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The Communist Party of China’s Human Rights Assertions in its Centennial Diplomacy: An Evolutionary Evaluation
May 22,2022   By:CSHRS
The Communist Party of China’s Human Rights Assertions in its Centennial Diplomacy: An Evolutionary Evaluation
 
ZHANG Aining*
 
Abstract: The Communist Party of China’s propositions regarding human rights in its diplomatic practice over the past 100 years have emerged and evolved amid drastic changes in the domestic and international environment, and it is necessary to interpret them in the context of the times and their particular historic juncture.With the theme of the CPC’s diplomatic thought changing from “revolution and war” to “peace and development” over the past century, the core value of the CPC’s propositions regarding human rights in its diplomatic practice has gradually evolved from the view of collective human rights characterized by demanding, realizing and defending the right to national self-determination to the view which attaches equal importance to individual and collective human rights and espouses a people-centered approach in human rights protection. In this process, the CPC has followed the international trend, accepted international human rights norms, actively participated in global human rights governance, integrated the universality of human rights with China’s national conditions, continually summed up its own experience in human rights practice, provided the international community with Chinese wisdom and solutions, advanced the establishment of a fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance system, promoted the building of a community of shared future for mankind, and opened a new path of human rights diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.
 
Keywords: The Communist Party of China · diplomatic practice · propositions regarding human rights
 
Diplomacy is the extension of a country’s internal affairs and the embodiment of the nation’s will. Its fundamental goal is to realize national ito prevent the Japanese orphan girls from being cast away on foreign land and even 
nterests. National interests aren’t an invariable constant, and policymakers need to adjust the structure and priorities of national interests in accordance with changes in the national and international situations, national capacity and state will.1 The evolution of the propositions of the Communist Party of China (CPC) regarding human rights depend on the Party’s understanding of position of human rights in the structure of national interests in different historical periods and has a close relationship with whether the CPC is the ruling party, as well as China’s international standing, the international environment it faces, and the CPC’s ruling concepts and governance modes. The CPC was born against the backdrop of the Chinese people’s fight against imperial invasion and oppression in pursuit of national liberation and independence. It grew up in the process of achieving and defending national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has become strong and mature in the process of leading the country’s reform and opening-up and socialist modernization, and safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. After a century of development, the CPC’s diplomatic philosophy has gradually transformed from statecentrism with a focus on defending holistic interests to a people-centered approach that cares for people’s individual rights and interests and promotes diplomacy for the people. Throughout this process, the CPC’s objectives and priorities of human rights protection have been adjusted in line with the changes in the structure of national interests in different historical periods. Accordingly, the CPC’s propositions regarding human rights in its diplomatic practice have gradually evolved from the view of collective human rights characterized by demanding, realizing and defending the right to national self-determination to the view which attaches equal importance to individual and collective human rights and espouses a people-centered approach in human rights protection.
 
I. The Burgeoning of Human Rights Thoughts in the CPC’s Propositions Regarding Diplomacy During the New Democratic Revolution Period 
 
When the CPC was born, the Chinese nation was under the dark rule of imperialism and feudalism. Back then, the country was separated, the nation was under the heel of invaders, and warlords waged frequent wars against one another, leaving Chinese people deep in the abyss of suffering. Saving the country and the people and achieving national independence, unity, democracy and prosperity became a shared dream of Chinese people of all ethnic groups.2 In this context, throughout the new democratic revolution, the CPC laid the focus of its work on rallying the working class and forging a solid alliance of workers and peasants and uniting the Chinese people in pursuit of national liberation and independence and making labouring people the masters of the country. During this period, the central theme of the CPC’s diplomatic philosophy was “seeking survival through revolution.” The CPC advocated and organized the fight against imperialism, colonialism and feudalism for the survival of the country and the nation. At the same time, it achieved subsistence and development through revolution.3 The CPC’s theories and propositions regarding diplomacy mainly embodied the view of collective human rights characterized by the fight against imperialism, colonialism and foreign invasion and the pursuit of national freedom, equality, liberation and independence. During this period, although the concept of collective human rights hadn’t taken shape yet, the CPC and its leaders’ theories, propositions and revolutionary goals regarding diplomacy were all imbued with the awareness of collective human rights and had many similarities to the connotations and extensions of the right to national self-determination as embodied in the international human rights law formulated later. It is even safe to say that the reason why the Charter of the United Nations identified “equal rights and self-determination of peoples” as a guiding principle of the United Nations and “national self-determination” was later confirmed as a basic principle of the international law was the victory of the CPC-led Chinese people in the fight against imperialism, colonialism and invasion, which undoubtedly provided a persuasive practical paradigm and moral foundation for the international community. In addition, the CPC’s efforts to provide protection for war victims during the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and for foreign nationals on the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 have some similarities to the system to protect individual human rights of some certain groups of people in the contemporary international human rights law. 
 
A. The period from the early days of the CPC to the period of the Agrarian Revolution
 
Since the very day of its founding, the CPC has stood the frontline in the battle against imperialism, colonialism and foreign invasion, inspired and organized the people to fight against the oppression of imperialism and colonialism, called for abolishing unequal treaties, and pursued national freedom, equality and independence. In 2017, Chen Duxiu interpreted the goals of the CPC-led revolutionary movement in his the Red Movement and China’s Diplomacy: eliminate all political and economic privileges and dominions of imperialist countries in China, confiscate and nationalize all economic invasion bodies of imperialist countries in China, withdraw all foreign army and naval forces in China, abolish extraterritoriality, recover all concessions and leased territories, cancel all unequal treaties, restore customs autonomy, annul the Boxer Indemnity and other unjust foreign debts, call off foreigners’ administrative rights regarding railways, salt and postal services, and confiscate and nationalize foreign-funded banks, mines, railways, shipping businesses, and factories as well as land bought by foreigners.4 Chen pointed out that only in this way could the national revolution win a complete victory and China shake off foreign political and economic rule and invasion, build its independent economic strength and culture, and carry out mutually beneficial economic cooperation with countries in an equal manner.5
 
In 1921, when the government of Guangzhou tried to reclaim the right of personnel administration at the customs, Britain and the United States sent troops to occupy the customs, with their warships invading into Guangdong Province’s inland rivers and their marines parading on the land of China, in an attempt to intimidate the government of Guangzhou. Chen Duxiu, then chairman of the CPC Central Committee, and the committee’s secretary Luo Zhanglong jointly issued the No.11 Notice of the CPC Central Committee, requesting “comrades in all districts and regions to immediately convene emergency plenary meetings and organize various social groups to take resolute actions to boycott British goods” and issuing “a public telegram calling for recovering all customs throughout China to resume the country’s due sovereignty.” Cai Hesen published a public letter titled Notice to All Chinese People on Resuming Sovereignty over Customs, in which he said, “The Chinese people now have only two choices: one is to submit to foreign invaders and become their slaves; the other is to rise up against foreign imperialists.”6 In 1922, the Executive Council of the CPC Central Committee issued The CPC’s Views on the Current Situation, clarifying that the primary one of the Party’s 11 goals was to “correct the agreed tariff system, abolish foreign powers’ exterritorial privileges in China, annul railway debts and restore administrative right over railways.”7 In 1923, the Third CPC National Congress adopted the Program of the CPC (draft). Article 1 of the Program clearly called for “abolishing all unequal treaties signed between imperialist powers and China, implementing protective tariff rules, and restricting the right of foreign countries and nationals to establish churches, schools, factories, and banks.”8 In 1925, Chen Duxiu published the essay Leninism and China’s National Movement, in which he elaborated the differences between Leninism and capitalist reformism in the views on national issues. Chen spoke highly of the Third International led by Lenin, which not only had no discrimination against any human races, but also committed to the primary goal of “uniting all oppressed proletarians and nations around the world to overthrow international capitalist imperialism’s rule and exploitation of the world and enable the whole mankind to enjoy real equality and freedom.”9 Chen pointed out that only by following Lenin’s instructions could all colonies and oppressed countries (namely, semi-colonies) around the world win complete victory in their national movements and achieve real freedom.10 After the outbreak of the May 30th Movement in 1925, Chen Duxiu published an essay to call for “punishing murderers, dismissing and replacing British, American and Japanese consuls in Shanghai, abolishing foreign countries’ consular jurisdictions in China, restoring foreign concessions around China, withdrawing foreign army and naval forces stationed in China’s territory, and banning foreign army and naval forces from landing on China’s territory.”11Chen also pointed out that “China’s anti-imperialism movement is a movement seeking national freedom” and in essence, it “is a battle of all Chinese people against imperialist countries for national survival and freedom, instead of a battle of a certain place or a certain group of people against a certain country on a certain issue.” He called on “Chinese people to unite their strength to abolish all unequal treaties.”12 Qu Qiubai wrote in his essay that abolishing unequal treaties meant to “radically overthrow imperialists’ rule of China, and specifically speaking, restore all foreign concessions, resume the sovereignty over customs, abolish the agreed tariff system, cancel consular jurisdiction, withdraw foreign armies and naval forces in China, and annul foreigners’ privileges such as freely opening factories in China.”13 In 1932, the First Anti-Imperialism Congress of the Central Soviet Area adopted the Program of the Anti-Imperialism Movement, which put forward 19 tasks such as “overthrowing imperialists’ rule in China and driving imperialist army, naval and air forces out of China,” and established the Anti-Imperialism General Alliance of the Soviet Area.14
 
