By He Yin, People’s Daily
Chinese President Xi Jinping met via video link with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Beijing on May 25. During the meeting, he expounded on major issues regarding China’s human rights cause in the context of China’s history and culture and reaffirmed the principled position of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government in upholding and protecting human rights in all areas.
After decades of strenuous efforts, China has successfully found a path of human rights development in line with the trend of the times and its national reality and provides better protection for the human rights of the Chinese people than ever.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China has always upheld the spirits of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, actively participated in global human rights governance, and earnestly fulfilled its international human rights obligations.
China has ratified or joined 28 international human rights instruments, including six core UN human rights treaties, and successfully participated in three rounds of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), becoming a role model of compliance. It has served as a member of the UNHRC five times, one of the most elected countries to the council.
These facts and achievements not only represent the international community’s recognition of China’s human rights progress but show China’s sincerity in actively conducting human rights dialogues and cooperation.
To jointly advance the international human rights cause for the greater benefit of people across the world, Xi believes it is most important to work on the following four priorities: putting people front and center, respecting different countries’ paths of human rights development, following a holistic approach to all categories of human rights and stepping up global human rights governance.
These four priorities, which were drawn from China’s experience in driving the development of the human rights cause, are issues that countries should pay special attention to in advancing the international human rights cause.
How a country is doing on human rights is essentially gauged by whether the interests of its people are upheld, and whether they enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security, which is the most important criterion for assessing the human rights conditions of a country, Xi said.
Human rights have historical, specific, and practical contexts, he pointed out, stressing that since countries have different national conditions, histories, cultures, social systems, and levels of economic and social development, they should and can only explore suitable paths of human rights development in light of their national realities and people’s needs.
Human rights are a rich and all-encompassing concept, and must be advanced with integrated and systematic measures, Xi said. The promotion and protection of human rights is a common cause for humanity that requires the concerted efforts of all, according to Xi.
Xi’s suggestions have further charted the way forward for strengthening international exchanges and cooperation on human rights and improving global human rights governance.
Over the years, China has actively conducted human rights dialogues and cooperation, contributing to the development of the international human rights cause.
China has actively expanded exchanges and cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), cooperated with the special procedures of the UNHRC and conducted human rights dialogues and exchanges with the U.S., the U.K., and the European Union as well as human rights consultations with Russia, Egypt and the African Union.
Through exchanges conducted at home and abroad by social organizations, China has promoted mutual understanding and strengthened mutual trust among people from different countries, enriching the connotations of human rights and enhancing consensus on human rights.
On the UNHRC and other multilateral occasions, China has shared its experience in the development of human rights with the international community and promoted the incorporation of important concepts such as building a community with a shared future for mankind, promoting human rights through development, and facilitating win-win cooperation in human rights into UN resolutions, enriching the international human rights discourse system.
When it comes to human rights issues, there is no such thing as a flawless utopia; countries do not need patronizing lecturers; still, less should human rights issues be politicized, judged with double standards, or used as a tool or a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
Some Western countries, which have long been condescendingly lecturing other countries on human rights, have harped on others’ human rights situation and yet turned a blind eye to the serious human rights problems back home, which is a typical act of double standard and hegemony.
While exercising its rights in accordance with the law and speaking up for justice, China has made joint speeches on behalf of countries with similar views at the UNHRC for many times, telling true stories of human rights in China and exposing human rights violations in a few Western countries.
In doing so, the country has not only firmly defended international fairness and justice and safeguarded the sovereignty and dignity of developing countries but vigorously promoted international exchanges and cooperation on human rights as well as the healthy and orderly development of global human rights governance.