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Human Rights Implications of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a Successful Completion — From the Perspective of the Developmentalism of Human Rights
September 21,2020   By:CSHRS
Human Rights Implications of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a  Successful Completion
— From the Perspective of the Developmentalism of Human Rights
 
CHANG Jian*
 
Abstract: The Developmentalism of Human Rights provides a broader perspective for a comprehensive and profound understanding of the human rights implications of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion. From the perspective of the Developmentalism of Human Rights, bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion takes promoting the all-round development of human beings as the starting point and end point, which embodies the ultimate goal of human rights to guarantee everyone’s free, comprehensive and coordinated development; the specific goals and tasks set by bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion respond to the four means rights to subsistence, freedom, participation and equal protec tion. The realization of the goals and tasks of completing the process of building a moderately well-off society in all aspects marks a higher level of safeguarding the right to development, and also opens a new journey for all members of the society to develop freely, comprehensively and harmoniously.
 
Keywords: bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion   developmentalism of human rights   everyone’s free comprehensive and coordinated development   purpose rights   means rights
 
Bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion is far more than just an economic development goal or a comprehensive goal of fulfilling construction tasks in multiple areas. In essence, it is about promoting human development. The real purpose and value of its tasks and objectives are to create conditions for everyone in the country to enjoy comprehensive and coordinated development. The conventional liberalism of human rights merely focuses on lifting or reducing restrictions on individual freedom, which makes it hard for the human rights implications of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to be comprehensively and profoundly understood. Taking everyone’s free, comprehensive and coordinated development as the ultimate purpose of human rights, and the subsistence, freedom, participation and equal protection rights as the means to achieve people’s right to development, and looking at human rights from the perspective of the developmentalism rather than the liberalism, will help us not only gain a deeper understanding of the general human rights goal to be attained in the efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, but also help us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the human rights implications of the specific goals and tasks set for bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion.
 
I. The Goals and Values of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a Successful Completion are to Promote Everyone’s Free, Comprehensive and Coordinated Development
 
Xiaokang, or moderately prosperous, is an ancient word that was found in the Book of Songs: Major Court Hymns: Laboring People. Hardworking people want nothing but xiaokang, which means leading a decent life. The goal set by China to build a moderately prosperous society in contemporary times is a staged development strategy proposed based on China’s specific national conditions. We have gone through a process from simply meeting the demand to having reflection as to why China has to build a moderately prosperous society. Throughout this transition, the goal of building a moderately prosperous society has evolved from an economic one to a comprehensive one and finally to a human rights goal that centers on human development as the starting point and foothold.
 
The idea of building a moderately prosperous society when it was proposed at the outset was a short-term goal based on China’s then national conditions and the notion of seeking truths from facts. On the one hand, it has shifted the focus to economic development from the erroneous tendency during the “cultural revolution” (1966-1976) that ignored economic development and people’s livelihoods. On the other hand, it is a feasible goal that fit in with the reality in China at that time with lessons learned from attempts to break away from a realistic outlook on economic development. As such, the effort of building a moderately prosperous society in that period focused on economic development and the improvement of people’s livelihoods. On December 6, 1979, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said during his talk with Masayoshi Ohira, Prime Minister of Japan, “Our concept of the Four Modernizations is different from yours. By achieving the Four Modernizations, we mean achieving a comparative prosperity. Even if we realize the Four Modernizations by the end of this century, our per capita GNP will still be very low. If we want to reach the level of a relatively wealthy country of the Third World with a per capita GNP of US $1,000 for example, we have to make an immense effort. Even if we reach that level, we will still be a backward nation compared to Western countries. However, at that point China will be a country with a comparative prosperity.”1 At the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in September 1982, xiaokang was taken as a major goal and a marker of China’s economic and social development. The report of the 12th National Congress proposed: “Within twenty years from 1981 to the end of the century, our general goal of economic construction is to strive to quadruple the annual gross output value of industry and agriculture nationwide under the premise of constantly increasing economic benefit, i.e. from 710 billion yuan in 1980 to 2.8 trillion yuan in 2000. By achieving this goal, China will be among the top in the world in terms of its total national income and the output of major industrial and agricultural products, the modernization process of the entire national economy will make significant progress, the income of urban and rural people will double, and the people’s material and cultural life will be well-off.”2
 
