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Nations' views on human rights can't be uniform

By Huang Mengfu | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-14 08:10

Huang Mengfu, vice-chairman of the 11th CPPCC National Committee and chairman of China Foundation for Human Rights Development

The Sixth Beijing Forum on Human Rights has opened today, which is co-sponsored by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development.

First, on behalf of the China Foundation for Human Rights Development, I would like to express warm congratulations to the opening of the Forum, and heartfelt thanks to friends who have always cared for and supported the development and progress of human rights cause of China.

Since the first session of the Forum in 2008, human rights experts, scholars, renowned personages and government officials from countries across the world have gathered in Beijing once a year, discussing the development of world human rights theories and practice, and offering advices for the promotion of world human rights cause. The Beijing Forum on Human Rights has become an important platform for exploring the models of human rights development, exchanging the experience of human rights protection and envisioning ideal human rights prospects. The Forum is an important platform for cooperation and exchanges in the field of human rights between China and other countries, and a significant window on the development and progress of human rights cause in China.

This session of the Forum is themed "Constructing of Environment for Sustainable Human Rights Development", which conforms to the contemporary progressive trend and requirement of human rights development, and will certainly provide theoretical reference and idealistic inspiration for the new development of world human rights cause.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, especially in the recent 30-plus years since the reform and opening-up, the human rights cause of China has made enormously striking achievements, and this is an incontrovertible fact. The status of human rights in China has been greatly improved just because the Chinese government started with the particular situation and reality of China, creatively combining the universality of human rights with the particular situation of China, fusing the advanced human rights concept of mankind with the idealistic quintessence of "orientation on people" in traditional Chinese culture, and accordingly choosing a path of human rights development suitable to the economic basis and humanistic environment of China. This is mainly manifested in the following three aspects:

Accepting the concept of orientation toward the people, and building the economy to guarantee human rights. Orientation toward the people is an important concept in traditional Chinese culture, the thought that "the people are the very foundation of the country" used to be the basic political concept of outstanding statesmen in ancient China. The Chinese government has acquired the thought of orientation toward the people from the traditional culture, bringing forward the view of scientific development featuring orientation toward the people, and defining its primary development goal as to constantly meet the increasing material and cultural demands of the people.

In order to reach this goal, the Chinese government has given priority to the development of the economy, with all its efforts being subjected to and serving the good cause of economic construction. With its rapidly growing economy and national power, it has successfully solved the subsistence problems of its more than 1.3 billion people. China's poverty-stricken population has greatly decreased, and people's rights to subsistence and development have been practically guaranteed.

Accepting the concept of ruling for the people, and improving people's livelihood to promote human rights. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes that the people are the basis of a state, and the concept that "the pivot of politics rests in the attitude of the people" and "those who get the popular support conquer the country" have deep roots in Chinese civilization.

The Chinese government has made the seeking of welfare for the people as its most fundamental political stand, stressing that the development is for the people, development depends upon the people and development shall be shared by the people, and demanding that its officials at all levels firmly keep in mind their mission and purposes, and firmly build awareness of wholeheartedly serving the people. In recent years, the livelihood issues concerning the people most, including employment, housing, education, healthcare and social insurance, have received unprecedented attention, with investments further increased and effects more obvious. Besides, China has made considerable progress in improving people's livelihood, which involves poverty alleviation development, infrastructure construction and environmental protection. And people's subsistence and living status have been fundamentally improved.

Accepting the concept of harmonious development, and planning the realization of human rights as a whole. Traditional Chinese culture emphasizes that "harmony is valuable", requiring harmony between one individual and the others, individuals and society, and one country and another. The Chinese government has absorbed this from traditional Chinese culture, and made the building of a socialist harmonious society its goal, facilitating more efficient, fairer and more sustainable development of the economy, seeking social fairness and justice, and guaranteeing citizens a job and a life of dignity.

In order to fulfill these objectives, the Chinese government has formulated a series of social policies conforming to the stage of the country's social development, taking into consideration various rights as a whole, and fully guaranteeing all people's economic, political, social and cultural rights. From the point of view of history, the Chinese people now have the best status of various basic rights, including political right, if compared to that in history.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

The development of human rights in China is not isolated; rather, it is closely related to the fate of mankind, the development of society and the prosperity of the nation. At present, the whole of China is ardently devoting itself to the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream, that is, the great resurgence of the Chinese nation. The Chinese Dream reflects the high ideal of the Chinese people, and the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream is not only the fervent pursuit of all Chinese people, but also an ideal prospect for the development of human rights in China. Then, what is the spiritual essence of the Chinese Dream? And what does the Chinese Dream mean to the development of world human rights cause?

I would like to take this opportunity to share my opinion.

The Chinese Dream contains the "dream of democracy" about a socialist system, and means to provide the necessary political environment for the development of human rights. For the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream, the most fundamental requirement is to adhere to and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. The essence of democracy is to supervise and restrain power, and achieve the all-round, free and sustainable development of humankind.

