Full text: Progress in China's Human Rights in 2012

Updated: 2013-05-14 12:45


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III. Protection of Human Rights in Cultural Services

To fully ensure its citizens' right to cultural services is an important component of China's human rights development. In recent years, China has continued to deepen reform of the cultural system, liberating and developing cultural productivity to inspire cultural creativity in the whole nation. People are enjoying richer cultural entertainments and new development has been made to ensure the citizens' basic access to cultural services. Unprecedented progress has been made in protecting the Chinese people's right to enjoy cultural achievements, to participate in cultural activities and the management of cultural affairs, to cultural creation and to legal protection of their cultural property.

A service system to ensure Chinese citizens' cultural rights has been basically established. The state has improved the network of public cultural facilities step by step, and has basically attained the goal of having "libraries and cultural centers in counties and cultural stations in townships." By the end of 2012, there were 2,089 art performance troupes, 2,838 museums, 2,975 public libraries, 3,286 cultural centers and 34,139 township cultural stations throughout China. A service network covering both urban and rural areas powered by a culture and information resource-sharing program has been developed. By May 2012 China had built one service center at the national level, 33 sub-centers at the provincial level, 2,840 branches at the county-level, 28,595 service stations at the township level, and 602,000 service outlets at the village level. The total volume of digital resources had reached 136.4 trillion bytes, providing services to more than 1.2 billion persons accumulatively. The digital library program has been carried out in 33 libraries at the provincial level and 185 libraries at the prefectural (city) level, and the total volume of digital resources has reached 560 trillion bytes. By the end of 2012, China had 2,579 radio and television broadcasting stations of various sizes. The total length of the cable TV network measured more than 3.3 million km, providing services to 214 million cable TV users (households) and 143 million cable digital TV users. About 97.5 percent of China's population had access to radio service, and the figure was 98.2 percent for access to television programs. In 2012 the country's total funds for culture, sports and media services provided by the public finances reached 225.145 billion yuan, an increase of 85.838 billion yuan as compared to 2009; and the floorage of cultural facilities per 10,000 people reached 221.2 square meters. By providing radio and television services to every village with more than 20 households and setting up libraries for farmers, the state has been working hard to meet the cultural needs of people in rural and remote areas. Currently, all China's administrative villages and 95 percent of villages with more than 20 households have access to telephone service. All townships have adequate infrastructure for Internet connection, and all townships and 88 percent of administrative villages have broadband Internet connection. By August 2012, the state had spent more than 18 billion yuan on the building of over 600,000 farmers' libraries under unified standards, equipping these libraries with 940 million copies of books, 540 million copies of newspapers and periodicals, 120 million audio-visual products and electronic publications, and over 600,000 sets of film and television projection equipment and reading apparatus. New achievements have been made in the fitness-for-all endeavor. The State Council issued the National Fitness Program (2011-2015). By the end of 2012, China had more than one million sports venues of various types, and the state had completed the building of 348,000 fitness stations for farmers and 261,000 outdoor fitness tracks.

