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The Evolution Logic, Core Essence and Value Implication of Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights
September 29,2022   By:CSHRS
The Evolution Logic, Core Essence and Value Implication of Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights
 
WANG Xigen* & ZHOU Yating**
 
Abstract: Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights are the concentrated expression of the outlook on human rights in contemporary China and the latest achievements of the modernization and adaptation of Marxist human rights theory to suit China. The initiation, origin, formation and development of Xi Jinping’s concept of human rights are the great social practice after reform and opening up. It has innovated and developed the theories on the subject, object, content, focus, path and protection of human rights in a systematic way. It endows human rights civilization with Chinese wisdom and significance, showing profound practical value, theoretical value, time value, and human value to the development of human rights cause in China and the whole world.
 
Keywords: Xi Jinping · human rights · the outlook on human rights in contemporary China
 
Xi Jinping on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights was officially published in December 2021. In his remarks on various occasions, General Secretary Xi Jinping provides scientific answers to human rights questions of fundamental, comprehensive, and global significance, such as how to understand human rights, enhance human rights, respect and protect human rights in contemporary China as well as how to promote the sharing of human rights in diversified human civilizations, which makes innovative development of the basic tenets of Marxism on human rights and socialist human rights theory with Chinese characteristics, contributes China’s wisdom and experience to human rights civilization, and symbolizes the formation of the outlook on human rights in contemporary China. In this historical background, it is no doubt that the exploration of the practical logic, theoretical innovation, and value implication of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights is of vital historical and practical significance to the deepening of the theoretical research on human rights in the new era, the better development of human rights cause, and the strengthening of exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations in human rights.
 
I. The Evolution Logic of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights
 
Practice is the foundation of theory. The exploration of the evolution and historical trajectory of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on human rights is of fundamental significance for a comprehensive understanding and thorough grasp of the theoretical essence and practical value of Xi Jinping’s views on human rights. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on human rights have been germinated, accumulated, formed and developed in the practice of China in respecting and protecting human rights, so they have profound historical origins and practical foundations. Comrade Xi Jinping has always adhered to the aspiration and mission of putting the people above everything else. With deep care about the people, he takes the realization of the subsistence and then a life of moderate prosperity and happiness for the people as his conviction and pursuit. The exploration of respecting and protecting the interests and rights of the people has been reflected in the whole process and all aspects of his political career. The evolution logic can be roughly summed up in the following aspects.
 
A. The attempts to respect and protect human rights in Zhengding
 
From 1982 to 1985, Xi Jinping served successively as deputy secretary and secretary of the CPC Zhengding County Committee, Hebei Province. At that time, the rolling tide of reform and opening-up was set off in China. With the revision of the Constitution in 1982, the people’s democratic dictatorship and the system of people’s congresses were established in fundamental law, which stipulated that all people enjoy a wide range of rights and freedom and ensured the position of the people as masters of the country. Xi Jinping was appointed as deputy secretary of the CPC Zhengding County Committee that year. At the beginning of his tenure, he clarified that “communists have a clear-cut commitment to what they support and are against.”1 To this end, we should keep our mission firmly in mind and strengthen Party conduct. “The most fundamental issue is the education on Party character, Party discipline, and the Party’s fundamental purpose,” while “serving the people wholeheartedly is the basic principle of the Party.”2 Taking this as a guide, he actively practiced reform and opening up in Zhengding through piloting the contracted responsibility system and rectifying the wrong opinions that ownership could not be properly separated from management and absolute equality, which protects the economic rights of farmers to autonomy and inheritance, reducing the burden on the farmers. Meanwhile, he made great efforts to attract talents and promote economic development. As his preliminary attempts to solve the problem of food and ensure the right to the subsistence of the people, these measures are pioneering and successful. Besides, he attached great importance to the protection of the rights of women, children, teachers and other groups. In July 1983, he delivered a speech titled Jointly Protecting the Lawful Rights and Interests of Women and Children at the meeting of women representatives of Zhengding County. In the speech, he emphasized that we should implement the guiding principles of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee to solve serious problems that violate the lawful rights and interests of women and children, protect their rights and interests, and uphold justice for them.3 Undoubtedly, all of these have reflected the preliminary thoughts of Xi Jinping on the rights and interests of the People.
 
B. The practice to respect and protect human rights in Fujian
 
Xi worked in Fujian from 1985 to 2002. In the period, the term “human rights” was gradually emphasized in China. In 1991, China officially issued its first white paper on human rights to the world, which was hailed as the first milestone in the development of human rights in China since the launch of reform and opening up. In his leadership practice at various levels in Xiamen, Ningde, Fuzhou, and the Fujian provincial CPC committee and government, Comrade Xi Jinping always adhered to the Party’s fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, acted on the basic principles of serving the public and governing for the benefit of the people, and put forward a series of viewpoints and propositions on protecting the rights and interests of the people. The essence can be summarized as follows: The first is “to always ensure actual economic, political, and cultural interests and rights of the people.” “We should advance political reforms, further expand democracy, and improve the socialist legal system... adhere to the principle of justice, fairness and openness, and guarantee the supervision of the people by laws.”4 In the early 1990s, Xi made it clear that “we should promote economic development, democracy and the legal system, reform and opening up, and the crackdown on crime at the same time”5 to implement the thoughts of Deng Xiaoping on democracy and the legal system. It provided an all-round guarantee for realizing and protecting the rights and interests of the people. He attaches importance to the combination of economic development and people’s livelihood. For example, he proposed to implement projects on the responsibility system for the supply of daily food, poverty reduction, afforestation, and so on.6 The second is to focus on realizing the basic right to the subsistence of the poverty-stricken population in poverty alleviation. His book Up and Out of Poverty summarizes his experience in poverty alleviation during his tenure as secretary of the CPC Ningde prefecture committee and turns the rich social practices into a rational understanding. “It provides comprehensive discussion on how to get poverty-stricken areas out of poverty and other issues in both theory and practice.”7 In practice, he always regards “freeing rural residents from destitution so that they can live a better life” as the “guidance for rural work.”8 The third is to effectively protect the people’s rights to be masters of the country. He pointed out that we must raise awareness of the work of the people’s congress. The system of the people’s congress is China’s fundamental political system which is different from the separation of the judicial, executive and legislative powers in the American pattern. We must do a good job in handling the relationships between the Party committees, people’s congresses, and government. Major decisions to be made by the people’s congress should be submitted to it in a timely manner.9 Meanwhile, the right to democratic supervision should be ensured. He proposed to ensure the rights of the people to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, political consultation, and democratic supervision, promote correct public opinion supervision, and exercise the power of social supervision in accordance with the law. The fourth is to emphasize “the protection of the rights and interests of farmers in accordance with the law.”10 He stressed that we should deepen rural reform, establish a sound land rights transfer system, ensure the ownership, stabilize the contract rights, and activate the right to use. We should make greater efforts to support the poverty-stricken people in rural areas, actually alleviate the burden on farmers, establish a regular law enforcement and supervision mechanism, and severely crack down on behaviors detrimental to farming and farmers. The fifth is to create material and social conditions for the economic, social, and cultural rights and interests. Comrade Xi Jinping proposed that “We should make the security of lives and property of the people the top priority;”11We should strengthen the comprehensive maintenance of public order. “We should establish a sound multi-leveled and omni-directional comprehensive maintenance and prevention system for townships and villages.”12 We should effectively protect the right to personal safety. He also proposed that in the reform of the market economy, we should enhance the management of the labor market, further establish and improve the social security system, “improve the people’s lives,”13 “ensure the basic rights, interests, and livelihood of workers,”14 prioritize the development of education and protect the rights of children, “earnestly implement the requirements of the rule of law and the rule of virtue, enhance law enforcement related to the environment, and seriously investigate and deal with violations of law related to the environment.”15
 
