Home > PUBLICATIONS & RESOURCES > JOURNAL >

A Summary of Views from the Symposium on “Comprehensively Advancing Rule of Law and China’s Human Rights New Development”
October 31,2017   By:CSHRS
A Summary of Views from the Symposium on "Comprehensively Advancing Rule of Law and China's Human Rights New Development"
 
SHANG Haiming*

Abstract: The symposium on "Comprehensively Advancing Rule of Law and China's Human Rights New Development" was successfully held on April 11, 2017 at Southwest University of Political Science and Law. The symposium was organized by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and hosted by the Institute of Human Rights at Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Representatives from the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, theMinistry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and other relevant departments, and experts and scholars from human rights research institutes and colleges and universities conducted in-depth discussions and exchanged views on topics such as the "general theory of rule of law and human rights", "scientific legislation and the progress of China's human rights cause", "administration by law and the progress of China's human rights cause",“judicial justice and the progress of China's human rights cause", "concept of rule of law and the progress of China's human rights cause" among other issues.

Keywords: comprehensive promotion of rule of law human rights cause rule of law and human rights

Establishing the rule of law is a fundamental goal of the ruling party. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has established the "promotion of law-based governance of the country in an all-round way" as a key task, with the aim of advancing political construction and political reform, continuously improving the Party's governance according to the law, and comprehensively promoting the progress of making laws in a scientific way, enforcing them strictly, administering justice impartially, and ensuring that everyone abides by the law. In the process of promoting law-based governance of the country in an all-round way, the Party and the state shall adhere to the people-cantered development thinking, combine the promotion of the law-based governance of the country in an all-around way and respect and protect human rights, so that the legal guarantees for China's human rights development are continuously strengthened and a socialist system of legal protection of human rights with Chinese characteristics is formed.

On April 11, 2017, a symposium organized by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and hosted by the Institute of Human Rights at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law was held in Chongqing. The theme of the symposium was "Comprehensive Promotion of Rule of Law and New Progress in China's Human Rights Cause". Representatives from the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and other relevant departments, and experts and scholars from human rights research institutes and colleges and universities conducted in-depth discussions and exchanges on topics such as the "general theory of rule of law and human rights",“scientific legislation and the progress of China's human rights cause",“administration by law and the progress of China's human rights cause",“judicial justice and the progress of China's human rights cause", “the concept of the rule of law and the progress made in China's human rights cause" as well as other issues.

Ⅰ. General Theory of Rule of Law and Human Rights

The establishment of the rule of law and the protection of human rights have become important symbols of human progress in modern society. Human rights are the basic social values and thus protecting them is the fundamental goal of the rule of law. In this regard, the rule of law is not only an important means of respecting human rights, it is also the fundamental guarantee for the protection of human rights. The experts at the symposium engaged in heated discussions on the theoretical connotations of the rule of law and human rights, the relationship between respecting and protecting human rights and the rule of law, the relationship between the rule of law with Chinese characteristics and human rights protection, and the relationship between the modernization of state governance and the progress of human rights, among other issues.

Professor Fu Zitang, president of Southwest University of Political Science and Law and vice president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, pointed out in his keynote speech that the meaning and demands of the rule of law in the Chinese context have transcended formal standards and are directed at a higher substantive standard. That is, the ideal of "good law and good governance" that is deeply rooted in Chinese society and reflects the values of Chinese society. Human rights are the fundamental yardstick for this ideal and the rule of law in China must be established on the basis of the full protection of human rights. Promotion of the rule of law shall therefore necessarily take the comprehensive protection and promotion of human rights as the key content, and create and realize an institutional environment for the protection of human rights through scientific legislation. This requires law-based governance that protects human rights through strict law enforcement, builds a strong defense for human rights through judicial justice, establishes a firm foundation for the rule of law and human rights by promoting the awareness that everyone should abide by the law, and strengthen the Communist Party of China's leadership and support of human rights protection through the strict disciplining of Party members. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China's reform practice has achieved remarkable results, but there are still many challenges that need to be overcome to achieve a higher level of rule of law and human rights protection. How to promote human rights protection and the construction of rule of law boosted by reform, how to guide reform through human rights protection, and how to straighten out and regulate reform through the construction of rule of law are major theoretical and practical tasks that need to be completed.

