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Enhancing Cultural Consensus and Promoting Harmonious Integration:
May 04,2017   By:CSHRS

Enhancing Cultural Consensus and Promoting Harmonious Integration:
A Summary of the Views of “2016·China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights"


 LI Chaoqun*

Abstract: 2016·China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights successfully took place on September 27 to 28, 2016 in Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The seminar was sponsored by China Society for Human Rights Studies, hosted by the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, and centered around the theme of "the Protection of Ethnic Minorities’ Rights". More than 60 experts and scholars from six countries of Europe as well as China conducted in-depth discussions on the protection of economic, social and cultural rights, focusing on the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities. The participants agreed that enhancing cross-cultural consensus and promoting harmonious integration are essential for the cause of human rights protection for ethnic minorities and even for the overall progress of the human rights cause of all humankind.

Key words: China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights  Ethnic Minorities’ Rights  Cultural Consensus  Harmonious Integration

2016·China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights successfully took place on September 27 to 28, 2016 in Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The seminar was sponsored by China Society for Human Rights Studies, hosted by the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, and centered around the theme of "the Protection of Ethnic Minorities’ Rights". More than 60 delegates of over 40 universities, research institutions, Human Rights offices and academic journals from six countries of Europe as well as China participated in the seminar. More than 10 news media such as People's Daily and  Guangming Daily reported on this seminar. At the same time, it is the first time that China-Europe  Seminar on Human Rights has been held in China.

Cui Yuying, Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Director of the State Council Information Office, attended the seminar and delivered speeches. Cui Yuying pointed out in the Opening Speech that since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping as General Secretary had put forward and implemented a series of new ideas, new thoughts and new strategies for governing the country, and the development of China's Human Rights had been on a new level. She introduced the successful experience of China's Human Rights development and the achievements of the protection of ethnic minorities’ rights in China. China has established the principle at various levels such as the Constitution, the law and the system that all ethnic groups are equal and jointly manage state affairs. A series of policies and measures have been adopted to guarantee ethnic minorities' equality in politics, economy, culture, language, customs and religions. She hoped that scholars from China and Europe would continue to make in-depth exchanges and enhance mutual trust and strengthen pragmatic cooperation on the platform of the China-European Seminar on Human Rights .

During the keynote speeches and group discussions of the seminar, the experts and scholars put forward a lot of enlightening ideas, carried out full exchanges and interactions and reached valuable consensus around the theme of "the Protection of Ethnic Minorities’ Rights".

I. Cultural Diversity and Harmonious Coexistence

Although the delegates conducted the discussions on several aspects involved in the Protection of Ethnic Minorities’ Rights from different perspectives and fields, with different research methods, their discussions all pointed to a deep problem of relationship, that is, how to deal with the relationship between ethnic minorities and the majority (mainstream society). In this regard, the delegates emphasized the basic factual judgment of "cultural diversity" and agreed that reaching the cross-cultural consensus and achieving the harmonious integration is of vital importance to human rights protection for ethnic minorities and to the promotion of human rights for all mankind. This subject is also further concerned with an important consensus on how to understand human rights. That is, we should abandon the view which gives the definition of human rights based solely on a certain kind of particular culture and we should fully exploit and equally recognize the spirit of humanistic care in all civilizations.
Andreas Van der Braak, Professor of VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands, emphasized to investigate the protection of ethnic minorities’ rights from a cross-cultural perspective. In his view, cross-cultural model can effectively solve the conflict between China and the West in the understanding of human rights protection achievements and of the human rights definition, and can help to reach consensus. This cross-cultural model arises from a humble premise that every culture is only one of the cultures and different cultures have different strengths and achievements, as well as preferences and blind spots. This model does not attempt to transcend cultural differences, nor does it eliminate these differences by distinguishing the pros and cons of the cultures. Instead, it requires that a culture treats other cultures seriously and in the way it treats itself, and attempts to engage in an open dialogue that pursues meanings and truths. Professor Braque spoke highly of the ideas of human rights in China, “although the 'human rights' label may be derived from the West, as an expression of mercy, it has been a part of Chinese Confucian thoughts for thousands of years. For example, social systems of family, community, and values as reciprocity, harmony and self-help, have supported and protected the human rights of many Chinese people since ancient times.”

