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Summary of the 2018 Symposium on National Human Rights Education and Research
July 08,2019   By:
Summary of the 2018 Symposium on National Human Rights Education and Research
 
CAO Yan*
 
Abstract: The 2018 Symposium on National Human Rights Ed-ucation and Research summarized the achievements in human rights education and research in China, in the past four decades of reform and opening-up, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Meeting mainly concentrated on topics “new era of human rights education and talents cultivation” and “new era of human rights theory innovation and academic orientation”. An overall outline of human rights education system have been constructed in China and details of the concepts from a macroscopic to a microcosmic perspective show the features of China’s human rights education and research institutions. The discussion of academic topics has predicted the development trend of theories of China’s hu-man rights in new era, and expanded relevant comparative research and empirical research.
 
Keywords: new era;  human rights education;  human rights research;  summary of symposium
 
The 2018 Symposium on National Human Rights Education and Research was held in Xi’an on November 15th, 2018. The symposium was hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the Publicity Department of the Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee and organized by the Institute for Human Rights Studies of Northwest University of Political Science and Law. Under the theme “Human Rights Education and Research in the New Era”, over 90 experts and scholars from institutions of human rights education and research, including the China Society for Human Rights Studies, the Research Center for Human Rights in Nankai University, the Institution for Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law, Institute for Human Rights of Guangzhou University, Institute for Human Rights Studies of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, and the Human Rights Research Center of Renmin University of China, reviewed and summarized the achievements in human rights education and research in China over the past 40 years since the launch of reform and opening-up, especially from the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The participants exchanged views and discussed about future trends.
 
I. Work Reports of the Human Rights Education and Research Institutions
 
In the first session, directors of the National Human Rights Education and Research Institutions reported on the construction and development of their institutions, including the Research Center for Human Rights in Nankai University, the Institution for Human Rights at China University of Political Science and Law, Institute for Human Rights of Guangzhou University, Institute for Human Rights Studies of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, and the Human Rights Research Center of Renmin University of China, the Human Rights Research Center of Fudan University, Center for Human Rights Research and Education of Wuhan University, Human Rights Research Center of Shandong University, the Human Rights Research Center of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, and the Human Rights Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
 
II. Key Points of the Speeches
 
In the speech session, Qiangba Puncog, the Chairman of China Society for Hu-man Rights Studies (CSHRS) and a Vice-Chairman of 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, fully affirmed the reports made by directors of eight National Human Rights Education and Research Institutions, the Human Rights Research Center of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, and the Human Rights Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He summarized the great achievements in human rights cause made by China over the past 40 years since reform and opening-up, pointed out the fundamental position of human rights education and research in the human rights field, which China’s government has paid high attention to, and concluded there were three distinctive features of human rights research and education in China.
 
First, the Party’s leadership in the practice of socialism with Chinese character-istics has always been upheld, and is the fundamental guarantee for the development of the human rights cause in China. Human rights issues are in close relation to the political consciousness, policy implementation, ideological work, and an image of the country. In recent years, the human rights education and research work consciously armed its mindset, guided its actions, and driven its works guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the important speeches of General Secretary Xi Jinping on human rights. Human rights education has adhered to socialism, continuously expanded its coverage, perfected the curriculum system, and enriched the teaching contents. Through human rights’s specialized training for different groups, we have trained talents with firm political position and great professionalism. Socialist human rights concepts have been spread and the pop-ularization of China’s understanding of human rights is put forward.
 
Second, we have always adhered to serving the country and society by combining our work with human rights promoting. Human rights experts and scholars play a special and important role in positively publicizing human rights and the struggle against opposing public opinion. They have taken the initiative to share their ideas with the media to actively influence international public opinion, publicized China’s achievements in human rights, and elaborated on the China’s human rights concepts and path. In addition, human rights institutions have actively played the role of think-tanks. Insisting on a problem-oriented principle, they have striven to respond to pressing hu-man rights issues at home and abroad and put forward effective, appointed, and feasible policy suggestions. In this way, they have ensured that human rights education and research can better serve the strategic needs for enhancing China’s cultural soft power, improving China’s international image, and strengthening its comprehensive national power.
 
Third, we have always persisted in open development through frequent international exchanges and cooperation. CSHRS has adopted the strategy to “bring in” and “going out” and organized a diversity of activities such as the Beijing Forum on Human Rights and China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights. Focusing on human rights development practices in China and major international topics on human rights, they have actively promoted China’s basic human rights concepts, vividly told stories of the human rights work in China, and effectively demonstrated the successful experience of the work. Human rights education and research institutions have achieved human rights education, research and develop talents through academic visits, conferences, and research projects in worldwide, with the help of international exchange platforms to establish long-term communication and cooperation with their counterparts in the world.
 