Professor Zhang Wei, co-director of Institute for Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that since the launch of reform and opening-up, the relationship between the rule of law and human rights has gone through three stages in China, namely separation, combination and integration; from the initial emphasis on the“legal system”and the nature of human rights issues, to recognition of the combination of the rule of law and human rights, then to the stage of comprehensive promotion of the relationship between the rule of law and human rights since the 18th CPC National Congress. On the basis of its existing human rights achievements, the development of the rule of law and the protection of human rights in China need to be further promoted in the future with attention paid to the following three aspects: To perfect the relevant legislation on human rights, the ratified international conventions on human rights should be implemented through legislation, and we should consider ratifying more human rights when the time is ripe; as to the mechanism for protecting human rights protection, we should consider establishing a national human rights institution to co-ordinate and plan the development of human rights protection in China; and in the area of human rights education and popularization of human rights ideas, the training of national staff directly related to the human rights protection should be strengthened and the education of socialist human rights and the rule of law should be integrated into all types and all levels of education and training activities. In the process of comprehensively promoting the rule of law in China, we should specify and persist in respecting and protecting human rights as the core values and objectives running through all aspects of the rule of law, and continuously promote the institutionalization and legalization of human rights protection in various fields.

Professor He Zhipeng, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Education at Jilin University, delivered a lecture with the theme of“Self-confidence in Human Rights in China”explaining how to establish cultural self-confidence in the field of human rights. He pointed out that, after a long period of hard work, China's human rights achievements have been recognized by all countries in the world, but in the field of human rights, we still lack self-confidence. If we can establish cultural self-confidence about human rights in China, we can conduct exchanges in the international human rights field with a more proactive attitude, and conduct research and discussions on an equal basis in human rights discussions and design. With regard to the domestic human rights affairs, the establishment of cultural self-confidence would be conducive to the implementation of human rights system as well as the solution of human rights problems. To effectively enhance the cultural self-confidence about human rights in China, the theoretical exploration of China's human rights claims needs deepening, and a set of human rights theories with Chinese characteristics that can be discussed and argued with foreign scholars need to be formulated. China's human rights ideas also need to be more effectively communicated to the public at home and abroad.

The modernization of the state governance system and governance capability is the overall goal of comprehensively deepening reform. Only when the comprehensive promotion of the rule of law and human rights protection are placed within the modernization of the state governance system and improving the Party's governance capabilities can they be fully grasped. Professor Qian Jinyu, vice president of the Institute of Human Rights at Northwest University of Political Science and Law, gave a keynote speech on the theme of the "Modernization of State Governance and Promotion of China's Human Rights Cause". He pointed out that the modernization of China's state governance should be clearly based on the construction of the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and take human rights as the core values and the promotion of the development of China's human rights cause as the core objective. From the perspective of national strategy, the construction of China's modern state governance mode should take the rule of law as its key principle, and the strategic objectives should include strengthening national competitiveness, promoting the development of China's human rights cause, promoting good governance, and strengthening the legitimacy of the ruling party. In this target orientation of the "four in one structure", promoting the development of China's human rights cause and constantly achieving the comprehensive development of human beings are the fundamental goals for the modernization of China's state governance, while strengthening the country's competitiveness is a necessary condition for advancing the development of China's human rights cause, while good governance is an effective guarantee for the development of China's human rights cause and strengthening the legitimacy of the Party's rule is the fundamental guarantee for the development of China's human rights cause. In the process of comprehensively promoting the rule of law and realizing the modernization of China's state governance, China's human rights cause will be effectively promoted and will make a great contribution to world's human rights cause.

In recen years, the maintenance and protection of human rights has become a fundamental moral principle in the international community. But at the practical level, there is considerable controversy over the specific definitions of human rights and specific ways of guaranteeing human rights. Professor Jiang Chuanguang, dean of the College of Philosophy and Political Science at Shanghai Normal University, pointed out that for more than 30 years since the launch of reform and opening-up, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government have adhered to taking economic development as the means to promote the comprehensive development of society and combine the universality of human rights with China's specific national conditions, made unremitting efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights, and explored a model of human rights development in line with China's reality. China's human rights development model reveals that following the principles and concepts of international human rights runs parallel to exploring the diversity of human rights development models. Human rights theory should continue to be innovated to move with the times. Constructirg harmonious world is the new goal that should be pursued in the field of global human rights. China's human rights development model is of great value and significance to enrich the content of human rights and to promote the healthy development of international human rights.

