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Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)

CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-10 07:23

A family takes photos against a backdrop of blooming sunflowers at the Olympic Forest Park in Beijing, on July 4, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Editor's Note: The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Thursday released the country's fourth human rights action plan "Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)." Full text below:



I. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

1. Right to Basic Standard of Living

2. Right to Work

3. Right to Social Security

4. Right to Property

5. Right to Health

6. Right to Education

7. Cultural Rights

II. Civil and Political Rights

1. Right to Life

2. Personal Rights

3. Individuals' Information Rights and Interests

4. Freedom of Religious Belief

5. Rights to Vote and to Stand for Election

6. Rights to Be Informed and to Participate

7. Rights to Be Heard and to Exercise Public Scrutiny

8. Right to a Fair Trial

III. Environmental Rights

1. Pollution Prevention and Control

2. Eco-Environmental Information Disclosure

3. Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making

4. Public Interest Environmental Litigation and Eco-Environmental Damage Compensation

5. Territorial Eco-Environmental Restoration and Protection

6. Response to Climate Change

IV. Protecting the Rights of Particular Groups

1. Rights of Ethnic Minority Groups

2. Women's Rights

3. Children's Rights

4. Rights of the Elderly

5. Rights of Persons with Disabilities

V. Education and Research on Human Rights

1. On-Campus Education

2. Specialized Research

3. Workplace Training

4. Promotional Activities for the General Public

VI. Participating in Global Human Rights Governance

1. Fulfilling Obligations to International Human Rights Conventions

2. Engaging Substantially in the Work of UN Human Rights Bodies

3. Joining in Constructive Dialogue and Cooperation on Human Rights

4. Contributing to the International Cause of Human Rights

VII. Implementation, Supervision and Assessment


China has formulated and implemented three action plans on human rights since 2009. During this period, the Chinese people have prospered, their rights have been better protected, the policies and legal measures protecting the rights of particular groups have improved, and the legal safeguards for human rights have been strengthened. China has fully participated in global human rights governance, making a major contribution to the international cause of human rights.

The First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has been realized. The five-year period from 2021 to 2025 will see China set out on a new journey towards the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country.

This period will also witness a new beginning for human rights in China. China's economy has moved to a stage of high-quality development, so the country now has more favorable conditions to advance the cause of human rights. The principal challenge facing Chinese society is now the gap between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing expectation for a better life, including higher expectations for the protection of their human rights. In the international arena, the world today is undergoing a scale of change unseen in a century, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The international situation is becoming ever more complex, with mounting instability and uncertainty. The cause of human rights is encountering new challenges not only in China but throughout the world.

The Chinese government has reviewed the implementation of the previous three human rights action plans and summarized the experience gained. Now it presents the Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)(the Action Plan) to define the objectives and tasks of respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in the period from 2021 to 2025.

This Action Plan adheres to the constitutional principle of respecting and protecting human rights, and the Outline for the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. It follows the spirit embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights conventions.

The guidelines for formulating and implementing the Action Plan are:

·Following the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era;

·Staying committed to a people-centered philosophy of development, believing that a happy life for the people is the most important human right;

·Promoting well-rounded development of and common prosperity for all the people as the ultimate goal;

·Developing whole-process people's democracy, safeguarding social fairness and justice, and resolving the most pressing difficulties and problems which are of great concern to the people;

·Ensuring a higher level of human rights protection for all, so that they will have a stronger sense of gain, happiness and security.

The basic principles in formulating and implementing the Action Plan are:

·incorporating the development of human rights into the legal framework;

·promoting all-round and balanced development of all human rights;

·integrating the general principles of human rights with the real conditions in China;

·fully guaranteeing all social members' rights to equal participation and development;

·pooling the efforts of governments, enterprises, public institutions, and social organizations;

·tapping the potential of digital technology in expanding the free and well-rounded development of every person.

