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Expound the Brilliant Achievements of the PRC’s Cause of Human Rights and Guide the Right Direction of Human Rights Research in the New Era
October 30,2019   By:CSHRS

Expound the Brilliant Achievements of the PRC’s Cause of Human Rights and Guide the Right Direction of Human Rights Research in the New Era

Qiangba Puncog*

This year marks the 70th anniversary of People’s Republic of China. 70 years ago, we Chinese finally won the revolution after more than one hundred years of fierce struggle. Since then, our new country and basic socialist system has endowed us with a future of power, prosperity and well-being that can be decided on our own. Notably, since the launch of reform and opening-up, China, under the leadership of Communist Party of China, has gotten rid of poverty and weakness to become the second-largest economy globally. With diligence and wisdom, Chinese people have made a great leap in growing stronger and stand rock-firm with a completely new image in the family of nations.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as its core, impressive achievements have been made as our Party and national cause have undergone historic changes, indicating our socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. According to his remarks and insights on many occasions, General Secretary Xi Jinping has always attached great importance to the development of human rights in China. His words fully summarize the practice of human rights in China, which is a crucial part of the relevant concept with Chinese characteristics as well as embodying the requirements of the times and future direction in this respect. Over the past 70 years, socialism with Chinese characteristics has been our golden rule. Moreover, we have applied universal principles of human rights in line with our national conditions to further move forward.

— A locally accessible path of human rights development. The past 70 years have witnessed our success story in taking both relevant universal principles and national conditions into consideration then implementing a people-oriented concept of human rights through incorporating ancient Chinese wisdom and that of global civilizations. The rights to live and development are beyond doubt the primary basic human rights. As we coordinated economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights, strove to safeguard social fairness and justice, as well as promoted the all-round development of human beings, we then started the Chinese version of human rights development. Beyond that, our efforts in ideas such as “building a well-off society in an all-round way” and the “Chinese dream” also add Chinese genes to the cause of human rights.

— An unprecedented miracle of human rights development. For 70 years, the Communist Party of China and central government have always prioritized people’s livelihoods. Especially, economic growth and greater productivity have topped the list after reform and opening-up. So far, we have lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty and stepped into prosperity. Our unique socialist political development, especially the rule of the people and rule of the law, has empowered common people with accessible justice through diversified means, so that we all can now enjoy the equal rights of participation and development. Furthermore, corresponding upgraded mechanisms have created golden opportunities to realize self-development and life value of underprivileged groups including ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly and the disabled.

— Our human rights theory and dialogue system responds to the call of the times. Over the past 70 years, domestic scholars in this field have advanced wave upon wave of studies on such things as the relevant path, theories and safeguard mechanisms based on previous practices and the lessons learned. In that way, we are no longer a beginner in terms of the research framework, scope, interpretation, history and subdivisions. In addition, words on human rights from General Secretary Xi Jinping provide guidance for shaping a preliminary theory and dialogue system that responds to the call of the times, which supports our human rights cause from the side of public opinions and contributes our bit to updating the global governance of human rights.

— The reform of a more fair and reasonable global governance system of human rights. Over the past 70 years, especially since the start of reform and opening-up, we have always been an active part in the global community and advocated reciprocal benefits. Dating back to the early times since its founding, our country has struggled for the due rights of people in colonies and semicolonies. After 1978, we have remained committed to world peace and global prosperity. To this end, great foreign aid, stronger cooperation and better life in relevant countries are our pursuits. Among them, the Belt and Road Initiative and the community with a shared future for all humankind are typical recent examples. What’s more, we are active in international exchanges and cooperation as well as responsible for corresponding obligations, thus promoting better understanding, consensus and a more just and reasonable global governance system on human rights.

