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Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-2025)

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

II. Civil and Political Rights

China will work to expand the space for citizens' independent participation and free development, to improve systems for protecting personal rights, personal information rights, property rights and right to freedom of religious belief, to strengthen legal protection for human rights, to better protect people's rights to vote and stand for election, to be informed, to participate, to be heard, and to exercise public scrutiny, and to respect and guarantee citizens' civil and political rights.

1. Right to Life

China protects the life and dignity of citizens against illegal infringements under all conditions, normal or emergency.

-Strengthening overall capacity in guaranteeing public security. China will improve and better implement the responsibility system for workplace safety, strengthen supervision and law enforcement in this field, and effectively curb major and serious accidents. The aim is to enhance workplace safety and prevent and control biosafety risks.

-Improving guarantees for the right to life in emergencies. China will revise the Emergency Response Law, and put in place a comprehensive, procedure-based, and effective legal system for disaster management. Efforts will be made to improve the emergency aid system, the standards of natural disaster prevention projects, and the system for guaranteeing emergency supplies, so as to ensure a higher level of disaster response and a greater capacity for guaranteeing essential supplies.

-Strictly controlling and prudently applying the death penalty. China will enforce more rigorous procedures for reviewing capital sentences with standardized procedures for supervising this review, and implement a more stringent mechanism for reporting and reviewing death penalty cases. The application of laws, procedures and rules for capital sentences will be specified further to ensure the death penalty is only applicable to very few criminals guilty of very serious crimes.

2. Personal Rights

China fully respects and protects citizens' personal rights in legislation, law enforcement, and judicature, punishing crimes while protecting human rights in accordance with the law.

-Protecting the right to dignity. China will implement the principle of injuncting any (imminent) infringement of the right to dignity, and provide relevant guidance or judicial interpretations, so that citizens' right to dignity is protected in a timely and effective manner.

-Punishing soft violence, a form of crime. It is forbidden in China to infringe upon personal rights by acts of soft violence such as stalking, harassing, and gathering a crowd to create pressure.

-Strictly prohibiting illegal detention. Those who repeatedly engage in organized short-term detention of others will be convicted of and penalized for the crime of illegal detention. More efforts will be made to investigate and punish civil servants who violate citizens' personal rights, by abusing their powers to engage in actions such as illegal detention.

-Reducing the rate of pretrial detention. China implements a system to categorize criminal suspects based on the threat they pose to society. Those who pose no threat to society and those who present a level of risk that is preventable by non-detention measures will not be arrested. The state will improve the mechanism for reviewing the necessity of detention, promote substantive review over the extension of the detention period, and regulate and improve supervision of non-detention measures such as release on bail pending trial.

-Strictly prohibiting extracting confession by torture. It is strictly forbidden in China to extract confession by torture, or collect evidence by threat, inducement, deception and other illegal means, or coerce anyone into proving their guilt. A mechanism is in place to ensure the whole process of all law enforcement activities is recorded by different means, and all records are under closed-loop management.

-Improving the supervision mechanism. China will strengthen supervision of criminal case filing and investigation activities, and of compulsory measures for deprivation or restriction of personal freedom. It will improve the supervision mechanism of the execution of criminal sentences.

-Protecting the lawful rights of detainees and criminals. Regulations on detention house management will be improved to better protect detainees' rights. Corporal punishment, torture, abuse and beating of criminals or connivance in beatings by a third party are strictly banned. Prisoners who abuse other inmates are severely punished. Medical and health care facilities and teams in prisons will be improved, to better protect the lives and health of detainees.

-Enforcing the Community Correction Law. China safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of minor offenders under community correction orders. Social forces will be mobilized to strengthen education and assistance for these people.

-Safeguarding the legitimate rights of people on drug rehabilitation. China will implement the Narcotics Control Law and the Regulations on Drug Rehabilitation. It will refine the mechanism for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, which may consist of voluntary rehab, community-based rehab, mandatory rehab in isolation and/or community-based recovery, and it will strengthen the system of education, rehabilitation and treatment. It will also improve correction through education, medical treatment, sanitation, and safety management.

3. Individuals' Information Rights and Interests

China will strengthen protection of personal information by improving relevant laws and regulations, supervision, law enforcement, and educational campaigns. In addition, it will work hard to ensure internet and data security.