B. The period of nationwide resistance against Japanese Aggression
 
Fighting for national freedom. In January 1938, soon after the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression broke out on a full scale, Chen Duxiu pointed out in a speech at Wuchang Academy of Arts that China’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression aimed not only to recover lost territories, but also to seek national freedom. He said, “Previously Japan once proposed developing ‘China-Japan friendship’, and we don’t oppose real friendship between China and Japan. However, the so-called ‘friendship’ Japan wants is a kind of ‘friendship’ in which it stands while Chinese people kneel down. Thus, we have to fight for freedom. China needs to continue fighting till the day it gains freedom. Not until we achieve national freedom will we stop fighting; we should never compromise halfway. Our resistance until the last moment isn’t a blind and aimless fight, but aims to shake off enslavement and achieve freedom and independence in a real sense.”15 On August 14, 1941, the heads of state of the United States and Britain signed the Atlantic Charter, pledging to the world that after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, the two countries would “respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live” and “hope to establish a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear.”16 Based on the “Four Freedoms” put forward by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Atlantic Charter won support from the CPC on the very day of its signing. On August 19, the CPC Central Committee published a statement: “All Chinese people favourably receive the declaration of Britain and the United States… It is not only the international foundation for the people of Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union to be liberated from the threat of Fascism, but also the international foundation for the liberation of all people around the world including Chinese people.”17 In December of the same year, Zhou Enlai published the essay the Pacific War and the World War Situation, announcing to fight Fascism until the last drop of blood: “As for the stance on national defensive war, any nation who doesn’t want to become slaves of Fascism will fight to the end for liberation no matter what it may cost.”18
 
Abiding by the rules of international humanitarian law. The international humanitarian law is called the human rights law of war. During the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army under the leadership of the CPC upheld the principle of humanism to provide relief to civilians of enemy states and properly treat prisoners of war while tenaciously fighting Japanese invaders. In 1940, the Chinese troops commanded by Nie Rongzhen rescued two Japanese orphans. In a letter to the Japanese army, Nie wrote: “The two Japanese orphan girls, one aged at five or six and the other remaining in infancy, are helpless and pitiful. We Chinese accepted and took care of them. Now we send them back. Please transfer them to their relatives who can raise them, so as dying in the warfare.”19 The Administrative Program of the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Area adopted in 1941 specified the policy on the treatment of prisoners of war: The policy of leniency should be applied to all enemy officers and soldiers captured on the battlefields, regardless of the circumstance; those who volunteer to join the resistance against Japanese aggression shall be accepted and treated well; those who are unwilling shall be released, and shall not be killed, insulted or forced to surrender or write confession letters. The policy was applicable to those who were released but captured again no matter how many times. It also stipulated that the policy shall also be applied to domestic troops who attacked the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army and other armed forces against Japanese aggression. The Program required all administrative personnel of the CPC to “resolutely implement” the policy.20
 
Participating in the drafting of the Charter of the United Nations. World War II ended with victory in defending human rights. On behalf of the CPC and as a member of the Chinese delegation, Dong Biwu attended the San Francisco Conference and signed the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter clarified the purposes of the United Nations, including “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace” and “To promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”21 It also stipulated UN members’ obligations regarding human rights protection, such as promoting “universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”22 The stipulations on human rights in the Charter of the United Nations marked the beginning of international human rights governance. From then on, the international human rights protection system began to emerge and develop. All forces against Japanese aggression throughout China, represented by the CPC, made huge sacrifices to fight the Japanese fascist invaders and made historic contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. Their efforts were an integral part of the moral foundation and material support for the emergence of the contemporary international human rights protection system. 
 
C. The period of the war of liberation
 
Advocating international cooperation on the basis of the Charter of the United Nations and the “Four Freedoms.” In 1946, Deng Yingchao was invited to attend the World Women Conference to be held in Washington D.C. However, due to the obstruction of the Kuomintang government, Deng didn’t get her passport on time, so she failed to attend the conference. Later, Deng wrote a letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the letter, she elaborated on the suffering of Chinese women during the ongoing civil war in China, pointed out that China’s civil war was threatening world peace, and requested American women and people to urge the U.S. government to end its China policy of assisting the Kuomintang government in the civil war and withdraw U.S. troops from China. Deng said that “Chinese women demand friendly cooperation with all countries in the world” and stressed that “resolutely following the Charter of the United Nations and President Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ concept is the only foundation for solidarity and cooperation.”23
 
Formulating and implementing an independent foreign policy of peace to achieve national self-determination in a real sense. In early 1949, on the eve of the victory of the War of Liberation, the CPC Central Committee made instructions on diplomacy work: “In principle, imperialist countries’ privileges in China must be abolished and the independence and liberation of the Chinese nation must be achieved. This is our unremitting stance. In terms of implementation, however, tailored measures should be taken according to the respective natures and circumstances of different issues.” One of the most important stipulations on specific diplomatic policies was: “any foreign country or the United Nations should be allowed to intervene in China’s internal affairs because China is an independent state and all affairs within China’s territory shall be handled by the Chinese people and the people’s government.”24 In April 1949, the CPC issued the Statement of the Spokesperson of the Headquarters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army on the Atrocities of the British Warship, which expressed its willingness to establish diplomatic relations with foreign countries, and stressed that such relations must be built on the basis of equality, mutual benefits, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and China wouldn’t accept any threatening behavior of any foreign government. It also noted that if foreign governments were willing to establish diplomatic ties with New China, they must cut off their relations with Kuomintang remnants and withdraw their armed forces from China’s territory.25 In June 1949, Mao Zedong interpreted the basic principles of New China’s foreign policy at the preparatory meeting of the new political consultative conference: “China must achieve independence and liberation, China’s internal affairs must be handled by the Chinese people on their own, and any imperialist country isn’t allowed to make any intervention.” 26
 
Protecting foreign nationals in China. The Directives of the CPC Central Committee on Diplomacy issued in early 1949 clearly stipulated that China would “protect all foreign nationals if they are legitimate.”27 Mao Zedong personally drafted an order requiring to “particularly instruct the troops” in properly protecting all foreign nationals and diplomats in China.28 In May 1949, the Report of the CPC Nanjing Municipal Committee on the Rules of Garrison Troops in Handling Issues Related to Foreign Nationals, approved by the Central Military Commission, stipulated: The garrison troops shall be responsible for protecting all law-abiding foreign nationals and their properties from the destruction by bandits and spies; without the permission of governing authorities Chinese personnel shall not enter foreign embassies and consulates, residences of foreign nationals, churches, etc. and shall not appropriate the houses of foreign nationals; In case of fire or housebreaking, garrison troops and police departments shall carry out firefighting operations or theft investigations under the instruction of specialized personnel designated by competent authorities at a higher level in the involved residences of foreign nationals, and perform their duties strictly within the scope as stipulated by relevant regulations. If foreign nationals violate the laws and regulations and shall be brought to the police and garrison headquarters, they shall not be trussed up, abused or insulted. According to the Central Military Commission, in addition to Nanjing, policies listed in the Report should also be complied by all troops entering big cities in other parts of China.29
 
II. Human Rights Propositions and Practices in the CPC’s Foreign Policy during the Period of Socialist Revolution and Construction 
 
For a long time after its founding, the People’s Republic of China faced an international situation in which it was isolated, blockaded and contained in all areas. How to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and win more international support became the top priority of New China, which was also the primary goal of its diplomacy. During this period, guided by Mao Zedong’s diplomatic thought, the CPC formulated and implemented an independent foreign policy and upheld the diplomatic philosophy of “seeking acknowledgment through struggle,” in to the hope of earning the international community’s recognition of China’s political and economic standing.30 The CPC began to express its propositions in the discourse of human rights in diplomatic affairs, oppose imperialism and colonialism (later evolving into opposing hegemony and power politics), and support national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In this period, the CPC’s propositions regarding human rights in diplomatic practices mainly demonstrated the view of collective human rights characterized by supporting and defending the right to national self-determination. 
 
A. China’s independent foreign policy of peace and human rights 
 
In 1952, at a meeting of Chinese diplomats, Zhou Enlai interpreted the guidelines and tasks of the peaceful foreign policy adopted by New China, which reflected the CPC’s determination to pursue and defend genuine and complete national sovereignty and independence. 
 