C. The concepts of respecting and protecting human rights in Zhejiang
 
From 2002 to 2007, Xi Jinping served as secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee. In 2004, respecting and protecting human rights was solemnly included in the amendment to the Constitution, which is considered the second milestone in the development of human rights in China since the launch of reform and opening up. Meanwhile, a series of new considerations and concepts on rights and human rights took shape in the vivid practice of governance in Zhejiang by comrade Xi Jinping. Taking the 232 essays included in Zhejiang, China: A New Vision for Development for example, we can see that they provide scientific answers to “everyday problems of interest to ordinary people”16 and embody a rational understanding of the rights and interests of the people. For example, the first is to scientifically define the relationship between “power” and “people” as well as power and rights. Comrade Xi Jinping proposed that “exercising power for the people and serving them wholeheartedly is the duty of public servants.”17 The Party builds itself for the public good and exercises power for the people. The principle must be the ultimate purpose of all work. The fundamental interests of the people should always be the first priority.18 The “fundamental interests of the great majority of the people” should be taken as the basic yardstick to test work and political achievements. In Establish Five Noble Sentiments published in 2003, Xi elaborated on the essentials of the requirement for Party members to identify with the people and clearly pointed out that we should “answer the fundamental political questions — Who do we trust? Who do we rely on? Who do we serve? — and wield power effectively for the people.”19 The second is to practice the concept of putting people first and protecting the rights and interests of the people. In the essay Resolve the ‘Three Rural Issues’ in a People-Centered Way published in 2005, Xi wrote that “the ‘three rural issues’ are, at their core, about farmers, and the solution to the core issue about farmers is to promote their interests and protect their rights. Finally, improvement in the overall caliber and well-rounded personal development of farmers should be our ultimate goal. To this end, we need to actualize, protect, and enhance farmers’ material interests and democratic rights, and empower them to pursue self-development.”20 The third is to pay special attention to the protection of people’s rights to develop as equals. “The ultimate purpose of development is to advance society in an all-round way and raise the people’s standard of living.”21 Economic development is not the goal. On the contrary, “social development centered on people’s overall development is the ultimate goal.”22 To this end, “the barriers and disparities between urban and rural areas must be truly eliminated so that rural residents can enjoy the same benefits, property rights, and opportunities for development as urban residents.”23 Meanwhile, we should prioritize efficiency and safeguard fairness. “We must perform our specific work in accordance with the requirements of gradually establishing a social fairness system focused primarily on equal rights, equal opportunity, fair rules, and fair distribution.”24 We should effectively protect the rights and interests in employment and social security. The fourth is to develop the market economy and maintain freedom and equality. The essence of a market economy is an economy governed by the rule of law. The rule of law is a guarantee for applying the inherent laws of the market economy and the market economy’s basic principles of fair competition, equal value exchange, and honesty and good faith. It is necessary to “pursue equality, freedom, justice, efficiency, and other values inherent to the socialist market economy.”25 The fifth is to analyze the relationship between the rule of law and human rights from the perspective of jurisprudence. In the attributes of a socialist harmonious society that are associated with the rule of law, “democracy and the rule of law” describe harmony between public power and civil rights, while “equity and justice” describe harmony between social rules and individual abilities. “A legal relationship of some kind inevitably underlies any harmonious relationship that contributes to the building of a harmonious society. This is true whether it is a harmonious relationship between individuals and society, between individuals, and between humans and nature, or it is a harmonious relationship between public power and individual rights. This indicates that a harmonious society is essentially a society based on the rule of law.”26 Promoting a “Peaceful Zhejiang”27 and the rule of law in Zhejiang will create a stable and orderly social environment for the people to live and work in peace and contentment. Building a safe society and promoting harmony and stability must be at the top of our agenda. It should be emphasized that “prosperity and stability are the fundamental interests of the people. Accelerating the development and maintaining public security are the political responsibilities of officials.”28 Meanwhile, it is necessary to acknowledge “the correspondence between rights and obligations, and defend rights and settle disputes in accordance with the law.”29 The sixth is to uphold a scientific outlook on protecting rights. Comrade Xi systematically explained the basic theory and major practical problems in protecting rights in his essay Uphold a Scientific Outlook on Protecting Rights published in 2005. A variety of conflicts of interest and disputes on rights cropping up in reform and development should be responded to in accordance with the law in a scientific way. “The key to upholding a scientific outlook on protecting rights is to stay people-centered, work in accordance with the law, and maintain overall coordination. The ultimate purpose of all our work should be to properly realize, protect, and promote the fundamental interests of the people. In all our work, we should protect the people’s lawful economic, political, cultural, and social rights and interests... we must also use education to guide the people to use legal, rational, and orderly ways to appeal to their interests so that they can protect their own rights and interests in accordance with the law.”30 The seventh is to highlight the protection of the ecological environment. Developing a circular economy, transforming the economic structure and growth mode, and building an environment-friendly society are conducive to solving the dilemma between development and environmental protection. He clarified that “lucid waters and lush mountains are valuable resources.”31 All of these have laid a theoretical foundation for protecting ecological rights and interests.
 
D. The expansion of respecting and protecting human rights in Shanghai
 
When Comrade Xi Jinping served as secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee from March to October 2007, he further practiced and developed the idea of people’s rights and interests by integrating the protection of the people’s rights and interests into his consideration of the reform, development and stability of the international metropolis. He has always borne in mind the interests of the people. Focusing on solving problems related to people’s livelihoods, he ensured that development should be in the interests of the people, development should rely on people’s support, and development should be of direct benefit to the people.32 He insisted on exercising power for the good of the people, with limits, justly, and lawfully.33 He stressed that great importance should be attached to democratic centralism and forming of a supervisory system that organically combines the CPC’s internal oversight, oversight by people’s congresses and laws, democratic oversight of the CPPCC, oversight by media organizations, and oversight by the general public.34 We must earnestly protect the lawful rights and interests of the working class and uncompromisingly fight against acts infringing upon the lawful rights and interests of workers in accordance with laws and policies.35 He proposed that we should put the people first and care more for people with difficulties like the persons with disabilities. Enterprises should take social responsibility to participate in the assistance to the poor and those in difficulty.36 He proposed that we should promote the coordinated development of the Yangtze River Delta region with Shanghai as the leader. “We should work together on planning, transportation, market, industry, brands, and environment to achieve shared development of society.”37 We should promote regional cooperation. Based on consultation and consensus, we should form a legally binding framework agreement on regional cooperation in the Yangtze River Delta to promote common prosperity and lay a solid foundation for sharing equal rights to development.
 
