan has been arranged for the protection of over 20 national key relic protection units and ancient sites in Xinjiang during the 11th Five-year Plan period. Currently the number of national key relic protection units in ethnic-minority areas has reached 366, and the Potala Palace, the ancient city of Lijiang and other cultural sites have been included in the UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list. The Muqam music of the Xinjiang Uygur people, the Mongolian Long Song, the Kam Grand Choir of the Dong people of Guizhou Province, the Epic of King Gesar, the Regong art of Qinghai Province, Tibetan opera, the Manas Epic of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the Hoomei singing of the Mongolians, the Hua'er folk songs of Gansu Province, Korean Pungmul dancing, among others, have been included in UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Currently two of the nation's four cultural ecological protection experimental areas feature ethnic-minority cultures. The state has issued the Guiding Opinions on the Experimental Work of Protection and Development of Ethnic-minority Villages and Stockaded Villages, and carried out experiments on the protection and development of villages and stockaded villages with minority features. In 2009 a total of 50 million yuan was invested in experimental work for the protection and development of 121 ethnic-minority villages and stockaded villages.

The ethnic minorities' rights to study, use and develop their own languages are protected. The state effectively guarantees the use of ethnic-minority languages in administrative and judicial work, news media and publications, broadcasting and film, culture and education, and other areas. Examination papers have minority-language versions in the National Matriculation Test. Moreover, China implements bilingual education in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities. At present, over 10,000 schools with a total of 6 million students use 29 languages of 21 ethnic groups in classroom teaching.

VI. Rights and Interests of People With Disabilities

China is working hard to develop services for people with disabilities, to solve their difficulties, and to guarantee their legitimate rights.

The state is actively improving laws and regulations to protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities. The Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities, revised on April 24, 2008, strengthened the legal system for protecting the rights and interests of people with disabilities. In 2009 the state issued the Measures for Air Transport of Persons with Disabilities, stipulating detailed measures for the rights of this group in the field of air transport. At present, the Chinese legislature is working on the Regulations on the Construction of Non-barrier Facilities, Regulations on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, and national standards for classifying disabilities. In December 2009, China revised the Regulations on the Application for and Use of Motor Vehicle Driving Licenses, loosening the restrictions on the physical conditions of drivers, and making it possible for some of the disabled to drive motor vehicles. In 2009 China set up the first batch of 56 workstations that provide legal aid to people with disabilities.

China has improved the social security and service systems for people with disabilities. In 2009 the state formulated the Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Building of the Social Security and Service Systems for People with Disabilities, and 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government issued opinions on how to implement the Guiding Opinions. In 2009 a pilot project for a new rural pension insurance system was carried out in China, requiring local governments to pay part or the total amount of the minimum pension insurance premium for rural people with severe disabilities and other groups with difficulty paying this type of insurance premiums.

China is working hard to improve rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. In 2009 some 6.2 million people with disabilities were rehabilitated to different degrees, and 2,376 municipal districts and counties (county-level cities) carried out rehabilitation in communities, enabling 9.844 million people with disabilities to enjoy rehabilitation services in their communities. In addition, the government provided 1.122 million items of assistance equipment for people with disabilities, including 598,000 pieces of the equipment given for free to those poor people with disabilities. The state invested 711 million yuan in an emergency rehabilitation project for poor children with disabilities, which benefited nearly 60,000 children. Meanwhile, the state carried out a project for training rehabilitation professionals, turning out over 2,200 managerial and technical personnel in this field and nearly 130,000 coordinators for community rehabilitation.

China constantly develops education for people with disabilities. In 2009 the Chinese Government issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Special Education. The Opinions states clearly that the government will accelerate the development of special education, particularly high-school education and higher education with focus on vocational education for people with disabilities. This has effectively expanded the scope of compulsory education for people with disabilities. Given the weaknesses in special education, the Opinions puts forward measures such as improving the mechanism for guaranteeing special education funds, strengthening faculty building, enhancing the classroom performance of students, and using all means to eliminate illiteracy among young and middle-aged people. Compulsory education for children and teenagers with disabilities is being steadily promoted. The state has so far provided occupational training sessions for 785,000 persons with disabilities, and institutions of higher learning have enrolled 7,782 students with disabilities.

More and better public services for people with disabilities are provided. By 2009 there were 3,474 homes for people with disabilities in China, where 110,000 disabled people were taken care of. The state helped 1.085 million impoverished rural people with disabilities to shake off poverty, and helped 102,000 poor families with one or more disabled members to renovate their houses, benefiting 140,000 people with disabilities. From 2009 to 2011 the state is to earmark 200 million yuan each year to subsidize agencies that provide services for working-age people with mental or severe physical disabilities. In 2009 the state helped 350,000 urban residents with disabilities to find employment, bringing the number of employed urban residents with disabilities to 4.434 million. At the same time, the number of employed rural residents with disabilities reached 17.57 million.