The report of the 16th National Congress of the CPC in 2002 affirmed that “on the whole, the people have made a historic leap from having only adequate food and clothing to leading a well-off life”.” On this basis, the report put forward the goal of “building a well-off society in an all-round way”: “We need to concentrate on building a well-off society of a higher standard in an all-round way to the benefit of well over one billion people in the first two decades of the 21st century. We will further develop the economy, improve democracy, advance science and education, enrich culture, foster social harmony and upgrade the texture of life for the people.”3 The focus of building a well-off society in an all-round way is the comprehensiveness of the fields, and its goals involve various fields such as the economy, politics, education, culture, soci ety, ecological environment, etc. The economic goals were, “On the basis of optimized structure and better economic returns, efforts will be made to quadruple the GDP of the year 2000 by 2020, and China’s overall national strength and international com- petitiveness will increase markedly. We will in the main achieve industrialization and establish a full-fledged socialist market economy and a more open and viable economic system. The proportion of urban population will go up considerably and the trend of widening differences between industry and agriculture, between urban and rural areas and between regions will be reversed step by step. We will have a fairly sound social security system. There will be a higher rate of employment. People will have more family property and lead a more prosperous life.” The political goals were, “Socialist democracy and the legal system will be further improved. The basic principle of ruling the country by law will be implemented completely. The political, economic and cultural rights and interests of the people will be respected and guaranteed in earnest. Democracy at the grassroots level will be better practiced. People will enjoy a sound public order and live and work in peace and contentment.” The educational, cultural and social goals were, “The ideological and ethical standards, the scientific and cultural qualities, and the health of the whole people will be enhanced notably. A sound modern national educational system, scientific, technological and cultural innovation systems as well as nationwide fitness and medical and health systems will take shape. People will have access to better education. We will make senior secondary education basically universal in the country and eliminate illiteracy. A learning society in which all the people will learn or even pursue life-long education will emerge to boost their all-round development.” The ecological environment goals were: “The capability of sustainable development will be steadily enhanced. The ecological environment will be improved. The efficiency of using resources will be increased significantly. We will enhance harmony between man and nature to push the whole society onto a path to civilized development featuring the growth of production, an affluent life and a sound ecosystem.”4
 
The report of the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012 proposed to “attain the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020” and called for “working hard to meet the following new requirements while working to fulfill the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects set forth at the Sixteenth and Seventeenth National Congresses of the Party.”5 To understand the notion of “building a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” it’s important to understand not only what new tasks and requirements it proposed, but also analyze deeply what new thoughts and decisions were made for determining the purpose and value of a moderately prosperous society. The report of the 18th National Congress mentioned “promoting well-rounded development of the person” three times. Moreover, in the General Program of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China adopted during the 18th National Congress, “promote people’s well-rounded development” was added to the following statement, “On the basis of developing production and social wealth, keep meeting the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.”
 
As explicitly stated in the Recommendations of the Central Committee of the CPC for the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China (2016-2020) passed at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, it’s imperative to uphold the primacy of the people in attaining the goal of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion: “The people are the basic force behind development, and realizing, safeguarding, and developing the fundamental interests of the largest possible majority of people is the fundamental purpose of development. We must remain dedicated to a people-centered notion of development, make improving well-being and promoting people’s well-rounded development the starting point and ultimate goal of development, develop people’s democracy, safeguard social equity and justice, protect people’s rights to equal participation and equal development, and give full rein to their enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity.”6 It’s mentioned three times in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC to promote well-rounded human development. People are the mainstay of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, not only as those contributing to but as the purpose of building a moderately prosperous society. Taking promotion of the all-round development of the people as both the starting and the ending point of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, means the purpose and value of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion not only indicates promoting development in all areas, including the economy, politics, culture, society, and environment, more importantly it highlights the free, comprehensive, and coordinated development of all the people as the mainstay of development, which is exactly the general human rights goal to be achieved in the efforts to bring the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion.
 
Upholding human rights is about upholding the dignity and value of the people. But liberalism and developmentalism have different interpretations of how the dignity and value of the people should be fundamentally demonstrated. According to liberalism, freedom reflects the dignity and value of the people, and achieving the freedom of individuals is the ultimate purpose of all sorts of human rights, the basic principle of solving human rights conflicts, the yardstick of measuring the extent to which human rights are upheld, and the fundamental standard of verifying whether or not human rights are upheld. However, the developmentalism of human rights regards human development as the fundamental reflection of the dignity and value of the people. Such development is predicated on the survival and freedom of the people, conditioned by full participation in all walks of life, and bounded by equal protection of everyone’s rights. It is supposed to be achieved not at the expense of certain people or groups, but with a rational system of upholding human rights that promotes everyone’s free, comprehensive and coordinated development and allows the free development of every one to be the condition for that of others. As stated in the Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China published by the State Council Information Office in 2019, “The free and well-rounded development of every person is the ultimate goal of human rights. The free development of each individual is the precondition for the free development of all people. Human rights are people’s rights; human rights development means people’s development. We must create the conditions for people’s self-actualization. By building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, China aims to fulfill the people’s aspirations for a better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a beautiful environment. It aims to enable every person to enjoy self-development and serve society with dignity, to ensure equal opportunities for all to live a rewarding life and realize their dreams, to improve their wellbeing, and to promote their well-rounded development.”7 In this sense, the developmentalism of human rights takes everyone’s free, comprehensive, and coordinated development as the ultimate purpose of the human rights system, and the rights to subsistence, freedom, participation and equal protection as the means to obtain that ultimate purpose.
 