Professor Ma Changshan, editor-in-chief of the Journal of East China University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that human rights protection is not only a global consensus, but also an important goal of the rule of law. Whether thoughts and ideas from ancient times regarding the rule of law, or the rule of law system and mechanism from modern times, there is no uniform concept and thus no unified model or authoritative model as the construction of the rule of law has shown diversity and complexity due to the differences in national conditions and history and culture. Based on the different ways and styles of the development of the rule of law in different countries, the concepts and the ways of human rights protection contain different context. From the Chinese perspective, the protection of human rights in an advanced and balanced manner is both reasonable and feasible. In the process of human rights protection, we should emphasize the gradual realization of rights, balance the relationship Between The Rights and obligations, and prevent the occurrence of "ungovernability” caused by the "explosion of claims" and  "lack of public capacity".

Professor Zheng Ge of Koguan School of Law at Shanghai Jiaotong University pointed out that, compared to the period of wars with the plague and the lack of order in medieval Europe, China's people-centred principles of controlling the behaviour of officials, protecting people's livelihoods, and responding to the people's suffering are long-standing traditions, and Chinese people lived in a more civilized way than people in the West for a long period of history. However, after China embarking on a modernized road, it needs to explore a system that can adapt to the needs of modern social governance. This kind of system is the rule of law and constitutionalism. In the context of governing the country by means of the Constitution, the traditional people-based thought needs to be creatively transformed into the constitutional principle of civil rights and social welfare, along with an implementation mechanism. The rule of law and the establishment of the guarantee system of rights can be pursued only in specific social and economic conditions, and these conditions include the independence of national sovereignty, social stability, people generally being free from worries about food and clothing, the traditional order having been broken and the new class divisions being not too strong to break, and so on. Currently, with these conditions attainable the comprehensive promotion of the rule of law has become the important work of the Communist Party of China in the new historical period. The fair order guaranteed by the rule of law is the greatest social welfare, and only in this order can the rights and freedoms of citizens can be effectively protected.

Associate professor Wang Ruolei of Department of Political Science and Law at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China made a speech on the theme of disciplining the Party according to the relevant regulations and human rights protection. He pointed out that disciplining Party members according to the relevant
regulations means comprehensively and strictly administering the Party, and disciplining Party members according to the relevant regulations is an important institutional starting point for the comprehensive strengthening of Party discipline. In short, disciplining the Party according to the relevant regulations is to manage the Party members and Party organizations according to the Party's rules and discipline. This is in line with the requirements of the rule of law. Behind the disciplining of the Party according to its rules and regulations is the logic of authority, the logic of the Party and logic of the system, which are intended to ensure the Party's centralization and unity, reduce abuses of power, enhance long-term stability, and promote the rule of law. Disciplining Party members according to the relevant regulations has the effect of human rights protection. It purges the Party of corrupt officials and so curbs wrongdoing and abuses of power, promotes the following of Party rules and so enhances the predictability of system, and ensures centralization and unity, which strengthen the stability of the system. At present, there is still a need to further protect human rights by strengthening party discipline according to its rules and regulations. First, by solving the conflict between Party discipline and the nation's laws. Second by enhancing the level of institutionalization to discipline the Party according to regulations. Third, through greater openness, specification and stabilization of the Party's own regulations; fourth, by enhancing the rigidity of the intra-Party system through greater openness and transparency and preventing impersonalization. Finally, to enhance the level of legalization of the discipline inspection work.

Ⅱ. Scientific Legislation and the Progress of China's Human Rights Cause

Law is the prerequisite for the rule of law, good laws are the premise for good governance, human rights are recognized and protected by means of scientific legislation, and the systems and rules for safeguarding, maintaining and realizing various human rights are also created through the way of scientific legislation.

Dr. Huang Xing from the Criminal Law Department of the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, summarized and examined the relevant legislative activities in the fields of criminal law and human rights conducted by the National People's Congress since the 18th CPC National Congress. Starting with criminal legislation, he pointed out that since the 18th CPC National Congress, the socialist human rights cause with Chinese characteristics has taken new steps forward. The progress can be summarized as follows: First, the re-education through labour system has been abolished. Second, the criminal law amendment has reduced the number of death penalty offenses and perfected the provisions for the death sentence with reprieve. Third, the legal system of community correction has been improved. Fourth, national amnesty has been implemented. Fifth, the protection of human rights of vulnerable groups has been strengthened. Sixth, the pilot work on the leniency system for confessions and punishment has been implemented. In Summary, criminal legislative work has stepped into the fast lane, providing a powerful legal guarantee for the development of the human rights in China in recent years.