Establishing the diplomatic guidelines characterized by independence, equality and mutual benefits. (1) “Setting up a separate kitchen.” This meant that the PRC did not acknowledge the diplomatic relations previously established by the Kuomintang government with foreign governments but sought to establish new diplomatic ties on a new foundation. The diplomatic ties between China and foreign countries were to be established on the basis of equality, mutual benefits, and mutual respect for territorial sovereignty.31 The guideline of “setting up a separate kitchen” ended China’s semicolonial history and enabled it to establish independent foreign relations. (2) “Sweeping the house clean before inviting guests over.” This meant that before establishing diplomatic ties with other countries, China needed to first clear up the remnants of imperialism, leaving no room for them to resurge. The military forces of imperialist countries had been driven out, but their economic forces formed over the past century in China remained massive, especially in terms of cultural influence, which would exert a negative impact on China’s independence.32 (3) “Mutual exchange of needed products.” This meant that foreign countries should carry out trade with China based on the principles of equality and mutual benefits, instead of just making China a market of their consumer products like before.33
 
Establishing the guiding principle of diplomacy characterized by the equality of all nations. Zhou Enlai noted that every nation has its own advantages that are worth respecting and learning, and we need to discard insular nationalist sentiment and uphold internationalism while opposing the so-called “cosmopolitanism” that would let us lose national confidence and surrender to big powers. He explained that the so-called “cosmopolitanism” and “leadership of big powers” reflected some superpowers’ attempts to make small countries obey their instructions and fall victim to their enslavement and exploitation forever. He added that the internationalism China advocates aims to achieve the independence and equality of all countries. Socialist patriotism isn’t insular nationalism, but a kind of patriotism characterized by strengthened national confidence under the guidance of internationalism.34
 
B. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and human rights 
 
In December 1953, in a meeting with a visiting delegation of the Indian government, Zhou Enlai first put forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, namely, mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence, as the guiding principles for the development of bilateral relations. In April 1954, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were officially written into the Preface to the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse Between the Tibet Region of China and India. As an embodiment of the essential feature of international relations, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have become the basic norms of international relations and the underlying principle of international law. The 10-point declaration in the Final Communiqué of the Asian-African Conference released in 1955 is a derivation and development of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. The Non-Aligned Movement that began in the 1960s set the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence as its guideline. The Declaration on Principles of International Law and the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States respectively adopted at the 1970 and 1974 UN general assemblies both accepted the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.35 So far, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have been included in more than 100 bilateral treaties signed between China and foreign countries.
 
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are the prerequisite for respecting, guaranteeing and realizing human rights. In terms of collective human rights, the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are the prerequisite for the realization of national self-determination; they are crucial to a country’s survival and development, especially for developing countries. The right to subsistence, the right to development, and the right to peace are interlinked. Only when a country achieves development can it realize better survival; likewise, only when a country enjoys peace can it achieve better development. In terms of individual human rights, civil rights, as well as political, economic, social and cultural rights can be fully guaranteed and realized only in a peaceful environment. The purpose of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence is to realize the peaceful coexistence of states. In terms of international human rights governance, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs is the core of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. All countries shall promote dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect, seeking common ground while shelving differences. Only in this way can we better safeguard and improve human rights around the world. Any act to impose one’s own human rights norms on another country without consideration of the differences in national conditions and to intervene in internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of human rights will likely result in political instability and social turmoil in other countries, so that the people in those countries may be deprived of the right to enjoy most human rights and basic freedom.36
 
C. The Bandung Conference and human rights 
 
In 1955, Zhou Enlai attended the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia. In his speech at the conference, he pointed out that enjoying human rights without discrimination is the common demand of Asian and African countries and their peoples. Zhou said, “The people of all dependencies should have the right to national self-determination and be free of oppression and slaughtering. All peoples, regardless of race and skin colour, shall enjoy basic human rights and be free of any mistreatment and discrimination.” He added, “Opposing racism and colonialism, demanding basic human rights and national independence, and resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity have been the common aspirations of awakened Asian and African countries and their peoples.”37 In a supplementary statement, Zhou talked about religious freedom. He said, “Freedom of religious belief is a principle widely acknowledged by modern states. We Communists are atheists, but we respect those with religious beliefs. We hope people with religious beliefs also respect those without religious belief.”38
 
Encouraged by China, the Bandung Conference adopted the Final Communiqué of the Asian-African Conference, which listed “respect for fundamental human rights” as the top of the “10-point declaration of the Bandung Conference” for handling state-to-state relations.39 The “10-point declaration of the Bandung Conference” is considered a derivation and development of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which stresses respect for human rights, sovereignty, equality, and cooperation, embodies the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and has become the basic norms for international relations and international law widely accepted by the international community alongside the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.40
 
D. Decolonization Movements and the Right to National Self-determination
 
The Charter of the United Nations established the principle of national selfdetermination. The two international covenants on human rights adopted in 1966 put forward the right to national self-determination.41 The right to national selfdetermination is the first collective human right endorsed by the international human rights law. The establishment of this right was linked with decolonization movements to overthrow colonial rules. The subjects of the right to national self-determination were the colonies that were exploited and oppressed or the peoples or nations whose lands were occupied. The purpose of the exercise of the right to national selfdetermination is to drive out foreign colonists or invaders from colonies or occupied territories. The CPC leaders have advocated and voiced support for the exercise of the right to national-determination on many diplomatic occasions. It is even safe to say that most of the CPC’s propositions regarding human rights in diplomatic practices in the period from the founding of the PRC to the eve of China’s reform and opening-up were related to the right to national self-determination.
 
Advocating equality, freedom and independence of all nations and races. In 1955, when meeting a delegation of Japanese parliamentarians, Mao Zedong said, “Both Chinese and Japanese are colored people who often suffer discrimination. But in my view, colored people are as dignified as white people. Both colored people and white people are humans, instead of animals. All people in the world, regardless of skin color, are equal.”42 In 1956, during a meeting with the visiting delegation of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, Mao Zedong said, “Liberty, equality and fraternity were initially the slogans of the bourgeoisie, but they are now what we are fighting for.”43 In 1954, Zhou Enhai attended the Geneva Conference alongside representatives from the Soviet Union, the United States, France, Britain, and other countries to discuss the restoration of peace in Indochina. In his speech, Zhou used the discourse of human rights to voice support for Vietnam’s independence and for the people of Indochina to fight for the right of independence, freedom and equality. He noted that Vietnam’s independence declaration started with quoting the United States Declaration of Independence “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and it also quoted words from France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, “Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights.” He said, “The governments of the two countries which issued the aforesaid great declarations respectively in 1776 and 1791 should admit that the people of Indochina are the same as American and French peoples, and must enjoy full rights to independence, freedom and equality.”44
 
Supporting national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In 1964, when meeting the delegation of Chilean journalists, Mao Zedong said, “In general we oppose war, but support the war of oppressed people against imperialism.”45 At the Geneva Conference on the restoration of peace in Indochina in 1954, Zhou Enlai said, “What does it mean to acknowledge the national rights of the people of Indochina? That is we must admit that the people of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos have full right to realize their respective national independence, unity, democracy and freedom and live a peaceful life in their respective homeland.”46 In 1956, in the essay Some Questions on the Implementation of China’s Peaceful Foreign Policy, Zhang Wentian pointed out, “We acknowledge that all countries and nations, big and small, are equal, and resolutely oppose big-nation chauvinism. We respect every country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We respect their histories, cultures, folk customs, religious beliefs and leaders. We hold sympathy and understanding toward countries and nations that suffered or are suffering oppression, and support all of their efforts to seek independence, freedom and liberation.” 47
 
Supporting the Non-Aligned Movement. In 1961, 25 Asian and African countries that had achieved independence announced the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement, heralding the start of South-South cooperation among countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. From 1963 to 1964, during his visits to Africa and 14 Arab states, Zhou Enlai put forward the five principles for handling China’s relations with African countries and Arab states: support for African and Arab people in their fights against imperialism, old and new colonialism and their efforts to pursue and safeguard national independence; support for African and Arab governments in upholding the peaceful, neutral non-aligned policy; support for African and Arab peoples’ aspirations to realize unity and solidarity in the way chosen by themselves; support for African and Arab countries in settling their disputes through peaceful consultation; and agreeing that the sovereignty of African and Arab countries deserves due respect and opposes aggression and interference from any party.48
 
III. China’s Reform and Opening-up and the Propositions and Practices of Human Rights with Chinese Characteristics
 
Deng Xiaoping’s diplomatic thought was characterized by accurate judgment on the themes of our times — “peace and development.” In 1978, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee marked China ushering in a new era of reform and opening-up.49 Economic development became the focus of the Party’s work and the fundamental interests of the nation. “Integrating into” and adapting to the international system created and dominated by Western countries in modern and contemporary times to serve domestic development became a reality that China’s diplomacy had to face. At the same time, the issue of human rights became an important factor hindering relations between China and major Western countries, especially China-US relations, and even served as the most decisive factor in certain periods. Since the 1980s, after China opened its door to the outside world, China has been considered a “dilemma” by Western countries: on the one hand, due to differences in social system and ideology, Western countries instinctively hold a vigilant and exclusive attitude toward China; on the other hand, China’s massive market, cheap labour and raw materials, and preferential ultra-national treatment for foreign investors have been an irresistible attraction to Western transnational capital. Western countries have continually tried to find ways or means to make China implement reform and opening-up according to the scripts written by them, and human rights are one of the few issues that they can conveniently put on the negotiation table. Especially after the 1989 political turmoil, China fell victim to the condemnation, isolation and sanctions of Western countries for a long period under the pretext of human rights. China could not isolate itself from the international human rights system as long as it needed to successfully implement its reform and openingup policy and create a sound international environment for its economic development. Facing human rights squarely, embracing human rights, participating in international human rights governance, and building a positive image in the international community became issues that China had to pay attention to at a strategic level.50 The white paper Human Rights in China issued by the State Council Information Office in 1991 stated that “human rights is a great term” and “full enjoyment of human rights has long been an ideal pursued by mankind.”51 This was the first time that the Chinese government used the concept of human rights in a political document and discussed human rights issues openly and positively. In 1997, the 15th CPC National Congress included “respect and safeguard human rights” into the Party’s action program as a primary goal of governance for the first time. In 2004, the second session of the 10th National People’s Congress adopted an amendment to the Constitution, which included the statement: “The state respects and protects human rights.” In 2007, “respect and safeguard human rights” was written into the Party Constitution at the 17th CPC National Congress. With the idea of “respecting and safeguarding human rights” becoming mainstream in the Party and the state’s political life, human rights have been an important component of China’s diplomacy. 
 