The targets of the Action Plan are as follows:

·Promoting the free, well-rounded and common development of all individuals as the general goal. The Chinese government will hold fast to its people-centered approach, and exert itself to meet the people's growing expectations for human rights protection. It will guarantee the principal position of the people, and ensure that development is for the people and relies on the people, and that development benefits are shared by the people.

·Protecting the people's economic, social and cultural rights to meet their expectation for a better life, and creating more favorable economic, social and cultural conditions to achieve this goal.

·Safeguarding the civil and political rights and promoting effective participation in social affairs, thus laying a sound democratic and legal foundation for well-rounded development of the people.

·Cherishing clear waters and green mountains as invaluable assets. China will continue to respect, work with, and protect mother nature, and promote the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature. It will promote eco-environmental progress and work to build a beautiful China, in order to create a sustainable environment for human beings and later generations.

·Reinforcing the equal protection of the rights and interests of particular groups and providing them with extra assistance, to ensure all have an equal share in the fruits of development, and to provide policy support for the well-rounded development of all.

·Conducting extensive research, education, and training, and building awareness in this field, to create a social atmosphere of respecting and protecting human rights.

·Participating in global human rights governance. China will engage itself in all work relating to the UN human rights mechanisms, propel the international community to establish a more just, fair, reasonable and inclusive governance system, and work together to build a global community of shared future.

Compiled under the leadership of the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and reviewed and approved by the joint meeting for the National Human Rights Action Plan, the Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025) is hereby released by the State Council Information Office.

I. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

China will work to promote common prosperity for its people and protect their economic, social and cultural rights through the following: consolidating its achievements in poverty alleviation, carrying out the strategy of rural revitalization, prioritizing employment, implementing the Healthy China Initiative, improving the social security system, promoting equal access to education, and improving public cultural services.

1. Right to Basic Standard of Living

China will support further development of formerly impoverished areas, by ensuring access to affordable and safe housing, clean water, safe and secure supplies of food, and convenient transport.

-Connecting poverty alleviation with rural revitalization. Assistance mechanisms for low-income rural populations and undeveloped areas will be improved, and major alleviation policies and financial input will remain steady. Follow-up measures will be taken to help people relocated from inhospitable areas to places with better economic prospects, by accelerating urbanization of the resettlement sites.

-Strengthening food security. The government will secure the supply of major farm produce, including grain, cotton, edible oil, sugar, meat and dairy products. The strictest controls will be put in place to keep the country's farmland above the red line of 120 million hectares. The government will create 71.7 million hectares of contiguous high-standard farmland, establishing agricultural belts for national food security.

-Promoting food safety. Critical moves will be made to implement the Program for Ensuring Food Safety, focusing on smart supervision throughout the food processing process from farm to table.

-Ensuring access to safe and clean water. China will construct new irrigation facilities with a water supply capacity of 29 billion cu m. By implementing the Program of Water Supply Security for Rural Areas and the Program of Safe Drinking Water for Rural Areas, it will raise the tap water coverage in rural areas to 88 percent or higher.

-Improving housing security. Housing security will be improved by providing more government-subsidized rental housing and joint-ownership housing. Households in receipt of subsistence allowances or with low incomes that have difficulty finding housing will be provided with both public rental homes and housing subsidies. More subsidized rental housing will be built to help special social groups with housing difficulties, such as new urban residents and young people. The joint house ownership scheme will be further developed to help those who cannot afford to buy commercial homes to own a share in a property.

-Securing safe housing. China will continue with the renovation of dilapidated homes, identifying and closing all safety loopholes affecting rural houses in the next three years, and supporting seismic retrofit in high seismic zones.

-Improving transport facilities. Measures will be taken to build more trunk railway lines, improve nationwide highway connectivity, accelerate the construction of border highways, and expand the traffic capacity of heavily frequented highways. More efforts will be made to build or renovate highways connecting towns and townships with other places, and to build paved roads for villages.

-Bridging the digital divide between urban and rural areas. China will coordinate efforts to build smart cities and villages, promoting integrated development of IT application in cities and the countryside and improving digital literacy and skills among all the people.

