VII. Active Participation in Global Governance of Human Rights
Over the 40 years of reform and opening up, upholding the principles of equality and mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, and cooperation and win-win benefits, China has been active in UN human rights undertakings, fulfilling its international human rights obligations, conducting extensive international cooperation on human rights, and advancing the global governance of human rights in a fair and rational direction.
Fulfilling obligations in international instruments on human rights. To date, China has signed 26 international human rights instruments, including six major ones such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
China fulfills all the obligations prescribed in relevant international conventions, ensuring that its legislation and any amendments as well as its policy formulation are consistent with these conventions, and completing and submitting periodic reports to give feedback on the progress made and any difficulties and problems encountered in implementing international conventions on human rights.
China accepts reviews from the treaty body on its implementation of these conventions. By August 2018, China had submitted 39 implementation reports on 26 occasions to these treaty bodies and received 26 reviews. During the reviews, China conducted constructive dialogue with the relevant treaty bodies and adopted their suggestions in accordance with the actual conditions in China.
China supports the necessary reform of the human rights treaty bodies, promoting dialogue and cooperation between the treaty bodies and signatory states on the basis of mutual respect.
China recommends Chinese experts as candidate members of the treaty bodies, many of whom have been chosen to serve on bodies such as the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations Committee against Torture, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Participating in establishing international rules and mechanisms for protecting human rights. Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, China has attended the meetings of the drafting groups of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other important documents on human rights protection, making a significant contribution to drafting, revising and improving these rules.
As one of the major promoters, China participated in drafting the Declaration on the Right to Development, assisting the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to organize global discussions on fulfilling the right to development, and is committed to building mechanisms for actualizing the right to development.
In 1993, China pushed for the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration among Asian countries. The same year, as the vice presidency of the Second World Conference on Human Rights, China participated in drafting the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. In 1995 in Beijing, China hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women.
Since 2006, China has supported UNHRC in establishing specialized mechanisms for securing safe drinking water, cultural rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities, in calling for special conferences on food security and global financial crisis, and in improving the international mechanisms for protecting human rights.
China is one of the first countries that attended the UN Climate Change Conference. China is an enthusiastic participant and an effective proponent in international climate negotiations, and has contributed to the adoption of the Paris agreement. China has facilitated the formulation and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations.
Engaging in UN human rights undertakings. From 1979 to 1981, China attended the meetings of the UNCHR as an observer state. In 1981, China was elected a member state of the UNCHR at the meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). In 1982, China became an official member state of the UNCHR and has maintained this position ever since. Since 1984, a succession of experts recommended by China have been elected members and alternate members of the United Nations Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. China takes an active part in discussions and negotiations of relevant issues in the UNCHR.
To build a fair, objective and transparent international mechanism for protecting human rights, China is a vigorous proponent of reform of the UN special mechanisms for protecting human rights; it played a significant role in the negotiations and final vote on establishing the UNHRC. Since March 2006, China has been elected a UNHRC member state four times. China maintains constructive contacts with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), encouraging the OHCHR to perform its duties fairly and objectively, and directing more attention to the concerns of developing countries.
China conducts cooperation with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Since 1994, China has invited the following UN representatives to visit the country: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, the United Nations Working Group on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the United Nations Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt and Other Related International Financial Obligations of States on the Full Enjoyment of All Human Rights, Particularly Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights. China handles letters from the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council with due attention, carrying out any necessary investigations and giving timely replies.
China is deeply involved in international mechanisms for protecting human rights, assisting multilateral human rights organizations to address such issues in a fair, objective and nonselective manner. China has implemented the suggestions adopted during the first and second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycles, and is actively participating in the third UPR cycle. China has been reelected a member state of the United Nations Committee on Non-governmental Organizations. Chinese experts have been appointed members of the UNHRC Advisory Committee and the Working Group on Situations. China encourages its NGOs to participate vigorously in the UNHRC and other human rights protection mechanisms.
Conducting extensive international exchanges and cooperation concerning human rights. China is committed to promoting constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights with other countries based on equality and mutual respect, and to organizing extensive exchanges to this end. Since the 1990s, China has established dialogue and negotiation mechanisms for human rights protection with more than 20 other countries. China has organized dialogue and exchanges on human rights and exchanges between legal experts, and technical cooperation on human rights with international organizations and Western countries, including the US, the EU, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, to enhance communication, understanding and mutual learning between governmental departments, judicial organs and academia. China has held human rights discussions with Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Belarus, Cuba and the African Union, to share experience and enhance cooperation.
In recent years, China has hosted several international forums and seminars on human rights in Beijing, including the Conference Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2016), the 16th Informal Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Seminar on Human Rights (2016), the International Seminar Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development (2016), and the First South-South Human Rights Forum (2017). All of these have strengthened international dialogue and exchanges on human rights. The China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) and other human rights NGOs in China promote exchanges and cooperation on human rights. They have organized the Beijing Forum on Human Rights on nine occasions, China-Europe Seminar on Human Rights on four occasions, and the International Seminar on Human Rights and Museology several times, as well as the China-Germany Seminar on Human Rights and the Sino-American Dialogue on the Rule of Law and Human Rights. These play an important role in increasing exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations. Every year China receives human rights representatives from many countries and international organizations, and arranges for foreign visits by Chinese human rights delegations, to strengthen its exchanges and cooperation on human rights with other countries and enhance mutual knowledge and understanding.
Providing Chinese solutions to global human rights governance. China is actively engaged in global governance of human rights, making proposals at the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council and on other occasions to promote the establishment of an international human rights system that is fair, just, reasonable and effective.
China proposes the view that "The rights to subsistence and development are the primary, basic human rights." China adheres to the principle that all human rights should develop side by side, and that both the universality and the particularity of human rights should be taken into account. China emphasizes advancing development through cooperation and promoting human rights through development. These perspectives and proposals lead the cause of human rights both in developing countries and in the wider world.
The idea of building a global community of shared future, as proposed by President Xi Jinping, has elicited a positive international response. The concept has been written into many resolutions of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations Security Council, and is being recognized by more and more countries. It is an example of Chinese wisdom and a Chinese solution to future world development, including global governance of human rights. China has supported the passing of many resolutions by the UNHRC, including the President's Statement on the Twentieth Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the Adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Promoting the Right to Health through Enhancing Capacity-building in Public Health, The Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights, and Promoting Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights. Particularly, the passing of the resolution, The Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights, for the first time introduced the concept of "promoting human rights through development" into the international human rights system.
On behalf of over 140 countries, China has delivered speeches on issues such as "enhancing cooperation on human rights", "actualizing the right to development" and "building a global community of shared future" on many occasions; China has also hosted side events and exhibitions at the UN with the theme of "promoting human rights through poverty reduction".