E. The Chinese context of respecting and protecting human rights
 
From 2007 to the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi Jinping held leadership positions in the CPC Central Committee. In 2009, China formulated its first national plan of human rights, the National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010), which is the third symbol of a new leap in the development of human rights in China after the white paper on human rights and the inclusion of human rights in the Constitution. Moving from the “local” context to the “national” context, Xi Jinping began to consider, analyze, study and discuss the system guarantee for democratic governance, the people’s democracy and rights from the perspective of the whole Party and the country. He further emphasized the importance of establishing the correct outlook on the world and power. He pointed out that “the Marxism outlook on power could be summed up in two sentences: the power is bestowed by the people and the power should be used for the people.”38 The achievements of scientific development should be reflected in the full protection of the economic, political, cultural, social and other rights and interests of the people, so that all the people share the fruits of development. We should “spare no efforts to protect the rights and interests of the people in work, politics, health, and development.”39 On February 3, 2011, he delivered a speech at the closing ceremony of the seminar on social management and innovation attended by officials at the provincial ministerial level. He pointed out that we should start with those concerns essential to people’s immediate interests and strive to people’s access to education, employment, medical services, elderly care, and housing. He also attaches great importance to the protection of the interests of vulnerable groups, emphasizing that the principle of maximizing the interests of children should be adhered to in the governance of the country.
 
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping has led the whole Party to regard respecting and protecting human rights as an important principle of governance. Embracing a global vision and a holistic approach, General Secretary Xi has summarized his long-term experience in exploring human rights theories and practices. Based on the historic mission of rejuvenating the Chinese nation, he scientifically applies the basic tenets of Marxism on human rights in the history, culture and national conditions of China. Following the trend of the times, he has put forward and proved a series of creative and forward-looking concepts, assertions, propositions and principles with far-reaching significance in respecting and protecting human rights, which are the concentrated expression of the theoretical framework and ideological context of the “outlook on human rights in contemporary China.” From November 2012 to October 2021, human rights issues had been extensively discussed and explained in more than 160 major documents, including reports, speeches, remarks, congratulatory messages, directives, and explanatory notes, forming a colorful treasure house of human rights ideas. In conclusion, the first is global thinking. It is fully reflected in the decisions and explanatory notes of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee, as well as the report of the 19th CPC National Congress and the decisions of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Plenary Sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee and other important documents of the Party. The principle that “human rights should be fully respected and protected” is defined in the report of the 18th CPC National Congress. The objective of the rule of law is reflected in “providing stronger judicial protection of human rights” proposed at the Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 18th CPC Central Committee and “human rights are effectively protected” put forward at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. “The rights of the people to participate and to develop as equals are adequately protected” is stressed in the report of the 19th CPC National Congress. “China promotes the all-round development of human rights” is emphasized during the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. All of these have reflected the charisma and wisdom of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core of human rights. The second is specific exposition. It is mainly reflected in four important congratulatory letters of General Secretary Xi Jinping for events relevant to human rights, namely the Congratulatory Letter to the 2015 Beijing Forum on Human Rights, the Congratulatory Letter to the International Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, the Congratulatory Message to the “South-South Human Rights Forum,” and the Congratulatory Letter to the Symposium on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
In short, Xi Jinping insists on thinking, planning and advancing his practices as a local leader in the grand background of the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the general vision and logic of respecting and protecting human rights of the whole country. After taking the leadership of the Party and state as the core of the CPC Central Committee, General Secretary Xi Jinping has innovated and developed human rights concepts putting the people first. It is in the systematic practice of governance at the county, city, and province levels, to cross-region and national governance that he moves from practice to theory and then from theory to practice to develop the human rights concept of contemporary China through constant accumulation.
 
II. Core Essence of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights
 
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights are high-minded, forward-looking, insightful, and rich in content. Proceeding from China’s realities and developing a global vision, they provide scientific answers to theoretical problems on the origin, subject, content, emphasis, and realization of human rights. Therefore, they are integral parts of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. To sum up, these important statements are reflected in the following nine aspects.40
 
A. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government’s Commitment to respecting and protecting human rights
 
Since the day of its foundation, the CPC has set its goal to work for the well-being of the people of China and for human progress. Respecting and protecting human rights is a basic principle established in the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Exercising state power for the people is a basic requirement for the Party to lead the people in governance. In the past century since the founding of the CPC, the Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation, from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. Each transformation is a milestone of human rights in the history of human civilization. The victory of the Chinese revolution and the establishment of the socialist system established the position of the people as the subject of human rights and ensured that all the people could exercise the most extensive people’s right to democracy. From poverty to securing access to food and clothing, and thence to moderate prosperity, moderate prosperity in all respects, and finally common prosperity, the human rights protection and the quality of people’s life in China have been continuously improved.
 
B. A path of human rights development suited to China’s conditions
 
When it comes to choosing a development path for a country, no one is in a better position to make the decision than the people of that country. Just as one does not expect a single prescription to cure all diseases, one should not expect a particular model of development to fit all countries. Blindly copying the development model of others will only be counterproductive, and so will be any attempt to impose one’s own development model on others. Times keep changing and human rights continue to progress. Through applying the principle of universality of human rights in the context of the national conditions in the contemporary time, China has found a path of human rights development that suits China’s national conditions, creating a human rights system with Chinese characteristics that has obvious advantage for mankind. China fundamental political system is the people’s congress system, the basic political systems of the systems of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, regional ethnic autonomy, and community-level self-governance, and the basic economic system in which public ownership is dominant and diverse forms of ownership develop side by side. Practice shows that the new state system and development path have ensured people are the masters of the country and created a miracle of rapid economic development and long-term social stability lays a foundation for the comprehensive and extensive enjoyment of human rights by all people.
 
C. Pursuing a people-centered human rights philosophy
 
Putting people first and ensuring the people’s principal status as masters of the country, the Party and the government insist that everything is for the people, relies on the people, benefits and protects the people, and ensures that the people enjoy extensive and full rights and freedom. Placing the interests of the people above all else, they work hard to satisfy people’s desire for a better life. As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, the most basic human right is the right to a happy life. Entering a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved to become that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. We should continue to realize, protect, and develop the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people, and satisfy their new demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment to better promote the social progress across the board and realize all-round development of the people. General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out that the Chinese dream is as much the dream of every Chinese as it is the dream of the whole nation. The Chinese people are striving to fulfill the Chinese Dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation, which will ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by the Chinese people at a higher level and promote the all-round development of the people.
 