China also makes efforts to enrich the lives of disabled people in the cultural and sports areas. In 2009 China held the Seventh National Variety Performance by People with Disabilities, in which 30,000 candidates were selected and 4,000 performers and related staff members took part. In 2009 the state issued the Regulations on National Fitness, clearly specifying disabled people's rights to take part in physical exercises and sporting events. Chinese athletes with disabilities have participated in 19 international events, including the 21st Deaflympics, the 9th Special Olympics World Winter Games, the Paralympic World Cup held in Great Britain, the Tokyo 2009 Asian Youth Para Games, and the World Wheelchair and Amputee Games, and won 158 gold medals. China has held 14 national games for disabled people, involving 5,000 athletes. The Special Olympics has developed steadily in China, and the number of its Special Olympics athletes has reached 900,000.

China is constantly improving the environment for people with disabilities to take part in social life. It has established a special column titled "Services for people with disabilities" on the Central Government's official web portal (www.gov.cn). China has also set up a state-level digital library for people with visual impairment (www.cdlvi.cn). Meanwhile, it has made new progress in constructing non-barrier facilities: 100 cities are working to build themselves into non-barrier cities, making sure people with disabilities have non-barrier access to the main streets, shopping malls, hospitals, hotels, cinemas, museums, airports, bus stations, railway stations and other public buildings, as well as residential buildings, paving the way for people with disabilities to go out confidently and fully engage in social life. The government and all sectors of society are promoting humanitarianism, and urge people to understand, respect, care for and help people with disabilities.

VII. Exchanges and Cooperation With Other Countries in the Realm of Human Rights

China has long taken the initiative to have exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the realm of human rights, endeavoring to promote the sound development of human rights on the international stage.

China is an active participant in the work of UN's human rights agencies, and it plays a constructive role in order to encourage countries around the world to handle human rights issues fairly, objectively and non-selectively.

In February 2009 China received the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from the United Nations Human Rights Council for the first time. During the review, China, with a serious and highly-responsible attitude, gave a detailed account of its human rights situation, the challenges facing the country and what was needed to be done in the future, and conducted an open and frank dialogue with other countries. China's efforts and progress made in the sphere of human rights have been recognized by many countries, and in June 2009 the UN Human Rights Council verified and approved the report reviewing China's human rights situation. In 2009, a Chinese delegation attended the meetings of the Third Committee of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly, and the 10th, 11th and 12th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, and participated in the fourth, fifth and sixth UPR sessions of the UN Human Rights Council. Chinese experts attended the second and third sessions of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council, and the fourth and fifth sessions of the Working Group on Communications of the UN Human Rights Council. China played an active part in the Durban Review Conference held in April 2009. When working in the organizations and participating in the meetings mentioned above, China, as always, upheld the basic tenets and principles stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations, performed its duties conscientiously, and proactively participated in reviews and discussions of the human rights issues.

China attaches great importance to the significant role played by international human rights instruments in the promotion and protection of human rights, and has joined 25 international conventions on human rights, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Meanwhile, China is actively working for the approval of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Chinese Government has taken effective measures to guarantee the implementation of its obligations as stipulated by international human rights conventions it has joined. In 2009 China set about drawing up the second report of its implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the consolidated report of the third and fourth implementations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the first report of its implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In August 2009 China received a review of its 10th to 13th consolidated report of its implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination conducted by the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The committee affirmed China's policies, measures and achievements made in developing the economy in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, enhancing the development of the smaller ethnic minorities, raising people's living standard, promoting health care and education, and protecting the cultures of ethnic minorities.

The Chinese Government has been actively involved in formulating international human rights instruments. In 2009 the Chinese Government sent a delegation to attend the meeting of the working group to establish an optional protocol for a complaint mechanism to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. China actively recommended its experts to participate in the work of organizations supporting human rights treaties. In 2009 a Chinese expert was elected as deputy chairperson of the newly-organized UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was reappointed a member of the UN Committee against Torture.

China has been taking the initiative to carry out international cooperation in the realm of human rights, attaching great importance to technical cooperation with the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on human rights cooperation between China and the OHCHR in 2000, both sides have carried out a series of cooperative programs on human rights on the principle of mutual respect. China resolutely supports the programs of the OHCHR, and made another donation of US$20,000 to it in 2009. China highly appreciates the important functions of the UN's Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council in the realm of international human rights, and maintains close cooperation with it. The Chinese Government replies to all inquiries from the Special Procedures in a highly responsible manner, and has invited the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food of the Human Rights Council to visit China. China will continue cooperation in follow-up work with the United Nations Children's Fund office in China on the review of China report conducted by the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child. An international symposium on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Its Implementation in China and a symposium on the Report of the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child were held in China in 2009.

China upholds the principles of equality and mutual respect when carrying out bilateral dialogues and communication in the field of human rights with related countries. In 2009 China held human rights dialogues and consultations with the European Union, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and Norway, and communicated with countries such as Russia and Laos. Through dialogue and communication with other countries, mutual understanding concerning human rights has been enhanced, gaps have been narrowed and consensuses have been reached.

The full realization of human rights is an important goal for China in its efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way as well as to build a harmonious society. Working closely with other countries, China will, as always, spare no efforts and contribute its due share to ensure the continuous progress of China's human rights, as well as the healthy development of human rights in the rest of the world and the building of a harmonious world with lasting peace and common prosperity.

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