In Memoriam of Former President Luo Haocai of China Society for Human Rights Studies
September 10,2018   By:CSHRS
In Memoriam of Former President Luo Haocai of China Society for Human Rights Studies
Luo Haocai, a famous overseas Chinese, jurist, educator and social activist, died of an illness on February 12, 2018, in Beijing at the age of 83. He had been an outstanding leader of the China Zhi Gong Party, vice chairman of the Ninth and Tenth National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), chairman of the 11th and 12th Central Committee of the China Zhi Gong Party, as well as an excellent member of the Communist Party of China. Besides, since 2007, he had served as president of the Third National Council of the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) and honorary president of the Fourth National Council. He actively promoted the development of human rights undertaking in China and pointed out that China had gradually established a “Chinese model” for human rights protection and a way of human rights development with Chinese characteristics. He also played an important role in generating China’s human rights theory and promoting the foreign exchanges and cooperation on human rights cause. In memoriam of President Luo Haocai, this journal publishes four commemorative articles by scholars on human rights.

Advocating Human Rights Protection by Rule of Law, Supporting Human Rights Undertaking with a Giant Hand
—Deep Condolences to Dear Former President Luo Haocai
Chairman Luo Haocai served as the president of CSHRS from 2007 to 2016. During those nine years, he built deep friendships with researchers on human rights. Because President Luo served as vice chairman of the National Committee of CPPCC for a long time, we were used to calling him “Chairman Luo.” Chairman Luo was a leader with strategic and overall awareness, a scholar-official, an elder with a young mentality, and a motivator and protector of young people.
On first meeting Chairman Luo, I found him stalwart in stature, handsome in appearance, white in hair, ruddy in complexion and imposing in manner, which made me a bit in awe of him. After a little contact, I found him to be approachable and amiable, with genial talk and manners, which made me feel like bathing in a spring wind.
As the president of CSHRS, Chairman Luo had a sharp strategic insight and a clear overall awareness. After taking office, he made a layout with an outline of the main points. He advocated and promoted qualified colleges and universities to establish human rights research centers, held working experience exchange meetings among national human rights research institutes, and give guidance to eight “National Human Rights Education and Training Bases.” He also organized the writing of Annual Report on China’s Human Rights (Blue Book) and the Almanac of China’s Human Rights, and founded the Beijing Forum on Human Rights. All those strategic actions had a far-reaching impact on the progress of China’s human rights research, education, training and communication.
When Chairman Luo assumed the position of president, he was already over 70 years old. However, his worked as hard as young people. He always had a schedule filled with difficult tasks, which he would spare no efforts to complete. Every year, Chairman Luo led a CSHRS delegation to visit various countries to conduct exchanges with the human rights authorities, committees, and government research institutes. During these exchanges, he had to know the ways, effects, and problems of human rights protection in those countries. Most importantly, he introduced the development of human rights in China and answered related questions, which effectively enhanced the understanding of China’s situation. Besides, Chairman Luo was particularly concerned with the development of human rights research institutes in colleges and universities. During his tenure, he visited all human rights research and training bases and dozens of human rights research centers in China. At every place, he would encourage human rights researchers to carry out human rights research, education and training, and ask government officials to raise awareness of human rights protection so that hu-man rights issues could receive greater attention.
As a leader, Chairman Luo had a democratic working style. He was both willing to listen and good at listening. When a human rights academic seminar was held, Chairman Luo not only tried his best to arrange a time to participate and deliver speeches, he also listened to the speeches of others. He often participated in the whole conference and held discussions with various groups. When preparing speeches or important articles, he always called a meeting of scholars to listen to their opinions and gather their wisdom. The last time I met Chairman Luo was in 2016, when he gathered us together to discuss an article that would be published in the magazine Qiushi. Chairman Luo asked everyone to express their opinions freely. He listened carefully and asked the secretary to make a record.
As a senior, Chairman Luo focused on encouraging young people. I remember when CSHRS hosted the first Beijing Forum on Human Rights in 2008, I was the Chinese host in Group A. Chairman Luo had visited our group and listened to the discussions between Chinese and foreign experts. When foreign scholars raised some questions on the human rights situation in China, I did my best to answer them. It was my duty do so as a host and I felt my answers could be even better. So I was very surprised and inspired when Chairman Luo praised me after the conferences saying that I did a good job in hosting and answering questions. On trips overseas with Chairman Luo, he always made a principled answer first when asked by the foreign side, and then let us young people make a specific answer, which gave us confidence.
Chairman Luo paid special attention and gave strong support to the human rights research in Nankai University (NKU). On November 25, 2007, shortly after serving as president of CSHRS, he made a special trip to Center for the Study of Human Rights at NKU to conduct an investigation and hold a seminar with human rights experts and scholars. Prior to his visit, he said: “Don’t send too many leaders to accompany me. I mainly want to hear the report of the Center for the Study of Human Rights.” At the seminar, Chairman Luo spoke highly of the interdisciplinary and multi-view human rights research at our university and responded to our suggestions. Chairman Luo pointed out that although to respect and protect human rights had been included in the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and the Party’s reports, the social science community had not attached enough importance to human rights issues. He was in favor of the suggestion to carry out education on human rights awareness and wanted both people at the grassroots and officials to be educated on human rights because the Central Committee had issued clear policies, while their implementations depended on officials at all levels. On April 28, 2010, Chairman Luo visited NKU again to participate in the Second Work Experience Exchange Meeting of National Human Rights Research Institutes, which was held by CSHRS and undertaken by NKU. He delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Chairman Luo pointed out that since the launch of reform and opening-up, especially in the past dozen years, China had made rapid progress in its human rights undertaking, but still had a long way to go. At that time, it was an important historical opportunity to promote the development of the country’s human rights cause. He said that experts and scholars on human rights were shouldering a historical task that could not be shirked. They should and must take the responsibility and make great efforts in different fields, so as to continuously advance China’s human rights undertaking beyond resistance. On December 4, 2011, Chairman Luo visited NKU for a third time to participate in the opening ceremony of Center for the Study of Human Rights at NKU as one of the first batch of National Human Rights Education and Training Bases. Chairman Luo indicated that these bases had a positive effect on strengthening the construction of human rights theory, promoting the development of the human rights undertaking in China, and especially on training relevant personnel and enhancing the public awareness of human rights in China. Chairman Luo had gave our center much encouraging advise, including actively taking the lead in setting benchmarks, giving full play to human rights think tanks, boldly exploring human rights research, trying new forms of human rights education, finding new ways of training human rights personnel, and proactively going abroad to carry out international exchanges on human rights. Chairman Luo’s influence was a great encouragement for the human rights scholars in NKU to actively contribute to advancing the development of China’s human rights undertaking.
On February 13, 2018, on behalf of Center for the Study of Human Rights at NKU, we went to the mourning hall at Chairman Luo’s home to express our condolences. The elegiac couplet on the flower basket was written as follows: Holding up the Rule of Law to Bless China, Advocating Human Rights Protection to Benefit the Future.
By the side of Chairman Luo, we felt like we were sheltered under a tall tree and bathing in the sunny spring breeze. Although Chairman Luo has already left us, his smile and face will always stay in our memory. Just like the stars and moon in the sky, he will concern us and inspire us forever to push forward the human rights undertaking in China.
* CHANG Jian ( 常健 ), Director of the Research Center for Human Rights, Nankai University.
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