Professor Feng Yujun, assistant dean of the Law School at Renmin University of China, expounded on the strengthening of the civil rights system from the constitutional point of view. He pointed out that civil rights are the reflection in law of individual autonomy and freedom of members of society, and they are the rights promised and safeguarded by the state to its citizens, including various political, economic and social rights enjoyed in accordance with the country's Constitution and laws. The civil rights system and the legal system with the Constitution as the core should be perfected simultaneously. At present, there are, on the whole, laws to abide by, public power is regulated and restricted strictly by law, and civil rights enjoy more comprehensive and systematic legal protection. However, at present, there are still some problems concerning the perfection of the civil rights system. For example, there are no provisions on some basic rights or the provisions are not comprehensive, and the specialized mechanism and organizations for human rights protection are not perfect. Feng put forward some suggestions on how to perfect the civil rights system with legislative guarantees, judicial guarantees and law enforcement guarantees.

Professor Hu Yuhong, dean of the Law School at Soochow University, discussed the problems of "differentiated" human rights and the "particulars" of basic rights in China’s Constitution. He pointed out that although the rights provided in the Constitution can be called basic rights, the rights in the text of the existing Constitution feature "differentiations" and "particulars". From the perspective of whether they are related to legal provisions and realistic conditions, these basic rights can be divided into three categories: rights without limitation, rights restricted by law and conditional rights. From the perspective of the sources of rights, rights can be divided into rights derived from status and rights meeting interests; from the perspective of attribute of rights, rights can be divided into negative rights and positive rights; and from the perspective of modality of subjects, there are rights of persons and different rights of persons with legal status and legal role. Rights in the text of the Constitution can have many different  "particulars", but there cannot be "differentiation" showing superiority or inferiority. That would not only destroy the integrity and logic of the Constitution, but also fundamentally misconstrue the nature and spirit of human rights. As for the basic rights provided in the text of the Constitution, it shall be recognized that rights are of equal status and that the basic rights are unrestricted.

Professor Li Zhongxia, vice president of the Law School at Shandong University, explained the significance of the human rights clause in the Constitution from the perspective of constitutional interpretation. Human rights are rights enjoyed by people as human beings, and the basic rights are rights developed under the specific state background and specific historic-social background, according to the cultural background of a nation. The gap between the two needs to be filled by constitutional interpretation. The normative significance of the introduction of human rights clauses in China's Constitution is that the basic rights provisions laid down in the Constitution do not cover all the basic rights and are not always fully interpreted. The human rights been politicized, and on the other hand, signifies that when the order of positive basic rights fail, we can resort to the human rights concept beyond positivism. At present, China, through the concrete provisions of the human rights clause in the Constitution, can ensure the coherence and unity of the Constitution, and thus maintain the stability of the Constitution. Not only that, "national respect for and protection of human rights" will bring about the reconstruction of basic rights theory.

Professor Xia Yinlan of the Institute for Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law analysed the protection of children’s rights in the legislation on the parent-child relationship. She pointed out that with the adoption of the General Principles of Civil Law, the codification and drafting of the Volume of Marriage and Family of the Civil Code has already opened the curtain. The children-oriented parent- child relationship legislation recognizes in the parent-child relationship children's independent personality and status as independent subjects in the family, to emphasize parents' obligations and responsibility of custody, care and protection for minors, and to take the best interests of the children as the basic criterion of legislation on parent- child relationship. Parent-child relationship legislation mainly covers four principles: the principle of what is in the best interests of children, the principle of children's autonomy, the principle of prohibition of discrimination against children, and the principle of intervention by public power if necessary. In the formulation of Volume of Marriage and Family of the Civil Code in the future, children-oriented legislative idea should be fully reflected, children's best interests should be taken as the core, the framework, legal terms and concrete contents of the legislation on parent-child relationship in our country should be constructed, the responsibility and obligation of parents should be strengthened, and the interests of the minors should be protected.

Professor Liu Huawen, executive director of the CASS Centre for Human Rights Studies, has conducted a study on the imbalance in the protection of children's rights and interests in the process of building the rule of law in China. Liu pointed out that the cause of children's rights protection in China has made remarkable progress in recent years. On the basis of affirming the achievements made, we should reflect on the problem of giving equal emphasis to rights and obligations in the field of children's rights, as well as the disputes over the legislation on children's legal liability. In the protection of children's rights, it is easy to move toward an extreme that places more emphasis on the rights of children and less emphasis on children's discipline, restraint and responsibilities. We should advocate here the organic combination of rights, obligations and responsibilities, and should not attend to one thing and lose sight of another. With regard to the problem of juvenile delinquency, the academic circle mainly start from the perspective of children's rights protection, and oppose imposing heavier punishments on problem children through "legislation". In fact, punishment is not an effective way to deal with crime, but care should not be the only solution. At the same time strengthening the protection of children's rights, how to design a reasonable legal responsibility and behaviour correction system is a big problem.

