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China advances global human rights progress, official says

By LI LEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-06-01 07:08

Tourists pose for selfie at the Italian Style Area in Hebei district of North China's Tianjin, May 1, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

China has enriched the global discourse on human rights affairs by upholding multilateralism and opposing egotism and bullying, a Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.

The effort has been hailed by many countries, especially developing nations, said Li Xiaomei, the ministry's special representative for human rights affairs.

China respects the universal principles set out by the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and encourages other countries to localize human rights principles based on their respective development, she said.

The Chinese government supports equal, just and win-win cooperation on human rights governance, she said, adding that the range of views on human rights is exactly why China advocates dialogue.

China-one of the very few nations that have been elected five times as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council-respects sovereign countries' choice of their own paths and defends democratic and law-based international relations, Li said.

Li said the country opposes the politicization of human rights issues-one of the three pillars of the UN system, together with peace and development-or adopting double standards.

Some countries have adopted an expedient attitude toward multilateralist human rights groups, "and attempted to tweak international rules for their own interests", she said at a news conference in Beijing. "That is typical unilateralism."

While a member of the council, the Chinese government has made a flurry of proposals to protect human rights, including a 2016 initiative to bolster public health capacity building to combat the Ebola virus, and an effort to include the "community with a shared future for mankind "concept in a number of the council's proposals and resolutions.

It has reiterated the role of development in human rights situations, and introduced this concept into the UN system.

The news conference was organized by the State Council Information Office to introduce the implementation of China's third working plan on human rights, which was released in 2016. The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-20) rolled out a set of goals on human rights development over the past five years, ranging from economic rights to civil and political rights.

Chang Jian, director of the Human Rights Research Center of Nankai University in Tianjin, said at the news conference that a global shared view of human rights is a recent occurrence.

Cultural elements as varied as Buddhism and Confucianism have given rise to a spate of differing concepts of human rights, and economic globalization has brought these views closer together in the wake of World War II, he said.

"The destruction caused by fascism led nations to reach a consensus on human rights protection, as is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international treaties," he said, adding that China was a drafter of the declaration and 26 other treaties.

"China is a supporter, defender and promoter of the consensus."

Different countries have different systems and development levels, which leads to differences in interpreting and protecting human rights, he said.

Chang cited China's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, saying that it has prioritized the rights to life and health, while other countries prioritized ballots, the economy and individual rights.

He said people's sense of happiness, gain and security should be used to determine the human rights situation of a given nation.

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