2. Right to Work

China will prioritize employment, eliminate employment and career discrimination, improve the wage/salary and welfare system, improve mechanisms for coordinating labor relations, implement the safety management system (SMS), and tighten supervision on labor law enforcement.

-Increasing employment. China aims to achieve high-level and high-quality employment, with an urban unemployment rate below 5.5 percent. Efforts will be made to increase non-full-time employment, support and develop new forms of employment, and provide startup services for returned rural migrant workers. Moves will be made to train innovation and entrepreneurship leaders, and establish demonstration zones and incubation bases for rural startups. Lawful rights and interests relating to work and employment will be better protected, in particular for groups such as young migrant workers and young people in flexible employment. Measures will be taken to increase subsidized jobs, and help women seeking to return to work after maternity leave, people with disabilities, members of zero-employment households and other disadvantaged groups to find jobs.

-Securing employment for people raised from poverty. Efforts will be intensified to organize people recently raised from poverty to find employment outside of their home regions. Work-relief programs will be expanded in the construction and management of agricultural projects in former impoverished areas. Preferential policies will be continued to support factory workshops in poverty alleviation. The policies for forest rangers will be adjusted and improved. Rural subsidized jobs will be put to better use through better coordination.

-Improving vocational training for rural migrant workers. China will move on with upskilling initiatives and specialized vocational training programs such as those for rural migrant workers, young people and professional caregivers. Some 7 million rural migrant workers will receive employability training every year. Support will be provided to help enterprises to organize pre-employment training, apprenticeship training, and on-the-job training.

-Providing reasonable remuneration. China will improve the mechanisms for setting, raising and ensuring regular payment of wages/salaries, refine the mechanisms for setting minimum wage levels and wage guidelines, and continue to implement the collective wage bargaining system. Employment agencies will be better regulated to ensure equal pay for equal work. Employment security policies for online jobs will be introduced. Long-term mechanisms will be improved to eliminate the practice of withholding wages/salaries and punish violations in accordance with the law.

-Punishing forced labor. China will redouble its efforts to protect workers' rights and interests, and punish cases of forced labor according to law.

-Improving the safety management system (SMS). China will amend the Law on Workplace Safety, and enact a law on safe production of hazardous chemicals and a regulation on coal mine safety. The SMS will be enhanced throughout the entire operation of enterprises, and the workplace safety accountability system will be enforced. The Five-year Action Plan on Workplace Injury Prevention (2021-2025) will be implemented, aiming to reduce key industries' workplace injury incidence rate by around 20 percent.

3. Right to Social Security

Under the principle of social security benefits for all eligible, the government will action policy requirements to help those most in need, to build a tightly woven safety net, and to build the necessary institutions, as it works to develop a sustainable multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in both urban and rural areas and follows fair and uniform standards.

-Improving the systems and mechanisms for social security. For rural and non-working urban residents facing financial difficulties, the government will cover part or all of their premiums to the basic pension scheme. The mechanism for adjusting basic pension rates for urban employees will be established. Enterprise annuity (a supplemental retirement savings program for employees of enterprises) and occupational annuity (a supplementary pensions program for employees of government agencies and public institutions) will be improved, and private pension plans will be encouraged. Policies will be enacted on subsidies for family dependents of the deceased and for people with non-work-related illnesses and disabilities, should they be covered by the basic pension scheme for urban employees.

-Improving the system for social relief. The state will provide special relief funds on healthcare, education, housing, and employment to people with financial difficulties, in a timely and targeted manner. It will improve financial aid and support for severely impoverished rural residents through higher-quality relief services. It will provide a tiered and categorized social assistance program and improve the subsistence allowance scheme. The eligible age of minors covered by the relief scheme for severely impoverished people will be extended from 16 to 18. Households and individuals eligible for temporary assistance will be provided with interim emergency subsistence allowances.

4. Right to Property

China will enforce the Civil Code to better protect property rights, including the transfer of management right of contracted land, and the right to use rural land designated for a residence (rural residential land). It will further reform the system of rural collective property rights, complete the system of property rights in natural resource assets, and better protect property rights in data.