-Improving the legal system for protecting personal information. China will introduce a law on protecting personal information. It will define the principles and improve the rules of personal information processing, set strict limits on processing of sensitive personal information, clarify the rights of individuals in such activities, strengthen the compliance management obligations of personal information processors, and define strict legal responsibilities. It will create and issue supporting regulations, standards and judicial interpretations for protecting personal information.

-Supervision, law enforcement and awareness raising of personal information protection. China will strengthen supervision and law enforcement of personal information protection by launching targeted actions to investigate and punish illegal collection and use of personal information, by establishing a system for reporting personal information infringements, and by building a strong contingent of law enforcement personnel and improving their work efficiency. Publicity and education campaigns to enhance legal awareness of personal information protection will be launched in different forms and through different media channels, including the National Cyber Security Publicity Week, newspapers, radio, television, and new online media.

-Safeguarding cyber and data security. China will intensify efforts to implement the Cyber Security Law, the Data Security Law, and other laws, related institutions, and measures for ensuring cyber and data security. Measures will be taken to protect networks from interference, destruction or unauthorized access, and prevent network data leakage, theft and tampering. Security risk monitoring of networks and data will be strengthened; security incidents are to be handled promptly; robust action will be taken against illegal and criminal activities such as theft of network data and illegal trading of personal information. All these will effectively secure network data and personal information.

4. Freedom of Religious Belief

China will continue to follow policies on freedom of religious belief, and protect citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law. It promotes harmonious religious relations, manages religious affairs in accordance with the law, and supports all religions in upholding the principle of independence and self-management. These efforts will help to guide religions to adapt to socialist society, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of religious practitioners and believers.

-Implementing policies on freedom of religious belief. China will improve systems for religious affairs management, and create and release more supporting rules for the Regulations on Religious Affairs to regulate government management of religious affairs by law and protect the legitimate rights and interests of religious practitioners and believers.

More education campaigns will be carried out to improve legal awareness of religious practitioners and believers, protect their legitimate rights and interests, and guide them to keep their activities within the scope prescribed by law.

Venues for religious activities must be registered under their legal persons to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of such venues. More support will be given to religious organizations in running religious schools, so as to improve the system for cultivating religious professionals.

-Safeguarding and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of religious circles. China safeguards the legal rights and interests of the Buddhist and Taoist circles, supporting their efforts to heighten their commitment, build on their cultures and maintain a clean and sacrosanct atmosphere at their venues.

China protects the legitimate rights and interests of Muslims, supporting the China Islamic Association in organizing Muslims to travel to Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage.

It supports and protects Christian denominations in their efforts to adapt Christian theology to the Chinese context and communicate it to the believers.

It supports and encourages all religions to carry out charitable activities in accordance with laws and regulations.

-Carrying out international exchanges in the field of religion. China supports and encourages all religions to conduct international exchanges on the basis of independence, equality, friendship, and mutual respect, and to establish, develop, and consolidate friendly relations with overseas religious circles.

-Resisting religious extremism. China opposes extremist religious thought, and helps to protect religious believers from such thought. It punishes those engaging in illegal and criminal acts such as violent terrorist and ethnic separatist activities in the name of religion in accordance with the law.

5. Rights to Vote and to Stand for Election

The state protects the rights to vote and to stand for election as prescribed by law. The National People's Congress (NPC) and local people's congresses at all levels are created through the combination of direct and indirect elections.

-Organizing elections of the people's congresses at five levels. In implementing the Electoral Law, the state will mobilize over 1 billion constituents to the greatest extent possible, to cast votes for more than 2 million deputies to the people's congresses at county and township levels. These deputies then elect deputies to the people's congresses at city/prefectural, provincial and national levels.

-Increasing grassroots representation in the people's congresses at all levels. The electoral system ensures that each people's congress has a certain proportion of deputies representing workers, farmers, and professional groups. In accordance with the Electoral Law amended in 2020, the numbers of deputies to the people's congresses at county and township levels will be revised, with an emphasis on increasing grassroots representation.

-Ensuring the migrant population's rights to vote and to stand for election. The state will facilitate their participation in elections, and allow more migrant workers, especially those with residence permits in their current location to vote and stand for election locally.