Hans-Christian Günther, Professor of Albert-Ludwigs-Universit?t Freiburg, Germany, stressed in his paper that “only harmonious coexistence is the most unshakeable principle of coping with the cultural diversity society. The principle requires a clear distinction between fusion and assimilation. Assimilation is impracticable and it is far from human rights. It will only lead to dissatisfaction and violence and hinder the realization of fusion.”

we should not only pay attention to the diversity of society and cultural in the conceptual level, but also in the practical level of the ethnic minorities’ rights protection. As Elizabeth Mary Craig, Professor of Queen's University Belfast, British, stressed, the European Council has realized that there is no "one-size-fits-all solution" to the problems of the ethnic minorities’ rights protection, and all states should take responsibility for the methods of the protection of the ethnic minorities and their rights on their territories. In this regard, Zhang Wei, Professor China University of Political Science and Law, also pointed out that the ultimate realization of the ethnic minorities’ rights depended on all sovereign states to earnestly fulfill the obligations of international law and to protect the ethnic minorities’ rights in the form of domestic legislation, in order to form the right protection pattern in which the international law and domestic law complement and supplement each other. For the sake of further improving the system of ethnic minorities’ rights protection, the relevant stakeholders should fully communicate and negotiate with each other to find the method that all parties agree on, to reach the consensus and establish a just and reasonable international order.

II. Key Issues and Realistic Solicitude

From the key issues to be discussed, the delegates showed strong realistic solicitude. Around the theme of national fusion and cultural identity, many delegates carried out profound thinking based on the current major issues in their own society.

A. Issues of refugees and muslims

The refugee issue is a major issue of the European community. It is closely related to the issue of fusion of Muslims, who are ethnic minorities, with the mainstream European societies, which is the most important issue for European scholars present.

In a group discussion, Hans-Christian Günther, Professor of Albert-Ludwigs-Universit?t Freiburg, Germany, analyzed the new challenges to the ethnic minorities’ rights protection resulting from the large-scale immigrants in Europe. He argued that the issue of the minorities’ rights now presented in Europe was different from that in the traditional sense. It was largely due to the issue of the large-scale immigrants, which had shown an unprecedented urgency. Four main factors that relate to each other impede the harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups. First, the government intends to disregard the actual situation of immigration and focuses on covering up the problems to the public rather than respond positively. Second, the government has not created any viable legal countermeasures. Third, the revision of Asylum Law on refugee issues set a boundary between (very few) good immigrants and (quite many) bad immigrants. Fourth, the immigrant cultures conflict with the mainstream values of the European society. He also pointed out that if the social boundaries and ethnicities are mixed, if we could not make substantive changes to the current economic policies, it will hinder the peaceful ethnic fusion.

Daniel DeHanas, Professor of the King's College London, UK, chose a more microscopic perspective to investigate the strategies of the Muslim youth identity in East London based on an empirical method. His research showed that “Muslim priority” was the predominant tendency of the Muslim youth identity in East London, and this tendency was formed because Muslim youths in East London had adopted a strategy of identity that can be called “elastic orthodoxy”. Muslim youths in East London, on the one hand, accepted the local consensus which is the “orthodoxy” on “what is the Muslim”, and on the other hand they combined this concept with the new context and situation so that the idea of “Muslim priority” can produce lasting energy. Professor DeHanas believed that this identity strategy is a practical solution to problems of integration, community cohesion and inter-generational relations. However, at the expense of the loss of national traditional cultural heritage, it may not worth the candle.

On the issue of German Muslim youths, Synn ve Bendixsen, Professor of University of Bergen, Norway, found that Muslims in Europe were increasingly considered as “outsiders” instead of Europeans or Germans. This transformation from being considered as “immigration” or “turkish” to “Muslim” has resulted in a global, wide-ranging crisis that has impacted people's life levels, politics, cultures, economies and psychologies. She pointed out that we should pay attention to the diversity of ethnic minorities (Muslims) themselves, and religion should not become a specific label of a nation.

Mi Jung Van der Velde, Professor of the Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, and Tom Zwart, Professor of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, took a more pragmatic attitude introducing their important attempt to promote the progressive fusion of the Muslim identity and the European society to the delegates. They adjusted the European social moral contracts and found the consistency of values through anthropological projects, reduced the group bias through social psychology subproject, and promoted the social and political participation of Muslim youths through educational subprojects. In fact, many of the important elements of this project, as well as the pragmatic attitude, are very instructive to dealing with the fusion of nations in other countries and regions. 

B. Successful experiences and native resources of ethnic minorities’ rights protection in China

Based on the multi-ethnic situation in China, Chinese scholars focused on the issues of multi-ethnic community solidarity and fully exploited successful experiences and native resources of ethnic minorities’ rights protection in China.