The past 70 years have witnessed tremendous changes. Looking back to the development of the human rights of the People’s Republic of China over the past 70 years, we can see unremitting pursuit and struggle and miracles. All the experts and scholars here have witnessed and engaged in the development of the cause of human rights of the People’s Republic of China and have also interpreted and innovated China’s human rights development path, practices and theories. From the perspective of human rights, we shall profoundly understand the struggle of Communist Party of China and the Chinese people over the past 70 years, so as to fully elucidate the internal logic behind the historic changes in People’s Repulic of China, and better interpret domestic practices of human rights with Chinese human rights theories. Here, I would like to make a few comments:

First, studies on human rights should be guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Since 2015, General Secretary Xi Jinping has sent consecutive congratulatory letters four times to major international conferences on human rights held by China Society for Human Rights Studies, which have formed a series of important statements by General Secretary Xi on human rights. These statements are an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. As a concentrated expression of contemporary Chinese communism’s view of human rights, these important statements highlight that there is no completion but merely progression concerning human rights; there is no best but merely better guarantees of human rights. These important statements focus on the elaboration of the concept of human rights development in the new era, point out that people’s happiness is the most fundamental human right and pursue the people-oriented concept of human rights. These important statements emphasize the development of human rights in China and point out that there is no one-size-fits-all path and protection model for human rights development in the world. The cause of human rights shall only be advanced in accordance with national conditions and people’s needs. These important statements point out the future direction of global human rights and stress that the international community shall be committed to the common human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, while promoting more fair and reasonable, open and inclusive global human rights governance and working together to build a community with a shared future for human beings, so as to achieve the common development of all countries and create a wonderful future for the world. The research on human rights in the new era shall take Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as its fundamental and guiding ideology, aim to enhance China’s discourse power on human rights in the international community and become advantageous in international morality with China’s successful development of human rights.

Second, while doing human rights research, we should widen our historical hori-zon. The development of human rights in People’s Repulic of China is under progress rather than isolated in a certain historical context. Based on Chinese civilization and history, we shall place the domestic evolution of human rights in history, study the internal laws of the development of human rights of the People’s Republic of China in a comprehensive and systematic manner and deeply investigate the internal relations between the liberation of the people, people-oriented development thought, “building a moderately well-off society in an all-round manner”, and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the protection of human rights. Indeed, the People’s Republic of China put an end to the backwardness and humiliation of the old China, and to the exploitation and oppression of “the three big mountains” — imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism. By such a comparsion, we can better clarify the great significance of the achievements of development and reform in the past 70 years for the development of human rights in China and the world at large.

Third, studies on human rights should involve theoretical thinking. Studies on human rights shall be transferred from “form” to “efficiency”, involving issues, thinking, materials and evidence. While focusing on the current practice, we shoud focus on the study of the law and refine the important academic concepts and institutional discourses leading the development of human rights theory. Meanwhile, we should focus on major theoretical and practical issues, engage in more up-to-date topics with a broader vision, study such hot issues of human rights theories as the relationship between national security and human rights development and the mutual construction of the human rights of China and the world from the perspective of the law, politics, international relations, sociology and other disciplines, promote the development of human rights research in a more professional, diversified and comprehensive direction, establish an academic and disciplinary system for human rights in China, and enhance the discourse power of China on human rights.

Fourth, in our research on human rights, we should have a global vision. For a long time, European and U.S. models and experience have been the center of the discourse system of human rights research, while the discourse power of China and other developing countries on human rights has been marginalized. Human rights cannot be a perfect model, since countries and regions are quite different in a lot of aspects. We should have acute foresight in human rights research. Only openness and inclusiveness and mutual learning can lead to a solid theoretical foundation for theory building.

70 years have witnessed our unremitting efforts. The great development of the People’s Republic of China over the past 70 years serves as the supporting element and theoretical source for the continuous development of human rights research in China. Nowadays, we are fighting in a new era, with the glorious past and future hope in mind. As researchers on human rights in the new era, we should be pioneers in innovation, so as to make new and bigger contributions for China’s theoretical system of human rights and China’s international discourse power on human rights.
 

(Translated by LU Mimi)
 

* Qiangba Puncog ( 向巴平措 ), Vice-Chairman of the 12th NPC Standing Committee of China, President of China Society for Human Rights Studies. This article selected from Qiangba Puncog’s Speech at the Seminar on “70 Years of Human Rights Development in the PRC: the Path, Practice and Theory” held on May 9, 2019.

 

Chinese Dictionary:

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