New cultural products have been created to meet the citizens' cultural needs. To quicken the development of the culture industry and create more popular cultural products the people like, the CPC Central Committee adopted the Decision on Major Issues Pertaining to Deepening the Reform of the Cultural System and Pressing Ahead for the Great Development and Prosperity of Socialist Culture. The Chinese government also released the Outline of the National Cultural Reform and Development Program during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period, Plan to Reinvigorate the Culture Industry, and other policies and measures related to cultural development, as part of the efforts to vigorously promote cultural progress and innovation. Currently, a framework of the culture industry has been basically developed, covering 11 culture industries such as entertainment, animation, games and digital culture. In 2011 the added value of China's culture and related industries grew 21.96 percent over the previous year to reach 1.3479 trillion yuan, accounting for 2.85 percent of the country's GDP during the same period. In 2012 China produced a total of 47.6 billion copies of newspapers, 3.4 billion copies of periodicals and 8.1 billion copies of books, and the total volume of electronic publications and the total output value of the printing industry ranked second and third in the world, respectively. In 2012 the country made 745 feature films and 148 other films, including popular science films, documentaries, animated cartoons and special-purpose films. By 2011 a total of 1,540,400 arts performances had been presented by various performance troupes. The value of China's entertainment market reached 56.618 billion yuan, and the total transactions on the art market were worth 195.9 billion yuan. There were 146,000 Internet cafes across the country and 452 companies doing Internet music business, and the market for online games had generated 46.85 billion yuan in revenue. Since the state launched the project to promote quality stage art works in 2002, the country has seen the staging of 100 leading plays and operas and over 200 other quality plays and operas in the theater. The national project for the creation of fine art works on major historical themes has brought about 104 pieces of top-notch artwork. Fine national art traditions have been preserved and promoted with the state making efforts to preserve, protect and support the art of Kunqu Opera, key national troupes of Peking Opera and Chinese music. The government has held the China Art Festival and Excellent Repertoire Awards, as well as staged prize-winning performances by private art troupes and quality modern drama plays. The state continues with the activities of "taking cultural services to the countryside" and "introducing classic art to campuses."

Public cultural services have been made more equitable. The state has provided extensive public cultural services to special groups, and made greater efforts to guarantee the cultural rights of migrant workers, senior citizens, minors, low-income groups, and disabled persons. The state has implemented the Promotion Program for Children's Songs, and held China Children's Choir Festival and China Choir Festival for the Elderly, among other activities. In May 2010 the National Library of China formally opened its National Children's Library (National Children's Digital Library) to the public. In 2012 China Digital Library for Visually Impaired and China Digital Library for People with Disabilities provided barrier-free books, lectures, music and other cultural services to over a million disabled persons. The state has implemented the program to build public electronic reading rooms, and has completed the building of 28,612 such reading rooms in rural townships and urban communities to provide services to minors, senior citizens, migrant workers and other groups. In 2011 state departments concerned jointly issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening Cultural Services for Migrant Workers, which set the guidelines for migrant workers' cultural services relying mainly on the public cultural service system, and boosted the forming of a mechanism where the government assumes the leading role, enterprises contribute by joint development, and the whole society takes part. From 2010 the Ministry of Culture has been actively promoting trips by volunteers to bring cultural services to border areas. Over the past three years, more than 20 provinces (municipalities) and public institutions in China's more developed areas have organized 50 volunteers' groups comprising over 2,000 cultural volunteers to stage 450 art performances in 12 border provinces and autonomous regions inhabited by ethnic minorities in compact communities and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, provide more than 2,000 hours of professional training and hold a total of 600 days of cultural exhibitions, benefiting several hundred thousand people. Efforts have also been made to promote the adding of subtitles and sign language to TV programs and provide barrier-free live broadcasting service online with words and videos of major events, benefiting 70,000 people with hearing impairment. In 2012 the Ministry of Culture and the Office of Cultural and Ethical Promotion of the CPC Central Committee jointly released the Opinions on Carrying out Extensive Community-based Voluntary Cultural Services, which proposed to extensively carry out voluntary cultural services on the basis of public cultural facilities, cultural projects benefiting the people, major festivals and memorial days, and pair-up assistance between more developed areas and border areas.