Professor Liu Hainian, a consultant to China Society for Human Rights Studies and honorary member of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, emphasized the relationship between development and protecting ethnic minorities’ rights, firming affinity among the ethnic community. He believed that dealing with ethnic relations, especially protecting ethnic minorities’ right was both an important element of internal stability and international peace and development. At the same time, promoting development steadfastly and focusing on ethnic minorities’ economic, social and cultural rights and development rights had fundamental significance to promote the cause of ethnic minorities’ human rights protection and the Chinese nation community solidarity. He further pointed out that the Chinese government had made significant achievements in developing the economy of ethnic minorities, protecting the social and cultural rights of ethnic minorities and implementing the counterpart support policy.

Zhang Guobin, Secretary-General of the Charhar Institute, investigated issues of ethnic minorities’ rights in China from a historical perspective. He pointed out that in the long course of history, the feudal dynasty of past ages adopted the primary policy of mollification through the establishment of administrative agencies, imperial matrimony, delegating titles of nobility on minority leaders and other ways to implement effective jurisdiction of ethnic minorities which in fact had protected ethnic minorities’ rights. At the same time, ethnic minorities also took practical actions to safeguard China's sovereignty and made significant contribution to defending the territorial integrity of China. He believed that the Chinese government proceeded from reality to introduce and implement policies and measures to ensure the legal rights of ethnic minorities according to its own national conditions. China adheres to the principle of ethnic equality and solidarity, the principle of equal participation of all ethnic groups in the administration of state affairs, the principle of regional national autonomy, and develops ethnic minority education vigorously. Although there are still many deficiencies in protecting the human rights of ethnic minorities, the Party and the government have been facing up to these problems, taken economic, political, cultural, educational, scientific and sanitary measures to solve them and achieved remarkable results.

Wang Minxuan of the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law traced the development of ethnic minorities’ rights protection in China in the past 23 years and showed the progress from the experience dimension, based on 15 Human Rights White Papers published by the State Council Information Office from 1991 to 2014. She pointed out that the White Papers on Human Rights in China all specifically discussed the issue of ethnic minorities’ rights protection. The Chinese government's protection of ethnic minorities’ rights generally covered the politics, economy, society and culture and it actively conducted special or focused protection to ethnic minorities’ rights through the formulation of relevant policies. The Chinese government protected ethnic minorities’ rights mainly through policies, and at the same time promoted the legalization of right protection within the legal framework. The combination of the flexibility of policies and the stability of laws made the rights protection in a comprehensive and timely manner. In her view, China's existing protection of ethnic minorities’ rights is not only in line with China's realities, but also iwith China's fundamental demands of comprehensively promoting the rule of law. At a higher level, it also reflects that the Chinese government pursues the social justice and equality.

Muhammad Usman, Associate Professor of Xinjiang Agricultural University, explored local resources to the construction of harmonious ethnic areas from Uygur traditional social ethics. He pointed out that the main contents of Uygur traditional social ethics include three aspects: the first is the patriotism and the concept of harmonious society; the second is the interpersonal relationship of equality, justice and tolerance; the third is the virtue of unity and friendship, helping and supporting the poor, and neighborhood harmony. It promotes the construction of harmonious ethnic areas in four aspects: First, the traditional ethics is the spiritual guidance on the harmonious development of ethnic areas. Second, the “dual loyalty” morality in traditional ethics is transformed into the combination of loving their country and religion in modern society so that “loyalty” is unified with the socialist core values and the modern citizen consciousness is gradually cultivated and formed. Third, the traditional ethics can be transformed into the basic principles of promoting interpersonal harmony in ethnic areas. We can make full use of the interpersonal relationship of equality, justice and tolerance, unity and friendship, and helping and supporting the poor. Fourth, the concept of harmonious society, the virtue of unity and friendship and interpersonal relationship of tolerance in traditional social ethics, help to eliminate historical prejudices and cultural bias of Xinjiang in national and religious fields

The important changes taking place in Chinese society are also realistic standpoints for scholars to examine ethnic minorities’ rights protection in China.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party and the government have placed the livelihood of ethnic minorities in a more prominent position more consciously. The "Five Concepts of Development" have provided important guidelines for the cause of ethnic minorities’ rights protection in China. Professor Xian Kailin, Director of Human Rights Studies and Education Center of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, deeply interpreted relevant policies since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and summed up three highlights including the new realm, the new contents and the new measures of the protection of ethnic minorities’ economic rights in China based on the practical achievements of the protection of the ethnic minorities’ economic rights since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. He believed that the new realm of economic rights protection of ethnic minorities in China is reflected in the leading of the human rights values in the Chinese dream and the new developments of ethnic minorities’ economic rights that share the fruits of building a well-off society in an all-round way. The three contents of economic rights protection of ethnic minorities are synchronizing the process of building a well-off society in an all-round way, constructing public services of same qualities and coequality of legal supports. The four measures of economic rights protection of ethnic minorities are: (1) implementing the precise poverty alleviation and removal strategy, (2) creating a fair and orderly legal environment for economic development, (3) implementing counterpart support resorting to system innovation, and (4) taking cultivating talents as the fundamental to enhance the “hematopoietic” function of ethnic minorities’ economic rights protection.

