Wang Chen, newly-appointed minister of the State Council Information Office, speaks at the Beijing Forum on Human Rights in Beijing April 21, 2008. [Xinhua]
China pledged on Monday to continue improving human rights in the world's most populous country and conducting dialogue with the international community.
"We are committed to implementing the basic principle of respecting and preserving human rights," said Wang Chen, the newly-appointed minister of the State Council Information Office at the opening of the two-day Beijing Forum on Human Rights.
Human rights development is designated as one of the essential tasks of the Communist Party of China and the State, Wang told the forum.
The minister pointed to the "historic strides" in the country's human rights cause.
"Civil and political rights have been effectively protected," he said. "Political democracy at the primary level has made headway, with steady progress in the democratic systems of elections, decision making, management and oversight."
He also referred to the improving legal framework for human rights protection, as well as reforms in the judicial system. "The political, economic, social and cultural rights of all members of society have been fully observed."
Wang Chen (R), newly-appointed minister of the State Council Information Office, talks with Luo Haocai, President of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, at the opening of the Beijing Forum on Human Rights in Beijing April 21, 2008. [Asianewsphoto]
Wang reiterated China's emphasis on the human rights of its people. "The Chinese Government has always put the realization of the people's right to life and development at the top of its agenda."
Wang added after more than 50 years of economic and social development, the Chinese have leapfrogged from first suffering poverty to being adequately fed and clad and then to living a well-off life. "Their right to life and development has been notably advanced," according to Wang.
The minister also admitted the country still faces many problems and difficulties in its human rights development, with the democracy and legal system yet to be improved. "We are clearly aware of the need to keep advancing human rights."
"China's political and economic systems are far from flawless," he continued, adding that governments at various levels need to enhance their awareness of respecting human rights.
Besides domestic efforts, Wang also indicated China's willingness to help promote the development of international human rights causes.
"China will, as always, make contributions to the development of international human rights causes," he told the forum.
"We are willing to make concerted efforts along with the international community to build a harmonious world with lasting peace, common prosperity and human rights for all," Wang said
More than 110 human rights officials, experts and scholars from 32 countries and international organizations are in Beijing for the forum, which provides a platform to review history, share experiences and look into the future of human rights protection.