China’s early participation in the international human rights system was characterized by passive acceptance of established international human rights norms and mechanisms. However, China’s participation practices have not been confined to learning and passive compliance. Because China has disagreements with major Western countries on many human rights issues, with some being not only theoretical disputes but also related to national sovereignty and dignity, human rights have become a key tool used by some Western countries to pressure and stigmatize China in international relations. Therefore, in the precondition of recognizing the current international human rights system, China has begun to interpret its propositions and ideas regarding human rights based on its own national conditions and adhere to the basic rules of international relations in human rights diplomacy. In this context, it has been engaged in fierce struggle and wrestling on human rights with major Western countries on many bilateral and multilateral occasions, especially at the UN Commission on Human Rights, pushing international human rights governance toward democracy, fairness, reasonableness and inclusiveness. 
 
A. Rights to subsistence and development are the primary basic human rights
 
Various human rights are equally important and interdependent, combining to constitute preconditions for the subsistence and dignified life of all individuals. Yet, it does not prevent different countries from making their priority choices and strategic arrangements in advancing their human rights based on their realities, especially when backed by their national strength. The rights to subsistence and development were the priority choices for the CPC based on China’s specific national conditions in the early stages of the reform and opening-up drive. While speaking at the World Congress on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, Chinese representatives argued: “for the majority of developing countries, respecting and protecting human rights is first and foremost to ensure that the rights to subsistence and development for their peoples can be fully realized, and the claim that human rights are the premise for development is unjustified. In the case of widespread poverty and want, where people’s basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, are unavailable and their basic subsistence is not guaranteed, priority should be given to economic development. Otherwise, any talk about human rights will get nowhere at all.”52
 
The rights to subsistence and development are the premise of enjoying other rights. In its first white paper on Human Rights issued in 1991, the Chinese government stated: “Without the right to subsistence, all the other human rights are out of the question.”53 Addressing the six entities including the United States-China Association during his visit to the United States in 1997 and speaking at the University of Cambridge during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1999, Jiang Zemin pointed out that China is a developing country with a population of more than 1.2 billion people. This basic national condition determines that the rights to subsistence and development in China are the most basic and important human rights. Without solving the issue of basic needs, all the other rights are difficult to achieve54. In its 2019 white paper Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China, the Chinese government reaffirmed this, stating: Poverty is the greatest obstacle to providing human rights. It would be well-nigh impossible for humanity to ensure any right without the production and supply of goods and materials. The effective guarantee of the right to subsistence and the steady improvement of living standards are the preconditions and foundations for fulfilling and developing all other human rights55.
 
Development is the top priority56. Developing social productive forces is a fundamental task for socialism57.
 
After the decade-long “cultural revolution” (1966-1976), China’s national economy was on the verge of collapse. Being well aware of the huge gap in the economic and social development between China and developed countries in the West, the CPC leaders conducted profound reflections in the early days of the reform and opening-up period. During his 1982 interview with Kim Il-Sung, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party, Deng Xiaoping clarified that socialism means strong productive forces, and means eliminating poverty.58 While meeting with the Czechoslovak Prime Minister in 1987, Deng Xiaoping once again affirmed: “Socialism is not defined by poverty. We will adhere to socialism. We will build such socialism that has superiority to capitalism. So, we must, first of all, get rid of poverty.”59 In 1988, when he met the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping stressed once again: “The key to solving all problems confronted by China is, ultimately, to seek development through its own efforts.”60
 
The right to development is an inalienable human right. The establishment of rights to subsistence and development as the top priorities in advancing China’s human rights distinctly differs from the dominant view on human rights in the West at that time, which places more emphasis on civil rights, political rights and individual freedom but less on economic, social and cultural rights and collective human rights, and even rejects the right to development as a human right. At the 40th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in February 1984, the Chinese representative hoped to promulgate a declaration on the right to development, asserting that the argument of the right to development as an inalienable human right is emphasized in the proposed declaration61. The Chinese representative held that while the right to development is a natural extension of the right to self-determination it is also conditioned on the latter. Without a sound economy, the political independence of a country cannot be cemented and sustained. Similarly, if the right to self-determination is deprived, a country and its people cannot enjoy the rights to economic, social and cultural development. The right to development is both the right of individuals and a state and a nation.62 These arguments by the Chinese representative were later enshrined in the Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the United Nations in 1986.
 
B. The principle of the universality of human rights should be integrated with national realities
 
The universality of human rights relates to the universality of human rights subjects rather than of standards, protection patterns and institutions of human rights exclusively in some countries or regions.63 From the perspectives of human nature, personality and human dignity, human rights have a trait of being universally enjoyed by all human beings beyond civilizations, races and innate or acquired differences of individuals. Simply based on the simple fact that he/she is part of humankind, an individual should be entitled to human rights, and thus, human rights are universal. Yet, rather than an abstract object, any human being in the real world has a different perception and understanding of human rights and has access to rights and freedom of different levels in different ways due to the social environment and the historical stage where he or she lives in. In this sense, human rights are special and relative.64
 
During his meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1993, Jiang Zemin said: “Democracy, freedom and human rights are all relative concepts, and each country has its own explanation and understanding of them. In the final analysis, a country always has to make laws based on its own level of development, historical background and cultural tradition.”65 At the 49th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 1994, Qian Qichen elaborated upon China’s position on human rights: “The principle of universality of human rights must be integrated with specific realities in different countries.”66 In his speech at the 1993 World Human Rights Congress in Vienna, the Chinese representative also pointed out: “As a product of historical development, human rights are closely related to relevant social, political and economic circumstances and specific history, culture and concepts in a country and their requirements vary with development stages. Countries at different stages of development or with different historical traditions and cultural backgrounds differ in their understanding and practice of human rights. Therefore, any one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, and the human rights standards and paradigms of human rights in particular countries should not be imposed on all the others.”67
 
Human rights are the result of human civilization or culture, which has a distinct trait of diversity. The difference in cultural or civilized traditions is proven to deliver “the most profound, extensive and significant” influence on human rights,68 and cultural diversity features prominently amid the universality of human rights, thus giving rise to strong adaptability and feasibility specific to states and nations.69Despite some human rights consensus across the world in modern times and the resulting international system of legal institutions on human rights and common standards for confirming and safeguarding human rights, such consensus is simply the commensurable cognition among various civilizations rather than the result of the global dissemination of the Western modern view of human rights.70 The universal recognition of these common standards neither means the completely unified view of human rights at any time and for any state and any nation nor the same paradigm of human rights protection for all the countries. Despite having its merits, the human rights picture in the West reflects no further than its own cultural or civilized tradition — just one of the various human traditions. Prof. A. J. M. Milne, a British scholar, argued that the fact that Western civilization excels in science, technology, industry and commerce does not justify having its values, institutions and rights established as universal standards for the world.71
 
C. Human rights mean the integration of individual and collective rights.
 
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights emphasizes the interdependence between individual and collective: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”72 Although the two international conventions on human rights have affirmed the right of nations of selfdetermination as early as 1966, some Western countries have long refused to accept the idea of collective human rights, clinging to the doctrine that human rights only involve the rights of individuals. In 1993, the Chinese representative expounded on China’s position on human rights claim at the World Congress on Human Rights: “Human rights are a complete concept consisting of both individual and collective rights.”73 
 
The logic behind emphasizing collective human rights is that due to social ties among individuals, individuals live in a community of shared destiny with others. Although human rights are, in essence, the rights for individuals, they are respected, guaranteed and realized in society. That is to say, with human rights being human beings’ rights in a society, only in society can any appeal to human rights have practical significance. Thus, individual human rights contain the demand for collective human rights. The dignity of an individual exists not only in his/her own self but also in the specific collective in which he/she belongs, and is embodied and secured through the specific collective in which he/she belongs. The significance of collective human rights is that they provide dual protection for individual human rights: on one hand, individual human rights are respected and guaranteed by the collective they live in, and on the other, the collective provides its members with a safeguard against external forces that may pose threats to their individual rights. Collective human rights matter a great deal to developing or weak countries, especially in the era of capital globalization, as they serve as a legal basis for defending their economic sovereignty and securing their right to development. Individual and collective human rights complement and reinforce each other. Without individual development, there will be no collective development, while only in a collective environment, it is possible for individuals to fully their well-rounded development. Therefore, “individual rights can be realized to the full extent only through their full integration and alignment with collective rights.”74
 
D. Interference in Internal Affairs under the Guise of Defending Human Rights Should Be Strongly Opposed
 
The controversy over the relationship between the international protection of human rights and the non-interference in others’ internal affairs has lingered since the very moment when human rights came into the domain of international law. While urging all its member states to cooperate with the United Nations in fulfilling its purpose of respecting and protecting human rights, the Charter of the United Nations also stipulates that it “...is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members...” and that “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” Yet, the Charter of the United Nations gives no explicit definition of the term “matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” Since the end of the Cold War, new interventionism has been rampant. To employ human rights as a political tool for marginalizing others, some Western countries came out with such arguments as “Human rights know no borders” and “Human rights override sovereignty,” which has justifiably met with strong opposition from developing countries, including China.
 
