NPC Spokesman on Statement Concerning Covenant on Human Rights

The statement concerning the Item I(a) of Article Eight of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, announced by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), shows that the Chinese Government will protect workers' right to organize and join trade unions in line with relevant provisions of China's Constitution, Trade Union Law and Labor Law.

Zeng Jianhui, spokesman for the Fourth Session of the Ninth NPC scheduled to open in Beijing on Monday, made the remark Sunday in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Zeng is chairman of the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee.

He said, the just-concluded 20th meeting of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee has ratified the covenant.

"This fully proves that China attaches great importance to promoting and protecting human rights, and also embodies China's consistent stand to develop cooperation with the international community in the field of human rights," Zeng noted.

He said, China made the statement in accordance with actual conditions in the country.

China's Constitution, Trade Union Law and Labor Law have effectively protected Chinese workers' right to participate in political, economic, social and cultural affairs, including organizing and joining trade unions, stressed Zeng, adding that Chinese workers have organized and joined trade unions in line with these laws ever since the founding of New China.

China's statement accords with its actual national conditions and is a normal practice, Zeng noted.

It is learned that when ratifying international covenants, it tallies with international law and practice for relevant countries to make a statement or take a reserved stance on certain articles.

Actually, many founding members of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have done so when approving the convention, Zeng pointed out, adding they made more statements and took a reserved stance on more articles than China.

A great number of countries have also made a statement or taken a reserved stance on Item I(a) of Article Eight of the covenant, said Zeng.

Some developed countries have spent longer time approving the covenant than China, from four years to 16 years. China spent three years approving it, whereas the United States has not yet ratified the convention though it signed it 24 years ago.

(People’s Daily 03/05/2001)