D. Taking the right to subsistence and the right to development as the basic human rights and realizing common prosperity in gradual steps
 
Development is an eternal theme for the human race. The UN Declaration on the Right to Development affirms that the right to development is an inalienable human right. As the world’s largest developing country with over 1.4 billion people, China regards development as the key to solving all problems and the primary task of the Communist Party of China in governing and rejuvenating the country. “Promoting human rights through development” is a new path for human rights in China. Since the launch of reform and opening up, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Party has firmly grasped the theme of development. China has implemented a targeted poverty alleviation strategy and completed the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus securing a historical success in eradicating absolute poverty. China has contributed more than 70 percent of the global poverty reduction effort and completed, 10 years in advance, the goal of poverty reduction of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Entering the new era, China is following the new development philosophy and formulating a new development paradigm to firmly advance high-quality development, share the benefits of development with the people, and gradually realize common prosperity. Significant progress has been made in human rights. In a nutshell, the development achievements of China are reflected in the better life of hundreds of millions of Chinese people and the full realization of the equal right of all people to participate in development.
 
E. Making the health and safety of the people the top priority
 
In the value spectrum of human rights, life and health are the foundation, so the right to life is given the top priority. China is committed to building a safe China and putting people’s lives and safety first. China has implemented the healthy China initiative to prioritize public health. China has put in place the largest system of medical care and health in the world, striving to ensure all-round people’s health at all times. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government, putting people and life first, has been following science-based prevention and control measures in accordance with the law and taking the most rigorous control measures to make extraordinary responses to an extraordinary challenge with a great sense of political responsibility and courage. Every life is fully protected from newborn babies to centenarians, from students studying in China to foreigners visiting China. The life, value and dignity of the people are carefully defended, composing one piece after another of moving music of human rights, which could be the best interpretation of China’s human rights concepts in the new era.
 
F. Coordinating efforts to enhance the economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental rights for all and promoting people’s well-rounded development
 
The CPC and the Chinese government have sought to make overall economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental progress, collectively known as the “FivePronged Overall Plan,” to earnestly protect the human rights of all. For economic rights, we should deepen reform and opening up in all areas, promote high-quality development, build up our country’s strength in science and technology, and continue to unleash and develop productivity to bring remarkable changes in the realization of economic rights. For political rights, we should realize the whole-process people’s democracy and ensure the people’s rights to be informed, to participate, to be heard, and to oversee to fully protect political rights and freedoms. For social rights, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that the ultimate purpose of economic development is to ensure and improve people’s well-being. We should start with those concerns essential to people’s immediate interests and focus on efforts to ensure better education, income distribution, employment, social security, medical service and healthcare, and housing. We should build a social governance community and actually maintain social equality and justice. For cultural rights, we should promote equal access to education, build a public cultural service system and a cultural market system that covers the entire society, and speed up efforts to build China into a country strong in sports to ensure that everyone shares the right to cultural development. For environmental rights, General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward important propositions, including a sound eco-environment is the most basic public good that benefits all; lucid waters and lush mountains are valuable resources, so we must ensure that the environment benefits the people; we should build a beautiful China and protect the right to the ecological environment.
 
G. Protecting the rights and interests of particular groups such as ethnic minorities, women, children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities
 
As General Secretary Xi Jinping has said, women’s rights and interests are basic human rights. Men and women live in the same world. We should eliminate discrimination or prejudice against women. We must adhere to the fundamental national policy of gender equality, realize the correct path so that women are able to exercise their democratic rights, participate in economic and social development, and benefit from the outcomes of reforms and development on an equal and legal basis, and make gender equality a reality to earnestly protect the lawful rights of women. Our society needs to understand, respect, care about and offer help to children, and provide a favorable environment for them. Persons with disabilities are equal members of society and an important force for the development of human civilization and for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. To this end, it is necessary to continuously improve the protection system for the rights of persons with disabilities and better realize the human rights of persons with disabilities. China is a unified multi-ethnic country. The unification of the 56 ethnic groups into one nation is an invaluable treasure bestowed by our ancestors. We should strengthen the Chinese nation’s sense of community, insist on governing ethnic affairs according to the law, ensure that citizens of all ethnic groups are equal before the law, fully implement the law on regional ethnic autonomy, and protect the human rights of ethnic minorities.
 
H. Strengthening legal protection for human rights and ensuring the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms in accordance with the law
 
It is a basic experience of the success of the CPC in governing by law to ensure the unity of the leadership of the Party, the position of the people as masters of the country and law-based governance. General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out that the broadest and deepest foundation for law-based governance is the people. The fundamental purpose of the advancement of law-based governance is to protect the rights and interests of the people in accordance with the law. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has embarked on a great voyage of law-based governance and developing the rule of law in China, promising a broad prospect for human rights protection. Equipped with a sound legal system and a sensible governance system, China has established the fundamental principle of respecting and protecting human rights in the fundamental law of the Constitution and a legal system of human rights centered on the Constitution. The institutions and legal system for human rights have been consolidated from attaching importance to human rights legislation, providing stronger judicial protection of human rights after the 18th CPC National Congress, to strengthening legal protection for human rights after the 19th CPC National Congress to maximize the effectiveness of the legal protection of human rights. For example, the Civil Code of China has an independent chapter on the right to dignity for the first time in the history of human legislation to focus on the protection of the rights to life, body, and health as the most fundamental right to dignity. Meanwhile, emphasis is laid on the coordinated promotion of other personal rights and property rights. The Data Security Law and the Personal Information Protection Law passed not long ago pay special attention to protecting human rights in digital space for all.
 
I. Contributing more to greater cultural diversity and development of worldwide human rights
 
With a broad global vision and innovative theoretical character, General Secretary Xi Jinping proposed to build a community with a shared future for human beings, creating a new theoretical framework for the enjoyment of human rights of all human beings. He emphasized that the right of the people to independently choose their development paths should be respected, interference in the internal affairs of other countries opposed and international fairness and justice maintained. We should uphold the universal values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, strengthen mutual learning and exchanges between civilizations, increase exchanges and cooperation in human rights, and promote better development of world human rights. China pays special attention to the protection of the right to development of developing countries and has put forward many major strategic concepts in developing cooperation and assistance, global poverty reduction, addressing climate change, promoting sustainable development, improving the level of international development, and so on. China is actively engaged in the global governance of human rights and committed to safeguarding the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law to construct a solid legal defense for the development of human rights for mankind.
 