-Improving institutions for the protection of property rights. China will amend the Regulations on the Implementation of the Land Management Law. Institutional guarantees will be put in place to protect property rights in data, knowledge and the environment. Institutions, laws and regulations concerning property rights in natural resource assets will be improved.

-Strengthening protection of property rights in judiciary and law enforcement. China provides equal protection by law for the property rights of enterprises under diverse forms of ownership, including state-owned enterprises, private businesses and foreign-owned companies. It protects property rights and innovation revenues of entrepreneurs, and punishes in accordance with the law crimes that encroach on the legitimate property rights and interests of individuals, enterprises and organizations, including theft, robbery, forcible seizure, fraud, racketeering and infringement on intellectual property. Longterm mechanisms for identifying and correcting legal errors resulting in wrongful convictions of enterprises will be set up. A modern judicial regulatory system for enterprises suited to China's needs will be piloted.

-Protecting farmers' property rights. The current round of rural land contracts will be extended for another 30 years upon expiration, and the system of separating the ownership rights, contract rights and management rights of contracted rural land will be improved. Research will be conducted on the specific ways of separating ownership, entitlement, and the right to use of rural residential land. The government will ensure that people from rural areas who have become permanent urban residents can continue to enjoy their land contract right, homesteading right, and rights to share in the proceeds from rural collective operations. It will advance the reform of collective forest tenure, ensure procedure-based grassland use and transfer based on contract, and proceed with the confirmation, registration and certification of grassland tenure.

-Tightening the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). China will refine the litigation system for IPR cases, improve the mechanisms for punitive damages from IPR violations, and increase the compensation amount. It will reform the ownership and proceeds distribution mechanisms for state-owned IPR to give research institutes and higher education institutions greater autonomy in IPR assignment.

5. Right to Health

The Healthy China initiative will be implemented in full to provide a complete range of health services to the people throughout their lifespan. The ability to combat major epidemics and respond to public health emergencies will be considerably reinforced. The Chinese people will be healthier both physically and mentally, and enjoy better and more equal healthcare.

-Building a strong public health system. Following the principle of putting people and lives first no matter the cost, China will continue to take effective measures to contain the Covid-19 spread. China's disease prevention and control system will be reformed, with better monitoring, early warning, risk assessment, epidemiological investigation, testing, and emergency response. Measures will be enacted to improve public health colleges and cultivate more professionals. The national immunization program will be expanded to strengthen the prevention and control of major infectious diseases and the prevention, early screening and intervention of chronic diseases. The healthcare system for mental health will be improved. Twenty national bases for the prevention, control and treatment of major infectious diseases and 20 national bases for emergency rescue will be renovated and upgraded. About 15 regional healthcare centers will be built by making use of the resources of existing centers for disease control and prevention.

-Improving the healthcare system. Services provided by town, township and community healthcare centers will be raised to national standards by improving public hospitals and medical service networks for urban and rural areas. Provincial and city hospitals will be encouraged to share quality medical resources with their county-level peers. More progress will be made in expanding the tiered diagnosis and treatment model and partnerships between medical institutions operating at different levels. Private healthcare providers and experienced practicing physicians will be encouraged to set up and run clinics.

-Strengthening the prevention and control of chronic and endemic diseases. National Demonstration Areas for Comprehensive Prevention and Control of Chronic Diseases will be expanded to cover 20 percent of China's counties and county-level districts. The premature mortality rate resulting from major chronic diseases will be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2015. Efforts will continue to control and eliminate endemic diseases and schistosomiasis (bilharzia).

-Increasing the scale and quality of medical training. The number of pediatricians and general practitioners will be increased to address the current shortfall, and the number of registered nurses per 1,000 people will be increased to 3.8. Training programs will be carried out to increase the number of general practitioners per 10,000 people, which will be raised to 3.93.