At the 1993 World Congress on Human Rights in Vienna, the Chinese representative pointed out: “Irrespective of their size, strength or wealth, all countries have the right to choose their own political systems, development paths and values, and be free of any interference from others. Any to attack others under the guise of human rights or to impose the human rights standards of some countries or regions on others is to infringe on the latter’s sovereignty and interfere in the latter’s internal affairs, which may disrupt the latter’s political and social stability. Such rhetoric and actions as human rights know no borders and the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs does not apply to human rights issues are essentially a manifestation of power politics.”75 In his speech at the special conference marking the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in the United Nations Headquarters in 1995, Jiang Zemin pointed out: “Some countries, often under the guise of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ and ‘human rights’, infringe on the sovereignty other countries, interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and destroy the national unity and solidarity of other countries. That is exactly one of the major reasons behind the turmoil in today’s world.”76 In 1999, an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, Jiang Zemin also asserted, “The Chinese government and the Chinese people disapprove of any arbitrary interference in others’ internal affairs under the pretext of the so-called ‘humanitarian crises’ and also strongly oppose the so-called ‘humanitarian interventions’ through military actions without the authorization of the UN Security Council. To solve the ongoing issues in the international community, including regional conflicts, we should still follow the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and other recognized norms for international relations, respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, restraining from interfering in each other’s internal affairs and resorting to peaceful settlement of international disputes. These principles are not out of date. Especially in the current situation, they should be more faithfully followed rather than being weakened.”77
 
Human rights largely fall within the scope of the domestic jurisdiction of a country. To properly manage the relationships between human rights, sovereignty and non-interference in others’ internal affairs, we should face up to the following three issues: (1) Without states, there would be no international institutions on human rights protection. The international human rights law is based on the consent of sovereign states, and being subject to international human rights norms depends mainly on the will of sovereign states, and the implementation of international human rights standards also depends mainly on the will and capabilities of sovereign states. Sovereign states continue to play the dominant role in today’s world that we are living in, and any attempt to ignore sovereignty is as meaningless as trying to ignore the existence of states.78 (2) Respect for and protection of human rights has become a duty to the world and is the moral judgment standard and value orientation shared by all mankind. Thus, respect for and protection of human rights is not only the obligation and responsibility of sovereign states but also the basis of the act of state and political legitimacy of sovereign states. (3) The universality of human rights does not mandate that there should be no difference in the interpretation and pursuit of human rights. Respect for and protection of human rights shouldn’t be misconstrued as being the human rights standards or paradigms of human rights protection specific to particular countries or regions.
 
E. International exchanges and cooperation on human rights should be promoted
 
As ideological institutions and practice systems immediately relevant to cultures or civilizations, human rights are a set of thoughts and systems in the basic context of historical circumstances and social environments.79 On multiple diplomatic occasions, CPC leaders have called for constructive dialogues and consultations on human rights following the principles of mutual respect, openness, inclusiveness and mutual learning to promote mutual understanding among countries on human rights issues and contribute to more democratic international relations.
 
In his speech in the United States in 1997, Jiang Zemin pointed out: “States differ on the issue of human rights, which should be resolved through dialogues rather than confrontations.”80 In his speech at the General Debate of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2009, Hu Jintao commented: “Irrespective of their size, strength or wealth, all countries are equal. We should acknowledge the differences in cultural traditions, social systems and values among various countries, respect other countries’ independent choice of their social systems and development paths. We should actively promote and protect human rights and smooth out differences through increased dialogues. We should act in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness and encourage 
civilizations and developmental patterns to learn from each other while competing with each other and achieve common prosperity and development by seeking common grounds while shelving differences.”81
 
Diversity is a fundamental feature of world civilization. Respect for differences and equal exchanges not only matter much to the national sovereignty and national dignity of states but are also the determining factors for international peace and stability. The concept of human rights originated in the West. Yet, should the western concept of human rights be simplistically construed as the one for the whole world, we would be misguided to demonstrate, explain and pursue the human rights of the whole human beings in the thinking pattern exclusive to one tradition or civilization, namely to measure and judge the histories and realities in all states and nations with the same ruler of human rights, and would come up with a false conclusion: conformity with the Western human rights standards means states have a “good” human rights record while nonconformity means a “poor” record. Without a doubt, such an approach will exacerbate rather than eliminate all the preexisting political divisions, economic contradictions and cultural conflicts, and endanger the healthy development of human rights undertakings.82 Just as the U.S. scholar Samuel Huntington said, in a multi-civilized world, the constructive approach is to embrace diversity and commonality instead of universalism.83
 
F. Serving the people is the mission of China’s diplomacy — a pragmatic example in practicing people-oriented human rights
 
As the Cold War era drew to an end and globalization gained pace, human rights movements began surging around the world. With increased concern about individual dignity and rights in the international community, respect for and protection of human rights has also risen as the core governing concept of the CPC. Against this background, Hu Jintao officially put forward the people-oriented Scientific Outlook on Development at the Third Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee in 2003. In his speech at Yale University in 2006, Hu Jintao said: “Our people-oriented concept is that our development is for the people and depends on the people, and its fruits are shared by the people. Therefore, we must give more focus to the value, rights, interests and freedom of the people, place more emphasis on the living quality, development potential and happiness indexes of the people, and ultimately achieve the all-round development of the people.”84 In 2011, in his address to the Conference Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the CPC, Hu Jintao further articulated that the idea of putting the people first and exercising power for the people is the distinct hallmark of the CPC’s nature and fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly and the highest standard for guiding, evaluating and testing all of its governing activities.85
 
The essence of human rights is the people. The people-oriented Scientific Outlook on Development is the highest test standard for “respect for and protection of human rights” in the CPC’s governance, and its embodiment in the domain of Chinese diplomatic affairs is the adoption of the thought: Foreign Diplomacy is to Serve the People. In the 21st century, China has accelerated its global integration and the bulk of its increasing overseas interests are relevant to common Chinese people. The changed composition of China’s state interests requires that China’s diplomatic work lays more emphasis on daily affairs related to the interests of the people, and safeguards and realizes the basic rights and interests of Chinese citizens.86 While answering the questions from journalists during the 2004 “Two Sessions”, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said, “Our diplomacy is the diplomacy of the whole Chinese people, and our diplomacy in the new era pursues the purpose of putting people first and exercising power for the people. Going forward, we will continue to be concerned about the concerns of the Chinese people and prioritize the priorities of the Chinese people, taking more practical actions to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese entities and citizens internationally.”87 At the Central Conference on Foreign Affairs in 2006, Hu Jintao pointed out that we should uphold the concept of putting people first in our foreign affairs work in the new century. To put people first in foreign affairs work is to follow the requirements of foreign affairs for the people, practice the purpose of serving the people, safeguard the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, and have the achievements of foreign affairs work benefit all the people. We should adapt to the new situation of an increasing number of Chinese enterprises and personnel going abroad, constantly build up the capabilities in protecting China’s overseas interests, improve early warning and rapid response mechanisms, improve consular affairs and overseas Chinese services, and safeguard the safety and legitimate rights and interests of China’s overseas institutions and personnel by law. We will improve our services to overseas Chinese and actively safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese and compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.88
 
The diplomatic idea of “putting people first and serving the people” benefits all the people from all over the world. At the Central Conference on Foreign Affairs, Hu Jintao said that our foreign affairs work should also “respect and take into account the reasonable interests and concerns of the people in other countries, especially the interests and difficulties of the people of developing countries, support developing countries in accelerating their development, and do our best to provide practical aids to the people of developing countries.”89 Moreover, the diplomatic idea of “Putting people first and serving the people” also benefits the people of erstwhile hostile countries. The Japanese War of Aggression against China brought a profound disaster to the Chinese people. Yet, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party of China has upheld the principle of “Drawing lessons from history, refraining from being obsessed with hatred, looking beyond the past bad blood and making coordinated efforts for a better future”90 in dealing with the issue of the Japanese aggression against China and managing its broader relations with Japan. In 1978, China and Japan signed a treaty of peace and friendship. 
 
