Full Text: Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China

Human Rights
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Sunday published a white paper titled "Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China."

XinhuaUpdated: September 23, 2019

II. People-centered Approach in Human Rights Protection

In developing human rights over the past 70 years, China has combined universal principles with the prevailing realities of the country, forming a system of human rights with a people-centered approach. The basic elements are:

Human rights are a historical and developmental concept. Born under certain historical circumstances, the concept evolves as times change. Different nations have different tasks and take different approaches to ensure human rights, because they differ in terms of stage of development, economy, culture and society. Diversity in developing human rights should be respected. They can only be effectively ensured by combining universal principles with the prevailing realities of different countries. Every country has room for improvement in protecting human rights. There is no universally applicable model, and human rights can only advance in the context of national conditions and people's needs.

The rights to subsistence and development are the primary rights. Poverty is the greatest obstacle to providing human rights. It would be well-nigh impossible for humanity to ensure any right without the production and supply of goods and materials. The effective guarantee of the right to subsistence and the steady improvement of living standards are the preconditions and foundations for fulfilling and developing all other human rights. From the mid-19th century, China suffered repeated foreign aggressions and fell into poverty and backwardness. Living in misery, the people enjoyed utterly no right of any kind. The Chinese know very well what survival requires - no poverty and no hunger. Prioritizing people's rights to subsistence and development, China has committed to liberating and developing productive forces, eliminating poverty, and enhancing its level of development. All this has laid the foundation for fulfilling the various rights of the people.

Human rights mean the integration of individual and collective rights. There is no collective development without individual development; individuals can only enjoy well-rounded development in a collective environment. In China, equal attention has been paid to developing collective rights and ensuring individual rights, so that the two are integrated, coordinated, and mutually-enhancing. Individual rights can only be maximized in the context of collective rights. The Chinese government strives to ensure the rights of every individual and all its citizens by seeking prosperity for the country, rejuvenation for the nation, and wellbeing for the people.

Overall progress in all rights is a major principle of realization of human rights. All human rights are interdependent and inalienable. China coordinates the planning and promotion of all rights and endeavors to achieve a balanced development of economic, social, and cultural rights and civil and political rights. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC and the Chinese government has sought to make overall economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental progress, known as the Five-point Strategy, and made comprehensive moves to complete a moderately prosperous society in all respects, further reform, advance the rule of law, and strengthen Party discipline, known as the Four-pronged Strategy. In this way, China has made comprehensive progress in human rights through an integrated approach.

People's sense of gain, happiness and security is an important criterion for evaluating human rights. The core spirit of CPC governance lies in fulfilling the people's aspiration for a better life by realizing, safeguarding and developing their fundamental interests, and in enhancing their sense of gain, happiness and security. For everyone to fully enjoy human rights, we must uphold the people-centered approach, prioritize the people's interests before anything else, and ensure a good life for the people. We must ensure that the fruits of development offer greater benefits to all the people in a fair way, enable every person to enjoy opportunities for self-development and a good life, and prevent them from fear and threat.

Fairness, being reasonable and inclusiveness are the basic principles of international human rights governance. The international community should uphold the shared values of humanity - peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom. It must safeguard human dignity and rights, and strive for fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance. China is a supporter, practitioner and promoter of international human rights. It opposes politicizing human rights or applying double standards in matters related to human rights, and encourages the international community to address human rights issues in a fair, objective and non-selective manner. China is engaged in extensive, in-depth international exchanges, dialogue and cooperation concerning human rights, and works with the rest of the world to build a global community of shared future and a beautiful world.

The free and well-rounded development of every person is the ultimate goal of human rights. The free development of each individual is the precondition for the free development of all people. Human rights are people's rights; human rights development means people's development. We must create the conditions for people's self-actualization. By building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, China aims to fulfill the people's aspirations for a better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a beautiful environment. It aims to enable every person to enjoy self-development and serve society with dignity, to ensure equal opportunities for all to live a rewarding life and realize their dreams, to improve their wellbeing, and to promote their well-rounded development.

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