III. Value Implication of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Statements on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights
 
Coming from rich and vivid social practice, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on human rights have profound ideological origins and are of great value significance. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights have three major theoretical origins. The first is the fundamental guideline. Marxist human rights theory is the most essential theoretical source of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights. Following the guidance of Marxist-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Important Thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made theoretical explorations according to the reality of contemporary China and realized innovative development of the outlook on the human rights of contemporary China. The second is the inheritance of history and culture. Only by absorbing the philosophical essence of traditional Chinese culture and inheriting culture with confidence can we provide sufficient nutrients for cultural innovation. In ancient China, there were a variety of human rights concepts, including “putting the people first,” “when there is mutual care, the world will be in good order; when there is mutual hatred, the world will be in chaos,” “the people are the foundation of a country and only when the people lead a good life can the country thrive,” “there are some fixed principles in governing a state, among which benefiting the people should be the root,” “all people are equal before the law,” “do reverence to the elders in your own family and extend it to those in other families; show loving care to the young in your own family and extend it to those in other families,” “all nations should live in harmony,” “achieving universal peace,” “ensuring the right conduct and upholding justice should be the paths to follow across the land,” and “a just cause should be pursued for the common good.” All these precious concepts should be carried forward and passed down. The third is the excellent civilization of mankind. In the context of the diversity of human civilizations, “civilizations must accept their differences in their interactions.”41 To this end, it is necessary to respect each other and treat each other as equals. “We should strengthen mutual learning and exchanges between civilizations, increase exchanges and cooperation in human rights, and promote better development of the world human rights.”42
 
Innovation on the basis of tradition is the most distinctive theoretical character of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights are the concentrated expression of Marxist human rights theory in relation to the contemporary conditions of China, the Marxist human rights theory of the 21st century, and the latest achievements of the human rights concepts of contemporary China, and an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. Their unique value and vital significance are reflected in the following aspects.
 
A. Practical value
 
The original aspiration and the mission of Xi Jinping’s view on human rights are to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Standing at a new historical position in the new era, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights chart the course for the building of a great modern socialist country and the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. It is clarified that the fundamental value of national and social development lies in the realization of human rights for all people, which is of great practical significance for protecting the human rights of Chinese people at a higher level.
 
The first is to practice the value guidance. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights lays the fundamental human rights values for the realization of the Chinese Dream. General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out profoundly at the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development that “as the Chinese people try hard to realize the “Two Centenary Goals” and the Chinese Dream of rejuvenation, they will live happier lives and have their rights better protected. China will continue to make a greater contribution to human development and progress.”43 In his Congratulatory Message to the “South-South Human Rights Forum,” he clarified that “following a people-centered development philosophy, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have all along placed people’s interests above all else, and worked hard to meet people’s desire for a better life and improve respect for and the protection of the fundamental rights of the Chinese people.”44 He proposed during the 19th CPC National Congress that the “two centenary goals” will be realized in two stages, which “will give a strong boost to human rights development in China.”45 China “always put people’s rights and interests above everything else and have worked hard to promote and protect human rights.”46 These incisive statements scientifically demonstrate from different aspects that the Chinese Dream values human rights the most. To build a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. “Prosperity” means the effective protection of economic rights; “democracy” represents the full realization of political rights; “advance culture” indicates the all-round implementation of cultural rights; “harmony” requires better protection of social rights; and “beauty” augurs the enjoyment of ecological rights. In a word, the Chinese Dream is, in essence, the dream of human rights.
 
The second is to practice the strategic layout. The Western-style human rights concept is always confined to the theoretical framework of the binary opposition between the state and society, the public domain and the private domain. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights discuss and practice human rights in the organic unity of the Party, the country, society, and the people, providing fundamental guidance for the development of human rights with Chinese characteristics. Both the “Five-Pronged Overall Plan” for developing Chinese socialism and the “Four Comprehensives” strategy are top-level designs focusing on developing human rights in China. With effective implementation through strategic arrangements and micro-plans, they provide the most reliable guarantee for improving human rights in China. On the one hand, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights emphasize the full implementation of human rights of different types and forms through making overall economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental progress, known as the “FivePronged Overall Plan,” under the guidance of the Marxist methodology of dialectical unity. “We should ensure the rights of the person and property and basic political rights of the people are inviolable, and that their economic, cultural and social rights are exercised.”47 Meanwhile, special attention is paid to the right to the protection of the ecological environment. Based on the inherent characteristics of human rights, such a layout is for the all-round development of humans. The enjoyment and exercise of the rights of humans should be comprehensive and integral because human rights are indivisible and interrelated.48 In the protection and development of human rights, all kinds of human rights should be developed in a coordinated manner, demonstrating the unique comprehensiveness of the outlook on human rights in China under the guidance of materialist dialectics. On the other hand, human rights are natural rights and actual rights. Realizing natural human rights should be guaranteed through certain organizations, systems, policies, and laws. China has integrated human rights protection into the “Four Comprehensives” strategy and continuously improves human rights through the two-step approach. In the “Four Comprehensives”, the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects covers fully respecting and protecting human rights. “The building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects should follow the value to respect, protect, and promote human rights and endeavor to deliver a sense of fulfillment, happiness and security to our people.”49 After completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China has entered a new historical period of building a great modern socialist country that should be a great country of human rights. It has been proven in goals from the right to equal participation and development to common prosperity and sharing of human rights. Comprehensively deepening reform provides the fundamental impetus for the development of human rights. “Over the four decades, China has shown respect for, protected and promoted human rights in the course of reform and opening up. It has blazed a trail of development in human rights that conforms to the national conditions, and created new experiences and new progress in protecting human rights.”50 The advancement of law-based governance is the most powerful guarantee of human rights. Human rights should be emphasized in the rule of law. Human rights are the soul of law-based governance while the rule of law is the foundation of human rights. “The broadest and deepest foundation for law-based governance is the people.” “The fundamental purpose of advancing of law-based governance is to protect the rights and interests of the people in accordance with the law.”51 From the emphasis on “legislation for human rights” before the 18th CPC National Congress to “providing stronger judicial protection of human rights” and then “strengthening legal protection for human rights,” China has continuously strengthened the legal protection of human rights in the process of promoting law-based governance and developing the rule of law in China. The Party’s leadership is the fundamental guarantee for the development of human rights in China. Comprehensively strengthening Party discipline is the “firewall” for respecting and protecting human rights. The great practice of the CPC in respecting and protecting human rights shows that we should uphold the leadership of the Party, remain committed to governing it strictly, fully implement the “principle of respecting and protecting human rights embedded in governance,” and “ensure the people’s position as masters of the country,” and “make comprehensive progress in human rights.”52 In short, the contemporary Chinese concept of human rights is fully implemented through the “Four Comprehensives” strategy, and provides value guidance for it.
 
