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Full text: The Right to Development: China's Philosophy, Practice and Contribution
December 02,2016   By:Xinhua
 
Preamble
 
Development is a universal human theme, providing for people's basic needs and giving them hope of better life. The right to development is an inalienable human right, symbolizing dignity and honor. Only through development can we address global challenges; only through development can we protect basic civil rights of the people; only through development can we promote the progress of human society.
 
China, with a population of over 1.3 billion, is the largest developing country in the world. Development is the top priority of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in governance and national revitalization, and the key to resolving all other problems. Based on its prevailing conditions, China adheres to the Chinese socialist path and to the philosophy that development is of paramount importance. China integrates the principle of universal application of human rights with the country's reality. While striving to enhance the people's wellbeing through development and materialize their right to development, China endeavors to achieve higher-level development by protecting their right to development. In this regard, China has made notable progress and blazed a path in protecting human rights during the development of human civilization.
 
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as its core has highlighted the idea of people-centered development. In the course of realizing the Two Centenary Goals [Note: The two goals are to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the centenary of the CPC (founded in 1921) and to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the centenary of the People's Republic of China (founded in 1949).] and the Chinese Dream of revitalizing the Chinese nation, it has focused on safeguarding and improving people's wellbeing, advancing all social programs, and protecting people's rights to equal participation and development. The aim is to share development benefits and achieve common prosperity among all people of the country.
 
On the 30th anniversary of the publication of the "Declaration on the Right to Development by the United Nations," China, dedicated to advocating, practicing and promoting the right to development, is willing to join the international community to share its philosophy and experience in this regard and to boost sound development of global human rights.
 
I.The Philosophy of the Right to Development Abreast with the Times
 
Equal access to development opportunities and development benefits are the ideals of human society wherein each and every citizen can achieve well-rounded development and enjoy full right to development.
 
The Chinese people are diligent, wise, innovative and progressive. In traditional Chinese culture, concepts such as "moderate prosperity" (xiao-kang), "great harmony" (datong), "having ample food and clothing" (fengyi zushi) and "living and working in peace and contentment" (anju leye) fully reflect the Chinese people's aspiration for and pursuit of a better, happier life. In the long course of history, the Chinese people have always striven for better and shared development opportunities, conditions and benefits. In ancient times, China was for long the world leader in agriculture, and contributed to human progress with extraordinary development achievements. Studies reveal that until the mid-19th century, China's GDP and per capita GDP were the world's highest. Before the 16th century, China contributed 173 of the world's top 300 innovations and discoveries.
 
After the Industrial Revolution started in the 18th century, China began losing its leadership. Foreign aggression and expansion by Western colonialists completely destroyed conditions for development in China. Repeated invasions by foreign powers, particularly from the West, from 1840 to 1949, and China's corrupt ruling class and backward social system reduced China to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. There was constant warfare, an unstable society, economic depression, no security of livelihood, and extreme poverty. The Cambridge History of China: Republican China 1912-1949 describes China's situation in the first half of 20th century as follows: "...the great majority of Chinese merely sustained and reproduced themselves at the subsistence level ... the standard of life for many fell short even of that customary level." [Note: The Cambridge History of China (Volume 12): Republican China 1912-1949 Part I, Cambridge University Press, 1983, p. 28.] "As a system, China's economy which was 'pre-modern' even in the mid-twentieth century ceased to be viable only after 1949..." [Note: Ibid. p. 29.] In these 110 years, the Chinese people struggled arduously for their right to development and equal access to development opportunity. The Chinese people are fully aware of the value of development and of their right to development.