One of the highlights of the newly amended “Legislation Law” of 2015, which grants municipalities the local legislation power. Based on the background above and combing with the important deployment of the “13th Five-Year Plan”, Zhu Liyu, Professor of Law School of Renmin University of China, taking Yunnan Province as an basic example, selectively analyzed opportunities and challenges of the urbanization, the implementation of poverty alleviation and the protection of ethnic minorities rights brought by the expansion of local legislation power. He believed that the process of urbanization was closely related to the achievement of poverty alleviation in rural areas and the process of urbanization is also the process of poverty alleviation.  In China, the process of urbanization, especially the achievement of poverty alleviation in rural areas should focus on ethnic minority areas. Therefore, after the expansion of local legislation power, the relevant regions should legislate to implement poverty alleviation, to solve the problem of overall regional poverty and to protect ethnic minorities’ rights according to the Constitution and the law for the purpose of China’s urbanization. At the same time, the “13th Five-Year Plan” should be the basic direction and reference to the legislation.

Professor Wu Dahua, President of Guizhou Academy of Social Sciences, analyzed how local rule of law in China promote poverty alleviation of ethnic minorities taking multi-ethnic Guizhou Province as an example. He pointed out that we should fully understand the significance of the poverty alleviation and the development in ethnic minority areas, combining with the government's strategic principles of poverty alleviation. At the same time, we should pay attention to the combination of rule of law and poverty alleviation, constantly improve the legal system of poverty alleviation and develop the anti-poverty legal mechanism as soon as possible to speed up the poverty alleviation process in ethnic minority areas. He put forward the following suggestions on local rule of law to promote poverty alleviation of ethnic minorities according to the experience of rule of law in Guizhou. First, while we affirm the government to be the leader of poverty alleviation and development, we should also recognize that other subjects must participate in the process. Second, we should make the poverty standards, recognition programs and publication procedures clear and improve the dynamic tracking system of those living under the poverty line. Third, it is suggested to introduce the third party to major projects. Fourth, we should clarify concrete procedures and methods for the poverty to join in poverty alleviation projects. Fifth, we should regulate the institutional cohesion of poverty alleviation and development and subsistence allowances, employment, entrepreneurship, education, health care, civil relief, etc. Sixth, we should include the protection of minority residents’ lawful rights and interests in the principle of poverty alleviation and development. It is suggested to impose heavier punishment on violations so that the local rule of law can escort for ethnic minority poverty alleviation. 

C. Views of “bystanders” on key issues

Besides focusing on domestic ethnic minorities’ rights protection and ethnic unity and fusion, some scholars have made a cross-cultural comparative study on ethnic minority rights protection in the capacity of “bystanders”.

Zhang Xuan of School of Politics and International Relations, Central China Normal University, starting from the French “headscarf problem”, analyzed the issue of the fusion of Muslim and European mainstream society that attracted the attention of European scholars on the topic of “Positive Secularism and the Protection of European Minorities’ Rights". In his view, France implemented positive secularism as a foundation of the country in the aspect of minority rights protection, especially that of religious minority groups. The tension between the maintenance of public safety and the protection of minority religious rights triggered by the “headscarf problem” embodied “positive secularism”, which had brought about great impact on traditional European values and patterns of behavior. In the face of the tendency of “positive secularism” in France that gradually spreads to other European countries, it is not only the policies and actions of the European governments, but also the deep values and cultural psychology of the Europeans that should be reshaped.   

Peter J. Prevere, Professor of the China Research Center of VU University Amsterdam Business School, taking Chinese Koreans as examples, rethought the relationship between ethnic identity and human rights and analyzed the ethnic policies of China under the framework of the organization theory of social constructivism. He pointed out that the Government of the People's Republic of China showed extraordinary insights to take ethnic identity as a core part of the construction of new China. Before and after 1980, Chinese citizens, including the Chinese Koreans, gained great freedom in economic activities. With the normalization of relations between China and South Korea, Korean businessmen entered China and the existing Chinese Korean basic facilities also attracted a large number of Koreans. In his view, according to the theory of social constructivism, the pragmatic ethnic policies of the Chinese government has promoted positive and sustained social interactions so that ethnic minorities in China can take advantage of their ethnic identity to create social wealth which becomes a source of national prosperity.

III. Protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Ethnic Minorities

The theme of the seminar deals with all aspects of ethnic minorities’ rights, of which the economic, social, cultural rights and the development rights of ethnic minorities are the key issues of concern to delegates.

A. Cultural Rights of ethnic minorities

All delegates agreed that cultural respects and consensus were of vital importance to the protection of ethnic minorities’ rights and the cultural rights protection of ethnic minorities was the most concerned issue of the seminar. A total of 15 delegates have expressed important views on this issue, including papers (or speeches) on the theme of minority language rights.

At the opening ceremony, the President of the French New Human Rights Association Pierre Belsi stated in his speech that while protecting the fundamental rights of the minority, it is important to respect the rights of cultural and religious diversity and to oppose hegemonism in the field of culture.

Sebastian Scheerer, Professor of Universit?t Hamburg, Germany, explored the cultural rights protection of Gypsies in Germany based on the analysis of legal documents and judicial decisions. He pointed out that the European Council (47 member states) and the European Union (28 member states) protected the cultural rights of ethnic minorities and members through legislation. The German government identified "German Roma" as a minority and the Romanes was officially identified as a German minority language, which was an important milestone. He also believed that the German federal and state governments took negative attitude and infirm position in the protection and support of minority languages. They did not actually teach Romanes or encourage the use of Romanes in public places, nor did they take any measures to protect and promote the survival of the Romanes in Germany. What’s more, for the Roma who do not have German citizenship from other European countries and the Near East because of poverty, discrimination, persecution and civil wars, the government's protection policy emphasized the differences between them and the “German Roma” so that they could not get effective protection.

Professor Elizabeth Craig analyzed the legal protection of cultural rights of ethnic minorities based on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. She argued that the term “ethnic minority” is traditionally linked to the European context closely. Balancing the rights of ethnic minorities, raising the awareness and understanding among the ethnic majority and ethnic minorities and the contradiction between them has long been the focuses of the discussion. The Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities focuses in the first place on the protection and promotion of ethnic minorities’ cultures and identities.

Ma Junlian, Professor of Hubei University for Nationalities believed that the cultural rights protection of ethnic minorities in China has two main features: First, we should have the protection conception to protect the cultural rights of ethnic minorities as it is the basic human rights. Second, the protection measures should focus on the combination of law and policy. She also pointed out that the current legal protection of the cultural rights of ethnic minorities in China still have some problems, mainly in the unicity of the protection value conception, the narrowness of protection contents, the incompleteness of the protection system, the lack of operability of protection measures and the lack of self-consciousness of protection awareness, etc. In this regard, she suggested that the following work should be strengthened. First, improve the legal system of cultural rights protection of ethnic minorities. Second, increase the participation of ethnic minorities in the relevant legislation. Third, expand the range of national obligations to respect, protect and realize the cultural rights of ethnic minorities. Fourth, attach equal importance to protection and development and pay attention to the innovation and development of ethnic cultures. 

Li Erping, Professor of Kunming University of Science and Technology analyzed the theory and practice of cultural education and cultural rights protection of ethnic minorities in Yunnan. He believed that under the government's ethnic policies, governments at all levels inherited and developed the ethnic culture through the form of “the culture setting up the stage, the economy putting in the show” so as to promote national unity and harmony and frontier stability. But he also pointed out that in the Yunnan minority culture, there was no concept of rights or cultural rights, the protection of ethnic cultural rights was not conducted in the rights protection discourse system of rights conflict-demands-protection, but in the discourse of “national unity”, “frontier harmony and stability” and “major cultural province”. It can be concluded that the rights discourse may not work in this process, that is, Yunnan ethnic cultural rights protection is an external discourse system, and it is difficult to embed the external concept of rights into the existing discourse system.

Hu Shi-en, Associate Professor of Ningxia University, reflected the conflict between the legal system of modern intellectual property and the traditional cultural rights of ethnic minorities by analyzing the trademark lawsuits series of the traditional medicine “the eight bottles of soup (汤瓶八诊)” of Hui nationality. He pointed out that one of the most appropriate and effective methods for the legal protection of the ethnic minorities’ intangible cultural heritage is to confirm the rights and distribute the interests through the intellectual property legal system. However, as a treasure of the intangible cultural heritage of the Hui nationality, the trademark of “the eight bottles of soup” has encountered practical difficulties in trademark infringement suits and trademark administrative suits. In his view, in order to solve the paradox of trademark protection of non-material cultural heritage projects, we should broaden the horizon of intellectual property protection, enhance the legal technical means of intellectual property, innovate the legal system of intellectual property to show the respect and the identity of the ethnic minorities’ non-material culture.