While addressing the second meeting of the China-Japan Friendship Committee for the 21st Century in 1984, Hu Yaobang pointed out that consolidating and developing Sino-Japanese friendly relations is a major issue concerning the long-term and fundamental interests of the Chinese and Japanese peoples, and the highest goal of Sino-Japanese friendship is to achieve friendship for many generations.91 In 1992, during his meeting with the visiting Emperor of Japan, Jiang Zemin said, “When it comes to the Sino-Japanese relations, first, we should learn from history; second, we should look forward; and third, we should be friendly to each other forever.” According to statistics, when the People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression ended, 2,808 Japanese children had been abandoned in China, becoming orphans. It is the war-traumatized Chinese people who adopted them and raised them. When the Sino-Japanese diplomatic relations returned to normal in 1972, the Chinese Government provided huge help for these Japanese orphans to search for their lost relatives. By April 2007, a total of 2,513 Japanese orphans had returned to their native country.92
 
The establishment of the people-oriented diplomatic thought means the strategic transformation of the CPC’s diplomatic philosophy from the state-centrism marked by safeguarding the overall interests to the concern for the individual rights and interests of its citizens93, which is not only the embodiment of the shifts in the CPC’s governance pattern and concept in the domain of diplomatic affairs but also the result of the CPC establishing “respect for and protection of human rights” as its core governing concept.
 
IV. China’s Approaches and Contributions to Major-country Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era and International Human Rights Governance
 
Since the 18th CPC National Congress, socialism with Chinese characteristics has ushered in a new era and the world has undergone momentous changes unseen in a century. With ever-changing national and international situations and expanding content and scope of China’s foreign relations, China’s diplomacy has entered a new era of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. China has been closer to the grand goal of realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the center of the world stage than ever, and thus “Grow strong and Build a Win-win Situation” has risen to be the main idea of the CPC’s diplomatic philosophy.94 Major countries should behave as befits their status and assume the responsibilities as major countries. One of the most important hallmarks of Xi Jinping’s thought on diplomacy is leadership. In its pursuit of “growing strong”, the CPC has vigorously promoted and practiced the doctrine of “the whole world being one community” and has mapped out a series of grand top-level designs for human development. Nowadays, human rights have come out among the mainstream topics in the international community. Based on China’s realities and adapting to the general trend of world development, the CPC has committed to having the respect for, protection of and realization of human rights incorporated into the drive of modernizing China’s governance system and governance capacity.95 “full respect for and protection of human rights was enshrined in the 18th CPC National Congress Report,” “provide stronger judicial protection of human rights” and “strengthen awareness throughout the whole of society about the need to respect and safeguard human rights” were emphasized at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, “strengthen legal protection for human rights” was put forward in the 19th CPC National Congress Report, and “promote the all-rounded development of the people” and “promote comprehensive progress in human rights” were reaffirmed at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee.96 Alongside these historic achievements in human rights, the CPC’s human rights diplomacy has also adapted to the trend of the time, forged ahead on the right path, actively pioneered, and played the leading role. In the international human rights governance, the CPC has stuck to the people-centered human rights concept, actively offered China’s wisdom and solutions, contributed to a more just, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance system and a community with a shared future for human beings, and effectively enhanced the influence, charm and appeal of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the international community.
 
A. The people-centered view of human rights
 
“The people-centered view” is the distinct hallmark of socialist thought on human rights with Chinese characteristics in the new era, and also the core value of the CPC’s diplomatic human rights proposition in the new era. In his letter of congratulation to the International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, held in 2016 in Beijing and attended by over 150 representatives from more than 40 countries, regions and international organizations, Xi Jinping said, “Over years, China has adhered to the philosophy of the people-centered development. It has committed to and has prioritized bettering the life of the people, seeking development by and for the people and promoting the all-rounded development of the people. It has effectively protected the people’s development rights and interests, and succeeded in blazing a path of human rights development with Chinese characteristics.”97 In 2017, in his letter of congratulation to the First South-South Human Rights Forum, Xi Jinping affirmed once again that, “the CPC and the Chinese government have adhered to the philosophy of peoplecentered development, have always put the people’s interests above all else, have taken the people’s aspirations for a better life as the focus of their efforts, and have constantly improved respect for and protection of the basic rights of the Chinese people.”98 In 2021, at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the UNHRC, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi explained the people-centered concept of human rights by saying that, “the people are the essence of human rights. The interests of the people are both the starting point and foothold for pursuing the human rights cause. Increasing the perceived fulfillment, happiness and security of the people is the fundamental pursuit of human rights and the ultimate goal of national governance” and the spirit of the people-centered approach lies in “having the people be true masters of their country, having them play a role in national governance and political consultation, constantly narrowing the wealth gap, and promoting the all-round development of people.”99 
 
The interests and lives of the people are above everything else. The right to life is the carrier of all other human rights. To ensure life and health is the basis of respect for human rights. In the face of the major threat posed by COVID-19 to the lives and health of the people around the world, Xi Jinping pointed out at the General Debate of the 75th UN General Assembly that: “We must practice the concept of putting people first and life first, and ensure that no case be missed and no patient be left untreated. We will mobilize all resources available, take targeted measures, and follow scientific approaches to resolutely curb the spread of the epidemic.”100
 
The happy life of the people is the most important human right. In 2012, at a press conference for Chinese and foreign journalists held by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee, Xi pointed out that the CPC is a political party serving the people wholeheartedly, and the people’s aspiration for a better life is the goal of all its efforts.101 In 2017, at the high-level dialogue between the CPC and the world’s political parties, Xi Jinping pointed out that since ancient times, living a happy life has always been a persistent dream of mankind. All the efforts made by the CPC are to seek happiness for the Chinese people, to rejuvenate the Chinese nation and to promote peace and development for mankind.102 In the congratulatory letter to the 70th Anniversary Symposium Commemorating the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 2018, Xi Jinping proposed that: “No human right is more important than the right to a happy life”, clarifying the human rights implications of the people’s happy life for the first time.103 The pursuit of a happy life is “the most lasting driver behind human civilization.”104 A happy life means the practical satisfaction of both spiritual and material needs, and means the transformation from the age of obligatory human rights characterized by freedom from want and fear to actual human rights.105 The happy life of the people is not only both the overall goal and the measure of human rights in countries but is also the most important human right.
 
B. Promoting human rights through development
 
Development remains the top priority. In a congratulatory letter to the International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development in 2016, Xi Jinping pointed out that, “Development is the eternal theme of human society” and “is the key to solving all Chinese problems and also the top priority of the CPC in governing and rejuvenating the country.”106 At the Fifth BRICS Summit in 2013, Xi Jinping briefed the leaders of state present at the meeting on China’s two ambitious development goals in the future: First, by 2020, China’s GDP and the per-capita income of urban and rural residents was to be both double that of 2010, completing the building of a moderately prosperous society that benefits more than one billion people in all respects; Second, by 2049, when the People’s Republic of China celebrates its centenary, China will be a great and modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful. He continued, “In order to achieve these two goals, we will continue to give top priority to development.”107 The first goal has successfully been achieved. At the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC held on July 1, 2021, Xi Jinping declared to the world that, “China has realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that it has put an end to absolute poverty in China.”108 The building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects in China, which accounts for nearly one-fifth of the world’s total population, serves as both a strong inspiration and encouragement for the development of human rights undertakings in other countries.109 The CPC’s successful practices and experience of respecting and protecting human rights in its building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects have offered China’s wisdom and approach to improving human well-being.110
 
Human rights are comprehensively promoted. The realization of human rights is a progressive process and the responsibility of states is to continuously expand the application of and access to various human rights. The building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects has consolidated the foundation for human rights, set a new starting point for China’s human rights development and progress, and marked a new stage for China to comprehensively advance various human rights.111 The white paper Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China released in 2019 by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China stated, “Overall progress in all rights is a major principle of realization of human rights. All human rights are interdependent and inalienable. China coordinates the planning and promotion of all rights and endeavours to achieve a balanced development of economic, social, and cultural rights and civil and political rights.” In 2021, at the high-level meeting of the 46th Session of the UNHRC, Foreign Minister Wang Yi expounded on China’s position on the overall and systematic promotion of various human rights, “The connotation of human rights is comprehensive, consisting of both political rights and economic, social and cultural rights of citizens. Among them, the rights to subsistence and development are the primary basic human rights. Various human rights should be taken into account, and continuously and systematically advanced through a holistic approach and multiple measures. As the scope of human rights evolves, the health and environmental rights of citizens should take a more prominent place.”112
 
