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China issues 9th white paper on human rights
BEIJING, Sep. 26, 2010 -- The Chinese government Sunday released a white paper on human rights in China in 2009, highlighting the role of Internet freedom and the country's efforts in safeguarding citizens' legitimate civil and political rights. 
 
"The overall cause of human rights has been promoted in an all-round way," says the white paper, published by the State Council Information Office under the title "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2009."
 
Chinese netizens' right to freedom of speech on the Internet was protected in 2009 and the Internet has become a new channel for the Chinese government to gauge public opinion, and consequently improve its governance, the report reads.
 
It has become "common practice" for governments at all levels to consult the public via the Internet before formulating some policy, it says.
 
It adds government agencies have set up special websites to facilitate the public's reporting of corruption and dereliction of duty among officials.
 
In 2009, the Chinese government promulgated and implemented its first national action plan with human rights as the theme.
 
The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010), which applies the Constitutional principle of respecting and protecting human rights to the various fields of politics, economy, culture, social construction, etc., has been "effectively implemented", according to the white paper.
 
Chinese people's standard of living "has been further improved on the basis of economic and social development" after the country put forward a 4-trillion-yuan (US$596.6 billion) stimulus package in the wake of the international financial crisis, it says.
 
In 2009, the per capita net income of rural residents was 5,153 yuan, and the per capita disposable income of urban residents was 17,175 yuan, an increase of 8.5 percent and 9.8 percent respectively over the previous year.
 
The white paper is China's 9th report on human rights since the country began releasing the document in 1991.
 
Facts and Figures about China's Progress in Human Rights
 
-- In 2009 the Chinese government promulgated and implemented the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010). This was the first national action plan in China with human rights as the theme.
 
-- In 2009 the per capita net income of rural residents was 5,153 yuan (US$769.1), and the per capita disposable income of urban residents was 17,175 yuan, an increase of 8.5 percent and 9.8 percent respectively over the previous year.
 
-- In 2009 the China's input of money for poverty reduction programs in rural areas increased by 3 billion yuan over the previous year to 19.73 billion yuan (US$2.93 billion).
 
-- In 2009 the total health care expenditure in China reached 1.72 trillion yuan (US$0.23 trillion), making up 4.96 percent of China's GDP, and the per capita health care expenditure was 1,192 yuan.
 
-- From January 2009 to March 2010 the National People's Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee examined 25 laws and draft decisions concerning laws, and adopted 18 of them. They amended eight laws, including the Electoral Law and the Postal Law, and further guaranteed human rights through legislation.
 
-- In China there are over a million bulletin board services (BBS) and some 220 million bloggers. According to a sample survey, each day people post over three million messages via BBS, news commentary sites, blogs, etc., and over 66 percent of Chinese netizens frequently place postings to discuss various topics, and to fully express their opinions and represent their interests.
 
-- In 2009 the number of letters from and visits of the people for petition dropped by 2.7 percent over the previous year, a decrease for the fifth consecutive year.
 
-- By the end of 2009 some 3,274 legal aid organizations and 58,031 legal aid service centers had been set up at the provincial, city and county levels nationwide, providing convenient access to legal aid services.
 
-- In 2009 China appropriated 42 billion yuan for the increase of job opportunities, a rise of 66.7 percent over the previous year.
 
-- In 2009 the number of people participating in basic medical insurance topped 1.2 billion, a national coverage rate of over 90 percent.
 
-- By the end of 2009 some 99.7 percent of the school-age population had access to nine-year compulsory education, and 99.5 percent of counties in China had provided nine-year compulsory education.
 
-- In 2009 China invested 1.24 billion yuan (US$0.18 trillion), for the socioeconomic development of the areas inhabited by ethnic-minority people.
 
-- By 2009 there were 3,474 homes for people with disabilities in China, where 110,000 disabled people were taken care of.