It can be seen from the interpretation of the notion of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion with the developmentalism of human rights that the idea of all-round development of the people is the centerpiece of the notion of setting the purpose and value of human rights to be the all-round development of the people. At the same time, the specific goals and tasks set by the notion of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion provides the guarantee for people to enjoy the rights to subsistence, freedom, participation and equal protection.
 
II. Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a Successful Completion Lays a Material and Institutional Foundation for Upholding the Right to Subsistence
 
Subsistence forms the objective precondition for all activities conducted by people, and the material foundation for people to achieve their own development. It’s important to uphold everyone’s right to subsistence before the ultimate purpose of free, comprehensive, and coordinated development for all can be achieved. The right to subsistence is about having access to all sorts of the most basic necessities to stay alive, including the right to a basic standard of living, the right to basic medical care and public health service, the right to social security, and the right to a healthy environment to live in. Some of the goals and tasks specified in the effort to bring the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion are pertinent to upholding the right to subsistence, such as promoting economic development, delivering targeted poverty relief, strengthening the subsistence allowance system, improving the public medical and healthcare system, enhancing the social security system, and increasing environmental governance, all of which provide a solid basis to uphold various rights in the right to subsistence.
 
First of all, the right to subsistence cannot be upheld without a certain material foundation which relies on sustained economic development. To lay a solid material foundation for upholding the right to subsistence, China has always been sticking to the strategy that makes economic development the top priority and promoting human rights with development while determining the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion. The report of the 18th National Congress of the CPC pointed out, “Development still holds the key to addressing all the problems we have in China. Only by promoting sustained and sound economic development can we lay a solid material foundation for enhancing the country’s prosperity and strength, improving the people’s well-being and ensuring social harmony and stability.”8 With the rapid development of the Chinese economy, the per capita disposable income and the fiscal revenue have increased, and the country has become increasingly capable of meeting the living needs of the people, thereby laying a solid economic and material foundation for upholding the right to subsistence.
 
Second, the food, housing, safe drinking water and public transport facilities are the basic conditions for subsistence and the requirements for the right to a basic standard of living. In bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, China has been improving the urban and rural subsistence allowance system, maintaining food supply and security, implementing up-to-standard engineering construction of important sources of drinking water nationwide, providing better housing conditions, developing transport networks, and maintaining and increasing the basic standard of living. As the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows, by the end of 2019 in China, 8.61 million people had access to an urban subsistence allowance, 34.56 million people had access to a rural subsistence allowance, 4.39 million people enjoyed rural abject poverty relief, and 9.18 million people received temporary relief.9
 
Third, having access to medical treatment and public health services is key to upholding subsistence and the requirement for upholding the right to health. To better uphold the right to health, the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion require the improvement of the public medical and health system. Building a “Healthy China” was proposed in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan, which included deepening reform of the medical and health system, establishing and consolidating a basic health system, improving the medical system for all, enhancing the prevention and treatment of major diseases and basic public health services, enhancing maternal and child care and childbearing services, improving the medical service system, and striving to offer basic medical and health services for all, with a view to raising the level of people’s health.
 
Fourth, when people suffer temporary or permanent incapacity to work or accidents, it’s imperative for the country to provide them with material assistance through the social insurance, relief and welfare systems to keep them at a subsistence level, which is a requirement for upholding the right to social security. To better uphold the right to social security, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to improve the social insurance, relief, and welfare systems. China’s 13th Five-Year Plan proposed to “make the social security system more equitable and sustainable.”10 As the data from the NBS shows, by the end of 2019 in China, 434.82 million people participated in the program of basic old-age insurance for urban workers, 532.66 million people in the program of basic old-age insurance for urban and rural residents, 1,354.36 million people in the basic medical insurance program, 254.74 million people in the employment injury insurance program, 214.32 million people in the maternity insurance program, and 2.28 million people received unemployment insurance benefits nationwide.11
 
Fifth and last, as various natural and social problems caused by environmental pollution and ecological damage have emerged, it’s necessary to take effective measures to provide the people with a proper, healthy and sound living environment and encourage rational use of environmental resources, which is a requirement for upholding the right to a healthy environment. In the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, developing an ecological civilization has been included in the overall strategy of national development, coupled with the endeavor to build a resource-saving and environmentally-friendly society. The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020) required “implementing the strictest possible system of environmental protection, forming an environmental-governance system involving the government, enterprises and the general public, and striving to address such pressing environmental problems as air, water and soil pollution, so as to strive for an overall improvement of the envi- ronment.”12 It was proposed in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC to speed up reform of the system for developing an ecological civilization and building a beautiful China. The environmental governance measures taken nationwide have had significant effect in improving the environment, with the energy consumption per 10,000 yuan of GDP nationwide declining year by year, clean energy consumption making up an increasingly larger share in the total energy consumption year by year, the afforested area and the area of controlling water loss and soil erosion expanding annually, and the sea water and air quality changing for the better.
 
