China vows to strengthen human rights protection

Updated: 2006-11-22 20:48

BEIJING -- A ranking Chinese official on Wednesday said China will continue to seek international cooperation on protecting human rights.

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"China advocates and actively promotes dialogue and cooperation on human rights affairs among nations on an equal footing and on the basis of mutual respect," said Jiang Zhenghua, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, at a Beijing international human rights forum.

Jiang acknowledged China's efforts to protect human rights still faced many obstacles.

"The ideal goal of human rights for everyone put forward in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains an arduous mission with a distant end," he said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

It is also the 15th anniversary of China's first white paper on human rights, Human Rights in China. As the first such government document, it was a vigorous push for the progress of human rights theory and practice in China, officials said.

However, China has often been criticized by overseas organizations for its inadequate efforts in protecting ordinary people's rights.

Chinese officials contend that the state has strived to ensure basic food and clothing for the 1.3 billion population. Many Chinese have seen a phenomenal rise in living standards in the past three decades.

For the past 27 years, China had managed to keep economic growth at an average annual rate of nine percent, Jiang said, adding the progress of a nation's human rights cause depended on a harmonious and orderly social environment.

Jiang said China had ratified and joined 22 international conventions on human rights and had honored its commitments to these conventions through domestic legislation and judicial and administrative measures.

Nations should seek common development with understanding and respect, and build a harmonious world to accommodate many kinds of societies and honor human rights for all.

"We should respect each nation's right to choose its own social system and way of development, respect diversity of the world and its societies, enhance dialogue and exchanges between different societies, and promote democratization of international relations in the spirit of equality and openness," Jiang said.

The three-day symposium held by China Society for Human Rights Studies attracted more than 70 experts, scholars and officials from 19 countries and regions.

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