China publicizes human rights action plan
2012-June-12 Source: China View website
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The Chinese government on Monday publicized its second national plan for human rights protection, promising to address challenges and work for the happiness and dignity of every citizen.

The new plan, which addresses human rights protection work from 2012-2015, was published by the State Council Information Office and follows the previous one that covered the 2009-2010 period.

Due to the influences and limitations of natural, historical and cultural factors, as well as the current level of economic and social development, China is still facing many challenges in the development of its human rights cause and it has a long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy human rights, the document says.

"It should be remembered that China remains a developing country that is fraught with problems from unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development," it says.

The 2012-2015 period will be a crucial time for the country to improve its human rights situation while implementing the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), deepening reform and opening-up and accelerating the transformation of the country's economic development pattern, it says.

In the next three years, the Chinese government will combine its human rights endeavors with economic, political, cultural, social and ecological construction, the document says.

The document says China will safeguard and improve people's livelihoods and spare no efforts to solve problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people.

Moreover, the country will practically safeguard its citizens' economic, political, social and cultural rights and promote social equity and harmony, so to ensure that every member of society lives "a happier and more dignified life," it says.

Liu Huawen, an expert with the Human Rights Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua that an action plan for human rights protection can be regarded as a sign that the state attaches great importance to human rights issues.

Liu quoted a report from the United Nations as saying that only 29 countries in the world, including China, have worked out national action plans to protect human rights and, among them, only eight have published such plans two or more times.

"The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights held by the United Nations in Vienna in 1993, urged countries to adopt such national plans," he said. "However, many countries, including those frequently pointing fingers at China, did not respond to the call."

All targets and tasks set by the action plan for 2009 and 2010 were fulfilled as scheduled. Among them, 35 percent of the binding targets and over 50 percent of the targets concerning people's livelihood had been met ahead of time or exceeded.

Over the past three years, China has made considerable progress in human rights protection.

In March, China's top legislature underlined the principle of "respecting and safeguarding human rights" by explicitly writing it into the nation's Criminal Procedure Law, after such a principle was written into the Constitution eight years ago.

Prof. Zhou Wei, director of the human rights law center of Sichuan University, said the new plan responds to more public concerns and includes more binding targets related to people's livelihood.

For instance, Zhou said, the plan includes measures to cope with air pollution and monitor air quality as an effort to protect people's right to enjoy a good environment, as the public has expressed increasing concerns about dusty weather and PM2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

"Human rights protection is not an easy mission in any country. We need more time and persistent efforts," he said.

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Editor: Miranda
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