The language is the carrier of the culture, and the language of the ethnic minority is closely related to their self-identity and cultural continuation. Ethnic minorities’ language rights are one of the most concerned cultural rights of this seminar.

Chen Bartel, Professor of Nankai University, pointed out that each language represents a unique world view, philosophy, culture and way of thinking for the nation, and it is a valuable cultural heritage of mankind. Language is closely related to education. It is not only the medium of education and teaching but also an important part of education. Standard education plays a decisive role in the maintenance, development and extinction of the language. Language is an important topic of human rights, and linguistic human rights in relation to the native language include both the right to identify with one or more native languages, and the right to use one or more native languages as the medium for education and public service. At the same time, he also specifically investigated Norwegian Sami’s differential education rights of native languages and their protection, and he pointed out that the Norwegian minority Sami language experienced three stages from colonial language assimilation to nationalist national language and to multiculturalism native language revival.

Lu Wenlong, Associate Professor of Dongbei University of Finance and Economics investigated the protection of ethnic minorities’ language rights from the perspective of philosophy. In his view, the language of the ethnic minority is the home, the historical foundation and sign that tells what they are of the ethnic minority. With the continuous development of social productive forces, the protection of ethnic minorities’ most rights has been improved accordingly. However, the modern society was faced with difficulties in the protection of ethnic minorities’ language rights. The unified language was raised to an absolute height and gained certain preponderance, even authorities, which formed the language of fetishism and sped up the exclusion and oblivion of the language of ethnic minorities. He pointed out that we should explore the protection of ethnic minorities’ language rights through the inside and outside paths including the cultivation of cultural self-confidence and the construction of the legal system.

Dr. Li Juan of the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law explored the protection of ethnic minorities’ language rights in the framework of European integration. She pointed out that the protection of ethnic minorities’ language rights in the process of European integration possessed its own features, and the political legislative logic behind it is to realize and advance the European integration. First of all, with the human rights values and features of its own, minorities’ language rights had constructive effects to the legalization of the supranational political order. The minorities’ language rights can be the instrumental premise and the institutional prerequisite of the democratic procedure. Secondly, the protection of minorities’ language rights helped the construction of European citizenship. Finally, the protection of minorities’ language rights contributed to the construction of European identity, which can abandon the influences of pre-political ethical values and personal prejudices and construct a public space for dialogue and discussion to form the European identity based on the values of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and cultural diversity etc.

The cultural rights and language rights of ethnic minorities are actually related to other important rights. Hao Wanyuan of the Human Rights Center of Renmin University of China, analyzed the issue of the right to receive education and language rights of minorities in international instruments and domestic legislation. In her view, education is essential for cultural preservation and identity, but in the context of globalization, people of minorities are easily marginalized in the field of education. The institutional barriers because of the existing education system to the minorities exist worldwide. People who use minority languages have to rely on the official language or the majority language which they are not familiar with to acquire knowledge. In order to better protect minorities’ language rights, we should improve the native language teaching and the bilingual teaching, which will also contribute to social pluralism.

Many scholars also discussed the issue of ethnic minorities’ culture and language rights in judicial activities. Professor Zhang Yonghe, Executive Dean of the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, analyzed the issue of judicial trials in ethnic minority areas from the perspective of cultural rights and explored their right to a fair trial. He believed that there were many differences in case disputes between the ethnic minority and the Han nationality and there were also many differences among the ethnic minorities which were caused mainly by cultural differences and customs differences. Ethnic minorities are more receptive to the traditional resolutions combining with the ethnic customs and characters of the court. Therefore, it is necessary to an implement the mechanism of connecting litigation with mediation and the People Jury System which organically combine adjudicatory forces with social forces in dispute settlements. However, the implementation of these two systems above still faces obstacles.

