Full Text: Progress in China's Human Rights in 2013

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I. Democratic Rights

The Chinese Constitution stipulates that all power in the People's Republic of China belongs to the people. In China, the people exercise the rights of democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic management, and democratic oversight through various channels and in various ways in accordance with the Constitution and other laws. In 2013 rural and urban areas in China for the first time adopted the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in the election to the NPC; extensive, multilevel and institutional development of consultative democracy were vigorously advanced; community-level democracy as an important means of directly exercising democratic rights witnessed sound development; efforts were increased to combat corruption and build political integrity; and Chinese citizens participated in democratic management of public affairs in more diversified forms.

In 2013 China implemented the principle that everyone is equal as stipulated in the Electoral Law of the People's Republic of China, and adopted the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in the election of NPC deputies in both rural and urban areas. It abides by the principle of regional equality inasmuch as administrative areas at the same level enjoy equal legal status, all are entitled to a certain number of deputies in the highest organ of state power regardless of their population sizes. Each of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government is entitled to have the same minimum number of NPC deputies, which was eight for the 12th NPC in 2013. China abides by the principle of ethnic equality, and of the elected 2,987 deputies confirmed by the NPC Standing Committee, 409 are from ethnic minorities, accounting for 13.69 percent of the total and covering all the 55 minority ethnic groups in China. Female deputies to the 12th NPC account for 23.4 percent, 2.07 percentage points up over the 11th NPC in 2008. In the 12th NPC the number of community-level deputies increased, the number of migrant worker deputies doubled, and the number of Party and government official deputies shrank, compared to the 11th NPC. Of the deputies to the 12th NPC, the number of worker and farmer deputies increased by 5.18 percent over the 11th NPC, and the number of Party and government official deputies decreased by 6.93 percent.

The NPC vigorously promotes democratic legislation, and enhances the enforceability and operability of the laws. From March 2013 to March 2014 the NPC Standing Committee deliberated on 15 decision drafts of laws and related legal issues, and adopted ten of them; amended 21 laws including the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, and promulgated the Tourism Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Safety of Special Equipment. The NPC Standing Committee evaluates law drafts before promulgation, improves the mechanism of soliciting public opinion for draft laws, and specifies that in addition to the first review draft, the full text of the second review draft should also be released to the public to extensively solicit supplementary opinions and proposals in all respects. China improves the feedback mechanism of public opinion adopted, and actively responds to social concerns. The NPC and its Standing Committee listen to the people's opinions during legislation in the forms of forums, online opinion collection, investigation and research, allowing people to listen to legislation deliberations, and discussion by citizens and the media. From March 2013 to January 2014 some 5,728 persons presented 45,121 opinions on draft laws. Take the Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft Amendment) for example. Its first draft received 11,748 opinions, and the second draft received 2,434 online opinions and 48 letters. After soliciting opinions for released drafts of major laws, the NPC Standing Committee summarizes those opinions and issues such summaries to the public in a timely manner.

China further clears and expands rights relief channels, actively responds to public interest appeals, and respects and protects public opinion. The government endeavors to resolve the prominent problems concerning petition letters and visits, stresses preventing and reducing petition problems at the source, promotes open and transparent petition presentation and solution, encourages leading officials to directly receive and visit petitioners, and improves the mechanism of joint reception of petitioners by government departments concerned. China spares no effort to promote "petition in the sunshine," advances the building of an online petition information platform, and promotes the full exposure of petition handling and results, striving to achieve effective inquiry, tracking, oversight and evaluation of petition information. China makes open all online petitions accepted for examination, and the Internet has gradually become a window for the government to learn about public opinion.

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