Safeguarding Human Rights is the Unwavering Mission of the Communist Party of China
February 22,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
Feb.22,2021 -- en.humanrights.cn: "The people's happiness is the objective of all our efforts". General Secretary Xi Jinping's firm statement illuminates the aim and purpose of all the endeavors of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government. Marking the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding, the year 2021 sees the commencement of a new journey. In our first episode of the new year, we are honored to have Ms Zhang Xiaoling, former deputy director of the Politics and Law Department at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee. She will talk about some of China's great achievements in human rights under the leadership of the CPC. Welcome, Ms Zhang!
Zhang Xiaoling: Hello!
For the past year, people around the world have come under threat from COVID-19. Everyone is talking about the right to life and health and their significance in human rights. How will the discussion promote the understanding and protection of human rights? 
COVID-19 is the gravest global public emergency since the Second World War with nearly 80 million people infected and more than 1.7 million people dead. It has posed a huge threat and challenge to people's rights to life. 
In the face of the sudden outbreak under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping at the core, the CPC and the Chinese government have upheld the principle of “putting people first” and “prioritizing people's rights to life and health”. A war against the epidemic has been waged across the entire country with firm actions to control the virus and deliver rescue and assistance. People in China have united to fight the virus. China tried hard to protect the lives of all patients whether it is 30-hour-old babies or 100-year-olds foreign students or other foreign nationals in China. With people's lives, dignity, and value cared for, we have made major achievements in our fight against the virus. At the same time, we have overcome various difficulties as we coordinate our work to balance epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development. China has turned out to be the only major economy in the world to realize positive economic growth and has achieved the objective of the 13th Five-Year Plan. This is superb.
Epidemic prevention and control are still underway, which has made us realize that people's right to life is the foundation for all human rights and is the most important human rights principle. The spread of the virus across the world has let us realize the seriousness of it. Adhering to the philosophy of "building a community of common health for mankind", we have responded actively to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan. We have provided support totaling USD 50 million to the World Health Organization, offered material assistance to more than 150 countries and international organizations and exported pandemic relief supplies to more than 200 countries and regions so as to better protect people's rights to life and health in other countries. In terms of safeguarding the people's right to life and health, China has established itself as an international example. 
In this fight against the virus, the CPC has proved itself to be a leader, promoter and practitioner in safeguarding human rights. The fight has demonstrated the tremendous advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC. 
en.humanrights.cn: The fight against COVID-19 has fully demonstrated that our Party's fundamental goal is to defend human rights of the people. Ever since its founding the CPC has set its goals of bringing happiness to the people and seeking development for mankind. Is it correct to say that the CPC has attached great importance to human rights protection right from its establishment?
Zhang Xiaoling: Yes, it is. General Secretary Xi Jinping once said "People's happy life is the greatest human right. Since the day of its foundation, the CPC has set its goal of working for the wellbeing of the people of China and for the progress of humanity". The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and it's also the 100th year of the CPC fighting for the rights and interests of the Chinese people. After the Opium War in 1840, China gradually turned into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Trampled by imperialism, crony capitalism and feudalism, the Chinese people had no human rights. At that critical historical moment, the CPC was formed in 1921 with the introduction of Marxism to China. Since its founding, the CPC has made bringing happiness to the people and rejuvenating the Chinese nation as its ultimate goal and mission. For the past 100 years, the CPC has led the Chinese people through revolutions, constructions and reforms. This is indeed a history of fighting for independence and liberation, happiness and human rights of the Chinese people. 
en.humanrights.cn: Could you take us through the history of China's human rights development during the past 100 years? 
Zhang Xiaoling: This history comprises two stages. 
The first stage is when the Chinese people founded the New China in 1949 and became their own masters after fighting for 28 years under the leadership of the CPC. As early as the 1920s, our Party proposed the slogan of "Fighting for Human Rights and Liberty". At various stages of the New Democratic Revolution, our Party not only organized and led human rights campaigns for workers, farmers, women and students but also issued a number of outlines and regulations on human rights protection. The founding of the New China in 1949 marks the independence and liberation of the Chinese people, which accounted for a quarter of the world's population. The Chinese people became the real master of their nation. 
The second stage is the 70 years after the founding of the New China and particularly the 40 years since the reform and opening up during which China's human rights undertaking saw an all-round development as the nation has gradually grown prosperous under the leadership of the CPC. China's human rights cause has made significant progress with people's political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights better protected. Our remarkable achievements have stunned the world. 
