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Expert: China Stands for Dialogue, Opposes Antagonism in Human Rights Area
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China stands for dialogue and is opposed to antagonism in human rights area, said Zhou Jue, president of China Society for Human Rights Studies, in Beijing Thursday.

At the ongoing Symposium on Respecting and Promoting Human Rights and Constructing a Harmonious World, Zhou said adherence to dialogue on an equal footing and opposition to power politics and antagonism are becoming a unanimous call from people of all countries and all individuals who stand for justice.

China has adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, and has always stood for resolving all intelligent disputes through peaceful dialogue, according to Zhou.

Zhou said development of the international human rights cause, taken as a whole, has been sound and wholesome thanks to efforts made by people of the world and by people of developing countries in particular.

Nevertheless, there have been factors adversely affecting and obstructing it, which must on no account be neglected -- for example, attempts to turn human rights questions into political issues, tendencies to be ideologically opinionated, adopting double standards, denial of other countries' sovereignty, and moves to push hegemony and power politics.

"All these merit our serious attention and vigilance," he said, "Thus I feel obliged to air my views on the development of human rights and the building of a harmonious world."

He said the objective and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be respected and effectively upheld.

"As the basic criteria for guiding international relations, these constitute a reliable guarantee for the realization of world peace and development and for the building of a harmonious world," he said.

Zhou said the principles of the universal character of human rights must be implemented by proceeding from the specific conditions of each country. The universal character of human rights entitles all the people to human rights, irrespective of their races, sexes, religious beliefs and language.

"Nevertheless, the world is so diversified that in societies differing in economic and social development and with different political systems, cultures and traditions, people are bound to differ in understanding of human rights and their demands are also different, hence the differing priorities with regard to solving human rights problems," he said.

Zhou stressed the right to subsistence and development is the paramount human right. As the global economy continues to develop the imbalance between the South and North continues to widen.

With 20 percent of the world's population, developed countries control 85 percent of the global wealth. In contrast, developing countries have only 15 percent of the global wealth though their combined population account for 80 percent of the world's total. More than 800 million people in developing countries face food shortages.

Zhou said while attaching sufficient importance to the development of human rights to which its own people are entitled, China, with keen attention, has worked hard to promote a sound development of the international human rights cause. It has paid due attention to international dialogue, cooperation and exchange with regard to human rights, and has taken a positive approach toward international human rights conventions and protocols.

Until now, China has acceded to 21 international human rights conventions and protocols. In 1998, the Chinese government signed the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and is soliciting opinions in connection with the ratification of the Convention.

In conclusion, Zhou said it is normal for countries to differ on human rights-related questions. Countries should, with tolerance and the principle of equality and mutual respect, strive to increase mutual understanding, reduce differences and expand consensus through dialogue, exchanges and cooperation.

(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2006)

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