B. Theoretical value
 
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights reveal the theoretical logic and legal implications of the development of human rights with Chinese characteristics in the new era in a scientific, rigorous, truth-seeking, and innovative manner. Xi has creatively proposed a series of new concepts, new ideas, new strategies, new concepts, new propositions and new principles on human rights, contributing to the development of the human rights theory of mankind, and laid the foundation for enriching the diversity of human rights civilizations. The theoretical innovation of the development of human rights with Chinese characteristics is the most prominent contribution of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights. This can be boiled down to the following core essences: the first is to follow the leadership of the CPC; the second is to respect the principal position of the people; the third is to start from the national realities of China; the fourth is to take the right to subsistence and the right to development as the basic human rights; the fifth is to protect human rights in accordance with the law; the sixth is to actively participate in global human rights governance. They are the main features of China’s human rights development and valuable experience in advancing human rights in China. In the history of human rights theory, his statements have scientifically revealed the answers to some fundamental theoretical questions, such as: Who enjoys human rights? What human rights are enjoyed? How to realize human rights in a large developing country like China? His important statements on human rights have formed a scientific human rights theory system composed of the theories on the leadership of human rights, the subject of human rights, the foundation of human rights, the focus of human rights, the protection of human rights, and the governance of human rights. 
 
Specifically, the first is the difference in the leadership on human rights. In the Western view of human rights, leadership is often considered to be incompatible with the subject of human rights, while the leadership of the Party is the top priority in China’s human rights concept and the golden key to success, according to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights. As a century-old party, the CPC has always embraced the idea of human rights and led the people to make great achievements in human rights since its establishment. Through the homogenization of the subjective will of the Party and the people, the sharing of fundamental interests, and the synchronization of power constraints, the leadership of the Party has been theoretically justified, rationally integrated and tested by practice, which completely subverts the Western human rights theory on the paradox of the relationship between the ruling party and human rights. The second is the difference in the subject of human rights. Based on the values of individualism, the West separates the individual from the collective, so they see the trees as the part not the forest as the whole. According to General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights, the people’s principal status as masters of the country is stressed rather than the theory of popular sovereignty. Undoubtedly, it is a fundamental breakthrough in human rights theory from the deconstruction view of human rights of the classical law of nature school to the constructive view of human rights of Marxism in contemporary China. Considering the difference in the foundation of human rights, what is the origin of human rights? The theory of natural rights was dominant in the West for centuries, yet it crumbled before the facts of transcendent nature. In fact, the foundation of human rights lies in social and economic relations. The human rights condition is determined by the economic base. Based on the reality in China, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights realize the organic integration of subjectivity and objectivity as well as universality and particularity of human rights through the positioning, planning, and practicing of human rights. The third is the difference in the focus on human rights. Although the slogans of freedom, equality, and fraternity put forward in the bourgeois revolution have played their roles in the fight against feudal dictatorship in history, the emphasis of individual liberalism to radicalize freedom resulted in the misinterpretation of human rights and seriously hindered the all-round development of human rights. The situation is more evident among vulnerable groups and in underdeveloped and developing countries. Focusing on the right to subsistence and the right to development, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights grasp the pulse of the development of human rights in China. This is exactly the product of the application of the dialectics of Marxism on separating the main problems from less pressing ones, and the main aspects of the problems from the minor aspects, in the theory and practice of human rights. The fourth is the difference in the protection of human rights. The West often regards human rights as the product of the fighting of individuals against the constraints of power. Although Europe established social rights through European Social Charter after World War II and promoted judicial remedies for human rights, western-style human rights are characterized by oppositional confrontation and post-mortem remedies in general. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights are different in essence. The development of human rights is planned in advance to actually respect and protect human rights, and the human rights of individuals are promoted through the comprehensive development of human rights. Meanwhile, judicial and law enforcement guarantees for human rights are strengthened. In practice, a panoramic human rights protection system composed of the Constitution and laws, policies and norms,strategic planning, action plans, specific plans, and detailed measures has been formed. Among them, strengthening the legal protection of human rights plays an important role. The human rights protection under the rule of law in China is also different from that in the West. It pays attention to judicial relief after the event and emphasizes the construction of multiple relief and settlement mechanisms. It pays attention to the protection of national legal norms and emphasizes the adjustment of social norms. Focusing on the system of the law-based governance, we protect human rights in the whole chain and process covering pre-regulation, in-process adjustment and post-event relief. The fifth is the difference in the governance of human rights. The West usually regards global human rights governance as Western-style human rights governance under the leadership of the West. Bearing in mind both domestic and international situations, China recognizes and promotes human rights governance through modernizing its national governance system and enhancing its governance capability. Meanwhile, it plans the development of human rights in China and the world from the perspective of actively participating and promoting global human rights governance.
 
C. Time value
 
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights show distinctive features of the times, mainly manifested in the following aspects.
 
The first is to zero in on the contradiction of the times. The most important theoretical achievement formed in the timely grasp of the transformation of the main contradictions of Chinese society and scientific application in the human rights practice is to take the needs of the people for a better life as the goal of human rights protection. General Secretary Xi Jinping creatively put forward the major proposition that “the most basic human right is the right to a happy life,”53 pointing out the direction for the development of human rights in the new era. Entering a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved from the contradiction between ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and China’s underdeveloped social production to that between the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development. In this context, new changes have taken place in the connotation, extension and realization of human rights, so the nature, quality and value orientation of human rights need to be optimized and urgently improved. In other words, “the right to an adequate standard of living”54 has evolved into the “right to a better life” of the people. It greatly expands the definition of the concept of human rights in international human rights law, forming a new form of human rights and higher demands for human rights. The right to a better life aims to develop towards the realization of democracy, rule of law, fairness, justice, security, environment and other needs based on the equal satisfaction of the material and cultural needs of all to ensure that everyone enjoys a healthy, peaceful, decent and happy life.55
 
The second is to hit the principal theme of the times directly. General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights put the development of human rights into the principal themes of the times with socialism with Chinese characteristics for the overall planning and top-level design and formed human rights concepts with Chinese characteristics in the new era. As China has entered a new development stage, it is seeking the human rights value and ideas from the grand narrative of the “two centenary goals” to draw a picture of the ideal human rights in the future. When the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects was finally realized in 2020, the fundamental human rights issue to ensure the right to subsistence for all was solved. When socialist modernization is realized in 2035, the rights of the people to equal participation and development will be fully guaranteed. By the middle of this century, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful. At that time, new heights will be reached in every dimension of material, political, cultural and ethical, social, and ecological advancement, common prosperity for everyone will be largely achieved, and the Chinese people will enjoy happier, safer, and healthier lives. The transition from the basic right to subsistence to equal participation, equal development and then to the right to a happy life is an integral and organic component of the cause of socialist construction with Chinese characteristics and the completion of the “triple jump” in the cause of socialist human rights with Chinese characteristics for a qualitative leap, as well as a fundamental yardstick for testing the success of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
 
The third is to answer the question of the times. General Secretary Xi Jinping revealed the fundamental issue of how to develop the cause of human rights and protect the human rights of all people in China, the largest developing country in the world. Peace and development are the two major themes in today’s world. Human rights, together with peace and development, constitute the three pillars of the United Nations. As a major developing country, China has always focused on the main line of development, regarded development as the key to developing human rights in China, and proposed a new human rights strategy to promote human rights through development. This is a new approach different from the “human rights-based approach to development,” namely the “development-based approach to human rights.” It is undeniable that a human rights-based approach to development is conducive to the development of human rights. However, talking about human rights first and then development or talking about human rights only while neglecting development would inevitably damage the foundation of human rights, which is conducive to neither development nor human rights. For developing countries, only by promoting human rights through development can they truly ensure the human rights of all people based on their reality.
 