Associate Professor Zhang Jianyuan of the Law School at Yunnan University, outlined the problems of family rights in modern China starting from two phenomena of "empowerment" and "mediatio" in legal practice. He pointed out that there exist two different scenarios of "empowermen" and "mediation" related to family problems in China's current legislation and legal practice. Empowerment means that the state gives individual citizens full protection of their rights through the legislative and legal practice. Mediation means that in the field of legal practice, especially in the case of family matters, the judge will take full account of the relationship between the family members and not rashly dissolve the family in the name of protecting individual rights. In recent years, a series of legislative and legal practices have been showing a tendency to take both the individual and family into consideration and seek to protect both at the same time. Such a positive response to the change of the "individual-family relationship" has laid a good foundation for the formation of a new "individual-family relationship" in contemporary China. This also shows that the rule of law practice in contemporary China has undergone a process growth and self-renewal, under the confluence and shock of tradition and modernity, foreign concept and local resources.

Ⅲ. Administration by Law and the Progress of China's Human Rights Cause

The development and progress of the human rights cause should give full play to the role of the state, and effectively prevent violations of the basic human rights of citizens caused by the abuse of public power. Governance according to the law means that the exerciser of power can neither delay the exercise of power nor indulge in any abuse of power.

Sun Maoli, director of the Legislative Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, pointed out that the public security organs are important administrative law enforcement and criminal judicial forces, and they bear important responsibilities in promoting the development of the rule of law and the human rights cause. In recent years, the public security organs have thoroughly implemented the policies of the central authorities aimed at comprehensively promoting the rule of law, and they continue to push forward the in-depth construction of law enforcement and the rule of law in public security, and take solid and effective measures to play a positive role in promoting the development and progress of China's human rights cause. First, by strengthening and enhancing the human rights protection capabilities of the police. Second, by improving the law enforcement system, and providing guidelines for the norms of law enforcement. Third, by strengthening the administration and supervision of law enforcement, and effectively preventing miscarriages of justice. Fourth, by deepening the construction of enforcement informatization, and accelerating the whole-process recording of law enforcement. Fifth, by protecting the rights of lawyers, and giving full play to the role of lawyers in protecting human rights. Last but not the least, by improving the strict management system of supervision conditions, and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of detainees. The public security departments will continue to strengthen the construction of rule of law in public security, promote and continue to deepen the standardization of public security law enforcement, and strive to make greater contributions to China's human rights cause, Sun said.

Professor Zou Dongsheng, vice dean of the School of Politics and Public Administration at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, has analysed the development of the human rights cause in China from the perspective of the government's support. He pointed out that the scope of public funds providing support to is very extensive, and ultimately embodies the consolidation of traditional basic human rights represented by the right to subsistence and the expansion of new human rights under the guidance of the right to development. The Chinese government has greatly promoted the development of the human rights cause in China by means of administrative funds. In particular, the government safeguards the realization of people's right to life through targeted poverty alleviation support, social assistance, social insurance and other institutional initiatives; and innovates and protects people's right to development by funding the construction of public infrastructure, the development of a social welfare system, administrative subsidies and the purchase of public services, counterpart support and other payment mechanisms. There is no best human rights protection, just better protection. To further strengthen and promote the legal framework for China's financial support and to strengthen the innovation of administrative payment policy design and the reform of the operating mechanism and governance pattern of specific government departments related to the administrative payments will be conducive to effective protection of human rights of the Chinese people at a higher level, and institutionalized promotion of the comprehensive development of human beings.