6. Rights to Be Informed and to Participate

In protecting the rights to be informed and to participate, the state guarantees legitimate access to government information for citizens, legal persons and other organizations, and ensures that people participate, in accordance with the law and in various ways and forms, in the management of state, economic, cultural, and social affairs.

-Standardizing and regulating government transparency at the grassroots level. The state is building a unified nationwide system of standards for grassroots government transparency, and promotes transparency in decision-making, enforcement, administration, services, and work results. The state will make information more accessible throughout society, and make additional efforts to ensure online access to government information and public services for the elderly and people with disabilities.

-Improving information transparency in public emergencies. The state will improve mechanisms for reporting public security incidents, major epidemics, natural disasters, and serious accidents to provide accurate information and respond to public concerns in a timely manner.

-Increasing judicial transparency. The state will refine the mechanisms and processes for making court and prosecution proceedings more transparent, and adjust them as required. Prosecuting organs at all levels have public spokespersons in place. They will implement and improve the systems for holding regular press conferences and for publishing information on major cases.

-Optimizing public participation in legislation and oversight. The state will improve the mechanisms for public participation in making laws, regulations and rules, in formulating national plans for economic and social development, and in other major decision-making processes. In soliciting public opinions on draft laws, the NPC will improve the feedback mechanism. The Legislative Affairs Commission and the Budgetary Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee will continue to solicit public views and suggestions regarding their work through their grassroots offices.

-Advancing extensive, multilevel, and institutionalized development of consultative democracy. The state takes a coordinated approach to promoting consultation carried out by political parties, people's congresses, government departments, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) committees, people's organizations, communities, and social organizations. The CPPCC is expanding consultative democracy in an all-round way through biweekly consultative forums, consultations on the handling of proposals, online deliberation of state affairs, remote consultations, and consultations with relevant Party and government departments and specific social sectors. The state will further institutionalize grassroots consultation and broaden the channels for public participation in community-level governance.

-Enhancing the system for community-level self-governance. The state will improve the institutions, standards, and procedures of direct democracy at the grassroots level, and encourage urban and rural communities to draw up their own rules and regulations on self-governance. The state will step up efforts to implement the system for making community affairs more transparent.

-Improving democratic management of enterprises and public institutions. The state will continue to provide open access to the affairs of enterprises and public institutions and improve procedures for democracy. In doing so it guarantees the rights of employees to be informed, to participate, to be heard and to exercise public scrutiny, and facilitate their effective participation in the democratic management of their enterprises and institutions. The role of employee congresses will be reinforced to support policies concerning welfare and social security for employees. When formulating, revising or determining rules, regulations or major programs concerning the immediate interests of employees, enterprises must bring the issues to employee congresses for deliberation and keep the employees informed.

-Encouraging nongovernmental actors to participate in social governance. The state gives full play to the role of people's organizations and social organizations in the governance of society. It supports and properly regulates the channels for market entities, new social groups, social workers, and volunteers to participate in social governance.

7. Rights to Be Heard and to Exercise Public Scrutiny

The state protects citizens' rights to be heard and to exercise public scrutiny in accordance with the law, providing them with diverse and convenient channels to express their views, and strengthening the role of the public in the national system for supervising the exercise of power.

-Enabling and regulating online expression of views. The state will make full use of the internet in accordance with the law to facilitate citizens' expression of concerns, complaints and suggestions, and employ big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technologies to collect and respond to public opinion and proposals in a timely manner.

-Better addressing public complaints. The state will improve the system for handling people's complaints, and take prompt action to address their legitimate concerns in situ in accordance with the law. Greater efforts will be made to separate litigation from complaints, and establish a legal framework for managing complaints. To understand the people's needs and concerns and pool their wisdom and strength, the state will build a platform for collecting public opinion and improve the system for soliciting public proposals.

Online channels for receiving complaints will be improved, and public complaint information systems will be connected nationwide to strengthen information-sharing among the government departments concerned. The state will improve the long-term mechanism for solving prominent problems in handling public complaints and implement accountability, to strengthen the protection of citizens' statutory rights.

-Strengthening supervision by the people's congresses. The NPC and its Standing Committee will work harder to ensure the application of the Constitution, improve procedures and mechanisms for interpreting the Constitution, and reinforce constitutionality reviews. A system for advance review and consultation concerning constitutional issues will be established, and the system for recording and reviewing normative documents will be improved.