In the Old China, over 80% of the people were subject to long-term hunger and semi-starvation. Almost every year, there were tens or hundreds of thousands of people who died of starvation. The situation was worse when severe natural disasters happened. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the CPC and the Chinese government have regarded the happiness of the people as the most fundamental human right and made meeting the people's most basic needs and eliminating absolute poverty their top priorities and most urgent tasks. After over 70 years of continuous hard work, especially with the 40 years of development spurred by reform and opening up, we have successfully lifted more than 800 million people out of absolute poverty. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made the strategic decision to implement targeted poverty alleviation, which has lifted nearly 100 million people and 832 poor counties out of poverty. It is the first time that absolute poverty has been eliminated in the thousands of years of history of China. Contributing over 70% to the global poverty reduction cause. China's achievement is a miracle in human history and is of colossal significance for both the nation and mankind. 
Since the founding of the New China over 70 years ago, China has upheld the principle of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual learning, win–win cooperation and common development as it actively engages itself in the human rights work of the UN. China has participated in 28 UN human rights covenants and has offered assistance worth 400 billion yuan to more than 160 countries and international organizations across the world. The Chinese government has declared unconditional debt relief measures as many as seven times for zero-interest government debts owed by heavily indebted countries and the least developed countries as part of its effort to help developing countries reduce poverty. After the 18th National Congress of the CPC, General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed the notion of "staying on the path of peaceful development and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind", which has received wide recognition from the international community and been incorporated into UN resolutions a number of times. 
en.humanrights.cn: In the course of maintaining and safeguarding human rights, we have gradually developed a systematic human rights conception that is based on the realities of our own country and blazed a path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics. Could you explain for us what this path is like?
Zhang Xiaoling: There are five aspects to this path. 
The first is upholding the leadership of the CPC. This is the most basic feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The leadership of the CPC serves as the biggest advantage and the fundamental political guarantee for the development of. China's human rights undertaking. The CPC is the leader, initiator, promoter and practitioner of China's human rights undertaking. 
The second is integrating the universal human rights principles with China's realities. China is a developing country with the world's largest population. Respecting and protecting human rights represents the trend of the world civilizations and also aligns with the governing philosophy and mission of our Party. Only by recognizing China’s realities can we realize universal human rights principles and truly promote the human rights cause. 
The third aspect is protecting human rights with the rule of law. It is the rule of law that ensures that the protection of human rights can be achieved via legal procedures and the laws are observed. Human rights protection requires institutional guarantees. On November 17 this year, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed in his speech at the central conference on work related to overall law-based governance in the history of the CPC, "the fundamental goal of comprehensively promoting the rule of law is to safeguard people's rights and interests according to law". 
The fourth aspect is coordinating human rights work. As a system of rights, human rights reflect people's demands for rights in various areas. Human rights protection involves all areas of economic, political, cultural, social and ecological construction and is also important for coordinated development between people’s economic, social, cultural rights and the people's civil and political rights. 
The fifth aspect is promoting human rights dialogue and cooperation with different countries. Due to differences in social system, history and culture, different countries may have different human rights conceptions and practices. These differences cannot be addressed by hegemony, bullying or confrontation. Instead, we should find a solution via communication, dialogue and cooperation. In March 2018, China's proposal of "Promoting win–win cooperation in the field of human rights" was adopted by the UN Council. This resolution stresses upholding multilateralism and reinforcing international dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights in order to achieve win–win results. China is devoted to promoting international dialogue and cooperation in human rights on the basis of equality and mutual respect. 
China has made a contribution to the global human rights undertaking by developing a path of human rights that suits its own realities. 
en.humanrights.cn: With the new year approaching, what expectations do you have for 2021? 
Zhang Xiaoling: The year 2020 has been a very special year for the Chinese people. We have made remarkable achievements in the fight against the pandemic, resumption of business and production and development of the economy under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping at its core. 
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and is the opening year of the 14th Five-Year Plan period. In 2021, we will march towards the second centenary goal and set out on the new journey of building a modern socialist China. 
"The Proposals for the Formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035" adopted at the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee is a plan that highlights the rights and interests of the Chinese people. By implementing "The Proposals", China's human rights undertaking is heading toward a new level. It is not difficult to imagine that we will come across a lot of difficulties and challenges on our road but with the entire country united under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the year 2021 is sure to be a year full of hope and harvest. 
en.humanrights.cn: Human rights are the shared treasure of all human civilizations. Every nationality and country has made its own contribution to protecting human rights. Under the leadership of the CPC, China has integrated universal human rights principles with its own realities and blazed a path of human rights development that suits its own conditions. We uphold a people-centered human rights concept and regard the rights to subsistence and development as the primary and basic human rights. We strive to promote people's economic political, social, cultural and environmental rights in a coordinated way and maintain social equality and justice in order to promote people's all-round development. We will contribute our share to the human rights cause of mankind. Thank you for watching and see you in our next episode.


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