Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Development of human rights in China

By Li Junru (China Daily) Updated: 2011-09-23 07:55

Development of human rights in China

Editor's note: The 4th Beijing Forum on Human Rights was held from Sept 21 to 23. The following are excerpts from the papers presented by some delegates from across the world.

Li Junru

Only dialogue can promote the cause

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, human rights of the Chinese people gradually changed from the requirements in guiding principles to everyday life in reality.

Starting from 1978, led by Deng Xiaoping, the Communist Party of China decided to pool all strength to develop the economy and establish systems in various aspects of the economy, politics, culture and society such as protecting and improving people's livelihood and maintaining people's dignity, starting the great march toward the goal of modernization.

It is in this process of all-round development that the Chinese people solved their problems of food and clothing and started to develop themselves on the basis of the right to exist.

They walked toward the basic human rights endowed by the Constitution step by step and promoted the process of democratic and legal construction. All these reforms and development have greatly promoted the development of China's human rights cause and human rights theory with Chinese characteristics.

First, in the process of bringing order, we realized that human rights is not unique to the bourgeoisie, but also the rights pursued by all people, including the Chinese people.

Second, we realized while summing up the historical experience that the universality principle of human rights should be combined with the national conditions of various countries. We should not only consider the levels of economic and social development of various countries, but also respect their historical and cultural traditions.

Third, we realized in our practices that people's realization of human rights in various countries is not immutable and frozen, but constantly rising with economic and cultural development. We must promote the development of our human rights cause according to de facto demands of the majority of people.

Fourth, we realized in the process of promoting the development of human rights cause that it is a rights system and the organic combination of various rights under legal protection. In other words, human rights includes not only civil rights and political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights. All the rights must be protected by law.

Fifth, we realized in the process of protecting and improving the Chinese people's human rights that the right to live and right to develop are the basic human rights we are committed to give priority to.

It is a big issue for China of more than 1 billion people, to ensure all its people to enjoy the basic conditions and rights for their normal life; it is an even bigger issue in terms of how to enable every individual to develop himself/herself during the economic, political, cultural and social development.

Therefore, we must give priority to protecting and improving people's right to live and right to develop as the basic human rights. Only by doing this can we ensure that our human rights cause can benefit every Chinese citizen.

Sixth, we realized that in the long term human rights development cannot be realized without social harmony and stability, continuous development and legal protection.

Practices show that in an unstable society, the common people suffer the most. Hence, we often say: stability is the premise of realizing human rights; development is the key to realizing human rights; law-based governance is the guarantee of realizing human rights.

Finally, we realized in our practices that in international exchanges, human rights dialogue is better than human rights confrontation.

Human rights confrontation cannot protect or improve human rights of the people in a country. Moreover, it can harm the existing human rights because of social unrest. Only through human rights dialogue can we genuinely and effectively promote the human rights cause of various countries.

All these understandings from the Chinese people's human rights practices, including not only the universal consensus of the international community on human rights, but also China's own experience.

The author is vice-president of China Society for Human Rights Studies and former president of the Party School of CPC Central Committee.

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