Associate professor Zhou Yan from the School of Politics and Public Administration at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, commented on medical reform in recent years from the perspective of human rights protection. Zhou pointed out that while the implementation of the "new medical reform" in 2009 achieved some success, it did not fundamentally solve the problem of "expensive medical costs", and the doctor-patient relationship remained tense. Before and after the "new medical reform", human rights protection in the interactions between doctors and patients began to rise. On the one hand, the government should carry out the measures of treating both the symptoms and root causes from the perspective of mechanism design. It should strike a blow against the "professional medical disturbers", protect the legitimate rights and interests of medical personnel, and correctly guide patients who resort to violent behaviour based on reasonable demands. On the other hand, the discussion on the right to life and health of patients is becoming more and more intense, and the work efficiency of the current government in health investment, medical insurance, and liability assessment has become significant, but the reverse incentive mechanism of "hospitals' reliance on drug sales", which seriously erodes the legitimate rights and interests of patients, has not been completely broken. Therefore, through institutional innovation, we must get rid of the "profit seeking mechanism" in public hospitals and ensure public hospitals are oriented to meeting people's medical needs. In addition, as a direct cause of medical violence, medical disputes can be completely prevented by improving the administrative mediation system for medical disputes.

Professor Chang An, vice president of the Human Rights Research Institute at Northwest University of Political Science and Law, commented on the human rights significance of democratic reform in the Tibet autonomous region. He pointed out that democratic reform in Tibet began in 1959, and reforming the backward political, economic and social systems of Tibet freed the majority of the Tibetan people free from the shackles of the theocratic rule of the old Tibetan monks. Over the past 50 years since the democratic reform in Tibet, the rapid development of productive forces, the overall progress of social economy and culture, the exercise of the political, economic and cultural rights of the Tibetan people have fully proved the significant role that the social reform movement in Tibet has played for the social development of Tibet, which really gives a full range highlight of human rights of the Tibetan people in the personal liberation, survival and development, political participation and other aspects. Whether it is the right to equality as the paramount right of the basic rights of the Constitution, or the right to vote, right to be elected or other rights to political participation, as well as personal freedom, religious freedom, property rights, the right to education and other economic and cultural rights, and even the safeguard of the rights and interests of women and other special groups, are all unthinkable in the old Tibet serfdom and under the theocratic rule of monks. The significance of democratic reform in Tibet as a magnificent epic of human rights in the history of world civilization is worth remembering.

Ⅳ. Judicial Justice and the Progress of China's Human Rights Cause

The legal maxim says: "There is no right without a remedy". Judicial power is the strong backing to safeguard human rights, and judicial procedure is the basic way for people to safeguard their rights according to law and rationality. Judicial organs are the main bodies to protect human rights, and the human rights protection is the primary duty of judicial organs.

Li Xiao, deputy inspector of the Supreme People's Court, pointed out that the people's courts have always attached great importance to judicial reform. Based on the reform of litigation procedure, trial method and judge system, the respect for and protection of human rights as a main line runs through the reform, and positive results have been achieved in the construction of the judicial guarantee mechanism of human rights. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the following reform measures have been carried out: In the aspect of reforming the litigation system, we have actively promoted the reform of the trial-centred criminal procedure system, perfected the work mechanism for preventing miscarriages of justice, established and improved the long-term working mechanism on standardization of sentencing, reformed the system for imposing lenient punishments on those confessing to their crimes and accepting punishments as well as the summary criminal procedure, improved the rules of the court, and strengthened human rights judicial protection; in the aspect of improving the remedial mechanism, we exert the remedial function of state compensation, strengthen the work of state compensation work, further improve the national judicial aid system, safeguard the victim's right to obtain relief according to the law, earnestly protect lawyers to perform their duties according to the law and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the parties; in the aspect of providing litigation service and judicial publicity, we continue to deepen the reform of the registration system, promote the reform of the system of people's assessors, comprehensively deepen the judicial publicity, and safeguard the litigation rights, the right to know, the right to participate and the right of supervision of the parties. The above reform measures have effectively enhanced the level of human rights protection in the judicial field.

Cao Wenzhi, deputy division director of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, reported on the human rights protection work carried out by the procuratorial organs in recent years. He pointed out that the procuratorial organs attach great importance to the judicial protection of human rights, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, and have taken various measures to promote the continuous development of human rights protection based on the procuratorial function. First, strengthening the legal supervision of the legal activities of criminal proceedings. Carrying out supervision of case filing and supervision of investigation activities according to the law, and earnestly protecting the legitimate rights of citizens. Upholding the principles of less arrests and careful arrests, and effectively protecting the legitimate rights of criminal suspects. Strengthening the supervision of regulatory activities and execution of punishment to protect rights of the detainees. Second, protecting lawyers’ right to practice and their own rights in accordance with the law. The procuratorial organs strictly implement the provisions on lawyers’ rights to practice, formulate normative documents, try to solve the problems concerning difficulty in meeting the defendants, difficulty in consulting case files and difficulty in investigating and the collecting of evidence, and protect lawyers'right to practice in criminal proceedings. Third, consciously accepting supervision, to ensure strict, standardized, fair and civilized law enforcement. Further standardizing the investigation of duty-related crimes, to strengthen their own supervision. Reforming and improving the system of people's supervisors and strengthening the judicial protection of human rights. Vigorously deepening the opening of public procuratorial affairs, to strive to build transparent prosecution.