-Increasing supervision over the exercise of administrative power. An administrative procedure law will be drafted, and the Law on Administrative Review will be amended, to intensify supervision over the exercise of administrative power and rectify administrative malpractices. The state protects the rights of citizens and social organizations to supervise administrative bodies by requesting administrative review and initiating administrative litigation.

-Improving public scrutiny. The state encourages media and citizens to exercise supervision through news reports and public opinion, and improves the system of people's supervisors. Relevant laws will be elaborated to better protect people who file reports or accusations of wrongdoing, and to make clear the legal consequences of retaliation against them.

-Enhancing grassroots supervision. Village supervision committees will be strengthened to ensure greater transparency, equity and justice in village affairs, and to protect the lawful rights and interests of villagers and village collectives. The introduction of a list of powers for village work will help to install a system for overseeing the exercise of power at village level, and to form a complete, thorough and coordinated supervision network involving the villagers, village affairs supervision committees, Party organizations at the next level up, accounting and auditing bodies, and other relevant authorities.

8. Right to a Fair Trial

The state will enforce full judicial accountability, modernize China's judicial system and capacity, and guarantee the right to a fair trial, so that equity and justice are served in every judicial case.

-Enforcing full judicial accountability. The state is committed to ensuring that the people's courts exercise adjudicative power independently and impartially in accordance with the law, and is working to improve the mechanisms for guaranteeing the fulfillment of statutory judicial duties and enforcing accountability for unlawful judgment. To strengthen legal oversight by prosecuting bodies, the state is also building a mechanism for the impartial and efficient exercise of prosecuting powers and a mechanism for the fair determination of judicial liabilities and ensuing punishments.

-Reforming and improving checks and oversight of judicial and law enforcement activities. Public security agencies will further reform the case filing system, and ensure accountability in law enforcement. The prosecuting bodies will increase oversight of the filing, investigation and prosecution of criminal cases.

-Advancing reform to establish a criminal procedure system with a focus on court proceedings. The rights of all parties involved are protected. The mandatory procedures of pretrial hearings, exclusion of illegally obtained evidence, and court investigation will be strictly implemented, to ensure that court trials play the decisive role in judicial decisions. Measures for protecting witnesses, authenticators, victims, and those who report offences will be improved. Leniency will be better applied to those who confess their crimes and submit to punishment in criminal proceedings.

-Reinforcing protection of lawyers' right to practice. Legal defense will be provided in all criminal cases, and defense lawyers' lawful rights are protected. Measures will be taken to better facilitate meetings between lawyers and detainees at detention houses, including providing more meeting rooms, and improving the meeting appointment mechanism.

-Enhancing and regulating legal aid. A new law on legal aid is being formulated. Citizens in financial difficulties and others eligible for legal aid will be provided with legal advice, legal representation, criminal defense, and duty counsel services for free. Provisions on legal aid prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Law and related regulations will be better applied to raise the availability and effectiveness of legal aid in criminal cases.

-Improving the system of people's jurors. The state will strengthen implementation of the Law on People's Jurors and the new mechanism for selecting and appointing people's jurors. The management of people's jurors will be improved to guarantee their participation in trials and increase their capacity to perform their functions. The scope of cases for their participation will be better defined.

-Strengthening litigation services. The goal is to make litigation services universally available, equally accessible, convenient, efficient, smart and targeted. Processes for filing, court proceedings, settlement, and enforcement of rulings will be expedited for cases concerning vulnerable groups or infringements of citizens' fundamental rights and interests.

-Developing smart litigation services. To make litigation easier for the public, intelligent software will be developed to provide citizens with litigation risk assessment, advice on pretrial mediation, information searching and counseling, and access to online judicial services.

-Optimizing public-interest litigation. The scope of public-interest cases will be expanded. A punitive compensation system will be introduced into public-interest civil litigation concerning the eco-environment and food and drug safety.

-Improving the state compensation and judicial assistance systems. Greater efforts will be made to handle cases involving state compensation, and to protect the lawful rights and interests of applicants for state compensation. A mechanism will be established to enhance judicial assistance and better coordinate it with social assistance.

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