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The Path of Human Rights Development with Chinese Characteristics and the Party’s Leadership Development
March 27,2022   By:CSHRS
The Path of Human Rights Development with Chinese Characteristics and the Party’s Leadership Development
 
QIAN Jinyu*
 
Abstract: Driving the development of human rights in China and participating in global human rights governance are the inherent requirements for the development of human rights with Chinese characteristics. To explore a path for the development human rights with Chinese characteristics, the fundamental requirement is to push forward the development of the Party’s leadership in multiple dimensions while adhering to the Party’s leadership. Among them, the Party’s political leadership is the fundamental guarantee for the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics to move in the right direction. The Party’s ideological leadership provides advanced guidance for the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics. The Party’s strategic decision-making capability determines the effectiveness of the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics. The Party’s capability of mobilizing and leading the whole of society and integrating political and social resources is a necessity for a sustainable power supply for the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics.Establishing a path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics and further promoting respect for and protection of human rights are important actions to advance the Party’s leadership development in the New Era.
 
Keywords: the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics ·The Communist Party of China · leadership development
 
In China’s modern history, fighting for and protecting human rights has been a great cause undertaken by the CPC members. Respecting and protecting human rights and ensuring a happy life for all Chinese people is the inherent requirement and the key assurance for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and a great modern socialist country. The CPC’s leadership holds the key to achieving the Two Centenary Goals and the great national rejuvenation, and advancing the human rights progress in China. It is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. While leading the Chinese people to promote modernized governance and seek a happy life, the CPC is also endeavoring to improve global governance in pursuit of the wellbeing of all humanity. To develop human rights in China, we must intensify the CPC’s leadership at a time when we are working hard for great national rejuvenation and when the world is experiencing profound changes never seen in a century. We must push forward the great cause of strengthening the building of the ruling party to adapt to the needs of the times, continuously enhance the CPC’s leadership, and keep reinforcing the mission-driven Party in the New Era that’s centered on the people and aimed at human rights protection. 
 
As a Marxist political party conscious of its mission, the CPC takes the people as the starting point and the ultimate goal of all its political agenda and process. “People orientation is the most distinctive character of Marxism and the most conspicuous feature of socialist human rights culture.”1 From day one, the CPC members have made it their mission to pursue happiness for the Chinese people and development for all humanity. The CPC’s 100-year history of leading the Chinese people in China’s revolution, construction and reform has vividly illustrated the historical logic of “people centrism.” A key part of its original aspiration and mission is pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and striving for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. From the commitment that “the people’s aspiration for a good life is our goal” to “not leaving a single one behind on the way to moderate prosperity,” the CPC’s political concept, as embodied in its governance of the country, is serving the people in all its work. In its people-centered governance mode, “The people are our Party’s foundation and greatest strength in governance. It is in this sense that we say people’s support is of paramount importance.”2 It’s also clear that the Chinese people support the direction and goal of the CPC. Comrade Xi Jinping stressed, “The ultimate human right is that people can lead a happy life”.3 A beautiful life (or a happy life) has distinct and far-reaching political connotations. Although there isn’t a global consensus yet on the core elements and basic forms of human rights, the political legitimacy of any political community stems from the community members’ most common appeal for a happy life with subsistence as the precondition and development as the vision. The concept of a happy life gained greater significance during the global struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic. One effect of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus was the shock it gave the West’s traditional political theories. On the one hand, the classical natural law theory, the cornerstone of Western human rights theories, can no longer answer the doubts and challenges imposed by modern humanities dominated by scientific imperialism. On the other hand, the Western theories on democracy and governance do not provide effective rational and cognitive support for Western society in the face of modern risks, as shown by the pandemic. Western politicians found no helpful guidance on how to respond in their traditional political theories, and instead they resorted to scapegoating and lie-telling. Against such a background, reviewing the importance of “subsistence” and “development” as the keywords in human rights and reshaping political morality on the level of human happiness and dignity seem more valuable. 
 
In his congratulatory letter to the forum marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Xi Jinping pointed out, “Together with the peoples of other countries, and based on the common values of humanity — peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom — China is committed to safeguarding human dignity and rights, and promoting fairer, more equitable and inclusive global governance of human rights, so as to build a community with a shared future for human beings and strive for a better world.”4 As a responsible major country, China always takes an active part in global human rights governance with a view to advancing the development of human rights worldwide. “It is the unswerving goal of the CPC to run our own house well, ensure a happy life for the 1.4 billion plus Chinese people, and advance the lofty cause of promoting peace and development of all mankind.”5 In the 21st century, the CPC shoulders the historical mission of coordinating and cooperating with political parties of all countries to improve global governance of human rights, preserve human dignity and rights, and realize the free and all-round development of mankind. As Comrade Xi Jinping said in his keynote address at the CPC and World Political Parties Summit, “The CPC will shoulder its responsibilities as a major political party in a major country to make new contributions to improving the wellbeing of mankind. The CPC will actively improve global governance to make new contributions to humanity’s joint response to common challenges.”6 Ensuring a happy life for the Chinese people and improving global human rights governance is the historical mission of the CPC members, constituting an essential part of the Chinese path of human rights development. 
 
To fulfill its mission, a political party needs to enhance its capabilities; to do that, it needs to reinforce its leadership. The CPC’s leadership is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. “The key to running China well lies in the CPC.”7 Can China effectively promote human rights development in the country and the world in general? That requires the CPC realize effective self-development, the smooth progress of CPC-led modernization of state governance in China, and the effective functioning of CPC-led governance of the country. In the New Era, to make sure that the CPC remains a firm leading core for China’s socialist cause, we must uphold its leadership while continuously enhancing its leadership capabilities.
 