The democracy that we seek is socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics, the democratic system helpful to keeping the country vigorous, the democratic form conducive to releasing and developing social productive forces and boosting the all-round development of the economy and society, and the democratic approach propitious to guaranteeing and promoting fairness and justice in society and realizing the common prosperity of all the people. Only with such confidence in our system and approach can we guarantee people to enjoy extensive rights and freedom, and fulfill the dream of making the people the masters of the country.

The Chinese Dream bears the "dream of rule of law" and means to build a legal environment for the practical guarantee of human rights. The rule of law is a requisite approach to the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream. The Constitution is the very basis for ruling the country, and the requisite nomothetic basis for the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream.

During the realization of the Chinese Dream, we must adhere to and improve the socialist legal system all the time, vigorously pursuing and fully realizing social fairness and justice. We should endeavor to develop approaches to human rights protection, constantly improve the judicial and administrative measures for human rights protection, push human rights protection to the path of standardization, legalization and institutionalization, and realize the unity of the principle of universality and that of particularity of human rights. By doing so, we will make people practically enjoy due rights and freedom, and provide effective, orderly and continuous legal guarantee for the fulfillment of the Chinese Dream.

The Chinese Dream supports the "dream of happiness" of all the people, and means to construct an economic environment for the improvement of people's livelihood and happiness index. To enable every Chinese to live with dignity is the basic starting point of the Chinese human rights ideal, and to improve people's livelihood is a major task of the Chinese government, which is its guideline for ruling the country. Just as President Xi Jinping has pointed out: "The good life that the people look forward to is just the objective of our struggle."

In order to fulfill people's "dream of happiness", we should plan and balance the relations between the development of the economy and the improvement of people's livelihood as a whole, strengthen in all aspects the construction of people's livelihood in terms of politics, economy, culture and ecology, and increase the happiness index of the people. We should plan and balance all relations of interests in society as a whole, concentrate most vigor and financial resources to practically solve the most practical issues of interests that most directly concern the people to the maximum.

We should strengthen the construction of social security systems for citizens, further improve the system of basic public service, and enhance both the level of basic public service and equalization, providing reliable guarantee for the realization of the ideal objectives in the whole society, that is, the elderly are properly supported, the sick are properly treated, students are properly educated, laborers are properly paid, and residents are properly housed.

The Chinese Dream inspires the "dream of innovation" of all the people, and means to create a social environment for citizens' equal right to development. To guarantee the full realization of citizens' right to development is an important part of human rights construction in China. As President Xi Jinping has pointed out: "The Chinese Dream is both a dream of the whole Chinese nation and that of every individual. We should make all the Chinese people who live in our great country and this great time share the same opportunity of a wonderful life, the same opportunity of realizing the dream, and the same opportunity of growing and progressing together with our country and time."

In this new historic period that urgently requires and calls on talents, we should create a healthy, harmonious and friendly environment for the growth of talents in the whole society. We should continue to deepen the reform of cadres and personnel systems, constantly explore and establish new mechanisms and new systems conducive to the full display of talents, select and appoint talents without being limited to certain types, clear all obstacles for the growth and development of talents, guarantee everyone's rights to equal participation and equal development, and activate the creativity of the whole nation to the maximum.

The Chinese Dream benefits the "dream of peace" of people in the world, and means to guarantee an international security environment for human rights. As President Xi Jinping has pointed out, the realization of our Chinese Dream will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also people of all countries in the world.

Peace and development are the themes of the time. With a worldwide perspective, economic globalization, cultural diversification and social informationization are continuously progressing, and international forces are moving toward the direction helpful for the guarantee of world peace. But the world is not peaceful anyhow. The development of each country is still unbalanced, local conflicts constantly occur and worsen, the threat of wars exists, and destabilizing factors are threatening world peace. In such an international background, the Chinese Dream that benefits mankind conforms to the requirement of the times and the trend of the world.

Meanwhile, the realization of the Chinese Dream also needs an international peaceful and safe environment as a guarantee. The Chinese government will insist on the unity of sovereignty and human rights, object to any country intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries on the excuse of human rights, propose the principle of sovereign equality and that of non-intervention in domestic affairs, respect the principle of universality of human rights, strictly observe the international human rights standards, protect human rights through international cooperation, guarantee regional security, and promote world peace.

Ladies, gentlemen and friends,

The world is colorful, and the views on human rights of different countries cannot be uniform. Therefore, diversity and inclusiveness are the basis for people to seek a common ground on major issues and extend the range of consensus while reserving minor differences. I am convinced that through our frank exchanges and discussions next, we will certainly make many new satisfactory achievements, accumulate positive energy for the progressive cause of mankind, and provide new drive for the development of world human rights cause.

And last, I wish a complete success to this session of the Forum. Thank you.

(China Daily 09/14/2013 page6)

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