In addition, upholding the right of the most vulnerable people to subsistence is the most difficult task in guaranteeing everyone’s right to subsistence. Poverty has not only obstructed the realization of the right to subsistence, but severely impeded the realization of the right to development. Upholding the right of the poor to subsistence As the largest developing country, China is home to a large number of poor people. To better uphold the rights of the poor to subsistence and development, it was proposed in the 13th Five-Year Plan to carry out poverty reduction in full swing with targeted poverty relief, “People living in poverty in rural areas have adequate food and cloth- ing and are able to access compulsory education, basic medical care and safe housing.”13 It’s required in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC to alleviate poverty in rural areas in accordance with the existing standard by 2020, lifting people out of poverty across all poverty-stricken counties in China. As data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows, according to the rural poverty line of 2,300 yuan (constant price in 2010) per person per year, by the end of 2019, the poor population in rural areas had reduced to 5.51 million, and the incidence of poverty had declined to 0.6%.14
 
III. The Notion of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a Successful Completion Helps Remove Institutional Obstacles for Free Development of the People
 
Freedom serves as the subjective prerequisite of human development. Various rights of the people to freedom have to be upheld in an institutional way before human development can be achieved, these include the right to make free choices and conduct free activities in all fields, such as the economic, social, political, and cultural fields. In bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, China has been clearing various obstacles hindering free development of the people with reforms and institutional building, including reforming the household registration system, the modern market system, the administrative system, and the scientific and technological system. Upholding free migration, fair competition, free choice and free innovation, helping to lay an institutional foundation for upholding the rights to free activities in all fields.
 
First of all, in the economic field, free participation and competition forms an important premise for people to achieve their own development. In the period of the planned economy, people were devoid of the conditions for free participation and competition in the economic field. In the transition from a planned to a market economy, China has consistently carried out reforms to remove various obstacles preventing various market players from equal participation in market competition, and has particularly emphasized the need to uphold the right of the private sector to equal participation. It’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to improve the modern market system and eradicate institutional barriers to equal participation in free competition. The Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform proposed that “The government protects the property rights and legitimate interests of all kinds of ownership by ensuring that various ownerships have equal access to production factors, open and fair market competition and the same legal protection”; and “support the healthy development of the non-public economy. Adhere to the equality of rights, equality of opportunity and equality of rules; abolish all forms of unreasonable regulations on the non-public economy and eliminate hidden barriers.”15 The guideline of 13th Five-Year Plan required a sound modern market system: “We will accelerate the development of a unified and open market system that ensures orderly competition, establishes mechanisms for ensuring fair competition, overcome regional segmentation, break up industry monopolies, and remove market barriers in order to promote the free and orderly flow and equitable exchange of goods and factors of production”; and “We will abolish all regulations and practices that impede the promotion of a unified market and fair competition. We will refine policies to promote competition, improve market competition regulations, and implement a review system for fair competition. We will relax restrictions on market access and improve mechanisms for exiting the market.”16
 
Second, in the social field, the free movement of people constitutes an important condition for the free development of the people. In the period of the planned economy, China restricted population migration with the household registration system that curtailed the freedom of the people in choosing development opportunities. But since the launch of reform and opening-up, China has promoted free development of the people as it has eased the institutional restrictions on people’s migration in the course of establishing and improving its market economy. It’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to deepen reform of the household registration system and further remove institutional restrictions on free population migration. The Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform states the need to “innovate population management, accelerate household registration system reform, completely lift restrictions on settling in administrative townships and small cities, lift restrictions on settling into mid-size cities in an orderly manner, rationally determine settlement conditions for large cities and strictly control the scale of the population in especially large cities.”17 The 13th Five-Year Plan proposed to deepen reform of the household registration system and implement a residence card system: “We will ensure the entitlement of residence card holders to compulsory education and employment, health, and other basic public services specified by the state in the cities where they are resident. We will encourage all levels of local governments to continually expand the scope of services for residence card holders, improve service standards, and narrow the gap between card holders and registered urban residents.”18 The report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC further required to “remove institutional barriers that block the social mobility of labor and talent and ensure that every one of our people has the chance to pursue a career through hard work.”19 It’s proposed in the Opinions  on Promoting Reforms of Systems and Mechanisms for Social Mobility of Labor and  Talent issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General  Office of the State Council in 2019 to encourage inter-regional population migration  by reforming the household registration system and introducing public services, with  such specific measures as completely lifting household registration restrictions in cities with an urban permanent population under 3 million and relaxing household regis-  tration conditions in cities with an urban permanent population ranging from 3 million  to 5 million, improving the policy of introducing a points system to allow migrants to  claim permanent resident permits (hukou) in megacities or metropolises with an urban  permanent population above 5 million and streamlining the items in the points system  to ensure the number of years contributing to social insurance and living in the city  make up a large share of total points, and providing equitable basic public services to  allow the permanent population to enjoy equal access to education, employment and  self-employment, social insurance, medical and healthcare, and housing, etc. According to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics, 280 million people have lived in cities where they didn’t have a hukou, of whom 236 million were migrant  population, and the urbanization rates of the permanent population and the hukou  holders accounted for 60.60% and 44.38% respectively.20
 
Third, in the political field, too much administrative intervention would restrain the freedom of individuals, businesses, and social organizations from making choices and hence make social development less dynamic. It’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to deepen the reform of the administrative system and reduce unnecessary administrative intervention. The 13th Five-Year Plan required deepening the reform of the administrative system, to “Accelerate the transformation of government functions, continue to streamline administration and delegate more powers, improve regulation, and provide better services, so as to refine government performance and stimulate market vitality and social creativity.”21 China has developed and optimized the management model of the lists of powers and responsibilities and the negative list to define the powers and responsibilities of the government, the market, and the society, and deepened the reform of administrative approval system to reduce government intervention in business and the scope of government approval to the largest extent. The power list system has greatly reduced the room for discretion in terms of execution of power by government employees, providing greater room for businesses and individuals to make free choices. As of 2017, governments in 31 provinces released the power lists of provincial departments, governments in 29 provinces released responsibility lists, and 57 departments of the State Council released power lists.22
 
Fourth and last, in the cultural field, individual’s free innovation requires not only policy incentives, but increased autonomy of scientific research and protection of innovative intellectual property rights. It’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to deepen the reform of the scientific and technological system and clear the institutional obstacles to indigenous innovation. To stimulate innovation, the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee proposed to “accelerate the formation of a market environment, property system, investment and financing system,  distribution system, talent fostering, introduction and employment system, among others, favorable to innovative development; deepen reform of the administrative system; further transform government functions; continue to streamline administration and  delegate more powers, improve regulation, and provide better services, so as to refine  government performance and stimulate market vitality and social creativity.23” In the  Opinions on Increasing the Autonomy of Scientific Research of Universities and Scientific Research Institutions issued by six national departments including the Ministry of Science and Technology, it’s required to increase the autonomy of universities and  scientific research institutions in the scientific research field, enhance the dynamism  of innovation, support universities and scientific research institutions in exercising the right to scientific research autonomy in accordance with laws and regulations, make  institutions and their employees motivated and encourage their innovation, increase the dynamism and vigor of innovation, and minimize government micromanagement  and intervention in internal affairs of universities and scientific research institutions.24  The Opinions on Enhancing Protection of Intellectual Property Rights issued by the  General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council in 2009, called  for curbing the frequent and rampant acts of infringement and making it easier for obligees to provide proof and safeguard their rights in a shorter period of time with  less costs and compensations by 2022. And the Opinions stressed strengthening institutional constraints, developing strict IPR protection policies, increasing the pun- ishments for infringement and counterfeiting, developing strict standards of proof, introducing tougher measures to deal with cases, and improving the protection system in new areas.25 According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the country spent 2.1737 trillion yuan on research and experiments, an equivalent of 2.19% of its GDP in 2019, and 4.38 million domestic and international patent applications were made, 2.592 million patents granted, and 61,000 PCT patent applications processed, and by the end of 2019, there were 9.722 million valid patents, of which 1.862 million were domestic valid patents for invention, and for every 10,000 people, there were 13.3 patents for inventions.26
 
IV. The Notion of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to A Successful Completion Helps Provide Institutional Support for Full Participation of the People in Social Development
 
Full participation in social life forms a social condition for all-round development of the people. To uphold everyone’s comprehensive and equal participation in social life, the country needs to provide institutional support and offer equal opportunities and conditions for all members of the society to participate in the economic, political, social and cultural life. A series of goals and tasks pertaining to promoting the realization of right to participation are included in the goals of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion.
 
First, to uphold the right to participate in the economic life requires offering adequate job opportunities. Employment is not only an important means to subsistence, but a key condition for development. To uphold the right to economic participation, it is required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to introduce a policy that encourages employment. The 18th National Congress of the CPC proposed to “implement the strategy of giving top priority to employment and a proactive employment policy.”27 Moreover, the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC proposed to “improve the quality of employment and raising incomes,” and “ensure that every one of our people has the chance to pursue a career through hard work.”28 Under the guidance of the employment policy, China has maintained its urban registered unemployment rate at a low level for a long time, and kept its surveyed urban unemployment rate lower than the world’s average.
 
Second, providing members of society with equal and feasible opportunities and systems of political participation to uphold the right to participate in political life, and to achieve the development of the people in the political field. To uphold the right to political participation, it’s required by goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to promote socialist democratic politics. The 18th National Congress of the CPC proposed to “work harder to enhance socialist democracy in a systemic way by adopting due standards and procedures, expand people’s orderly participation in governance at all levels and in all fields, and ensure that all governance functions are performed in accordance with the law”29. Moreover, the report of the 19th National Congress stressed that “we will strengthen the institutions of consultative democracy and develop complete procedures and practices to enable the people’s broad, continuous and intensive participation in day-to-day political activities.”30 China’s system of people’s congresses has continued to ameliorate, and the consultative democracy has evolved at a broad, multilayer, and institutional level, providing members of society with more equal and feasible opportunities and conditions for political participation and further upholding the right to political participation.
 
Third, participation in social life is an important field for achieving individual development potential. Upholding the right to a social life and achieving the development of the people in the social field, requires a necessary institutional environment for public participation in social life. To uphold the right to social participation, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to build a social governance structure contributed and shared by the people. It’s proposed in the report of the 18th National Congress of the CPC to build a diversified social management system. The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) notes the need to “promote orderly participation of social organizations in social building.” It was proposed at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC to “motivate social organizations.” And the Suggestion of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Developing the 13th Five-Year Plan for China’s Economic and Social Development, passed at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC, replaced “social management” with “social governance,” and stressed the need to establish a diversified social governance system that includes social participation. China’s urban and rural democracy at the grassroots level have seen sound development, with a system of community-level self-governance established where governance by urban and rural residents plays a dominant role with democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management and supervision also at play. As shown by the data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China had a total of 817,000 social organizations by the end of 2018, which were active in various areas, including scientific research, education, health, social services, culture, sport, industrial and commercial services, rural areas and rural development.31
 
Fourth, cultural life is an important field for tapping the cultural potential of indi- viduals. Upholding the right of the people to participate in cultural life requires equal opportunities and conditions provided to the people for equal participation in cultural life and sharing cultural development outcomes and legal protection of the rights and interests of the people with regards to cultural outcomes. To uphold the right to cultural participation, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to improve the public cultural service system. It’s required in the 13th Five-Year Plan to establish a public cultural service system, provide standard and equal basic public cultural services, improve the public cultural facility network, and encourage better cultural services at the grassroots level. China has developed the standard for basic public cultural services, made sustained and rapidly-rising investment in cultural development, opened public cultural facilities for free, and increased the scientific and cultural awareness of the people.
 
Fifth, education is a means to enhance the ability of the people to participate in social life and an important foundation for people to achieve self-development. To increase the ability of the people in participation and development, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to persist in prioritizing the development of education and to promote the modernization of education. It was proposed at the 18th National Congress of the CPC to stick to the policy of putting education first, extend free compulsory education to cover all urban and rural areas, increase the level of education for all, and train more innovative teaching talents. It’s required in the 13th Five-Year Plan to “prioritize the improvement of people’s development capability.”32 Moreover, the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC further proposed to “enhance our students’ well-rounded development and promote fairness in education.”33 According to a white paper on human rights released by the State Council Information Office, China had a gross kindergarten enrollment rate of 81.7%, a net primary school enrollment rate of 99.95%, a gross junior high school enrollment rate of 100.9%, a basically universal high school education, and a gross higher education enrollment rate of up to 48.1% by the end of 2018.34
 
Sixth, convenient transportation lays a key foundation for expanding the scope of social participation and increasing the participation frequency and autonomy and choices of participation. To provide more convenient transportation for upholding the right to participation, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to improve the modern integrated transport system. It was proposed in the 13th Five-Year Plan to “improve the modern integrated transport system.” The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020) included the requirement of “improving the transportation network,”35 with a network of national trunk expressways to be basically put in place, county seats where conditions permit to have access to highways of Grade II and above, and townships and administrative villages to have tarmac or cement roads and complete access to bus services. And the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC proposes to build China into a “transport power.”36 According to the white paper released by the State Council Information Office, the total railway operation mileage reached 131,000 kilometers in China by the end of 2018, with the high-speed railway exceeding 29,000 kilometers, accounting for more than 60% of the world’s total, and the total length of highways reached 4.85 million kilometers, with 13.67 billion indi- vidual trips made by road, 97.1% of administrative villages having bus services, 99.9% of villages connected to the road network, and every county having road access.37 This has provided unprecedented transport convenience for broad social participation.
 
Seventh, the IT revolution has made the internet pervade the daily life and work of the people, having far-reaching and transformative effects on how people participate in social life. To provide the people with Internet access to participation in social life, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately pros- perous society in all respects to a successful completion to build an efficient and extensive information network. It’s proposed in the report of the 18th National Congress of the CPC to “promote the application of information network technologies,” and to take the construction of “a ubiquitous and efficient information network” as one of the important goals of building a well-off society in an all-round way. Besides, it’s proposed in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC to build a “cyberpower.”38 With the support of various policies, China has made strong strides in internet development, and it has become more convenient for people to participate in social life via the Internet. According to a report released by the Internet Society of China in July 2019, China had up to 829 million netizens by the end of 2018, covering 59.6% of the Chinese population, 2.6 percentage points more than the global average, and Chinese websites stood at 5.23 million.39
 
V. The Notion of Bringing the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects to a Successful Completion Helps Provide Policy Support and Legal Protection for the Equal and Coordinated Development of All People
 
 The right to development requires equal access to development opportunities and conditions and special protection for the vulnerable in competition to deliver coordinated development for all. One’s free development shall provide conditions for that of others, rather than be built on the latter. To achieve equal and coordinated development for all, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to protect the vulnerable, integrate urban and rural development, reform the income distribution structure, implement the coordinated development strategy, speed up the endeavor to develop an ecological civilization, and offer better protection of human rights based on the rule of law, in a bid to provide policy support and institutional foundation for equal and coordinated development for all.
 
First, focus shall be put on the vulnerable in social development before equal and coordinated development for all can be achieved, necessitating not only equal access to development rights but necessary special protection based on the special need of the vulnerable. To protect the vulnerable and provide equal access to development rights, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosper- ous society in all respects to a successful completion to take effective policies and measures to uphold the equal and legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly and the disabled. The report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed that “We should speed up development of ethnic minority areas, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities. We should consolidate and develop socialist ethnic relations of equality, unity, mutual assistance and harmony so that all ethnic groups in China will live and develop together in harmony”; and that “We should adhere to the basic state policy of gender equality and protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and children. We should actively address population aging and vigorously develop old-age services. We should improve the social security and service systems for the disabled and effectively protect their rights and interests.”40 In addition, the report of the 19th CPC National Congress further required that “We must adhere to the fundamental national policy of gender equality, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and minors. We will improve our systems for social assistance, social welfare, charity, and entitled groups’ benefits and services. We will improve the system for supporting and caring for children, women and elderly people left behind in rural areas. We will develop programs for people with disabilities and work to provide better rehabilitation services for them.”41 Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has made targeted measures based on its national conditions to protect the legitimate rights and interests of all ethnic groups, women, children, the elderly and the disabled, and allow them to have equal access to social life and share development outcomes.
 
Second, the urban-rural dual structure formed in the period of the planned economy, limited the right of rural residents to equal participation in development and equal sharing of development outcomes. To uphold the equal right of urban and rural residents to development, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to break the urban-rural dual structure. According to the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, “The urban-rural dual structure is a main obstacle to the integrated development of urban and rural areas. We must improve the mechanisms and institutions to form new relations between industry and agriculture and between urban and rural areas in which industry promotes agriculture, urban areas support rural development, agriculture and industry benefit each other, and urban and rural areas achieve integrated development, so that the overwhelming majority of farmers can participate in the modernization process on an equal basis and share the fruits of modernization.”42 To promote integrated urban and rural development, China has abolished the division between agricultural and non-agricultural hukou, and accelerated rural infrastructure building with “rural revitalization” to provide increasingly equalized basic public services in both urban and rural areas.
 
Third, wider income distribution gaps in the system of market economy have resulted in unfair distribution of development outcomes. To make economic development outcomes equally shared, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to reform the income distribution structure. The 13th Five-Year Plan proposed to narrow the income gap, “We must strike the right balance between fairness and efficiency, ensure that personal income grows in step with economic growth and that wages increase in step with increases in labor productivity, and continuously work to grow personal incomes. We will improve primary income distribution, intensify efforts to regulate income redistribution, adjust and optimize the pattern of national income distribution, and work to bridge income gaps throughout the whole of society.”43 The report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC further stressed the need to make income more reasonably and better distributed and narrow income distribution gaps, “We will encourage people to make their money through hard work and legal means. We will expand the size of the middle-income group, increase income for people on low incomes, adjust excessive incomes, and prohibit illicit income.”44 According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the per capita disposable income of the low-income group was 7,380 yuan, the lower-middle-income group 15,777 yuan, the middle-income group 25,035 yuan, the upper-middle-income group 39,230 yuan, and the high-income group 76,401 yuan, and rural migrant workers had a per capita monthly income of 3,962 yuan nationwide, with an increase of 6.5% compared to last year.45
 
Fourth, China is a large country with various development levels and conditions across different regions. Due to restrictions in geography, natural environment and others, China’s central and western regions have seen a relatively less rapid economic development and a relatively lower standard of living for a long time. To balance in- ter-regional development and promote the development of the central and western regions and increase the standard of living of the people there, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to implement the coordinated development strategy and promote coordinated inter-regional development. The 13th Five-Year Plan proposed that “We will implement the master strategy for regional development so as to develop the  western region, revitalize northeast China, fuel the rise of the central region, and support the eastern region as it leads the country. We will also make innovations to policies and improve mechanisms for regional development, promote coordinated, collaborative, and common development between regions, and strive to narrow the gaps in  regional development.”46 It was proposed in the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC to “implement the strategy of coordinated inter-regional development”47. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the output of China’s eastern region in 2019 increased by 6.2% compared to last year, and the figures for the central and western regions were 7.3% and 6.7% respectively.48
 
