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China publishes white paper on human rights progress
Updated: 2004-03-30 10:40

Two weeks after enshrining the principle of "respect for and protection of human rights" in its Constitution, China published a white paper Tuesday to detail the progress in its human rights cause last year.

The white paper, released by the Information Office of the State Council and titled "Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003," came on the heels of a United States decision to table an anti-China motion in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

"To help the international community toward a better understanding of the human rights situation in China, we hereby give an overview of the developments in the field of human rights in China in 2003," said the white paper.

Calling 2003 "a year of great, landmark significance for progress in human rights in the country," the white paper says the new leadership of the country that took office last year has adopted the "people first" principle of government, and in practice has taken a series of distinctively epochal measures for respecting and safeguarding human rights.

"The leadership has made great efforts to acquaint itself with the feelings of the people, to reflect such feelings, to reduce the people's burdens and practice democracy, which have markedly improved China's human rights conditions and won universal acknowledgment from the international community," it said.

The white paper elaborated on China's human rights conditions in 2003 in eight chapters, namely the people's rights to subsistence and development, civil and political rights, judicial guarantee for human rights, economic, social and cultural rights, the rights and interests of women and children, equal rights and special protection for ethnic minorities, the rights and interests of the disabled, and international exchanges and cooperation in human rights.

The white paper said that full realization of human rights is the common goal of countries throughout the world and an important target for China in her efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, as well as her "peaceful rise" in the world.

China will, as always, devote herself to promoting the human rights cause, actively carry out exchanges and cooperation with the international community according to the provisions of the Constitution of China and the need for modernization of the country, and make her contributions to promoting the healthy development of the international human rights cause, according to the white paper.

This is the seventh white paper on China's human rights situation published by the State Council Information Office since 1991.

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