Professor Zhang Yonghe, executive dean of the Institute of Human Rights at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, delivered speech on how to strengthen the judicial protection of human rights from the perspective of the social attributes of judicial power. The judiciary is the last line of defence to safeguard social fairness and justice, and the protection of human rights in the judicial field is an important aspect of the development of human rights cause. The nature and attribute of judicial power is the theoretical origin of the judicial system reform. The legal profession has basically reached a consensus on the nature of the judicial power, but the social attribute of the judicial power, which is as important as the nature of the judicial power, is neglected by the legal profession. The so-called social attribute of the judicial power refers to the natural local attribute that judicial power takes the society as the starting point in its origin and takes the society as the end result in its purpose. This kind of natural social attribute of judicial power determines that judicial power is bound to be associated with local knowledge. Respect for and consideration of the differences in economy and population, language and culture, geography and transportation and other social factors due to geographical differences is clearly more conducive for everyone feeling justice, and more conducive to the protection of the rights of everyone.

During the construction of the legal state and legal society under the auspices of the rule of law, we should not only pay attention to the role played by the nation's laws, we should also give full play to the positive function of township rules and village regulations, and make full use of the township rules and village regulations in human rights protection. Professor Gao Qicai of Tsinghua University Law School focused on the role of village regulations in human rights protection. He found through research for Jinping County of Guizhou Province that the regulations of the villages in Jinping County are important in regulating the rights of the people, such as personal rights, democratic rights, property rights, educational rights, cultural rights, environmental rights, and special group rights. The implementation of village regulations has played an important role in fully respecting and protecting human rights, safeguarding the rural social order and promoting the harmonious development of rural society. However, human rights protection through village regulations needs to be improved, in the following aspects: The scope of protection of human rights through village regulations is not comprehensive and balanced; some village regulations violate national laws and regulations, and infringe on the villagers' property rights and personal rights; the formulation and revision process of some of the village regulations lack public participation and so on. In contemporary China, the country is governed according to the law, we need to raise awareness and give full attention to the positive functions of the village regulations in protecting human rights and give further play the role of village regulations in protecting human rights.

In recent years, the issue of juvenile delinquency has become a hot issue, and how to strengthen the correction of juvenile offenders is an important issue in the protection of human rights. Professor Wu Xi, vice president of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, pointed out that in China's judicial practice, the principle of "education supplemented by punishment" is adhered to and implemented in the handling of juvenile delinquency, and the correction system concerning juvenile delinquency continues to be developed and improved, which has achieved a better social effect. Community correction conforms to the international development trend and not only improves the quality of education and reform, but also helps realize the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. Therefore, the current extensive and in-depth study of the community correction system concerning juvenile probationers is an important basic work for the correction of juvenile delinquents and the prevention and reduction of juvenile delinquency. Through the study, we can correctly deal with the problems encountered in practice, so as to explore the community correction law on juvenile probationers, seek corrective measures, seize main contradictions and avoid weaknesses, develop the community correction system in line with China's current situation to improve the quality of correction, and play the best function of community correction, which will be of great significance in preventing and reducing repeat crimes.

Ⅴ. Concept of the Rule of Law and the Progress of China's Human Rights Cause

Only with the respect for the rule of law can one act in accordance with the law. The realization of the rule of law must be based on a shared understanding of the rule of law and the spirit of the rule of law. In the process of promoting people's observance of the law, along with the discourse on human rights, awareness of rights, awareness of human rights together with the consciousness of rule of law, and the spirit of the rule of law will also be promoted.

Yin Xuemei, division director of the Department of Legal Publicity of the Ministry of Justice, conducted a keynote speech entitled "Strengthening the Publicity and Education of the Rule of Law, Strengthening the Legal Sense of All the People and Promoting the Development and Progress of Human Rights Cause". She pointed out that the legal sense of all the people is closely related to the progress of the human rights cause, legal awareness is an important social basis of and guarantee for the progress of human rights cause, and the development and progress of the human rights cause can further promote the enhancement of legal awareness. It is an important responsibility of the judicial administrative organs to promote the public awareness of the law. Since 1986, the work of popularizing the law has been carried out for more than 30 years, and six five-year plans have been completed. At present, the Seventh Five-year Plan is being implemented. For a long period, the judicial administrative organs at all levels have carried out the publicity and education of the rule of law in depth, vigorously promoted the governance according to the law, made great efforts to enhance society's awareness of human rights protection in accordance with the law, created a favourable social environment for protecting human rights, and played a positive role in the development and progress of the human rights cause.