Tsering Wangchuk (才让旺秀), Lecturer of Southwest University for Nationalities paid attention to the right of taking proceedings in native language of the floating minority population in minority cities. In his view, in order to realize the right of taking proceedings in native language of the minority floating population, we are faced with the following four new challenges. First, the the minority floating population continues to increase, and the number of cases entering proceedings increases and shows an upward tendency. Second, the demand of minority cases translation for litigant participants of the minority floating population who use the native language in cases handled by judicial organs increases. Third, differences of the dialects of the floating population in minority cities are profound, and the unified standard of legal translation terms for ethnic minorities is needed. Fourth, the language barriers of the minority floating population in minority cities affects the realization of judicial justice. Moreover, bilingual legal talents of both the national general language and the minority language are relatively scarce, the professionalization of the minority legal translation is not enough, and the formulation of the unified standard of legal translation terms is difficult. All problems above have to be settled urgently. Therefore, he put forward the following suggestions. First of all, we should improve the legal mechanism of the protection of the right to take proceedings in native language of the minority floating population in minority cities. Second, we should strengthen the cultivation of professional legal translators and legal bilingual talents. Third, we should improve the relevant laws and regulations to regulate the use of minority languages in the field of judicial prosecution, give full play to the function of professional translation departments or research institutions and rely on the feedback of large numbers of judicial practical activities, so as to unify legal terms or vocabulary standards of ethnic minorities.

Dr. Zhu Linfang of the Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, believed that under the guidance of judicial cadres of ethnic minorities, ethnic minorities formed the judicial recognition and then come to national identity. In the national  pattern of pluralistic unity, national identity is often manifested as double identity. The identity of his original nation is often prior to and higher than the identity of the common nation for an individual. Minority judicial cadres play the role of guides to narrow the distance between these two identities due to their special status. The identity between minority judicial cadres and minority litigants reduces the distances and obstacles of their acceptance of national judicial power and its products, and then they accept the dominance realities and results in judicial field of the state who is the public power provider.

Gong Tailei, Associate Professor of the National Police University for Criminal Justice discussed the protection of cultural rights of minority prisoners. In his view, criminal policies governing minority crimes in China has correspondingly made some flexible provisions when it comes to the specific mechanism of the rights protection of minority prisoners. In general, we give minority prisoners proper care by respecting their cultures, customs and habits. However, the current cultural rights protection of minority prisoners is mainly reflected in the promotion of their livelihoods and the means and necessary conditions to improve their livelihoods, including aspects of language use, diet culture and custom and various cultural and recreational activities, etc. The minority cultural rights protection in the aspect of religious habits of is relatively prudent. There is a shortage of consideration and development from the perspective of cultural identity and cultural integration.The way of protecting cultural rights of minority prisoners is mainly operated and promoted in a politicized and administrative mode. The value orientation of the mode is to regulate the security order and manage risks of special groups. The institutional rationality of the mode is still the idea of rights protection in the stability maintenance, which tends to ease and resolve the conflicts passively. It is also necessary to pay more wisdom and efforts to proactively promote the right of equality of ethnic minorities and realize social freedom from jurisprudence.

B.The Right to Work

As a fundamental right, the economic right of ethnic minorities attracts scholars’ attention. Li Lei, Professor of Sichuan University, conducted an empirical analysis of the current situation of Tibetan business and entrepreneurship. He pointed out that the respondents' decision-making was more based on rational rather than faith in terms of the risk and return cognition; language barriers and market competitions were leading obstacles mentioned by Tibetan businessmen in terms of entrepreneurial environment; the lack of funds for the business and entrepreneurship was a common phenomenon and the sources of funds were dominated by private lending in terms of business and entrepreneurship capitals; Tibetan businessmen’s self-evaluation of business and entrepreneurship performances was not high in terms of entrepreneurial efficacy; the slow capital turnover speed, unstable demands, great climate influences and other objective elements were important factor affecting the operation in terms of operating condition cognition; most of the self-employed workers were willing to take bringing their business back home into consideration in terms of the intention of starting an undertaking home. In this regard, he made the following recommendations: (1) Promote humanistic spirits and strengthen the social construction in order to solve worries of Tibetan business and entrepreneurship; (2) Adhere to the language training, continue improving the bilingual education and enhance national associations;(3) Unswervingly promote the new urbanization in Tibetan areas to advance the accumulation of factors of production; (4) Strengthen the financial support, compile and publish the operation guides which tell how financial sectors support Tibetan, legalize and timely update the guides; (5) Focus on encouraging people with certain life experiences, economic foundations and social networks to start an undertaking; (6) Encourage the Tibetan business and entrepreneurship by taking measures of optimizing the environment, imparting the rules, disseminating the examples, etc.

