China's 70 years of human rights achievements on display in Switzerland

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People visit an exhibition "Pursuing Happiness for the People: 70 Years of Human Rights Progress in China" at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 9, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Residents of Luonan County in northwest China's Shaanxi province used to struggle to make a living because of the county's remoteness and barrenness.

However, things have changed when the locals found it an ideal place to plant roses and other flowers. Ever since they built a rose town in May 2017, over 400,000 tourists have visited the place, and local yearly income per capita increased to 8,000 yuan (1,123 U.S. dollars) last year.

The amount was enough to lift the residents out of poverty -- the international poverty line is 1.9 dollars a day. In Geneva-located Palais des Nations, where the Chinese government opened Monday an exhibition to mark the country's 70 years of human rights development, the residents told their stories.

The exhibition "Pursuing Happiness for the People," coinciding with the start of the 42nd regular session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN), came on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in October.

Presented here are more than 100 pictures and dozens of short videos capturing moments over the past seven decades of China's progress, from apricot harvest in far western China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to saltwater rice plantation in eastern China's Qingdao city.

"The 1.3 billion Chinese are no longer threatened by food or clothing shortages, more than 850 million Chinese are out of poverty, 770 million are employed, nine-year compulsory education is provided across the country, and China's universal health care system and social security system lead the world in scale," said Chen Xu, head of the Chinese mission to UN at Geneva.

Poverty reduction

"After years of hard work, the number of impoverished people (people living below the current poverty line) dropped from 770 million in 1978 to 16.6 million in 2018, and the poverty rate dropped from 97.5 percent to 1.7 percent," highlighted the exhibition.

"Every year from 2012 to 2018, an average of 10 million people in China were lifted out of poverty," it said.

These numbers are the strongest evidence of China's achievements in human rights. China is the first developing country to realize the UN Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction as it has lifted the greatest number of people out of poverty.

Philippine Ambassador in Geneva Evan P. Garcia, who attended the launching ceremony of the exhibition with some other 40 foreign ambassadors, praised China's achievements over the past seven decades.

"The People's Republic of China has demonstrated a tremendous achievement in lifting so many people out of poverty and in promoting development for the whole country," said Garcia. "This is something that the whole world should recognize and learn from."

"The poverty level that (China) cut down is quite dramatic and significant. That is incredible for us, for neighboring countries," said Myanmar's Ambassador in Geneva Kyaw Moe Tun.

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