In the context of exploring the human rights development path with Chinese characteristics, the CPC’s leadership refers to the capabilities of the CPC as the vanguard of China’s working class, the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and as the leading core of China’s socialist cause. The CPC has fostered, demonstrated and applied its capabilities in the course of embarking on that path, including political leadership, ideological leadership, strategic decision-making ability, and the ability to mobilize and coordinate political and social resources. 
 
First, the CPC’s political leadership relates to whether the Chinese path of human rights development can progress in the right direction. When building this path, what’s most important is sticking to the right political direction, which is of paramount importance in the modernization of state governance and comprehensive law-based governance. An important piece of experience drawn from the great journey of China’s revolution, construction and reform is that direction decides the path and the path determines destiny. At the sixth group study session held by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Party building, comrade Xi Jinping underscored political direction as “an issue of paramount importance to our Party’s existence and development, and that determines its future and the prospects of its cause.”8 Political leadership relates to the direction of China’s human rights cause, taking the wrong direction would lead to a dilemma or even failure. Therefore, we have to develop and perfect the CPC’s leadership, enhance the Party’s absolute leadership in building the path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics, and guarantee the correctness of the political direction. 
 
Second, the CPC’s ideological leadership relates to whether the Chinese path of human rights development can be guided by advanced thought. Political thought and theories are important in that they provide powerful theoretical guidance for political practices. The CPC’s ideological leadership ensures that the CPC, while leading the Chinese people in building a Chinese path of human rights development, can be guided by advanced thought and theories and acquire strong vitality from them. A review of the Party’s centennial journey reveals the effect of the CPC’s ideological leadership — the CPC always follows the guidance of Marxism and the latest results of its adaptation to China’s reality when leading the Chinese people in the great practices of revolution, construction and reform. Marxism is a formidable ideological weapon that has guided the CPC in reforming both the subjective and objective worlds. More importantly, the CPC’s ideological leadership enables the Party to conscientiously combine the basic principles of Marxism with China’s political reality in its political practices, and promote Marxism in China by adapting it to China’s actual conditions and the trends of the time. It advances the development of Marxism while lighting the way for China’s political agenda.
 
In the great practice of advancing the modernization of China’s state governance in the 21st century, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, provides the most scientific and robust ideological guidance and guarantee for the effective implementation of all-round law-based governance and makes the strategic plan and design for it truly scientific, systematic and forward-looking. The rich human rights concepts, ideas and theories with Chinese characteristics contained in Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era offer fundamental guidance and leadership for establishing China’s theoretical system and discourse system of human rights and building the Chinese path of human rights development. 
 
Third, the CPC’s strategic decision-making ability relates to whether the Chinese path of human rights development can generate tangible results. From the perspective of institutionalism, institutions are vital for maintaining and supporting national stability, prosperity and sustainability. “The CPC’s leadership is first and foremost reflected in making strategic decisions on the Party’s and nation’s development, including formulating fundamental policies and guidelines, making legislative suggestions, and recommending key cadres. The CPC’s leadership or comprehensive leadership essentially means its strategic decision-making ability.”9 In the process of building a Chinese path of human rights development, promoting human rights undertakings in China and participating in global human rights governance, the ability to determine the strategy and make decisions for human rights development is a critical factor. 
 
Finally, the CPC’s ability to lead the people in effectively mobilizing and coordinating political and social resources relates to whether the Chinese path of human rights development can have sustained momentum. The effects of a strategy depend on the scientific, systematic and forward-looking strategic plan and design, and also on its effective implementation, which requires strong execution of the strategy and adequate and effective strategic resources. In building the Chinese path of human rights development, the CPC’s rigorous organizational system is the powerful organizational assurance for the execution of the all-round law-based governance strategy. Ever since its founding, the CPC has been able to boast of its political publicity and social mobilization and coordination capabilities. Such abilities enable it to attract social elites as its members, coordinate various social interests, and utilize and process all kinds of social resources, all of which are translated into the strategic resources for building the Chinese path of human rights development. No other organization or agency in Chinese society can claim such abilities or effects. 
 
To sum up, its leadership is the principal reflection of a political party’s vitality. For the CPC, reinforcing its leadership is the intrinsic logic foe upholding and strengthening its comprehensive leadership. Driven by the mission of achieving great national rejuvenation and building a modern socialist country, the CPC’s leadership includes the ability of self-development and the capability of leading the Chinese people in advancing China’s human rights development and participating in global human rights governance. It must be noted that building the Chinese path of human rights development and furthering the respect for and protection of human rights can, in turn, cement the foundation for strengthening the Party’s leadership in the New Era. By presenting a dimension to verify the effect of the CPC’s leadership building, it also serves as an important way of fortifying its leadership in the New Era. 
 
(Translated by XIANG Na)
 
* QIAN Jinyu ( 钱锦宇 ), Professor, Executive Deputy Director of Human Rights Research Center at Northwest University of Political Science and Law.
 
1. Lu Guangjin, “On Building Chinese Human Rights Culture in the New Era,” Human Rights 2 (2021): 6.
 
2. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China (III) (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 137.
 
3. Ibid., 288.
 
4. Ibid.
 
5. Xinhua News Agency, “Xi Jinping gives keynote address at the CPC and World Political Parties Summit, Wang Huning attends the summit,” People’s Daily, July 7, 2021.
 
6. Ibid.
 
7. Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Bulletin of the 6th Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2016), 4.
 
8. Ibid., 2 and 93.
 
9. Li Junru, “CPC’s Leadership in ‘Comprehensive Leadership’”, Beijing Daily, August 20, 2018.
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