The year 2004 is an important year for China in building a well-off society in an all-round way. It is also a year that saw all-round progress in China's human rights undertakings.

In that year, China expressly stated in its Constitution that "The state respects and safeguards human rights," further manifesting the essential requirements of the socialist system. The Chinese government pressed forward on promoting administration according to law in an all-round way. It promulgated the document "Outline of Full Implementation for Promoting Administration According to Law," which clearly states that China must basically realize the goal of establishing a government under the rule of law after making sustained efforts for about 10 years. A series of effective measures were adopted to standardize and restrain administrative power, and to safeguard and protect citizens' rights and interests. The Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted the "Decision on Strengthening the Party's Governing Capability," which stresses that state power should be exercised in a scientific and democratic manner within the framework of the law, and that human rights should be respected and protected.

In 2004, China adhered to the scientific view of development by putting people first, and made every effort to build a harmonious society. New progress was achieved in its reform, opening-up and modernization drive. Along with continuous economic growth, more democratic practices were seen in the political arena, and the society progressed in a comprehensive way. Further improvements were made in people's living standards, and China's human rights conditions were continuously improved and developed in all fields.

China is a developing country, and its human rights conditions are in a process of sustained development and perfection. The Chinese government pays special attention to respecting and safeguarding human rights. It will take effective measures to promote the development of human rights and to raise the level of human rights and basic freedom enjoyed by the Chinese people.

To help the international community toward a better understanding of the human rights situation in China, we hereby present an overview of the developments in the field of human rights in China in 2004.