Progress in helping ethnic minorities

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, November 5, 2009
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The issue of human rights should be a point of meeting and collaborating among different civilizations rather than a spot for wrangles and tussles. This is the impression people gathered from the Second Beijing Forum on Human Rights, held on Monday. Officials and experts from 26 countries attended the forum in Beijing.

The main theme of the forum was "Harmonious Development and Human Rights", a combination of "harmony", a Confucian idea, and "human rights", a concept originally from the West.

Luo Haocai, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and president of China Society for Human Rights Studies, addressed the forum. He stressed that people should think of a wider picture for the concept of humans rights, provide protection to a grander range of rights, and attach more importance to the rights of subsistence, development and environment.

Diversity of human civilization and difference in the conditions of nations required different methods to protect the human rights, said Luo. As a nation with a long and profound civilization, China of course should develop its own understanding and practices of human rights. The Chinese culture emphasizes harmony among different individuals and distinctive views, and seeks to strike a balance between the rights of individuals and the welfare of the communities. From a Chinese perspective, human rights contain many aspects, such as economic, social, cultural and political rights, which are interdependent and inseparable.

At the forum, representatives from the developing world urged the audience to pay more attention to the poverty issue, which has been aggravated by the global economic crisis, and made presentations on the efforts of their respective countries in fighting poverty and furthering people's welfare. They praised the engagement of China in the international campaign to fight poverty, as well as the humanitarian aid from China.

China's progress in preserving the rights of ethnic minorities is acknowledged, too. Professor Harro von Senger, a senior human rights expert and sinologist at the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law, argues that China's respect for minority rights is even better than some European countries. For instance, Tibetan and Uygur people are able to learn their native languages in public schools, and, on the face of the Chinese currency - yuan - languages of four ethnic minorities, including those of Tibetan and Uygur, were printed.

Senger suggests China engage in more dialogs on human rights, and put in more effort to publicize its views on the issue. Chinese media should proudly show to the world its achievements in the area of human rights, and confidently tell the world that minority rights in China are well cherished and protected.

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