Qiangba Puncog spoke highly of the contribution made by China’s human rights education and research institutions, experts and scholars in developing China’s human rights cause, and expressed his gratitude to them, and called on everyone to overcome difficulties, grasp the opportunities, and keep making efforts and contributions to the work. He made the following suggestions for the work in the future.
 
First, we should innovate the theoretical system of human rights with Chinese characteristics on the basis of the great practice of socialism with Chinese Features. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we should adhere to the combination of the general principles of human rights with the national conditions, and conduct concentrated research on major theoretical issues and practical problems. Rich practical experiences in modern society should be industriously summarized, especially successful socialist practices with Chinese characteristics. The ideas, mindsets and plans for human rights should be in line with the development of the times, and the needs of people from different countries should be constantly borne in mind when constructing the Chinese discourse on human rights in the new era.
 
Second, human rights education and training should be actively carried out in order to spread the human rights values of China. We should fully realize the importance of human rights education for undergraduates, primary and middle school students. The curriculums for human rights in universities should be innovated and courses in human rights law should be further enriched. We should also try hard to improve our education in the humanities and social sciences, philosophy, political science, and sociology, as well as artificial intelligence, other engineering sciences and emerging subjects. Based on the existing programs for master’s and doctor’s degree, we should encourage capable institutes and universities to provide programs for degrees in human rights, and further expand the study and research directions and enlarge the scale of enrollment. Advanced talents, who have a solid theoretical foundation and who are familiar with international rules and can tell stories of China and promote China’s human rights achievements and values should be trained and selected to strongly support the promotion of the rights. We should vary the forms of education and training and attach importance to the popularization of knowledge about human rights among public officials, in particular leading cadres. In accordance with the requirements of the China’s National Human Rights Action Plan, new national human rights education and training bases should be built to develop education and research in China.
 
Third, the combination of overall development with distinctive features should be paid special attention to while pushing forward the development of human rights education and research institutions. Facing a new situation and new tasks, human rights research institutions should strive to turn themselves into innovative, open, and modern think-tanks in their field. The institutions should strengthen human rights research, talent training, and policy consultation, and actively provide all kinds of public opinion analysis, policy consultation, and themed reports on human rights to the government, and be a scientific basis and intelligent support fo4 the Party and the government’s to enhance governance and foreign-oriented publicity. Strengthening team building, in-depth cooperation and resources integration among institutions is a good way to achieve complementarity and achieve mutual development. Relevant universities and research institutions should continue to bring their respective advantages into full play and provide special support in resources allocation covering human resources, material resources, and financial resources, and preferential policies for teaching and research, to create favorable conditions for a good development of bases.
 
Tan Fangzheng, a deputy director general of the Department of Social Sciences at the Ministry of Education, pointed out in his speech that developing human rights education and research is the prerequisite for safeguarding China’s socialist ideology, for have a voice in the international discourse right on human rights and important for the country’s international image, and also for developing a prosperous philosophy and social sciences.. He fully praised the contributions of China’s human rights education and research institutions and proposed that new achievements of those institutions should be made in the new era. First, it is necessary to push forward a solid progress in theoretical research and the construction of a discourse system on protecting human rights with Chinese characteristics. Second, a human rights culture should be cultivated. Third, exchanges with other countries should be continually enhanced. Fourth, the professional team should be strengthened. Fifth, we should provide greater support for human rights education and research.
 
III. Main Points on Human Rights Education and Talents Training in the New Era
 
A. Basic theory of human rights education and talents training
 
Three reports were delivered in this session, On the Characteristics of Human Rights Education by Professor Zhang Aining, Three Realms of Human Rights Educa-tion by Professor Yin Kuijie, and From Professional to General and Elective to Compulsory: Two Leaps of Human Rights Education by Associate Professor Wang Jian. As the important theoretical support for human rights education developing in China, these reports provide the concept, path, and method for construction of a human rights education system from the macro to micro perspective.
 
Professor Zhang Aining, the Department of International Law at China Foreign Affairs University summarized the characteristics of human rights education in her report, providing a theoretical basis for the construction of the human rights education system and stressing its independent status. She thinks that human rights education should promote such concepts as equality, justice, respect for and protection of human dignity, peace, acceptance and tolerance, freedom and responsibility, and cooperation. There are three characteristics of human rights education. First, it is a kind of education about respecting others. Second, it is a sort of preventive education. Third, it should start with the educators themselves.
 
Professor Yin Kuijie, the School of Politics and Law of Northeast Normal University elaborated on the connotations of human rights education from an intermediate perspective. It should develop step by step from spreading knowledge, quality-oriented training, to progress of the cause. The first essential of human rights education is spreading human rights knowledge and popularizing laws. The second is focusing on cultivation of the personality. The third essential is to make the work people-oriented through human rights education.
 