Promoting human rights through development is a “development-based human rights” path pioneered by the CPC. Namely, starting from the basic reality of China being the largest developing country in the world, China must, first of all, focus on development — the global theme and the China’s top priority. This view not only disrupts the inherent cognition of “Human Rights Overriding Development” argued by the “Human Rights-based Development” refrain but also broadens the approach to modernization for developing countries.113 This Chinese approach of “promoting human rights through development” fully reflects the common demand and shared aspiration of developing countries and thus wins their broad support. In June 2017, the 35th Session of the UNHRC passed the resolution “Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights” submitted by China, introducing the concept of “promoting human rights through development” into international human rights for the first time.114
 
In July 2021, the 47th Session of the UNHRC passed once again the resolution “Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights” submitted by China, reaffirming that development has an important contribution to the enjoyment of all human rights 115 and the third time confirmation on the Chinese approach.116
 
C. Contributing to a more fair, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance System
 
The essence of international human rights governance is the way in which the international community develops international institutions that guide and regulate the acts of sovereign states in relation to human rights. In his congratulatory letter to the 70th Anniversary Symposium Commemorating the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, Xi Jinping pointed out, “We, the Chinese, are ready to work with the people of all other countries to uphold the shared values of humanity — peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, safeguard human dignity and rights, and strive for fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance, and work with the rest of the world to build a global community with a shared future and a beautiful world.”117
 
The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence should be followed in international human rights governance. Addressing at the Meeting Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in 2014, Xi Jinping stated that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence fully embody the values of sovereignty, justice, democracy and rule of law. To uphold and promote the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and build a new type of international relations under new circumstances is to uphold sovereign equality, mutual security, common development, win-win cooperation, fairness and justice.118 The white paper Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China released by the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China affirmed that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence have made a historic contribution to building a fairer and more reasonable international political and economic order and establishing a new type of international relations, and serves as a guide for the international governance of human rights.119
 
International dialogue and cooperation on human rights should be espoused in international human rights governance. While expounding on China’s position at the high-level meeting of the 46th Session of the UNHRC, Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out, “The protection and promotion of human rights is a common cause of all. Global human rights governance should be discussed by all countries and the fruits of human rights development should be shared by peoples of all countries. Human rights are not something to be claimed by a few countries, let alone a tool of pressuring other countries and interfering in the internal affairs of others. All countries should abide by the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, pursue exchanges and cooperation on human rights following the principles of equality and mutual respect, and promote the healthy development of the international human rights cause.”120
 
Integration of the universality of human rights with the realities of different countries should be espoused in the international human rights governance. While expounding on China’s position at the high-level meeting of the 46th Session of the UNHRC, Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out, “The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have set lofty goals for the global human rights cause and established the basic principles, which should be followed and practiced by all countries. Meanwhile, all the countries have their own national conditions, histories, cultures, social institutions and economic and social development levels, and thus should promote human rights protection in line with their respective national conditions and the needs of their peoples.”121
 
China’s position on international human rights governance shows that China strives to uphold the universal values of mankind and conduct the international human rights governance within the framework of the United Nations in accordance with the recognized principles of international laws and the principles of human rights. Just as Dutch scholar Tom Facchiatz Watt observed, China has no intention to challenge the existing international human rights system but only Western interpretations of this system. China is willing to act within the existing human rights system rather than challenge it from the outside.122
 
D. A community with a shared future for human beings: a new pattern of human rights undertakings in the world
 
The CPC is a party that seeks happiness for the Chinese people and also a party that strives for the cause of human progress.123 In his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on March 23, 2013, Xi Jinping brought up the concept of “a community with a shared future for human beings” for the first time and said, “It is a world where countries are linked with and dependent on one another at a level never seen before. Mankind, by living in the same global village in the same era and on the same Earth where history and reality meet, has increasingly emerged as a community with a shared future in which everyone has in himself a little bit of others.”124 On subsequent occasions, he has expounded on the connotations of such a community. For example, at the General Debate of the 70th Conference of the UN General Assembly at the Headquarters in New York in 2015, he stated that building a community with a shared future for human beings is “to renew our commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and build a new model of international relations based on cooperation for the benefit of all.”125 In his keynote speech at the United Nations Office in Geneva in 2017, he commented that “In answering the worldwide question of ‘What has happened to the world and how should we respond’? China’s proposition is “to build a community of shared future for mankind and achieve shared and win-win development.”126 While delivering his keynote speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in 2019, Xi Jinping articulated that building a community with a shared future for human beings means that “all countries should reject self-exclusion, embrace integration, uphold openness and promote policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity.”127 In his speech at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2020, Xi Jinping pointed out that “building a community with a shared future for human beings is to vigorously advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity.”128
 
The concept of building a community with a shared future for human beings has provided a new way of thinking and a new platform for the practice of international human rights governance. Although there are common rules for the international community in traditional international human rights protection mechanisms, their implementation varies with different countries, resulting in a patchy global picture: the human rights obligations fulfilled by various sovereign states go no further than respect for and protection of these rights established by international human rights laws “within their respective territories and jurisdictions.” However, in the era of global connectivity, many human rights challenges in individual sovereign states are also global issues of significant relevance to the survival and development of the whole human, often going beyond the limits of national borders. As such, in today’s world, human rights protection involves not only the demands made by individuals on the community and country where they live, but also on peace, development and cooperation in the whole world, as the level of access to and realization of human rights of individuals is also closely linked to other parts of the world, other countries and other communities. Happily, these draftsmen have foreseen this point, and put it down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that: “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”129 According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the full realization of the rights and freedoms of individuals relates to not only the domestic order but also the international order, which is exactly the reason why human rights were incorporated into the domain of international laws. The concept of building a community with a shared future for human beings is an innovation for the improvement of the “international order” as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights amid unprecedented upheavals in the global landscape. It is an important ideological contribution made by the CPC so the whole world can rise to the ongoing crises and challenges in human social development and international human rights governance.
 
Building a community with a shared future for human beings means to achieve common development and to transform into reality the aspiration of people all over the world for a better life.130 In his speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 2013, Xi Jinping pointed out, “China stands up for sharing the fruits of development among all countries and peoples. Every country, while pursuing its own development, should actively facilitate the common development of all countries. There cannot be sustainable development in the world when some countries are getting richer and richer while others languish in prolonged poverty and backwardness. Only when all countries achieve common development can there be better and true worldwide development. Any beggar-thy-neighbor policy or practice, shifting a crisis onto others and benefiting oneself at the expense of others is both immoral and will be short-lived.”131 When addressing the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in 2013, Xi Jinping pointed out, “China is pursuing mutual benefit and common development. That is, we should pursue a good life for ourselves, and wish others a good life as well.”132 In his speech at the General Debate of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2015, Xi Jinping pointed out, “Development is meaningful only when it is inclusive and sustainable. To achieve such development requires openness, mutual assistance and cooperation.”133 In his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the high-level dialogue between the CPC and the world’s political parties in 2017, Xi Jinping noted that the initiative of building a community with a shared future for human beings is aimed at building a world free from fear and a world of universal security for all; to build a world free of poverty and a world of common prosperity; to build a world free from isolation and a world of openness and inclusiveness; to build a beautiful and clean world. The initiative of building a community with a shared future for human beings is to turn into reality the aspiration for a better life of all people around the world!134
 
The concept of building a community with a shared future for human beings breaks away from the preexisting constricted and narrow view of human rights. In terms of the “people” in the context of building a community with a shared future for human beings, the concept not only contains the core human rights values, such as peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, but also covers three aspects: harmony between man and the environment, harmony between people and people, and harmony between countries and countries. In general, it means that the human society at the country level is a big family based on extensive consultation, joint effort and shared benefits,135 and will ultimately mean that “all the countries are interlinked and have a stake in others’ prosperity; all the countries respect others’ interests while pursuing their own and advance common interests of all within the international human rights governance framework of harmony within diversity.”136 It follows that in the building of a community with a shared future for human beings, international human rights governance shall place more emphasis on the all-around, common, inclusive, sustainable and cooperative development of human rights.137 In 2017, the 34th Session of the UNHRC included the concept of “a community with a shared future for human beings” into the UNHRC resolution,138 and in 2018, the 37th Session of the UNHRC passed the resolution of “promoting win-win cooperation in the domain of human rights” submitted by China, enshrining “building a community with a shared future for human beings” into a UNHRC resolution for the first time.139
 
V. Conclusion
 
Diplomacy is the continuation of internal affairs, and thus, the century-old evolution of the CPC’s human rights position in the diplomatic domain is the extension of its domestic human rights practice outside China. It is a process involving various considerations, including the marriage of interests, dissemination of values and the development of its discourse, and a relentless process of learning, practice, exploration and innovation amid the complex domestic and international interactions. As the human rights position in the diplomatic domain is developing amid the interactions between domestic and foreign environments, so it should be interpreted in the historical context. With the change of the theme from “Revolution and War” and from “Peace and Development,” the human rights position in the CPC diplomacy has shifted over time from the state-centrist view of collective human rights based on the protection of overall national interests to the people-centered human rights concept based on the rights and interests of individuals, and from highly politically-motivated abstract slogans to the highly-humanistic concrete rights demands of the populace. On the one hand, this shift indicates that the CPC seeks the truth from facts, grasps the historical and dialectical understanding of the domestic and international situations, scientifically and rationally analyses the relationship between China and the outside world, accurately determines the internal and external development trends, and implements reforms and changes to adapt to the historical trends. While on the other, this shift is required fundamentally by the CPC’s founding aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the people and realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and is enabled by its relentless inheritance, continuation and promotion of its fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, and the alignment between the people-centered value orientation that characterizes its original aspiration, mission and purpose and the common values of human beings of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom contained in the international human rights protection system. In this historical progress, the CPC has always been people-centered, has set the liberation and happiness of the Chinese people and the whole of mankind as its value pursuit, actively participated in global human rights governance, stuck to the integration of the universal principle of human rights with China’s reality, continued to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests while promoting common development and prosperity for all mankind. By constantly summarizing and improving its human rights practice and experience, the CPC has contributed China’s wisdom and China’s solutions to the development and progress of the world’s human rights undertakings, has contributed to building a more fair, reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance system and promoted the building of a community with a shared future for human beings. 
 
