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Right to development the most important human right

By Yin Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-26 13:56

People walk in the "Dove Lane" in the old town Tuancheng of Hotan city, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, May 26, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

"We maintain that all parties should ... respect the right of the people of each state to choose independently the path for human rights development in accordance with their national conditions, and treat all human rights with the same emphasis," a group of 65 countries told the United Nations Human Rights Council, adding that human rights should not be used as a pretext for attacks on China, at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council on September 24.

In an earlier session on September 14 to 15, Venezuela expressed its appreciation of the Chinese government's efforts to eradicate poverty and promote the well-being of people of all ethnic groups across the country, including Xinjiang.

For China, the right to development is the most important human right.

Take Xinjiang for example. According to a report released by Xinhua News Agency in 2020, the average annual growth of per capita income in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the three years from 2018 to 2020 was more than 8 percent, exceeding the average growth rate of other provinces, regions and cities in China. Religious freedom in Xinjiang has also been fully guaranteed. There are more than 24,000 mosques, an average of one mosque for every 530 Muslim, a proportion higher than that in many Islamic countries.

Then, let's see the overall situation in China. Before the People's Republic of China was founded, the average life expectancy of Chinese people was only 35 years. Back then, the illiteracy rate was as high as 80 percent, and the actual enrollment rate in primary schools was less than 20 percent. For a nation which was suffering from wars, oppression and poverty, it was extremely hard to guarantee people's right to survival, let alone the enjoyment of other basic rights.

Over the past 70 years since the founding of PRC, China has made historic progress in the cause of human rights. It helped 850 million people get rid of poverty, accounting for 70 percent of the global poverty reduction, and established the world's largest education, social security, medical care and grass-roots democracy systems.

On February 25, 2021, China solemnly declared to the world that it has won an all-round victory in the battle against poverty. Under the current standard, 98.99 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty, regional overall poverty has been eliminated, and the arduous task of ending absolute poverty has been completed.

The achievements help secure the right to food, safe drinking water, essential medical services, safe housing for the poor, and compulsory education in poorer areas. Chinese people's life expectancy has reached 77.3 years and the compulsory education completion rate in poor counties is as high as 94.8 percent.

Today, with no war, fear and displacement on China's land, people are living an increasingly peaceful and prosperous life. According to the Pew Center poll, the Chinese people's satisfaction with the government in 2019 exceeded 86 percent, the highest in the world, far higher than the world average of 47 percent. China's development process, to a great extent, redefines the concept of "human rights" which has been monopolized by the Western powers for a long time.

The Moderate Prosperity in All Respects: Another Milestone Achieved in China's Human Rights, released on August 12, 2021, proposes that China's realization of moderate prosperity serves as a solid foundation for human rights, and it takes a deeper and broader perspective on this cause. It represents comprehensive progress in ensuring universal human rights in China, and a new contribution to the world's human rights cause.

On September 9, 2021, the State Council Information Office issued the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020), vowing to solve the urgent problems of the people.

Li Xiaojun, director of the Publicity Department of the Human Rights Bureau of the Information Office, said that the Action Plan has set a new example in the field of human rights in the world. He said the plan is committed to enabling all people to enjoy better education, more stable work, more satisfactory income, more reliable social security, higher level of medical services, more comfortable living conditions and more practical democratic and political rights, so as to continuously meet people's yearning for a better life.

"Running our own affairs well is the greatest strength for China to participate in global human rights governance," said Li Xiaomei, special representative for human rights affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "China has built a well-off society in an all-round way and historically solved the problem of absolute poverty. This is the best human rights practice and has provided Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for the world to solve relevant problems."

Human rights are the common pursuit of all mankind and the civilized achievement of human development and progress. China's outstanding contribution to the cause of human rights is to insist that the right to survival and development are the primary human rights, and that to enable its people to live a happy life is the greatest human rights.

Yin Wei is a faculty member at Tianjin University's Communication Office.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

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