Associate Professor Wang Jian the School of Politics and Law of Northeast Normal University summarized and expounded on the practical experience and feasible way to integrate human rights concepts into teaching with the curriculum construction of the rights as an example at the micro level. He believes that the current exploration of human rights education in China should be carried out in three aspects: enlarging the enrollment of human rights education, expanding the channels of education and improving the effectiveness of the education through changing the traditional single teaching method to impart knowledge and actively explore new teaching methods.
 
B. Practical experience of human rights education and talents training
 
The discussion in this session fully demonstrated the practical experience of human rights education and training institutions. It reveals the characteristics of human rights education promoted by the institutions has distinctive features in many aspects.
 
Song Xiaoying, Assistant to the Director of the Institute for Human Rights at Guangzhou University, delivered a report on “How to Tell the Stories of Human Rights in China with MOOC Courses: Taking Guangzhou University as the Example” that introduced the teaching methods, procedure, and contents of the MOOC on human rights in Guangzhou University and demonstrated the teaching mode of high quality human rights courses focusing on “tell the stories of human rights in China”. Meanwhile, the report also stressed that attention should be paid to innovation in teaching content and forms as well as the reform of interdisciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching methods in order to well tell stories of China.
 
Professor Cai Gaoqiang, the Law School of Xiangtan University delivered a report titled “Promote Human Rights Education and Protection Through the Legal Aid Centers of Institutes of Higher Learning — Experience of Social Rights Legal Aid Center of Xiangtan University”. He introduced the construction and development process of the Social Rights Legal Aid Center in his University for chrematistic human rights education and shared the practical experience in promoting human rights education and protection by legal aid centers.
 
Professor Dan Lerong, the Human Rights Research and Training Center of the Law School of Qinghai University for Nationalities, delivered a report entitled “The Talents Training Mechanism for Bilingual Legal Professionals of Tibetan and Chinese”. Dan made the following suggestions for the training of bilingual Tibetan and Chinese legal professionals: First, enhancing the bilingual teaching team building for law studies in Tibetan and Chinese; Second, improving the relevant curriculum and teaching resources; Third, reforming the relevant teaching mode; Fourth, strengthening the management on relevant teaching; Fifth, increasing the practical ability of relevant talents; and, Sixth, building a unified judicial examination training base for relevant talents.
 
Associate Professor Tang Yingxia, the Research Center for Human Rights in Nankai University delivered report on “Practice of the Research Center for Human Rights in Nankai University in Human Rights Education in Primary and Secondary Schools”. Tang reviewed the long history of the University she currently works at, elaborated on the arduous efforts made by her institution in developing the first set of textbooks on the subject for primary and secondary schools, summarized the practical experience in promoting the textbooks and teacher training, and concluded it is provides a good example for human rights textbooks compilation and educator training.
 
Associate Professor Zhu Xiaohui, the School of Marxism in Fudan University, in Zhua’s report “Study on the Integration of Gender Equality Theory into Ideological and Political Education in Institutes of Higher Learning”, analyzed the intrinsic connection between gender equality theory and ideological and political education, expounded on the idea to integrate gender equality theory into ideological and political education, and showed examples of the implementation of the idea in Fudan University.
 
Associate Researcher Xu Yao, the Research Center for Human Rights in Nankai University, in his report “Exploration of the Compilation of Human Rights Training Materials for Civil Servants in the New Era and the Training of Teachers” explained the great significance of providing human rights knowledge and training to local civil servants, introduced the main points for the compilation of Human Rights Knowledge for Civil Servants (For Students) and Human Rights Knowledge for Civil Servants (For Teachers) as the textbook for training of human rights knowledge for civil servants developed by his Research Center, and proposed the suggestions for making break-throughs for sending human rights knowledge into the classroom.
 
Zhou Li, the director of the Research Management Department of the Institute for Human Rights Studies of Southwest University of Political Science and Law deliv-ered a report on “Promoting Human Rights Education in Institutes of Higher Learning with Project-based Teaching”, in which he pointed out that human rights education should not be equated with human rights law education, and suggested that the design of the curriculum for the training of human rights talents be according to the job demands and relevant talents should be channelled to make up the deficiencies in human rights law education, and shared the experiences of the university in the training of professional human rights talents.
 
Li Zijin, a Lecturer of the School of Law and Politics at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University gave a report on “Human Rights Education and Research in the New Era — Experience of Local Sci-Tech University” and summarized the practical experience of local Sci-Tech university in human rights education and research as follows. First, the university should make full use of its advantages to carry out human rights education and research with distinctive characteristics on campus. Second, the university should fully promote the human rights education and research in the region based on the local conditions. Third, the university should participate in interactions and communications nationwide and take initiative in joining the national human rights education and research team.
 