No matter how tough the challenges might seem, we start again. Looking back, more than one hundred years ago, a small boat on the South Lake sailed off, navigated stormy waves, and has become the towering giant ship guiding the development of the Chinese nation. Today, we are once again at a new historical starting point. There is no end point to improving and protecting human rights. Keeping alive its purpose of serving the people and keeping its original aspiration of seeking happiness for the Chinese people in mind, seeking the great rejuvenation for the Chinese nation and seeking common development for the whole of humankind, the CPC has marched on to its new grand goal: building China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, beautiful and modern republic and the world into a community with a shared future for human beings. 
 
(Translated by LIU Haile & LIU Zuoyong)
 
* ZHANG Aining ( 张爱宁 ), Professor, Director of the Human Rights Studies Center of China Foreign Affairs University
 
1. Zhao Jinjun, the People’s Republic of China’s Diplomacy over the Past Sixty Years (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2010), 72.
 
2. Jiang Zemin, Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, vol. 1 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2006), 341. 
 
3. Yang Jiemian, “Philosophical Connotations and Strategic Thinking of the CPC’s Diplomatic Theories over the Past Century”, International Review 4 (2021): 10.
 
4. Chen Duxiu, Collected Works of Chen Duxiu, vol. 4 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2013), 17.
 
5. Ibid.
 
6. Chen Wenbin and Wu Guoyou, An Overview of Milestone Events in the History of the CPC: From the Party’s First National Congress to 18th National Congress, vol. 1 (Beijing: Hongqi Press, 2013), 183. 
 
7. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 1 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 97-98.
 
8. Ibid., 253. 
 
9. Chen Duxiu, Collected Works of Chen Duxiu, vol. 3 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2013), 238.
 
10. Ibid., 237. 
 
11. Ibid., 252-254.
 
12. Ibid., 260.
 
13. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 2 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 425.
 
14. Chen Wenbin and Wu Guoyou, An Overview of Milestone Events in the History of the CPC: From the Party’s First National Congress to 18th National Congress, vol. 1 (Beijing: Hongqi Press, 2013), 188.
 
15. Chen Duxiu, Collected Works of Chen Duxiu, vol. 3 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2013), 564. 
 
16. Articles 3 and 6 of the Atlantic Charter. 
 
17. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 18 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 571-572.
 
18. Ibid., 745. 
 
19. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 17 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 494-495.
 
20. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 18 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 244.
 
21. Items 2-3, Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, 1945.
 
22. Articles 55-56 of the Charter of the United Nations, 1945.
 
23. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 23 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 476.
 
24. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 26 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 55.
 
25. Ibid., 352.
 
26. Mao Zedong, Selected Works of Mao Zedong, vol. 4 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 1991), 1465.
 
27. Ibid., 58.
 
28. Ibid., 344.
 
29. Ibid., 399-401.
 
30. Yang Jiemian, “Philosophical Connotations and Strategic Thinking of the CPC’s Diplomatic Theories over the Past Century”, International Review 4 (2021).
 
31. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the PRC, vol. 3 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 144.
 
32. Ibid., 145-146.
 
33. Ibid., 146. 
 
34. Ibid., 149. 
 
35. The white paper “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China,” published on the official website of China’s State Council Information Office, accessed February 18, 2021, http://www.scio.gov.cn/zfbps/ndhf/39911/Document/1665100/1665100.htm.
 
36. Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the 14th CPC National Congress (vol. I) (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 763-764.
 
37. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the PRC, vol. 6 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 150-151. 
 
38. Ibid, 155. 
 
39. The 10-point declaration of the Bandung Conference: ① Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations; ② Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations; ③ Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small; ④ Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country; ⑤ Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself, singly or collectively, in conformity with the charter of the United Nations; ⑥ (a) Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve any particular interests of the big powers, (b) Abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries; ⑦ Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country; ⑧ Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations; ⑨ Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation; ⑩ Respect for justice and international obligations.
 
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41. Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations and Article 1 of both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 
 
42. Mao Zedong, Collection of Mao Zedong’s Works, vol. 6 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 1993), 480.
 
43. Mao Zedong, Collection of Mao Zedong’s Works, vol. 7 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 1993), 127.
 
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45. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the CPC, vol. 18 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 510-511. 
 
46. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the PRC, vol. 5 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 237.
 
47. The State Archives Administration of the People’s Republic of China and Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Significant Works Since the Founding of the PRC, vol. 8 (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 182.
 
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60. Ibid., 265.
 
61. E/CN.4/I9?4/SR.I6. paras. 55.
 
62. E/CN.4/I9?4/SR.I6. paras. 57.
 
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76. Jiang Zemin, Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, vol. 1 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2006), 479.
 
77. Jiang Zemin, Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, vol. 2 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2006), 55.
 
78. John Hoffman, Sovereignty, trans. Lu Bin (Changchun: Jilin People’s Publishing House, 2005), 7.
 
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81. Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Literature since the 17th National Congress (vol. II) (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2009), 218. 
 
82. Xia Yong, Origin of the Concept of Human Rights (Beijing: China University of Political Science and Law Press, 2001), 252.
 
83. Samuel Huntington: The Clash of Civilizations and the Reconstruction of world Order (Revised Edition)(Beijing: Xinhua Publishing House, 2010), 294.
 
84. Hu Jintao, Selected Works of Hu Jintao, vol. 2 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2016), 438.
 
85. Hu Jintao, Selected Works of Hu Jintao, vol. 3 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2016), 532.
 
86. Zhao Jinjun, the People’s Republic of China’s Diplomacy over the Past Sixty Years (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2010), 73. 
 
87. Ibid., 71-73. 
 
88. Hu Jintao, Selected Works of Hu Jintao, vol. 2 (Beijing: People’s Publishing House, 2016), 517.
 
89. Ibid.
 
90. Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Literature since the 16th National Congress, vol.II (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2011), 1016.
 
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105. Ibid. 
 
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118. Xi Jinping, “Address by Xi Jinping at the Meeting Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Initiation of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence,” Xinhuanet.com, accessed February 9, 2021, http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2014-06/28/c_1111364206.htm.
 
119. The white paper “Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China,”published on the official website of China’s State Council Information Office, accessed February 18, 2021, http://www.scio.gov.cn/zfbps/ndhf/39911/Document/1665100/1665100.htm.
 
120. Wang Yi, “Wang Yi on the Four-point Proposal by China on Promoting and Protecting Human Rights,”Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, accessed August 10, 2021, www.fmprc.gov.cn: //new.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1855694.shtml .
 
121. Ibid.
 
122. Tom Zwart, “Contesting through Compliance: How China Can Gain More Support for its Human Rights Positions”, Chinese Review of International Law 1 (2017): 3.
 
123. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 3 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 436.
 
124. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 1, second edition (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2018), 272.
 
125. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 2 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2017), 522. 
 
126. Ibid., 539.
 
127. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 3 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 468.
 
128. Xi Jinping, “Xi Jinping Speech at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly,”People’s Daily Online, accessed January 27, 2021, http://jhsjk.people.cn/article/31871327.
 
129. Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
130. The white Paper “the Communist Party of China and Human Rights Protection — A 100-Year Quest”, the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, accessed July 20, 2021, http://www.xinhuanet.com/politics/2014-06/28/c_1111364206.htm. 
 
131. Literature Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, Selected Literature since the 18th National Congress (vol.II) (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2014), 260.
 
132. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 1, second edition (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2018), 315.
 
133. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 2 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2017), 524. 
 
134. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China, vol. 3 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2020), 433-436.
 
135. Zhang Yan, “The Reforming Logic and Justification of Constitutional Amendments”, Journal of Zhejiang University (Humanities and Social Sciences) 6 (2019): 98.
 
136. China’s Concept of Human Rights Resonates Widely (Hot dialogue), People’s Daily Online, accessed August 2, 2021, https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1706747317466684556&wfr=spider&for=pc.
 
137. Lu Guangjin, “Human Rights in the Historical Perspective: China’s Path and Contribution”, Red Flag Manuscripts 1 (2021): 17. 
 
138. Report of the Human Rights Council, 2017, page 211. A/72/53.
 
139. Report of the Human Rights Council, 2018, page 41. A/73/53.
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