Professor Liu Hainian, honorary member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and honorary director of the Centre for Human Rights Studies, pointed out that upon review of the development of the socialist rule of law and the development of human rights since the establishment of new China, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, we can find that the socialist rule of law has reliably strengthened the protection of human rights, and the improvement of the rule of law needs to be guided by this concept. In recent years, we have made great achievements in comprehensively promoting the rule of law and human rights protection, but we should also see that the road forward will not be smooth sailing. The old traditions are stubborn and the influence of officials will not be eliminated soon. Breaking the ideological constraints, breaking the fences of vested interests, and getting rid of the drawbacks of various institutional mechanisms, will necessarily need determination and perseverance, and greater publicity on the rule of law and human rights still needs to be carried out. Breaking the shackles of ideas, breaking the fences erected by vested interests, and getting rid of the drawbacks of institutional mechanisms, will necessarily require determination and perseverance. The strategic layout of the Four-Comprehensives of the CPC Central Committee has fully implemented the socialist concept of the rule of law, conscientiously implemented the deployment of the central government, and China's socialist rule of law and human rights protection will certainly achieve a better level.

The new phase of the National Human Rights Action Plan clearly states that human rights education should be carried out in an in-depth manner, and how to implement the action plan is an important issue. Professor Yang Chunfu stressed the subject position and the role of the state in human rights education. He pointed out that in the course of the emergence, solidification and realization of specific human rights, the state plays a very crucial role, and the realization of human rights in reality depends to a large extent on the authority of the state. Based on this, the role of the state in human rights education must be brought into full play. The state, as an institutional arrangement, can play the following roles in human rights education: the provision of formal institutions for human rights education, the provision of public goods for human rights education, the provision and guidance of ideologies and the provision of safeguards mechanisms for the implementation of human rights education. In order to give full play to the role of the state in human rights education, theoretical circles should maintain close contact with the practical circles, analyse the contemporary barriers affecting the state to play its roles in theory and in practice and then develop the corresponding countermeasures, which is also the proper meaning of the theme of "role of state in human rights education".

After the "state's respect for and protection of human rights" was written into the Constitution, the development of human rights in China has entered a completely new period, and the realization that there is a diversity of human rights has gradually deepened. Zhu Ying, vice dean of the Institute of Human Rights at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, analysed the concept of human rights in modern society from the perspective of cultural pluralism. He pointed out that human exist in specific and different cultural milieus, and different cultures make us different individuals, thus human rights can only be the rights of specific people. From the perspective of the basic connotation of human rights, the understanding of human dignity and value is different in different cultural contexts. From the perspective of human rights protection, as a result of influence of a particular culture, the system guarantee of human rights does not have an absolute unified system model. Generally speaking, within a community of human destiny, multiple views of human rights reflect that the explanation of human rights cannot be divorced from their cultural background. This view respects the inherent differences between cultures.

Professor Liu Zuoxing, director of the Institute of the Rule of Law and Human Rights at Shanghai Normal University, pointed out that for contemporary China, the equality of rights is the essence of the socialist rule of law, which is a specific manifestatio of the principle of equality before the law; equality of rights is not only a concept of rule of law, but also fundamental to the legal system and legal practice. In theory, equality of rights should include the idea of equality of rights, the system of equality of rights and the realization of equality of rights. Equality of rights mainly means that citizens enjoy equal rights before the law. For citizens, this kind of equality of rights mainly refers to the equality of opportunity and the equality of being subjects of law, rather than a kind of equality in the sense of results. The system of equal rights refers to a series of legal principles and legal rules marked by the form of legal norms, which are the basis for the legalization of equal rights. As for the realization of the equality of rights, Chinese laws attach great importance to the issue of equal rights In real life, however, transforming the legal rights into actual rights still needs a lot of effort. It is our goal, by comprehensively promoting the rule of law, to resolve these obstructive factors that still affect the realization of equal rights.
 

(Translated by MA Jing)

*SHANG Haiming ( 尚海明 ), researcher of Institute of Human Rights at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Doctor of Law.