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The Role of Human Rights Organizations in China: CSHRS’ Case
September 19,2016   By:CSHRS
The Role of Human Rights Organizations in China: CSHRS’ Case
 
LUOYanhua*
 
Abstract: In China, there are many human rights organizations, because of their focuses and priorities related to human rights. China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) is the largest of them, which focuses on human rights research, popularizing and international exchanges. This paper takes CSHRS as an example to show the role of the human rights organizations play in China. From the practice of CSHRS, we can see the human rights organizations in China play a kind of constructive role through involving in very broad fields and engaging in the various activities of human rights protection. Their works include participating in drafting the National Human Rights Action Plans, giving constructive suggestions, working in human rights education, engaging in international exchanges and cooperation, taking part in the work of UPR, raising fund and implementing projects, and so on. They are trying hard to contribute to improve human rights situation in China. 
 
Keywords: human rights organizations; China; CSHRS
 
In China, there are a lot of social organizations working related to human rights, such as China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), China Foundation for Human Rights Development (CFHRD), China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF), China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF), the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), China Disabled Persons' Federation, and so on. These organizations have their own focuses and priorities in different human rights fields, and all can be called human rights organizations.
 
As we all know, various human rights organizations play different roles in human rights protection in the world. Some organizations stand at the opposite of their governments, and some act as cooperators. In China, human rights organizations play a kind of constructive role to engage in various activities of human rights protection. 
 
Taking CSHRS as an example, we can see the work that the Chinese human rights organizations engage in and the role they play in human rights field.
 
I. The Human RightsOrganizations Participated in Drafting and Formulating the National Human Rights Action Plans
 
According to the request of Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993), about 30 countries in the world have formulated their national human rights action plans. China is one of them.
 
So far, Chinese government has published two National Human Rights Action Plans: National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010) and National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015). The plans have defined the Chinese government’s goals in promoting and protecting human rights, and the specific measures in the given period.
 
The formulation of the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010)involved broad participation by the relevant government departments and many social organizations. Altogether 53 organizations including CSHRS participated in the process of formulation. The Chinese government established the “joint meeting mechanism for the National Human Rights Action Plan” for the purpose of working out a good plan. A group of experts from universities and research institutions participated in the drafting and formulating work. In the drafting and formulating process, liaison meetings were held on many occasions to conduct thorough discussions with relevant government departments, and several symposia were convened with representation from over 20 organizations to solicit suggestions for comments and revisions.1 The National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015) also involved broad participation of social organizations. So, it’s obvious that the two Chinese National Human Rights Action Plans are the achievement of cooperation between social organizations and official administrative departments.
 
The experts of CSHRS participated in the whole drafting work of the two action plans. Therefore, as a human rights organization,CSHRS has contributed a lot to the formulation of the National Human Rights Action Plans. 
 
And, up to now, both the two action plans have passed the evaluation.2 The smooth completion of the two action plans has promoted the human rights protection to reach a higher stage in China. 
 
II. The Human RightsOrganizations Have Given ALot of Constructive Suggestions to the Official Administrative Departments by Publishing Blue Papers of Human Rights Development in China and Other Publications
 
CSHRS has organized writing blue papers since 2010. Five blue papers have been published so far. The authors of the blue papers have included the outstanding experts and scholars in the related human rights fields in China. All the reports in the blue papers are requested to directly point out the problems and give constructive and feasible suggestions to the related administrative departments. Five blue papers have published more than 100 research reports. Each report at least gave 3 suggestions. So, totally more than 300 suggestions have been pointed out by the blue papers. Those suggestions are very helpful for those administrative departments to deal with those problems finally. Besides the blue papers, other publications of human rights organizations have pointed out many constructive suggestions as well.
 
III. The Human RightsOrganizations Have Actively Participated in the Work of Human Rights Education in China
 
In human rights education field, Chinese human rights organizations cooperated with the related administrative departments also very well. 
 
We all know, promoting the popularization and education of human rights knowledge is the responsibility of both the Chinese government and human rights organizations. In China, the human rights organizations have also contributed a lot in promoting the popularization and education of human rights knowledge. For example, CSHRS has been actively trying hard to raise human rights awareness of the whole society. It jointly hosted with China’s National Public Radio a series of radio lectures—“Talk about Human Rights”; opened the column of “100 Q&As on Human Rights knowledge” on People’s Daily and the column of “China’s Human Rights Panorama” on People’s Daily Overseas Edition; compiled and published some educational materials such as 100 Q&As on Human Rights knowledge, Overview of Key Human Rights Documents and Reading Book on Human Rights Knowledge for Cadres; established some special seminars on human rights; conducted trainings of human rights knowledge for government officials of all levels and law enforcement personnel, and so on. So far, it has proved that all these activities are very helpful for the whole society to raise human rights awareness.
 