The citizens' rights to the freedom of religious belief are protected. China upholds the policy of freedom of religious belief, and ensures its citizens' freedom of religious belief as an important part of their human rights. The Chinese government exercises administration over religious affairs by law, and protects the legitimate rights and interests of religious groups. It strives to promote religious harmony, and gives play to the active roles of religious personages and common believers in promoting economic and social development. Based on the Regulations on Religious Affairs, the State Administration of Religious Affairs has enacted nine supporting regulations. The Chinese government proactively promotes the administration by law in the religious sector and strives to regulate its administrative power in this regard. In 2012 China canceled administrative approval on three items related to religious affairs and made adjustment to three other issues, and amended the Enforcement Regulations on Certain Issues Requiring Administrative Approval Regarding Religious Affairs. The state continues to help national religious organizations and religious institutions improve their working and teaching conditions. It properly handles social security insurance for religious staff and ensures that those entitled to social security get covered. The state handles, in accordance with the law, cases which hurt the feelings of religious believers, properly deals with the demolition of housing belonging to religious organizations and houses for holding religious activities in urban construction, and attaches importance to the protection of religious relics and distinctive religious cultural heritage. Currently, China has approximately 360,000 religious staff and 140,000 registered venues for religious activities that are open to the public, basically satisfying the needs of religious believers. There are in total 5,500 religious organizations carrying out their respective activities in an orderly manner. The state has approved the restoration and building of 97 religious institutions, and a relatively complete institution-based religious education system has been put in place. China supports the production and circulation of religious classics, periodicals and other publications according to law. By 2012 more than 100 million copies of the Bible had been printed in China, making it among the few countries in the world with the largest print-run of the Bible. The Chinese government supports exchanges in the field of religion: China hosted the International Daoism Forum in Hunan in October 2011 and the Third World Buddhism Forum in Hong Kong in April 2012.

The cultural rights of ethnic minority groups are protected. The state formulated and implemented the 12th Five-year Plan for Development of Undertakings Related to Ethnic Minority Groups. China's 55 ethnic minority groups have 515 of their representative cultural items included in the national intangible cultural heritage list, and have 524 individuals ranked as successors of their intangible cultural heritages. Five experimental zones on the protection of ethnic minority cultural ecology have been established, and 18 ethnic minority cultural items have been included in the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding of the UNESCO. By May 2012 there were 73 radio broadcasting stations in ethnic autonomous areas, airing 441 programs including 105 programs broadcast in local ethnic languages; and there were 90 television stations broadcasting 489 programs, including 100 in local ethnic languages. By the end of 2011 books were published in 23 ethnic minority languages nationwide. There were also 84 newspapers and 223 periodicals published in ethnic languages. A total of 50,834 cultural institutes of various types were operating in ethnic autonomous areas, including 653 libraries, 784 cultural centers, 8,153 cultural stations and 385 museums. The state holds national art shows and national sports events of the ethnic minority groups. Since 2009 China's central finance has invested a total of 510 million yuan in implementing the program for protecting and developing ethnic minority villages with unique characteristics, and pilot runs of the program have been initiated in 600 villages in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. The state pays special attention to the protection of ethnic minority languages. China National Radio and local radio stations broadcast in 21 ethnic languages on a daily basis. Bilingual teaching is done in the classroom in more than 10,000 schools around the country, using 29 languages of 21 ethnic groups together with mandarin, offering bilingual instruction to over six million students. In 2011, 3,665 titles of ethnic language textbooks were published, with a total print-run of over 47,030,000 copies.

Important progress has been witnessed in the protection and inheritance of cultural heritages. In 2011 the NPC Standing Committee enacted the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law, which provides a legal basis for the inheritance and promotion of China's fine traditional culture by legalizing the protection, preservation, inheritance and transmission of the country's intangible cultural heritages. In 2011 the state completed the third national survey of cultural relics, and verified and registered about 770,000 immovable cultural relics. The State Council announced 2,352 key national cultural relic protection units in six batches, including 119 historical cities and 350 towns and villages of historical and cultural value. It also announced 1,219 items of the state-class intangible cultural heritage list in three batches. The Ministry of Culture named 1,986 representative inheritors of national cultural heritages in four batches, and set up 15 national experimental zones for the protection of cultural ecology. By the end of 2012 China had altogether 41 world heritage sites, ranking third in the world. Twenty-nine of the country's intangible cultural heritages were included in the UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, seven were included in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and one was included in the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices.