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Full episode – How to view human rights development in China?
January 14,2021   By:CGTN
Jan.14,2021 -- Human Rights in China, a sensitive topic. For the West to understand China, we must understand what China means when it heralds the country's "great achievements in human rights". Look no further than the 2019 government White Paper, "Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China". When it comes to "human rights protection", China stresses rights to decent food, healthcare, education, poverty elimination, safe drinking water, adequate housing, flush toilets, and improving living standards. But to the West, "human rights protection" stresses freedom of expression and activity, access to information, and the like.
 
Take the global battle against COVID-19, which everywhere creates a trade-off between restrictions of movement to protect collective public health and individual freedoms of movement. In the initial stage of the pandemic, the Chinese government imposed harsh lockdowns, with serious penalties for infractions. Rumors, however defined, were also restricted. And the result was that China contained of the coronavirus successfully.
 
How can China's human rights continue to reform and improve over time, as China becomes more developed, social inequalities shrink, and all enjoy increased prosperity? 
 
The White Paper "Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China" states: "Human rights mean the integration of individual and collective rights". I'm told by Chinese experts that China should work toward greater protections of individual rights while continuing to privilege collective rights.
 
While the West stresses political dissent, Chinese experts say they seek to safeguard the rights of children, women, the LGBT community, even criminals, among others. To require a human rights course in law school curricula, which China's experts propose, would make real headway.
 
Say this: For China to put so much effort into human rights education and in explaining and touting its human rights achievements is to recognize the importance of human rights. That, even by itself, is progress.

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