China undergoes 2nd UN human rights review
Updated: 2013-10-23 03:45
GENEVA - China has implemented or has been carrying out recommendations received four years ago during the first UN human rights review and has basically fulfilled its commitment, a senior Chinese diplomat said Tuesday.
Wu Hailong, head of the Chinese delegation, said in his opening statement at the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China by the Human Rights Council, that the notion of promoting and safeguarding human rights has long been incorporated into China's Constitution, its national economic and social development plans and the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.
Since economy is the foundation for promoting and protecting human rights, over the past four years, China continued to make development its top priority, said Wu, who is also the special envoy of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Chinese government has taken concrete steps to improve people's well-being and share the fruits of reform and development among the people, and protect and promote people's right to life, education, health and housing, according to Wu.
Wu said that China has put in place a socialist legal system with Chinese features, which provides strong legal support to realize human rights to the full.
The political rights of Chinese citizens have been better upheld and the Chinese government has strengthened the judicial system and set enhanced human rights protection as an important target, he said.
The Chinese government has also taken concrete actions in protecting people's freedom of speech and freedom of religious belief in accordance with law, according to Wu.
Wu also told the council about China's work in protection of the human rights of special groups, including orphans, children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS-affected children, children from poor families and vagrant children, people with disabilities, senior citizens and minority ethnic groups.
He said that the Chinese government takes an active part in international exchanges and cooperation on human rights.
China has joined 26 international conventions on human rights and worked hard to implement them, he said.
Wu said that there is always room for improvement in the field of human rights.
"We are soberly aware that China still faces many difficulties and challenges in promoting and protecting human rights," Wu said.
He named such challenges as that unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remains an acute problem, basic medical and health service cannot fully meet people's needs, and resources and environment are laying growing restraints on economic development.
He said that with the realization of the Chinese dream, the human rights cause in China will witness even greater achievements.
In the following interactive dialogue, representatives of 137 countries made comments or recommendations on China's human rights development.
Most countries, especially developing ones, noted the progress China has made in human rights development during the past four years.
Officials from relevant Chinese government departments answered questions on education, HIV/AIDS and family planning, environmental protection, and civil society organizations.
Delegates from China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region also answered questions concerning human rights development in the two SARs.
Ravinatha P. Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG), commended China during the dialogue session for the significant progress made in implementing the MDGs, in efforts in promoting the right to development, in achieving food security, especially for vulnerable groups.
"Today, Sri Lanka was informed of the many laudable developments in the promotion and protection of human rights that have taken place in China in the past four years. In a country that is as vast as China with a population of 1.3 billion, this is no mean feat," He told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
He said that every country faces its own unique challenges, and what is important is the will to address them and addressing them in a manner that is coherent with the social and cultural norms of each country.
Wafaa Bassim, Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UNOG, said that China's success in transforming the impressive records of economic growth into equally impressive indicators in poverty eradication, distribution of wealth, and human development can constitute a best practice that all the developing and emerging economies can learn from.
The Working Group of the Human Rights Council on UPR will also review other 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mexico and Israel, during its 17th session from October 21 to November 1.
The UPR mechanism was established by the Human Rights Council in June 2007 with the aim to ensure that all UN member states will have their records examined in order to improve human rights conditions worldwide.
China went through the first UPR in 2009, during which the Chinese government accepted 42 recommendations made by other countries, including making greater efforts to improve people's lives, reduce poverty, deepen the reform of judicial system, protect the rights of ethnic minority groups, and help other developing countries achieve the right to development.