Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Nation makes impressive advances in human rights

(China Daily) Updated: 2011-09-22 07:59

Editor's note: The following is the full text of a speech Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, made at the opening ceremony of the 4th Beijing Forum on Human Rights on Wednesday in Beijing.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In this beautiful autumn season, the 4th Beijing Forum on Human Rights, co-sponsored by China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, is opened. This is an important event in the realm of international human rights, and it offers a great opportunity for China to cooperate and exchange ideas with other countries on human rights. Human rights experts, personages and government officials from all over the world gather here to discuss the topic of "cultural traditions, values and human rights", and jointly explore and advance the development of global human rights theory and practice. I have the honor to extend sincere congratulations on the opening of the symposium and express a warm welcome to our friends present on behalf of China's State Council Information Office.

China has a long history and a splendid culture, and is also the largest developing country in the world. Since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policy, the Chinese government has combined the universality of human rights with China's own situation. It has inherited and enhanced China's outstanding culture and tradition, drawn on the experiences of other countries, promoted socialist core values, taken effective measures to promote the development of human rights and opened a socialist path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics.

First, we have stuck to the principle of "prioritizing people", a theory safeguarding people's economic, political, social and cultural rights. The principle of "prioritizing people" is a cardinal virtue of traditional Chinese culture, which advocates that people are the foundation of a country, that people are more important than rulers, and deems that people should be given the top priority. While inheriting this people-oriented concept from traditional Chinese culture, the Chinese government has also proposed the Scientific Outlook on Development resting on the principle of "prioritizing people", and insisted on development for the people, development by the people and its benefit should be shared among the people.

The Chinese government has pursued several targets: realizing people's overall development, seeking development which serves the fundamental interests of the people, continuing to meet people's demand for materials and culture, and forming a complete concept of human development. In other words, the Chinese government has improved the quality of people's lives and health, promoted social security and strived for a common wealth. The government has unswervingly developed socialist democratic politics, exerted more democracy, improved democratic systems, enriched democratic forms, widened democratic channels, and legally carried out democratic elections, decision-making, management and supervision. Furthermore, it has safeguarded people's rights for information, participation, expression and supervision and ensured that the people are their own masters.

Second, we have pursued the idea of a harmonious society and strived for equality and justice. Traditional Chinese culture values harmony, and demands harmonious relationships between individuals and among nations, and between people and society. We advocate preserving harmonious interpersonal relationships to avoid and conquer confrontation and conflict between individuals, between people and society, among nations and different ethnicities. We endeavor to build an ideal society that can enable elderly people to live a good life, provide young people with jobs, protect children from harm, and extend a helping hand to people in need. The Chinese government has absorbed beneficial elements from traditional culture in its pursuit of a socialist harmonious society. It has righteously dealt with internal disputes, as well as other social disputes, and properly aligned all social interests in order to realize social equality and justice.

The Chinese government has put an emphasis on social construction, with a focus on protecting and improving people's well-being. It has also emphasized the expansion of public services in order to build a society where people can receive education, get paid through work, have access to medical services and old-age support, and have a place to live. The Chinese government has continued to improve management and build a better social order which enables people to live in peace and enjoy their work in a stable and peaceful society.


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