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The Development Path for Human Rights with Chinese Characteristics
September 11,2014   By:CSHRS

Li Yunlong

Like most countries in the world, China supports the ideal of human rights depicted and advocated in theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents and agrees with the idea that human rights should be universal. However, China also holds that to better realize the common goals of human rights requires that each country explore and find the best and most efficient way in accordance with its own conditions. One of the reasons for the fast development of human rights in China since its reform and opening-up is that China has chosen a development path for human rights according to its own conditions. The path fits the conditions of China and therefore efficiently promotes the realization of universal human rights.

I.Promoting the realization of economic, social and cultural rights on the basis of full economic development

Economic, social and cultural rights are provided by a country or society to individuals to support their material and cultural life. These rights are a kind of national or social benefit that requires strong financial support. Many social rights can be achieved only after the economy has improved to a certain level. With the economy lagging behind and people suffering from poverty, economic, social and cultural rights are only luxuries that are out of reach. Only when the economy reaches a certain level can these rights be realized. Put another way, realizing economic, social and cultural rights is in fact a kind of reallocation of social resources. There must be enough resources available for allocation. Therefore, economic development is a prerequisite for realizing economic, social and cultural rights.

Before reform and opening-up, China could not provide enough goods due to its backward economy and scarcity. To change this status, the Chinese government formed the strategy of “three steps for modernization.” Step one: by the end of the 1980s, the GDP should be twice that of 1980 and people’s basic need for food and clothing should be satisfied; Step two: by the end of the 20th century, the GDP of 2000 should be double that of the late 1980s and the people should enjoy a fairly well-off life. Step three: By the middle of the 21st Century, per capita GDP is expected to be on par with mid-ranking developed countries and the people will be living a well-off life. At that time, China will have basically realized modernization.1For many years, China has been taking economic development as its top priority and the work of developing the economy as its core task. All levels of government and officials from the central government to local levels have made economic development their top agenda and all other work has been spontaneously supportive of this overwhelming task.

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