Full Text: Moderate Prosperity in All Respects: Another Milestone Achieved in China's Human Rights

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Thursday released a white paper titled "Moderate Prosperity in All Respects: Another Milestone Achieved in China's Human Rights."

XinhuaUpdated: August 12, 2021

V. Promoting Social Equity and Protecting the Rights of Special Groups

A moderately prosperous society is to be enjoyed by each and every one of us. China takes solid measures to protect and promote the rights and interests of rural people, and attaches great importance to protecting the rights of women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and ethnic minority groups, ensuring their equal status and providing them with equal opportunities to participate in economic, political, cultural and social life and enjoy the fruits of development.

1. Upgrading Protection of the Rights of Rural People

Boosting rural property right through land reform. Rural people's basic needs are ensured by the household contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to output, introduced after the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, and their burden is eased with the abolition of agricultural taxes and fees. 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, measures have been taken to ensure that rural land contracting practices will remain stable and unchanged on a long-term basis. The system for separating the ownership, contractual, and management rights for contracted rural land has improved. Farmers have the right to possess, use and benefit from the contracted land, and can transfer or mortgage their management right. The government ensures rural households' usufruct of their landholdings. It aims to help rural people increase income from property and endowing them with more property rights. 

As of 2020, all 31 provinces and equivalent administrative units had begun to certify the rights to contracted land, confirming the contractual right to 100 million ha of land, upgrading 200 million land contracts, and issuing 200 million land contractual management certificates.

Improving the lives of migrant workers. The per capita monthly income of migrant workers increased from RMB2,290 in 2012 to RMB4,072 in 2020. Migrant workers in cities now enjoy much better housing, with a per capita living area of 21.5 sq m. 85.4 percent of them have showers, 94.8 percent have access to the internet, 67 percent have refrigerators, 68.1 percent have washing machines, and 30.8 percent have automobiles for private or business use. 

Caring for family members of migrant workers left behind in rural areas. Policies have been introduced to boost employment for poverty alleviation and more people are returning to their hometowns to work or start businesses. There is also help to enable the children of migrant workers to go to school in cities where their parents work. This has resulted in a drop in the number of left-behind children, from 9 million in 2016 to 6.4 million in 2020. 

The government has issued the Opinions on Further Improving the System of Care and Services for Rural Left-Behind Children and Children in Need, and the Guidelines for Labor-Intensive Enterprises to Further Strengthen Care and Services for Rural Left-Behind Children and Children in Need, to improve policy design in this regard. The government has also issued the Opinions on Strengthening Care and Services for Rural Left-Behind Women, to provide services to rural women in need, and the Opinions on Strengthening Care and Services for Rural Left-Behind Elderly, to ensure basic needs for poor elderly people through service networks covering all provinces.

Enhancing the rural living environment. To improve the living environment in rural areas, proper facilities have been created for treating household waste and domestic sewage, and solid efforts have been made to enhance toilet sanitation through the "toilet revolution". As of 2020, more than 95 percent of villages had taken action for a cleaner environment. In 2019 and 2020, the government allocated RMB14.4 billion from central finance to subsidize the "toilet revolution" in villages, and RMB6 billion from the central budget to support programs for improving the rural living environment in the counties of central and western provinces. Monetary incentives were given to the 39 best-performing counties.

2. Increasing Protection of the Rights of Women, Children and the Elderly

Optimizing laws and policies. Since they were promulgated in the 1990s, the Law on the Protection of Minors, the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests, and the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly have undergone multiple revisions to better serve their purpose. 

A series of laws and regulations, including the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, the Special Provisions on Labor Protection for Female Employees, the Provisions on Prohibiting the Use of Child Labor, the Regulations on School Bus Safety Management, and the Special Provisions on the Protection of Juvenile Workers, have been enacted to lay down a legal basis for protecting the rights of women, children and the elderly. The government has issued the Opinions on Establishing and Improving the Mechanism for Evaluating Gender Equality Implications in Laws, Regulations and Policies, to codify and institutionalize the basic national policy of gender equality and promote the all-round development of women.

