Delegates to the 11th China-Australia Human Rights Dialogue yesterday updated each other on the progress the two countries have made and discussed in detail how to provide legal protection to minority ethnic groups, women, children and the physically challenged.
At a joint news conference after the dialogue in Beijing, Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, who led the Chinese delegation, said: "The Chinese government values the protection and promotion of political, economic, cultural and social rights of its citizens highly and is committed to building a socialist harmonious society in an all-round way.
"We respect the universality of human rights and believe that the principle should be applied in line with the conditions existing in a country.
"Because of differences in political systems, development levels, histories and cultures, it's natural that we have different approaches to human rights issues. That's why we have this dialogue today."
This dialogue is being held on the basis of equality and neutral respect, he said.
Deputy secretary of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs Peter Grey said the dialogue is a very constructive and open. It will be continued and strengthened.
"The dialogue is central to the Australian government's approach of advancing cooperation and constructively managing differences," said Grey, who led the Australian delegation.
The 11th Human Rights Dialogue, which focused on the role of legal professionals in protecting human rights, reviewed and approved the 2007-08 China-Australia Human Rights Technical Cooperation Program.
The total funding for the program has reached almost A$100 million, with A$2 million allocated for activities in 2007-08, according to the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(China Daily July 31, 2007)