Fifth, developing an ecological civilization is not only about coordinating rela- tions between human development and the environment in modern times, but about creating conditions for the development of future generations from the perspective of inter-generational equity. It helps retain natural resources for the development of future generations, accumulates the “institutional dividend” of ecological protection for future generations, and promotes the inter-generational equity of environmental governance costs. To promote inter-generational sharing of the right to development, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to speed up the building of the system for developing an ecological civilization. General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping pointed out that “our efforts for ecological conservation and environmental protection will benefit future generations. We must be aware that it is a pressing and difficult task to protect the environment and control pollution, and that it is important and necessary to advance ecological progress. We must take a responsible attitude towards our people and future generations, be resolute in controlling environmental pollution,”49 In the attempt to develop an ecological civilization, China has made vigorous efforts to build a systematic and complete system for developing an ecological civilization, put in place the strictest systems for source protection, compensation for damage and accountability, improve the system for environmental governance and ecological restoration, set up systems for paid use of resources and ecological compensation, and explore the establishment of the property right system for natural resources and the system for regulating their use.
 
Sixth, human rights need to have legal protection to guard against any infringements and hold those accountable for their infringements in accordance with the law. To provide a harmonious and peaceful environment by means of the rule of law for upholding the right to development, it’s required by the goals and tasks of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion to provide better legal protection for human rights. In the report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way includes “The rule of law should be fully implemented as a basic strategy, a law-based government should be basically in function, judicial credibility should be steadily enhanced, and human rights should be fully respected and protected.” Moreover, the decision of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee proposed to, “Strengthen the judicial protection of human rights. Strengthen procedural protection of parties’ and other litigation participants’ right to know, right to make comments, right to defense and debate, right to make requests, and right to appeal in the course of litigation procedures. Complete legal systems to implement principles such as statutory punishments, no punishment in cases in doubt and exclusion of illegal evidence. Perfect judicial oversight of judicial measures and investigatory methods that limit personal freedom, strengthen prevention at the source against confessions extracted through torture and illegally acquired evidence, complete effective prevention measures against unjust, false and wrongfully decided cases, and mechanisms for prompt corrections.”50 Moreover, the report of the 19th National Congress of the CPC further proposed that “We should uphold the unity, sanctity and authority of China’s legal system, and strengthen legal protection for human rights to ensure that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms as prescribed by law.”51 In the effort to bring the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion, China has established a sophisticated system for upholding human rights with the rule of law, stuck to law-based governance of the country, law- based exercise of state power, and law-based administration of government, persisted in governing the country, the government, and the society based on the rule of law, made laws in a scientific way, enforced them strictly, administered justice impartially, ensured that everyone abides by the law, and promoted social fairness and justice, all of which have contributed to effective and comprehensive legal protection for human rights.
 
The year 2020 marks the successful completion of building a moderately pros- perous society in all respects. Realization of the goals of bringing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects to a successful completion symbolizes not only a milestone of historical significance in the course of China’s social development but an important event in the development of China’s human rights. Also, it signifies that China has attained this stage of its goals for its human rights development and a new stage is set to come. At a new juncture of historical development, there will be new demands for human development, and the need to establish new systems by coordinating free and comprehensive development of all. In promoting social and economic development, China needs to continually uphold the people-oriented principle, respect the primacy and purpose of the people, and continue to put people first with development by the people and for the people and development outcomes shared among the people. From the perspective of human rights development, it’s about keeping moving on the trail of China’s human rights development blazed by the reform and opening-up, prioritizing everyone’s free, comprehensive, and coordinated development, upholding the rights to subsistence, freedom, participation and equal protection, and taking the sense of gain, of happiness and of security as a key indicator for measuring the level of human rights, in a bid to make more comprehensive, effective, and higher-level contribution to free, comprehensive and coordinated development of all.
 
(Translated by LU Mimi)
 
 
* CHANG Jian ( 常健 ), Director of the Human Rights Research Center (National Human Rights Education  and Training Base), Professor of Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Doctor of Philosophy.  This paper is the periodic achievement of the following projects: the project of National Social Science Foundation of China — “Research on Grass-roots Political Stability and Risk Control” (Project No. 19BZZ048),  the 2019 project funded by the Special Funds for Basic Scientific Research Business of Central Universities –  “Research on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council”  (Project No.: 63192701), the project of the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities — “Research on Human Rights Development in Developing Countries” (Project No.: 63182074), and the project  of the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities — “Research on the Concept of Building a  Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings and the Global Human Rights Governance” (Project No.:  18JJD810002). 

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