The Civil Code promulgated in 2020 includes articles regarding the right of habitation, the common debts of spouses, and measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment, further strengthening protection for the three groups. The Chinese government has developed three outlines and plans for the development of women, three for children, and five for the elderly.

Empowering women to participate in economic and social affairs. The illiteracy rate of women aged 15 years and above dropped from 20.5 percent in 1979 to 7.3 percent in 2017, and the proportion of female students in junior colleges and universities rose from 24.1 percent in 1978 to 51.7 percent in 2019. More than 40 percent of the employed are women. 

The Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas amended in 2018 stipulates that women enjoy equal rights with men in undertaking land contracts. There were 742 female deputies to the 13th NPC in 2018, accounting for 24.9 percent of the total and 3.7 percentage points higher than the percentage of female deputies to the Sixth NPC in 1983. There were 440 female members in the 13th CPPCC National Committee, representing 20.4 percent of the total and 7.6 percentage points higher than that in the Sixth CPPCC National Committee in 1983.

Improving health care for women and children. In 2020, the rate of prenatal care was 97.4 percent, and the rate of hospital deliveries was 99.9 percent. The government has carried out a program of free cervical and breast cancer checkups for women in rural areas, and brought cervical and breast cancer into the scope of national subsidies for serious illnesses. 

The government has launched the Nutrition Improvement Program for Children in Poor Areas, benefitting 11.2 million children by 2020. Between 1991 and 2020, the mortality rate of children under five decreased from 61 per thousand to 7.5 per thousand.

Providing special care and protection for children. In 2020, there were 29,000 community service centers and 249,000 service stations for children, 360,000 parenting schools, and 320,000 children's activity centers in urban and rural communities. There were 56,000 child welfare supervisors in towns and townships, and 675,000 child welfare directors in villages, forming a strong grassroots force for children's care and protection. 

Greater care and protection have been given to orphans, children with disabilities, rural left-behind children whose parents work in cities, and children in need. The state has strengthened guarantee for the basic needs of orphans. In 2019, the basic living subsidies from special government funds for orphans increased by 50 percent to RMB300, RMB450 and RMB600 per person/month for eastern, central and western regions. At the end of 2020, there were 60,000 orphans in child welfare institutions, with an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,611 per person; there were 134,000 orphans not in care facilities, with an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,184 per person. 

The government issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening Protection of Uncared-for Children, to bring all de facto orphans into the coverage of state support. By 2020, 254,000 uncared-for children were covered by state support, and given an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,184 per person. 

The state maintains zero tolerance for crimes against minors. Between 2017 and 2020, prosecuting bodies at all levels approved the arrest of 160,200 people committing crimes against minors, and prosecuted 218,500 people. In judicial procedures, the rights of victimized minors are fully protected by promoting one-stop inquiry and assistance mechanisms integrating evidence collection, psychological counseling, and judicial assistance. By 2020, there were 1,029 one-stop inquiry and assistance sites across the country. More help is provided in different forms to minor victims. In 2019, more than RMB62 million of aid was granted to 4,306 minor victims and their families.

Guaranteeing the lives and rights of the elderly. The Chinese government is developing an old-age service network that coordinates home, community and facility care, and combines medical care with health preservation. It has strengthened care and services for left-behind elderly people in rural areas, and adapted home and public environments to make life easier for the elderly. Individual income tax deduction applies to expenses for taking care of elderly family members. The government aims to ensure care, support, recreation, and security for the elderly. 

In 2020, the government brought 18.3 million poor elderly people into the scope of subsistence allowances, and covered 3.9 million elderly people living in extreme poverty with government support. Subsidies are ensured at the provincial level nationwide for poor elderly people who cannot perform essential self-care. As of 2020, 30.6 million elderly people enjoyed old-age allowances, 810,000 enjoyed nursing subsidies, and 235,000 enjoyed service subsidies. There were 38,000 care institutions and 280,000 community care facilities for the elderly across the country, with a total of 8.2 million beds.

