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China's Historic Human Rights Achievements

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-07-05

Since the 18th National Congress of CPC, China has achieved historic success in its human rights cause under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping. The protection of all human rights of the Chinese people has been advanced by a vast margin, representing a remarkable accomplishment in the world history of human rights development.

Historic progress has been made in ensuring people's subsistence and development rights. Through our efforts to resolve the imbalances and inadequacies in development, we have continued to meet the people's increasing needs for a better life. We secured victory in the battle against poverty on schedule, thus lifting almost 100 million people in rural areas out of poverty and bringing about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China. This achievement allowed the entire Chinese population to enter moderate prosperity together and represented a miraculous accomplishment in the history of poverty alleviation. In 2021, based on the average annual exchange rate, the total aggregate of China's economy reached US$17.7 trillion, and per-capita GDP grew to US$12,551, surpassing the world's average per-capita level. China now has the largest middle-income group in the world.

Protection for people's economic, social, and cultural rights has been greatly advanced. Focused on ensuring and improving people's wellbeing, we have intensified social development to better satisfy people's expectations for high living standards and their increasing desire for a better life in various areas. China has built the world's most extensive education, social security, and medical insurance systems. People's right to education and basic cultural rights are now better guaranteed. The Healthy China initiative has delivered significant progress, and the living conditions of residents have greatly improved. Currently, the coverage of China's nine-year compulsory education exceeds the average level among high-income countries, and higher education has become widely accessible based on international standards. The average life expectancy in China in 2020 was 77.93 years, 1.59 years higher than the 2015 figure of 76.34, placing China in the front ranks among middle- and high-income countries. Continuous progress has been made in ensuring equal access to basic public health services, and the standard of health enjoyed by Chinese residents is broadly higher than the average standards in middle- and high-income countries. Adhering to the principle of putting the people and human life above all else, we have prioritized people's health and safety to secure major strategic success in Covid-19 response.

The right of the people to run the country has been further consolidated. While preserving the unity between the leadership by the CPC, the people running the country, and law-based governance, we have developed whole-process people's democracy, improved the institutions and systems for ensuring that the people run the country, created open and well-organized channels for democracy, and enriched the forms of democracy. This has enabled all Chinese people to engage in law-based democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight, and better secured their rights to manage state, economic, cultural, and social affairs in various ways and forms according to the law. People's orderly and law-based political participation has been continuously expanded, and their democratic life has become richer and more varied. Whole-process people's democracy has allowed the principle of the people running the country to be fully realized in national political and social activities. The strengths of China's unique socialist political system have thus been brought fully into play.

Legal protections for human rights have been advanced across the board. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Central Committee has made a sustained effort to bolster legal protections for human rights by making comprehensive law-based governance part of the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy and ensuring that the people's interests, wishes, rights, and wellbeing are attended to throughout the process of law-based governance. The socialist legal system with the Constitution at its core has been steadily improved, thus providing a solid foundation for realizing the law-based protection of human rights. The compilation and adoption of the Civil Code have further improved the systems for guaranteeing civil rights, provided legal protections for citizens' property rights, and ensured proper protection of human dignity in a standalone section dedicated to personality rights. There has also been critical progress in developing law-based government and breakthroughs have been made in reforming the judicial system. This has allowed the people to feel that justice and fairness are upheld in every aspect of the legal system, every law enforcement decision, and every judicial case.

Protection for people's environmental rights has improved significantly. Environmental rights are an essential element of human rights. Upholding the notion that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, we have bolstered ecological protection in all sectors, regions, and processes. With the campaigns to prevent and control pollution and improve rural living environments, we have resolved pronounced environmental issues of deep concern to the people, improved living environments, and effected historic and sweeping changes in China's environmental protection. People now enjoy clearer skies, greener mountains, cleaner waters, and better air. In 2020, China surpassed its targets for reducing total emissions of major pollutants; the proportion of days with good or excellent air quality in cities at and above prefectural level was 87%; the proportion of surface water with a good rating (at or above Grade III) increased to 83.4% nationwide. National forest coverage reached 23.04%, and the forest stock volume rose to 17.5 billion cubic meters.

Stronger protections have been introduced for the rights of special groups. We have provided special protection for designated groups, including ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. We have made every effort to ensure all of them can participate fully in economic, political, cultural, and social life on an equal footing, pursue self-development with dignity, and access opportunities to fulfill their potential and realize their dreams. At the end of 2020, China's 28 ethnic groups with the smallest populations were entirely lifted out of poverty, as were the 420 poor counties in ethnic autonomous localities. Ethnic autonomous areas are moving closer to the average national standards for resident income, compulsory education, medical and health services, and social security. In 2021, maternal and infant mortality rates were reduced to 16.1 per 100,000 and 5 per 1,000, respectively. China has been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of 10 fast-track countries in improving women's and children's health. The rate of participation among people with disabilities in urban and rural areas has exceeded 90% for basic old-age insurance and 95% for basic medical insurance. Protections for the rights and interests of older people have increased to ensure better care, support, recreation, and security for the elderly.

China's participation in global human rights governance has been considerably strengthened. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the guidance of Xi Jinping's vision for building a global community of shared future, China has engaged in genuine multilateralism, played an active role in the reform and development of global governance systems, including human rights, and poured significant energy into making global human rights governance fairer, more reasonable, and more inclusive. The concept of "building a global community of shared future" has been included in many official documents of the United Nations. Furthermore, proposals like the Belt and Road Initiative, the global community of health for all, and a community of life for man and Nature have offered Chinese insights and Chinese approaches for the tasks of global development and human rights protection. In recent years, China, both at the UN Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, has frustrated numerous underhanded attempts by Western countries to target China concerning Xinjiang and Hong Kong and has done so with overwhelming support, thus fully protecting our national interests and dignity. China has also submitted numerous well-reasoned proposals to the Human Rights Council on protecting the rights of people in all countries to subsistence, development, and health, which have received strong support from developing countries.