In addition, 8 National human rights education and training bases have been approved and established, which are located in the universities like Nankai University, China University of Political Science and Law, Guangzhou University, Renmin University of China, Fudan University, Wuhan University, Shandong University and Southwest University of Political Science and Law. And more national human rights education and training bases will be set up in the future. One of major duties of these national human rights education and training bases is to enhance human rights education and training work in order to raise human rights awareness nationwide.
 
IV. The Human RightsOrganizations in China Have Engaged in International Exchanges and Cooperation in Human Rights Field and Worked as a Bridge to Connect the People from Different Countries and Regions to Increase Mutual Understanding and Exchange the Lessons in Protecting Human Rights
 
CSHRS has been actively participating in international exchanges and cooperation on human rights domain. It hasco-sponsored a large and regular multilateral international forum on human rights ----“Beijing Human Rights Forum” eight times. The symposiums focused on interesting topics on human rights, involved in very broad participation, and wielded important international influence. Besides, CSHRS has sent delegates to attend human right conferences and other activities held by the United Nations and other international organizations and countries. And, delegations formed by CSHRS have visited the US, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Morocco, Egypt, Cuba, Singapore, Malaysia, etc. Meanwhile, CSHRS has received visitors like the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, delegation of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Arrest, delegation of the European Parliament, and human rights officials and experts and scholars from the US, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Ukraine, Egypt, India, Malaysia, the ROK, etc.
 
In the field of international exchanges and cooperation, other human rights organizations, such as China Foundation for Human Rights Development, China Women's Development Foundation, China Children and Teenagers' Fund, the All-China Women’s Federation, China Disabled Persons' Federation, are also very active and doing quite well.
 
V. TheHuman RightsOrganizations in China Participated in the Work of UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
 
As NGOs and stakeholders, many Chinese social organizations actively participated in the consultation on the preparation of China’s National Report under the first circle universal periodic review in 2009. CSHRS is one of them.3These organizations are the following:  
 
· All-China Federation of Trade Unions
· China Disabled Persons’ Federation
· China Society for Human Rights Studies
· United Nations Association of China
· Law Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
· China NGO Network for International Exchanges
· Red Cross Society of China
· China Family Planning Association
· China Centre of Tibetan Studies
· China Care Association
· China Ethnic Minority Association for International Exchanges
· China Association of Women Entrepreneurs
· China Glory Charity Programme Promotion Association
· China Education Association for International Exchange
 
And, about 20 NGOs4 in mainland China, as stakeholders, submitted their “shadow reports” to the first circle UPR in 2009. CSHRS is also one of them. Their name list is as following: 
 
· ACFTU        All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Beijing (China)
· ACWF         All-China Women’s Federation, Beijing (China)
· AICC-ACFIC   Agricultural Industry Chamber of Commerce of the All-China Federation of Industry and    Commerce (ACFIC)  (China)
· BAI           Beijing Aizhixing Institute, China
· BCLARC      Beijing Children’s Legal Aid and Research Center, China
· BLAOMW     Beijing Legal Aid Office for Migrant Workers, China
· CABC         China-Africa Business Council, Beijing (China)
· CAPDTC      China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture
· CCCS         China Care and Compassion Society, Beijing (China)
· CDPF         China Disabled Persons’ Federation, China
· CEAIE        China Education Association for International Exchange, China
· CESC         China Economic and Social Council, Beijing (China)
· CFPA         China Family Planning Association, Beijing (China)
· CSHRS        China Society for Human Rights Studies, China
· CSJRNU       Center for the Study of Human Rights at Nankai University, Tianjin (China)
· CSPGP        China Society for Promotion of the Guangcai Program, China 
· CTRC         China Tibetology Research Centre, China
· IL-CASS       Institute of Law-Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing (China)
· UNA-China     United Nations Association of China, Beijing, China
 
In 2013, China received the second circle UPR. And, the Chinese human rights organizations that involved in the process are much more than in 2009. CSHRS and some other human rights organizations not only participated in the consultation on the preparation of China’s National Report for UPR, but also submitted their own “shadow reports”.
The name lists of the Chinese organizations which joined in the consultation on the preparation of China’s National Report are following5:
 
· Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
· All-China Federation of Trade Unions 
· All-China Women’s Federation
· China Disabled Persons’ Federation
· China NGO Network for International Exchanges 
· Chinese Association for International Understanding 
· Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament 
· China Foundation for Peace and Development 
· China Society for Human Rights Studies 
· China Foundation for Human Rights Development 
· China Care Association 
· China Association of Poverty Alleviation and Development 
· China Law Society 
· United Nations Association of China 
· Red Cross Society of China 
· China Association for the Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture 
· China Tibetology Research Centre 
· China Ethnic Minorities Association for International Exchanges 
· China Glory Society
· China Education Association for International Exchange
· All-China Lawyers Association
· Internet Society of China
 
And the following mainland China organizations6 submitted their “shadow reports” to the second UPR:
 
· ACFTU All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Beijing, China
· ACLA  All China Lawyers Association, Beijing, China
· ACWF  All China Women’s Federation, Beijing, China
· BAI BeijingAizhixing Institute, Beijing, China
· BCLARCBeijing Children's Legal Aid and Research Centre, Beijing, China
· BZMW BeijingZhicheng Migrant Workers’ Legal Aid and Research Center, Beijing, China
· CAPDTC China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture, Beijing, China
· CASS-HRRC China Academy of Social Sciences-Human Rights Research Centre, Beijing, China
· CCCS China Care and Compassion Society, Beijing, China
· CEAIE China Education Association for International Exchange, Beijing, China 
· CEMAFEE China Ethnic Minorities' Association for External Exchanges, Beijing, China 
· CFGS China Foundation for GuangcaiProgramme, Beijing, China 
· CFHRD China Foundation for Human Rights Development , Beijing, China 
· CLS China Law Society, Beijing, China 
· CNIE China Network of International Exchanges , Beijing, China 
· CPAPD Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament, Beijing, China
· CRRC China Religious Research Centre, Beijing, China 
· CSHRS China Society for Human Rights Studies, Beijing, China 
· CSPGP China Society for the Promotion of the GuangcaiProgramme, Beijing, China 
· CUAWG Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, Beijing, China 
· CWRS Chinese Women's Research Society, Beijing, China
· ISC Internet Society of China, Beijing, China 
· RC Rights Campaign, Jiangsu province, China 
 
VI. TheHuman RightsOrganizations in China Provide Helpful Supplement to the State Finance by Raising Fund and Implementing Projects to Promote Human Rights
 
The human rights organizations in China have their own advantages in different fields. Some are good at academic work such as CSHRS, and some are good at raising funds such as foundations for a variety of purposes. These foundations are very helpful supplement to the state finance in promoting human rights. For example, CSHRS has sponsored some research projects and international symposiums, China Foundation for Human Rights Development co-sponsored the “Beijing Human Rights Forum” with CSHRS; China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF) launched the Water Cellar for Mothers Project andthe Health Express for Mothers Project and “Postal Parcel for Mothers' Project”. The China Children and Teenagers' Foundation (CCTF) provided aid to 12 million children from poor families, and so on. 
 
In conclusion, taking CSHRS as an example, we can see the human rights organizations in China play a kind of constructive role to actively engage in the various activities of human rights protection. They have involved in very broad fields. Even though their focuses and priorities are different, all of them are trying hard to contribute to improve human rights situation in China. 
 
* LUO Yanhua (罗艳华),Professor and Ph.D Tutor at the School of International Studies, Peking University.
1. Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010), April 2009, Beijing, at 3-5.
2. The Assessment Report on the National HumanRights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) published in July 2011, and the Assessment Report on the National HumanRights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) published in June 2016.
3. NATIONAL REPORT SUBMITTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15 (A) OF THE ANNEX TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION 5/1, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Fourth session Geneva, 2-13 February 2009, A/HRC/WG.6/4/CHN/1 10 November 2008, Annex 2, at 30, http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session4/CN/A_HRC_WG6_4_CHN_1_E.pdf(last visited on June 15,2016).
4. SUMMARY PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 15 (C) OF THE ANNEX TO HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION 5/1, A/HRC/WG.6/4/CHN/3, 5 January 2009, at 11-12, at http://lib.ohchr.org/HRBodies/UPR/Documents/Session4/CN/A_HRC_WG6_4_CHN_3_E.pdf (last visited June 15, 2016).
5. National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21, Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Seventeenth session Geneva, 21 October–1 November 2013, A/HRC/WG.6/17/CHN/1, Annex 2, at 28, at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/169/58/PDF/G1316958.pdf?OpenElement (last visited June 15, 2016).
6. Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to Council resolution 16/21,  A/HRC/WG.6/17/CHN/3, at 12-13, at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G13/159/93/PDF/G1315993.pdf?OpenElement (last visited June 15, 2016).