The State Council has issued policies supporting the provision of both traditional and digital public services to ensure ease of access for elderly people.

3. Furthering Protection of the Rights of Ethnic Minorities

Guaranteeing the right of ethnic minority groups to participate in the administration of state affairs. The provisions in the Constitution and laws regarding the representation of ethnic minority groups in the leadership of organs exercising regional autonomy and the election of ethnic minority deputies to the people's congresses are strictly implemented. 

The Electoral Law stipulates that ethnic groups with a small population shall have at least one deputy to the NPC. All 55 ethnic minority groups have deputies to the NPC and members in the CPPCC National Committee. The 13th NPC has 438 ethnic minority deputies, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total. 

Raising the living standards of ethnic minority groups and areas. Special programs have been launched, and policies and measures have been implemented to boost the economy of ethnic minority areas, such as the development of the western region, the action plan to bring prosperity to border areas and their residents, paired assistance between developed areas and less developed ethnic autonomous areas, special support for ethnic groups with small populations, and preservation and development of ethnic minority villages and towns. 

Between 2018 and 2020, the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang, and the three provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan and Qinghai with large ethnic minority populations recorded faster economic growth than the national average. The per capita disposable income of their residents increased from RMB150 in 1978 to RMB24,534 in 2020.

Developing education in ethnic minority areas. China has adopted a series of measures to promote educational equality and ensure ethnic minorities' right to education. These measures include opening more schools in ethnic minority areas, offering preparatory courses or special classes at secondary schools and universities to ethnic minority students, running boarding schools in farming and pastoral areas, and developing higher education in ethnic minority areas. 

All ethnic minority areas have enforced nine-year compulsory education from primary school to junior high school. In the Tibet Autonomous Region and in Hotan, Kashgar, and Aksu prefectures and Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, students enjoy 15 years of free education from preschool to senior high school.

Boosting cultural undertakings of ethnic minority groups. While promoting standard spoken and written Chinese, the state protects the right of ethnic minority groups to use and develop their own spoken and written languages to consolidate ethnic unity and social harmony. As of 2020, there were 729 radio and television stations in ethnic autonomous areas. The broadcasting stations across the country run 279 television channels and 188 radio programs in ethnic minority languages. 

The Site of Xanadu, the Tusi Sites, the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, the Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace of Lhasa, and Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor are all included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Of the 42 items from China included in the UNESCO Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, 15 are from ethnic minority areas. 

China has established 11 national (pilot) cultural reserves in ethnic minority areas. A total of 25 provinces and equivalent administrative units have institutions that catalogue and study ancient classics and records of ethnic minorities. By 2020, about 1 million privately-held ethnic minority ancient classics and records (excluding books collected in museums and temples), including many rare editions and single extant copies, had been rescued and catalogued. China has launched the compilation of Collection of Ancient Classics and Records of Chinese Ethnic Minorities, which will include about 300,000 books upon completion.

Safeguarding peace and stability in ethnic minority areas. In this unified multiethnic country, the sense of identity of the Chinese nation is heightened to unite all the people in pressing forward for common prosperity and a bright future. With strong support from all ethnic groups, the government takes lawful actions to combat terrorists, separatists and religious extremists, to safeguard ethnic unity and social stability. People's rights to a peaceful existence, to life and health, and to property are effectively protected, and their sense of gain, happiness and security continues to grow.

4. Strengthening Guarantee of the Rights of People with Disabilities

Improving social security. China has established a subsidy system to provide for the living expenses of disabled people in need and to pay the nursing costs of people with severe disabilities. By 2020, the system had benefitted 12.1 million poor disabled people and 14.7 million with severe disabilities in need of nursing. A total of 27 million people with disabilities were covered in old-age insurance schemes in both urban and rural areas, with 11.4 million receiving pensions. 10.8 million people with disabilities received urban or rural subsistence allowances, including 6.4 million with severe disabilities. The government paid basic old-age insurance premiums for 96.7 percent of the 6.8 million people with severe disabilities. The government also fully or partly paid the premiums for 3 million people with mild or moderate disabilities.