C. Environmental rights of ethnic minorities

Some scholars concerned about environmental rights of ethnic minorities. Professor Gulazat Tursun (古丽阿扎提?吐尔逊) of Xinjiang University gave constructive advises on China's further effective protection of the environmental rights of ethnic minorities from three levels including taking full play of ethnic minorities’ traditional ecological environment concepts,  improving the functions of environmental departments and increasing the intensity of law enforcement based on her analyses and conclusions on the current situation of the legal protection of ethnic minorities’ environmental rights in China. Zhang Zhen, Professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law profoundly discussed the special values of environmental rights of ethnic minorities. He pointed out that, compared to other groups, the environment has different meanings to ethnic minorities. Most of ethnic minority cultures include being close to nature and reverancing nature. They are strongly dependent on the environment, and the cultures of being close to nature, reverancing nature and relying on nature have been deeply integrated into their bloods and become a part of their lives.

D. The right to health

Zhou Yan, Professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law investigated the equalization of basic public health services in ethnic minority areas of China based on the empirical investigation data of Liangshan, Ganzi and Aba Prefectures of Sichuan Province. She pointed out that there were two major problems of basic public health services in Aba, Liangshan and Ganzi Prefectures. First, the distribution of public health service resources among urban and rural areas and different regions was irrational. Second, urban-rural gaps and interregional gaps of public health service level were large. The main reasons of the problems are as followed. The low economic development level affected the financial revenue and expenditure of ethnic minority areas, and it resulted in the low ability of health finance to supply basic public health services in ethnic minority areas which was far behind of that in other regions. Geographical and cultural environment made the cost of basic public health services in ethnic areas higher. The demands for basic public health services are different in different regions, so it is inimical to the realization of equalization of basic public health services between ethnic minority areas and other regions by supporting minority health services with the same funding and subsidy standards; The public finance system, the transfer payment system and the degree of government attention and other factors are obstacles in the equalization process of basic public health services. Therefore, the central government and governments in ethnic minority areas should proceed from the development and implementation of basic public health service projects, the establishment and perfection of the public finance system, the moderate preferences of public health policies, the innovation of basic public health services supply mode, the improvement of the performance appraisal mechanism, and improve and implement relevant policies according to local conditions of ethnic minority areas in order to realize the equalization of basic public health services in ethnic minority areas of China.

IV. Research Methods Enhance Each Other

In this seminar, a considerable number of scholars adopted the problem-oriented and  empirical analysis method and relied on the abundant and objective first-hand data to investigate the practical problems of ethnic minorities' rights protection in the mode of "status analysis - countermeasures and suggestions". For example, Professor Daniel de Harrah's analysis of the "elastic orthodoxy" was based on a systematic and in-depth semi-structured interview with the second generation of Muslims of East London through a large number of field researches. His paper not only showed his insights of the Muslim identity strategies, but also provided a useful example of methodology for the study of human rights-related issues. Professor Hu Shi-en adopted the "case study method" which combined ethnology with jurisprudence and gave useful advises to solve the confirmation of the trademark right of “the eight bottles of sou(汤瓶八诊)”. Li Erping, Zhang Yonghe, Li Lei, Zhou Yan and other delegates adopted the sociological methods, showing a wealth of empirical research data and scientific analysis methods.

At the same time, some scholars have promoted the basic theory of ethnic minorities' rights protection in the way of theoretical speculation. For example, Professor Zhou Shaoqing of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences summed up five values of ethnic minorities' rights protection, that is, the value of the ethnic majority and national interests, the value of justice, the value of multiculture preservation, the value of respecting for human rights, the value of Marxist political and ethnic equality of all nations. Zhang Wei, Professor of the Institute of Human Rights of China University of Political Science and Law, elaborated on the historical development of minority human rights, the contents and methods of international protection in the perspective of international human rights law, and explained that the protection of human rights of ethnic minorities depended on the common compliance with international law of all countries, groups and individuals. Zou Dongsheng, Professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, analyzed the dilemma and reform orientation of China 's developmental family policy based on the theoretical logic of the right to subsistence and development. Zhao Shukun, Professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law took academic thoughts on the justifiability and value base of minority areas to obtain the rights to be treated differently from the theory of equality. Liang Hong-xia, Associate Professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, explored the constitutional boundaries of ethnic preferential treatments in non-national autonomous areas, as well as the nature and goal of regional national autonomy from the perspective of constitutional jurisprudence.

V. Conclusion

In this seminar, Chinese and European human rights experts and scholars exchanged views on issues of ethnic minorities' rights protection of common concern, which embodied the common responsibility of the two sides for respecting and protecting human rights and marked an important step forward of the deep-level exchanges and cooperation between China and the Europe in the field of human rights. The China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights has become a public, open and interactive platform that will play an active role in promoting exchanges and cooperation between China and Europe in the field of human rights.

* LI Chaoqun (李超群), teacher of the Human Rights Research Institute, Southwest University of Political Science and Law.