-Upgrading the universal medical insurance system. The state will improve the general support mechanism for covering outpatient medical bills under basic medical insurance, and put in place a better system of medical insurance and assistance for major diseases. Qualified online medical services will be covered by medical insurance with due procedures, and real-time settlement of medical expenses for treatment incurred outside the province where the patient resides will be implemented. An insurance system for long-term care will be established.

-Improving medical services for mental health. A society-wide service system for mental health will be improved to alleviate academic, professional, emotional and life pressure, as well as other social pressure, and provide post-traumatic care and better diagnosis reporting and follow-up management for people with severe mental disorders. The target for the management of patients with severe mental disorders will be 90 percent.

-Improving teenagers' health and physique. Teenagers should be encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle, taking care of their eyes, following a reasonable diet, and taking proper exercise. At least 90 percent of teenagers should reach the physical fitness standard, and the rate of myopia will not exceed 65 percent in junior high schools and 75 percent in senior high schools.

-Ensuring food and drug safety. Risk monitoring on food and drug safety, spot checks, supervision and law enforcement will all be strengthened, timely reporting and response will be accelerated, mechanisms will be put in place to manage drugs and vaccines throughout their life cycles, and the electronic traceability system for drugs will be improved. Illegal and criminal acts in the field of food and drugs will be severely punished in accordance with the law, and a punitive compensation system in public-interest civil litigation concerning food and drug safety will be established.

-Promoting traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Equal importance will be attached to TCM and Western medicine with a more vigorous effort to promote TCM so that the two can complement each other. About 30 national centers for TCM practice and innovation will be built, forming a number of unique and leading disciplines.

-Promoting intelligent medical service. Efforts will be made to improve electronic health archives and databases such as medical records and e-prescriptions, and speed up data sharing among medical institutions. Application of telemedicine will be promoted, including computer-aided detection in medical imaging and computer-aided clinical diagnosis. Big data will also be used to better supervise medical institutions and medical services.

-Carrying out a nationwide fitness campaign. In order to improve the public service system for fitness and physical activity, efforts will be made to build public sports fields and facilities, open school sports venues to the public, build more community sports facilities such as sports tracks, and build sports parks in line with local conditions.

6. Right to Education

Efforts will be made to increase the coverage of preschool education, the completion rate of compulsory education, and the enrollment rate of senior high schools. Equal access to education will be guaranteed, and education quality will be increased, so that the students can develop in an all-round way.

-Increasing educational investment in areas formerly classified as extremely poor. Special plans for educational investment in the central budget will continue, to build a national platform for paired-up assistance among colleges and universities in the eastern, central and western regions, and to support areas formerly classified as extremely poor in consolidating their achievements in poverty alleviation through education, so as to end generational poverty.

-Promoting full coverage of preschool education. Efforts will be made to further increase the coverage of preschool education, develop public kindergartens, and support the development of government-funded and privately-run non-profit kindergartens. The gross enrollment rate of preschool education will be raised to over 90 percent.

-Promoting high-quality and balanced development of compulsory education. Measures will be taken to promote quality, balanced compulsory education and urban-rural integration, and to speed up the growth of schools for compulsory education under uniform requirements. A responsibility system will be improved to prevent school dropouts and increase the completion rate of compulsory education. Conditions of small village schools and town/township boarding schools will also be improved.

-Increasing the coverage of senior high school education. The government will improve general senior high schools at county level and below, and encourage diversified development in general senior high schools. Support will be increased for senior high school education in less developed areas of central and western China and high-altitude regions. The gross enrollment ratio for senior secondary education will reach 92 percent or higher.

-Improving vocational education. A system with coordinated development of secondary and higher vocational education and integrated development of vocational and general education will be established. The integrated development of industry and education will be promoted, and the system of school-enterprise cooperation will be improved. Students receiving secondary vocational education will be exempted from tuition and other fees on a phased and categorized basis. The average length of schooling for new entrants to the labor force will be no less than 14 years.

