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University Starts Human Right Course

Family planning policy, death penalty, and freedom of speech were all fiercely debated at a human rights course that began Wednesday in south China's Guangzhou University.
Li Buyun, the 72-year old professor, answered all the questions fired by more than 100 enrolled students, their majors ranging from journalism to mathematics.
"This is the reason I am here," said Li Buyun, one of China's best known law experts on human rights and director of the Research Center for Human rights, Guangzhou University. "I want them to learn how to protect their rights and those around them, and I wish them can tell what is right and what is not."
His students didn't disappoint him.
Regarding the frequent attacks by western countries on China's human rights record, Wu Sujuan, a student majoring in English, said, "Every country has its own problems of human rights based on its own history and background. It is pointless simply to attack or counter-attack. What we should do is to know more about the problem and try to solve it."
Li Yan, a mathematics student said he loved all the debates and discussions.
"In this way, we have all our long-standing questions answered," he said.
Yuan Weiguo, an official of Guangzhou University, said despite all the disputes over the human right issues, education on human right will be a common concern across China very soon.
"What professor Li did is just to kick it off," he said.
Before the 2004 Chinese constitution amendment, Li, as an advisor, urged the top legislator, to include human rights protection in the country's constitution.
"Socialists should be advocators of humanitarianism and human rights protection," said the professor who has actively participated in China's human rights dialogues with western countries.
Obviously, he wants more people, especially students, to know about his ideas.
In December 2004, he took the post as director of research center for human rights in Guangzhou, an immediate beneficiary of China's reform and opening up policy.
He wrote the first textbook in China on human rights law and began an optional course first offered to non-law majors. The professor described them as the group "desperate" for human rights education.

(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2005)

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