Political meetings offer glimpse into China’s achievements in human rights development

A worker is producing photovoltaic parts at a factory in Jiujiang, eastern China’s Jiangxi province. The factory has helped build 217 power stations to reduce poverty, increasing income for 2,860 impoverished households. (Photo by CFP)

As China’s human rights development has become a focus on the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the figures and facts released during China’s ongoing annual sessions of national legislature and top political advisory body can offer a glimpse into the country’s achievements in this undertaking over the past 5 years.

Thanks to the huge economic and social progress in the past 5 years, China has made remarkable accomplishments in protecting the rights to survival and development.

China’s GDP has risen from 54 trillion ($8.5 trillion) to 82.7 trillion yuan ($13.1 trillion), registering average annual growth of 7.1 percent, said the report on the work of the government delivered at the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.

The country has moved forward in ensuring people’s economic, social and cultural rights as well. The country’s social old-age pension schemes now cover more than 900 million people, and the basic health insurance plans cover 1.35 billion people, forming the largest social safety net in the world, said the government work report, adding that life expectancy has reached 76.7 years on average.

Besides, China has given its best-of-all-time performance on poverty alleviation with a decisive progress. Over the past five years, more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including a total of 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, and the poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 10.2 to 3.1 percent, according to the report.

The impoverished population of the country dropped to 30.46 million in 2017 from 98.99 million in 2012, which was equivalent to an annual reduction of 13.7 million. The report added that China will further reduce the poor rural population by over 10 million this year.

In terms of employment, the biggest concern for people’s livelihood, China managed to keep a low unemployment rate in the past five years. The work report noted that more than 66 million new urban jobs have been added, and China, with its population of over 1.3 billion, has achieved relatively full employment.

The unemployment rate in urban China stood at 3.9% in 2017, a record low since the outburst of the global economic crisis in 2008. The International Labour Organization believes that China’s employment policy is a great combination of modern employment theories, global experiences and China’s reality.

As a result of China’s all-round efforts to deepen judicial reform, judicial protection of human rights has been progressing as well.

Over the past 5 years, 31,527 prisoners were granted amnesty across the country, and a total of 2.67 billion yuan ($420 million) of judicial subsidies have been granted to victims who failed to get compensations to help them continue with their life, said the work report of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), adding that the number of juvenile crimes has been on a fall for 5 consecutive years.

Keeping to the principles of legality, judgment by evidence, presumption of innocence, and exclusion of unlawful evidence since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has improved its defense system, established national judicial assistance system, and promoted judicial transparency, resulting in a significant improvement in the judicial protection of human rights.

A wide range of international exchanges and cooperation on human rights were launched by China as well. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said previously that with a full engagement in international human rights cooperation in the past 5 years, China has pushed for the establishment of a just and equitable international system for human rights.

Medical insurance can be settled through mobile payment service in some of Shenzhen’s hospitals since May 31th, 2016. Shenzhen is China’s first city to launch such pilot program. (Photo by CFP)

China has held more than 50 dialogues on human rights with over 20 developed and developing countries, enlarging its circle of friends to include as many countries as possible, according to the minister.

“China has made unprecedented achievements on human rights in the history, by lifting more than 700 million people, or over 70% of the world’s total impoverished population, out of poverty in only 30 years,” said Piotr Gadzinowski, chief editor of Polish newspaper Tribune and former member of the Polish parliament.

He said that the huge achievements, as well as the development path chosen by the Chinese people deserve respect from every country and government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has given the answer to such remarkable achievements in his congratulatory letter to the international symposium on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations’ “Declaration on the Right to Development” on Dec. 4, 2016.

“For years China has put the people first during its development, increasing their benefits, ensuring the people are their own masters and supporting development in an all-round way,” Xi said in the letter, adding that these are both the starting points and the goals of development.

China has effectively safeguarded the people’s right to development and carved out a human rights development path with Chinese characteristics, he added.