Associate Professor Li Binhua, Human Rights Law Research Center of Yunnan University delivered a report on “Suggestions for Bringing the Role of Human Rights Education Institutions in Overseas Investment — Taking the Investment in Myanmar as an Example” and made the following suggestions on transforming human protection into the soft power of China’s investment. First, we should grasp the opportunities in the transition period of human rights in Myanmar to publicize and promote the achievements and useful experience in human rights protection. Second, we should make overall planning for the role of human rights education institutions in overseas investment. Third, we should establish and improve the coordinated mechanism of “Diversity in unity” for public welfare and set up a coordination organization for human rights work in investment into Myanmar.
 
Zhong Hui, a Lecturer from Law School at Northwest Minzu University in her report “Suggestions for Promoting Human Rights Education among Children in Ethnic Minority Areas” proposed that we should bring the role of the media into full play, further optimize the types, contents, and disciplines for human rights education among children in ethnic minority areas, and promote the development of human rights education and training among children in those regions.
 
IV. Main Views on the Innovation and Academic Research of Human Rights Theory in the New Era
 
A. Academic views on the basic trend of China’s human rights theory in the new era
 
Professor Chen Youwu, Institute for Human Rights at Guangzhou University, in the report “Guiding the Innovation and Development of Human Rights Theory in the New Era with Xi Jinping’s Human Rights Thought” emphasized that the innovation and development of human rights theory in the new era should integrate Xi Jinping’s human rights thought, unswervingly follow the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics, and form the basic value judgment of the innovation and development of human rights theory in the new era.
 
Associate Professor Liu Hongzhen, Center for Human Rights Education and Research at Jilin University, in her report “Innovation of Human Rights Theory in the New Era” focused on the legitimacy foundation, focus of work and key fields of national human rights obligations. And she thinks that human rights issues should be placed in the strategic deployment and systematic arrangement of reform and development; an integrated guarantee mechanism for the right to existence and development should be established; the legal guarantees for human rights should be improved, and the human rights construction should be concerned with the major needs of the country, such as anti-corruption, information revolution and building a community with a shared future for human beings.
 
Associate Professor Guo Jing, Center for Human Rights Education and Research at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, in the report “The Marxist Theory of Right to Development” applied the classical theory of Marxism to the theoretical construction of the right to development. She believes that the right to development and human rights are inherently unified. The right to development is the way to guarantee and realize human rights. The realization of human rights is a goal of development and the evaluation criterion. The system structure of the right to development constructed according to this provides a powerful theoretical support for the protection of the right to development as the eternal theme of the innovation and development of human rights theory in the new era.
 
Liu Peng, a doctoral student from the Institute for Human Rights Studies of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, in his report “The Development of Human Rights Theory and Academic Orientation in the 40 Years of Reform and Opening-up — Based on the Sample Analysis of CNKI’s Academic Journals” organized the results of human rights theory in China’s 40 years of reform and opening-up and analyzed the development vein and trend of human rights theory in China. He clarified the status quo of China’s research on human rights theory and pointed out the future development direction from different academic orientations, such as “Top-level Design”, path analysis and development trends of research on human rights theory, which has positive significance for the deep development of basic theory of human rights in the new age.
 
B. Method innovation in human rights research in the new era
 
Fan Jizeng, Distinguished Associate Researcher from Law School of Sichuan University, in his report “The Development Path of Human Rights Research from the Perspective of Comparative Law: Practical Issues Beyond Theory” broke the “shackles” of the comparative study of human rights with the global open constitutional order as the basis for comparative law research transformation. He proposed that cross-regional use of comparative law and judicial dialogue be the cornerstone for the generation of global human rights common law through analysis of the legal precedents of the European Court of Human Rights, which could be used as the theoretical path to integrate China’s human rights discourse system (with the “community with a shared future for human beings” as the core) into the world civilization, providing the basis for the theoretical innovation in the international comparative study of human rights.
 
Zhang Xuelian, a Lecturer of the Law School of Southeast University, in the report “Empirical Analyses on the Application of International Human Rights Law in China’s Courts” found that the actual attitudes, difficulties and breakthrough methods of the application of international human rights law in China’s courts are not only the positive response of research on human rights law to judicial needs but also example illustrations for the continuous innovation and development of empirical research on human rights law through the judicial big data research.
 
(Translated by HU Liang)
 
 
* CAO Yan ( 曹燕 ), Doctor of Judicial Science, professor of School of Economic Law, Researcher of Institution for Human Rights, Northwest University of political Science and Law.
 
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