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On the Role of China’s Letters and Visits System in Human Rights Protection
September 12,2014   By:CSHRS

Yang Chengming and Yi Hui

The letters and visits system is a kind of system for human rights protection with Chinese characteristics. The system has made tremendous achievements in promoting and safeguarding human rights and accumulated rich experience in the protection of human rights. In the future, it will continuously play a unique role in China’s human rights protection.

I. China’s Letters and Visits System Is a System for Human Rights Protection

Since the United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the protection of human rights has moved into the fast lane globally. As a significant achievement that China has made in its practice of human rights protection, the letters and visits system plays an irreplaceable role in China’s system of human rights protection.

First, the letters and visits system is an important embodiment of China’s active effort to fulfill its international commitments on human rights protection. In 1998, China officially joined the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is considered a fundamental human rights multilateral treaty aiming to secure the fulfillment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Covenant stipulates that “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression.” According to Article 2 of China’s Regulations on Letters and Visits enacted in 2005, the term “letters and visits” in these Regulations means that citizens, legal persons or other organizations give information, make comments or suggestions, or lodge complaints to the people’s governments at all levels and relevant departments of the people’s governments at or above the county level through correspondence, e-mails, faxes, phone calls, visits, and so on, which are dealt with by the relevant administrative departments according to law. China’s letters and visits system just reflects the spirit and contents of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and has become an effective way that China has designed on the basis of its national conditions to fulfill its international commitments to human rights protection.

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