Making rehabilitation universally available. The government has included rehabilitation services for the disabled in plans for basic public services, and carried out targeted rehabilitation programs to help those in need. It has established a rehabilitation assistance mechanism for disabled children, developed community rehabilitation services for people with mental illnesses, and boosted the industry of rehabilitation assistive devices. Basic rehabilitation services and products are provided to disabled children and people with certified disabilities. 

In 2020, 10.8 million disabled children and people with certified disabilities received basic rehabilitation services, and 2.4 million people with disabilities benefited from adaption services for assistive devices. About 676,000 disabled children have benefited from a rehabilitation assistance mechanism that was initiated in 2018. 

Efforts to prevent disability have paid off. In 2017, the State Council approved the establishment of August 25 as the Disability Prevention Day, to promote public awareness of disability prevention. The National Disability Prevention Action Plan (2016-2020) laid out effective measures for controling the occurrence of birth defects and disabilities caused by development disorders, preventing disabilities caused by illnesses, reducing injuries that cause disabilities, and improving rehabilitation services. Substantial progress has been made in these four areas, and the main targets have been reached.

Creating better access to education. People with disabilities have an equal right to education that is guaranteed through special education and inclusive education. In 2020, there were 2,244 special education schools with 66,200 full-time teachers and 880,800 students, an increase of 512,700 students or 139 percent from 2013. Continued efforts have also been made to provide the necessary support for students with disabilities to go to regular schools, and the number of students with disabilities attending regular schools has seen a steady increase, from 191,000 in 2013 to 435,800 in 2020, an increase of 128 percent. Over the past decade, about 50 percent of students with disabilities have been able to study at regular schools. Free 12-year education from primary school to senior high school has been ensured for disabled students from poor families.

Guaranteeing the right to work. China promotes the employment of people with disabilities by improving relevant laws and regulations, expanding employment channels, and improving services. In 2020, there were 2,811 employment service agencies and 478 vocational training centers for people with disabilities, and the number of employed people with certified disabilities reached 8.6 million. 

Efforts have been made to help people with disabilities emerge from poverty. Between 2015 and 2020, China built 4,581 poverty alleviation centers for people with disabilities, helping 409,000 disabled people find jobs and increase income. The per capita net income of registered poor household with disabled members grew from RMB2,776 in 2015 to RMB8,726 in 2019.

Building an accessible environment. The Regulations on the Building of an Accessible Environment have come into effect. As of 2020, 1,753 cities and counties had initiated efforts to improve accessibility and remove barriers, and 469 cities, counties, towns, and villages had been recognized by the state as barrier-free. Among comprehensive service facilities in villages or communities across the country, 81 percent of entrances and exits, 56.6 percent of service counters and 38.7 percent of restrooms had been upgraded for accessibility. Between 2016 and 2020, home adaptation was carried out for 650,000 poor families with severely disabled members. As of 2019, there were 2,341 comprehensive service facilities, 1,006 rehabilitation facilities, and 887 care facilities for people with disabilities; at the provincial level, 25 radio programs and 32 sign language television programs serviced people with disabilities; and there were 1,174 reading rooms with Braille and audio books. 

A variety of measures have been taken to promote information accessibility, increasing the supply of accessible terminal products, and applying accessible products and technologies for better services. By expanding the channels for people with disabilities to engage in an information society, and facilitating the application of information technology to build an accessible environment, China is trying hard to eliminate the digital divide and create a more inclusive society.

Moderate prosperity covers every aspect. The Chinese government gives top priority to ensuring people's wellbeing, and spares no effort in addressing concerns of the people. Significant progress has been made in ensuring access to childcare, education, employment, housing, medical services, elderly care, and social assistance. Moderate prosperity in all respects benefits all Chinese people and enables them to enjoy greater human rights than ever before.

<  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  >