The fourth is to demonstrate the characteristics of the times. Reform and innovation are the basic characteristics of the new era. The driving force of the development of human rights in China lies in carrying out comprehensive reform and innovation. All human rights depend on a specific social system and human rights can be ensured when they are integrated into the system. China implements the fundamental political system of the people’s congress system, the basic political system of the systems of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, regional ethnic autonomy, and community-level self-governance, and the basic economic system in which public ownership is dominant and diverse forms of ownership develop side by side, providing unique institutional strength for the development of human rights with Chinese characteristics. Only by comprehensively deepening the reform can the system and mechanism be continuously optimized, the efficiency of the system be maximized, and the significant advantages of the system in protecting human rights be fully demonstrated.
 
D. Human values
 
General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights integrate the core socialist values with the common values of mankind in an organic way. They look at global human rights from the perspective of human rights development in China and explore the development of human rights in China from the angle of global human rights governance through extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in relation to human rights. His clear and systematic thought on human rights enriches the the development of international human rights, and promotes the improvement of the global human rights governance system, especially protecting the development rights of the vast number of developing countries, contributing Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to the exploration and construction of a better human rights system for mankind. For the governance concept, the concept of a community with a shared future for human beings proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping has injected new vitality into optimizing the global human rights governance system. In his Congratulatory Letter to the Symposium Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that “We will protect human dignity and rights, strive for fairer, more reasonable and inclusive global human rights governance, and build a global community with a shared future and a beautiful world.”56 The concept of a community with a shared future for human beings has been included in UN resolutions many times, providing a new way of thinking for the building of a new type of international human rights relations and promoting the development of international human rights. This value concept of global human rights governance has been consistently reflected in General Secretary Xi Jinping’s thoughts on global governance and international relations. For example, he has proposed “to uphold justice and pursue shared interests,”57 he has emphasized that “one should first of all respect one’s own culture, and also appreciate the culture of others for the prosperity of human civilization,” “Benevolence, righteousness, self-consecration, and fidelity, with unwearied joy in these virtues”58 “we should champion the spirit of humanity, compassion, and dedication,”59 “we should achieve equitable, open, all-round and innovation-driven development,”60 “confrontation and alliances must be eschewed in favor of dialogue and partnership,”61 “we should uphold peace, development and win-win cooperation,”62“civilizations only vary from each other, no civilization is superior over others,”63 “we are not alone on the Great Way and the whole world is one family,” “we share weal and woe together,” “all people under the heaven are of one family,”64 “we should act in good faith, value friendship, champion moral principles and uphold justice,”65 “we should advance, in a balanced manner, work in all the three areas of security, development and human rights,”66 and so on. These profound ideas of human rights civilization have laid a solid foundation for a community with a shared future for mankind. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping’s thought on human rights, China has pioneered the North-South dialogue and the South-South cooperation to promote all-round cooperation and assistance in such fields as poverty reduction, medical care, education, health, and technology, aiming at sharing the right to development with people all over the world through a community with a shared future for human beings. Meanwhile, China has tried to promote the sharing of the right to the sustainable development of the ecological environment for mankind by building a shared future for all life on Earth, and to ensure the right to life and health for mankind by building a global community of health for all.
 
As regards the international order, China defends the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, renews the commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and emphasizes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document with vital significance in the history of human civilization and it has had a profound impact on the development of human rights. Mankind should join hands to face challenges, oppose unilateralism, racism and terrorism, promote the optimization and improvement of the existing human rights governance system, promote democracy, the rule of law and a proper balance in international relations, and protect human rights together. We should give full play to the role of the UN as the “core platform” in practicing genuine multilateralism “to advance, in a balanced manner, work in all the three areas of security, development and human rights. It should set the common agenda, highlight pressing issues and focus on real actions, and see to it that commitments made by all parties to multilateralism are truly delivered.”67 For jurisprudence, rules are the carriers of order. A rational human rights development order is based on a fair and just system of international human rights rules. To this end, on the one hand, it is necessary to maintain the existing system of international human rights legal norms based on the UN Charter and with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international human rights conventions as the main body; the effectiveness of international human rights law in the equal protection of human rights in all countries should be fully released under the premise of respecting the sovereignty of all countries and their and their independence in choosing their development paths. On the other hand, the system of rules and operating model should be continuously optimized. “We should increase the representation and the voice of developing countries, and give all countries equal rights to participate in international rule-making.”68
 
For human rights values, General Secretary Xi Jinping has creatively proposed “the universal values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom.”69 For jurisprudence, the new theory on values is neither a simple listing of existing values nor a copy of Western values but a fundamental transcendence of the traditional outlook on values with a broad theoretical mind. Its innovation is shown in the striving for consensus based on the basic values shared by all human beings. It integrates conflicting values, and optimizes combinations among multiple, disordered, and even perverse values, and paints a new genetic map of human values. In a nutshell, its inherent logical connection is that it fits with the two major themes of today’s world and takes peaceful development as the primary value. Peace and development are not isolated. They must depend on a good external environment and internal order. Development possesses a dual character. One is the morbid state of deformity and imbalance, and the other is the urgent need for balance and continuity. Rational and inclusive development requires the timely injection of the values of fairness and justice to promote the fair and just participation of all people, to share the benefits of peaceful development, and realize the core concern of international human rights for fairness and justice. For the purpose of achieving peaceful development in a fair and just manner, the democratic management and decision-making of the international community should be further enhanced. All countries and regions, big or small, strong or weak, should equally participate in global human rights governance and enjoy equal rights to know, to voice, to make decisions, and to supervise. Meanwhile, “democracy and human rights are the common pursuits of mankind, and we should respect the right of each peoples to deciding their own development path independently.”70 It can be seen that human rights are inseparable from democracy and closely related to freedom. Every country has the right to independently choose the path of human rights development and the mode of human rights practice. We must prevent and oppose the pursuit of double standards on human rights, the turning of a blind eye to internal human rights issues, making groundless accusations targeting other countries and interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. 
 