-Boosting high-quality higher education. China will continue to implement programs to increase innovation in institutions of higher learning, to develop first-rate universities and academic disciplines on a categorized basis, and to raise the gross enrollment rate of higher education to 60 percent. It will further higher education in central and western regions, and encourage first-rate institutions of higher learning with first-rate disciplines to increase their enrollment from central and western China, ethnic minority areas, and rural areas.

-Ensuring the right of disadvantaged children to education. Care and protection for children of migrant workers left behind in the countryside will be strengthened, as will the education services for these children. The expansion of urban schools will be accelerated to ensure equal access to basic public education services for children of rural migrants. The policy of financial aid to students from impoverished families and the nutritional improvement plan for rural students receiving compulsory education will continue.

-Guarding against sexual assault and harassment. Kindergartens and schools are required to institute measures to prevent sexual assaults and harassment against minors, give minors proper sex education suited to their age, raise their awareness of and ability to protect themselves against sexual assault and harassment, and report any such crimes to the public security organs and educational administration departments in a timely manner. Relevant institutions and government departments should provide victim minors with protection and legal assistance.

-Curbing school bullying. Under the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Regulations on the Protection of Minors in Schools, systems will be established and educational campaigns will be carried out on a regular basis to prevent and control student bullying and protect the mental and physical health of every student.

-Preventing digital divide in online education. Information technology equipment will be provided to students from impoverished families to ensure equal access to quality online education for all students.

7. Cultural Rights

To better ensure citizens' cultural rights, public cultural services will be improved with better services to facilitate a culture of reading among the people, and more measures to pass on and protect fine traditional Chinese culture and promote emerging cultural industries.

-Improving the infrastructure for public cultural services. Efforts will be made to plan and build more public libraries, cultural centers, museums, art galleries, comprehensive cultural stations in towns, townships and sub-districts, and comprehensive cultural service centers in urban and rural communities. Public cultural infrastructure of all types and at all levels will be improved.

-Addressing shortcomings in public cultural services. In line with the requirements specified in national standards on basic public services, the state will promote cultural development at the grassroots, increase total supply, optimize the supply structure, and direct more high-quality cultural resources to rural areas, old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority areas, and border areas, so as to narrow the gap in public cultural services between urban and rural areas and between different regions. Radio and TV projects in the public interest will be carried out, and the network of rural cultural infrastructure will be improved.

-Promoting the application of digital technology in the cultural sector. The state will coordinate major projects in digitizing public cultural services, such as a national smart library system and a public culture cloud platform.

-Upgrading reading services. Community libraries will be promoted, the allocation of reading resources at the grassroots will be optimized, the reading environment in public places and reading accommodations for the dyslexic will be improved, and rural libraries will be digitalized. Efforts will be made to increase the number of people who read online and paper books, newspapers, periodicals and other publications to 83 percent of the total population.

-Establishing a system to carry forward fine traditional Chinese culture. More efforts will be made to record and conserve the knowledge and skills of the bearers of the intangible cultural heritage items on the national representative list, and to advance the research and training program for the bearers. As the project to collate Chinese classics and records proceeds, 300 Chinese classic titles will be compiled and published. The national digitization project of ancient books will also be implemented.

-Strengthening systematic protection of cultural heritage. Protection and development of key cultural and natural heritage sites, major ruins, key cultural relics sites, and historic and cultural cities, towns and villages will be strengthened, as will the support to non-state-owned museums. The Yin Ruins in Anyang and other historic sites will come under more stringent protection, and national archaeological parks will be built there as appropriate. There will be a program to build 20 archaeological specimen repositories in key areas, 30 state cultural preservation areas, and 20 state intangible cultural heritage museums. The protection list of traditional villages at all levels will be expanded.

-Building state cultural parks. Major cultural resources along the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, the Long March routes and the Yellow River will be integrated, and cultural relics and intangible heritage will be preserved and passed on in their true and complete form as important symbols of Chinese culture.

-Promoting emerging cultural industries. Innovation will be encouraged in the forms of cultural operations, and greater efforts will be made to boost creative culture. Positive and healthy cyber culture will be developed to promote robust and orderly growth of online art and literature.

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