Wang Chen's speech

By Wang Chen
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, November 5, 2009
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Distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning! In the beautiful autumn season in Beijing, China Society for Human Rights Studies holds the Second Beijing Forum on Human Rights, inviting human rights officials, intellectuals and experts around the world to gather here to discuss the important matter of human rights development. It is a very meaningful event, and a grand occasion for world human rights exchanges and cooperation. On behalf of the China State Council Information Office, I would like to congratulate the China Society for Human Rights Studies for holding the forum, and want to extend a warm welcome to all guests participating in the forum.

The impact of the global financial crisis is still being felt worldwide, with the unemployment rate and poverty increasing, and global problems such as unbalanced regional development, climate change, grain and energy crisis becoming more and more obvious, all bringing more obstacles to harmonious development and the enjoyment of human rights in the world. Today, human rights intellectuals and officials from different countries and regions gather together to engage in deep discussions on the important topic of "Harmonious Development and Human Rights," and it is truly a timely and meaningful event.

Having full human rights and realizing a harmonious development has long been the pursuit of people all over the world, and it is a long-term historical mission of the Chinese people. Over the past 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese government has always put development as the key issue in solving its various problems. It has adopted effective measures to push forward its social, economic, legislative and cultural constructions, with the aim of building a modern socialistic society with economic prosperity, strength, social democracy and harmony and rich culture. To pursue the ideal of enjoying full human rights, the Chinese government and people have made ceaseless efforts and gained remarkable achievements. In the past 60 years, China's GDP has increased at an average annual rate of 8.1 percent, and its gross economic volume increased 77 fold, enabling China to become the world's third largest economy at present. China's average GDP per capita reached 22,698 yuan ($3,337) in 2008, compared with 119 yuan in 1952, and after deducting price-changing factors, it is a 32.4 fold increase, with an annual increase rate of 6.5 percent. China has developed from a poor and weak country invaded and humiliated by foreign powers into a prosperous and modern nation making great contributions to world peace and development. In recent years, the Chinese government put forward an important idealistic strategy of taking a human-oriented scientific outlook on development and constructing a socialist harmonious society, coordinating its urban and rural development, the progress of different regions, the economic and social development, the harmonious development of human and nature, and China's domestic development and its reform and opening. The development of China relies on its people and brings benefits to its people. By sticking to a peaceful development path to push forward harmonious development as well as its reform and opening up, China is now on an all-around, coordinated and sustainable development path.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, along with the leaps in China's modernization process, China's human rights development has also realized some historical progress. Since its reform and opening up in 1978, the Chinese government has adhered to a people-oriented policy, which integrated human rights principles with China's reality, putting people's rights to existence and development as the priority. The integrity of China's reform, opening up and stability have promoted its human rights development, safeguarded the equal participation and development rights of all citizens according to law, and also coordinated their political rights with their economic, social and cultural rights, and the individual rights with collective rights.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to respecting and protecting human rights. In recent years, it has included the respect for and protection of human rights in its scientific outlook on development, and it is assured as an important principle of its governance. In 2004, amendment to the Constitution was passed, which included the human rights concept in it and stated clearly that the State respects and protects human rights, indicating it has become a principle of its national law. After that, respect for and protection of human rights has also been included in the Development Scheme of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) and the CPC Charter. In April this year, the Chinese central government formulated and issued its first National Human Rights Action Plan, setting out an all-around plan for human rights development in China in the next two years.

Sixty years have passed, the life of the Chinese people has been changed dramatically, and the human rights condition made historical progress. With only 9 percent of the farmland in the world, China feeds 1.3 billion people, which accounts for 22 percent of the world population, and the living standard of the Chinese people has made two historical leaps from poverty to having enough food and clothing, and then from enough food and clothing to moderate prosperity. The absolute rural poverty population has dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 14.79 million by the end of 2007, becoming the first country in the world to reach the poverty alleviation goal of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Meanwhile, the individual rights and political rights of Chinese citizens have been expanded and effectively guaranteed. The social and political life of its people has become more and more democratized, with democratic elections, decision making, administration and supervision systems becoming more complete. The Chinese democratic politics is becoming more systemized, and people's rights to be informed, to participate, to express and to oversee have been effectively guaranteed. Since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy, State affairs in China have been running under the rule of law with the aim of constructing a socialist country governed by law, and a human rights protection legislative system with the Constitution as its core has been formed.

Facing the global recession since last year, the Chinese government has handled the situation properly by pushing forward a series of policies and measures to adjust its industrial structure, to stimulate domestic market demand, to promote economic growth and to improve its people's living standard. More emphasis has been put on employment, healthcare, education, social welfare and the issue of farmers, which are most closely related to people's rights and interests. These measures helped to maintain the stable and quick development in China, and practically protected and guaranteed the various rights of its people.

China also has enhanced its participation in international activities to promote world human rights development. It has always supported the UN's efforts in promoting and protecting human rights. It has actively participated in its various human rights activities, and has made great efforts and contributions to enrich the connotation of the human rights concept, to improve the human rights mechanisms and rules of human rights, and to push forward the development of international human rights practices. China has always advocated promoting world human rights development with dialogs, exchanges and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect, with the aim of learning from each other to seek common prosperity and development. In the future, China will increase its cooperation with world human rights organizations, and work together with people all over the world to make our contributions to building a harmonious world with long-lasting peace and common prosperity in the interest of human rights in the world.

China is a developing country with a huge population of 1.3 billion with an unbalanced economy and immature social development. As a result, we can see clearly that there are still many difficulties and challenges in human rights development in China, and promoting an all-around human rights development is a long-term and difficult mission of the Chinese government and its people.

Ladies and gentlemen, we come from different corners of the world, but share the same dream to promote world human rights development. This Human Rights Forum provides a good platform for us to get together for frank discussions to reach some common understanding. I sincerely hope that you will take this opportunity to voice your opinions freely, hold your point of views, and contribute your ideas for the harmonious development and the realization of full human rights in the world. I wish the Second Beijing Forum on Human Rights a complete success.

Thank you!

(This is a speech delivered on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Beijing Forum on Human Rights by the author, who is Minister of the State Council Information Office.)

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