In short, General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important statements on respecting and protecting human rights are organic parts and important content of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. They are the essence and concentrated expression of the outlook on human rights in contemporary China. On the new historical journey, the great practice of human rights development in China and the world requires the continuous development of human rights, the strengthening of human rights protection, the enhancement of human rights awareness, and the shaping of human rights thinking, so that the light of human rights theory can illuminate the path of the development and innovation of the human rights with Chinese characteristics.
 
(Translated by HU Liang)
 
* WANG Xigen ( 汪习根 ), Distinguished Professor of “Changjiang Scholars” of the Ministry of Education, the Dean of the School of Law and the Director of the Institute of Human Rights Law at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, a national human rights education and training base. Doctor of Laws. 
 
** ZHOU Yating ( 周亚婷 ), Ph.D student of the Institute of Human Rights Law at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, a national human rights education and training base. The article is a significant progress of “The Core Socialist Values and the Perfection of Educational Legal System,” a major program of National Social Science Foundation of China (Project No. 19VHJ010).
 
1. Xi Jinping, Devotion to the People (Shi Jiazhuang: Hebei Publishing and Media Group, Hebei People’s Publishing House, 2015), 1-2.
 
2. Ibid., 21-34.
 
3. Ibid., 58-59.
 
4. Xi Jinping, “To Always Ensure Actual Economic, Political, and Cultural Interests and Rights of the People”, Qiushi, October 1, 2001.
 
5. Fuzhou Evening News, May 7, 1993.
 
6. Fuzhou Evening News, May 18, 1990.
 
7. Fuzhou Evening News, August 18, 1992.
 
8. Fujian Daily, May 14, 1996; see also Xi Jinping, “Summarize Experience and Renew Efforts to Open Up New Situation in Rural Poverty Alleviation and the Building of a Well-off Society”, Zhongguo Nongcun Xiaokang Keji 10 (1998).
 
9. Xi Jinping, Up and Out of Poverty (Fuzhou: Fujian People’s Publishing House, 2014), 138-142.
 
10. Fuzhou Evening News, April 23, 1995.
 
11. Fuzhou Evening News, September 2, 1994.
 
12. Fuzhou Evening News, August 18, 1992.
 
13. Fujian Daily, January 22, 2000.
 
14. Fujian Daily, July 7, 2000.
 
15. Xi Jinping, “Doing a Good Job of Environmental Protection in the New Century and Striving to Achieve Sustainable Development of Fujian”, Fujian Daily, June 5, 2001.
 
16. Xi Jinping, Zhejiang, China: A New Vision for Development (Hangzhou: Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, 2007), Publisher’s Note.
 
17. Ibid., 4.
 
18. Ibid., 33.
 
19. Ibid., 7.
 
20. Ibid., 16 and 102.
 
21. Ibid., 44.
 
22. Ibid., 225.
 
23. Ibid., 105.
 
24. Ibid., 147-148.
 
25. Ibid., 204.
 
26. Ibid., 204.
 
27. Ibid., 199.
 
28. Ibid., 52.
 
29. Ibid., 205.
 
30. Ibid., 16 and 157.
 
31. Ibid., 153.
 
32. Oriental Morning Post, July 18, 2007.
 
33. Liberation Daily, August 11, 2007.
 
34. Liberation Daily, April 14, 2007.
 
35. Wenhui Daily, April 20, 2007.
 
36. Oriental Morning Post, July 21, 2007.
 
37. Oriental Morning Post, July 11, 2007.
 
38. Xi Jinping, “Leading Cadres Should Develop a Solid Worldview and a Healthy Outlook on Power and Career”, Chinese Cadres Tribune 9 (2010).
 
39. Xi Jinping, “Xi Jinping Attends the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Daqing Oilfield and Delivers a Speech”, (September 22, 2009), Guang Ming Daily, September 23, 2009.
 
40. the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Xi Jinping on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2021).
 
41. Xi Jinping, On Building a Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings (Beijing: Central Party Literature Press, 2018), 256.
 
42. Xi Jinping, “Congratulatory Letter of Xi Jinping to the ‘2015 Beijing Forum on Human Rights’”, People’s Daily, September 16, 2015.
 
43. Xi Jinping, “Congratulatory Letter of Xi Jinping to the International Symposium on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development”, People’s Daily, December 5, 2016.
 
44. Xi Jinping, “Congratulatory Letter of Xi Jinping to the First South-South Human Rights Forum”, People’s Daily, December 8, 2017.
 
45. Ibid.
 
46. Xi Jinping, Towards a Community with a Shared Future for Human Beings, Qiushi 1 (2021).
 
47. The fourth plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China CPC Central Committee, “Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China”, People’s Daily, October 29, 2014.
 
48. Wang Xigen, “Sinicization and Development of Marxist Human Rights Theory”, Law and Social Development 2 (2019), 69.
 
49. The State Council Information Office of the PRC, “Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects: A Glorious Chapter in the Development of Human Rights in China”, People’s Daily, August 13, 2021.
 
50. The State Council Information Office of the PRC, “Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China”, People’s Daily, December 13, 2018.
 
51. the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Xi Jinping on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights, 157.
 
52. The State Council Information Office of the PRC, “The Communist Party of China and Human Rights Protection — A 100-Year Quest”, People’s Daily,June 25, 2021.
 
53. Xi Jinping, “Xi Jinping Emphasizes to Follow a Path of Human Rights Development Suited to China’s Conditions and Promote People’s Well-rounded Development in the Congratulatory Letter to the Symposium on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, People’s Daily, December 11, 2018.
 
54. According to article 11 of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the right to an adequate standard of living includes adequate food, cloth and housing.
 
55. Wang Xigen, “On the Right to a Better Life in Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law”, Journal of Political Science and Law 5 (2021); Wang Xigen, “On the Human Rights Value of Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law”, Oriental Law 2 (2021).
 
56. Xi Jinping, “Xi Jinping Emphasizes to Follow a Path of Human Rights Development Suited to China’s Conditions and Promote People’s Well-rounded Development in the Congratulatory Letter to the Symposium on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, People’s Daily, December 11, 2018.
 
57. the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Xi Jinping on Respecting and Protecting Human Rights, 172.
 
58. Ibid., 170.
 
59. Ibid., 175.
 
60. Ibid.
 
61. Ibid., 176.
 
62. Ibid., 179.
 
63. Ibid., 182.
 
64. Ibid., 183.
 
65. Ibid., 184.
 
66. Ibid., 185.
 
67. Ibid., 196.
 
68. Ibid., 165.
 
69. Xi Jinping, “Xi Jinping Emphasizes to Follow a Path of Human Rights Development Suited to China’s Conditions and Promote People’s Well-rounded Development in the Congratulatory Letter to the Symposium on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, People’s Daily, December 11, 2018.
 
70. Ibid., 164.
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