Develop Human Rights with Chinese Characteristics, Jointly Advance the Cause of Human Rights
A Signed Article by H.E. Dr. Xiao Jianguo, Chinese Ambassador to Timor-Leste
6 April 2021
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Under the CPC leadership, China has embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics which is widely endorsed by our people, and successfully blazed the trail of human rights development that suits China’s national conditions and needs. The cause of Chinese human rights has made tremendous achievements acknowledged throughout the world.
In late February, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi attended the High-level Segment of the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council and delivered a speech, introducing the development of Chinese human rights cause to summarize the Chinese outlook of human rights as follows: First, we should embrace a human rights philosophy that centers on the people; Second, we should uphold both universality and particularity of human rights; Third, we should systemically advance all aspects of human rights; Fourth, we should continue to promote international dialogue and cooperation on human rights. Nowadays, facing the facts that the COVID-19 is still spreading around the world, global inequality is exacerbated and the North-South gap is widened, China has given its own answer on how to promote and protect human rights.
“Respect and safeguard human rights” is an important principle of governance for the CPC and Chinese government, which has been clearly written into the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Constitution of the CPC. Meanwhile, we will promote and develop human rights in an all-dimensional, all-field and all-process manner in accordance with national conditions and people’s needs so as to increase the people’s sense of gains, happiness, and security and make the development achievements benefit more people in a more equitable way.
The ultimate human right is that people can lead a happy life. On the land of China, there is no fear of war or being homeless, in which hundreds of millions of Chinese people live a happy life through hard work. Since the reform and opening up, China has maintained rapid economic development and long-term social stability. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded the 100-trillion-yuan in 2020. China has built the world’s largest social security system, covering pensions, medical care, and subsistence allowances. In late February, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China has secured a complete victory in its fight against poverty and the total 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty. In addition to basic needs such as food and clothing, the rights to education, medical care and housing are ensured for everyone.
The quality of human rights is tested during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, in the face of the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19, China has put people’s life and health first to save every patient from a 108-year-old to a baby just 30 hours old, by maximizing the cure rate, reducing the mortality rate. Facing the tremendous pressure on domestic prevention and control, China has done its best to support and assist the international community in fighting the pandemic, demonstrating China’s sincere desire to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
China supports more exchange and cooperation on human rights in the principle of mutual respect. But we oppose using human rights to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. At the just-concluded 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, some Western countries have been using Xinjiang-related matters to smear China’s human rights condition, making unjustified accusations of “genocide,” “forced labor,” and “religious oppression” in Xinjiang in an attempt to undermine Xinjiang’s social stability by spreading lies. The fact is that over the past 40 years, the population of the Uyghur ethnic group in Xinjiang has increased from 5.5 million to 12.8 million, and the average life expectancy has increased from 30 to 72 years. In recent years, the Uyghur population in Xinjiang has registered a growth rate of 25%, far higher than 2% growth rate of the Han population in the region. Where exists such a “genocide”? Workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang can choose professions based on their own will, and enjoy labor rights and interests. They all sign labor contracts and receive payment. Where exists “forced labor”? There has never been any restriction on personal freedom. Xinjiang protects the freedom of religious belief for all ethnic groups in the region in accordance with law. There are more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, and that’s one mosque for every 530 Muslims on average. Is this the so-called “religious oppression”?
On August 2018, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell and retired US Army Colonel said in a speech that the US CIA would want to destabilize China and that would be the best way to do it to foment unrest and to join with those Uyghurs in pushing the Han Chinese in Beijing from internal places rather than external. His words fully exposed the ugly faces of some anti-China politicians in the West. Therefore, the so-called Xinjiang-related issues are never about human rights, but about counter-terrorism, anti-separatism and de-radicalization. Only a few years ago, Xinjiang was plagued by terrorism and religious extremism. Thousands of violent terrorist incidents were plotted and carried out by extremely violent and terrorist forces, causing thousands of innocent casualties. In order to protect the lives of people of all ethnic groups, Xinjiang has been earnestly implementing the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and gained positive results. For four years in a row, Xinjiang has been free from violent terrorist incident. Xinjiang now enjoys social stability and prosperity, the local people are living a safe and happy life and the ethnic groups are united and harmonious.
Also at this session, some Western countries have also attacked China on Hong Kong-related issues. Are the Hong Kong-related issues about Human rights and democracy? The answer is no. Since June 2019, massive riots have taken place in Hong Kong due to the revision of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. Some anti-China elements and local radicals have colluded with external forces to publicly advocate “Hong Kong independence”, seriously disrupting the operation of Hong Kong’s administrative and legislative institutions, arbitrarily attacking citizens, destructing property and facilities and seriously undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. In June 2020, the National People’s Congress of China adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) so as to stop chaos and restore order. Meanwhile, in order to uphold and improve the “one country, two systems” system and maintain the long-term stability of Hong Kong, on March 11 of this year, the National People’s Congress of China has voted to adopt the Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the full implementation of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. Governance by patriots is a common practice in all countries, and it is the basic political ethic of public officials. Just imagine, which country will allow people who advocate and engage in separatist activities to run wild? “Patriots administering Hong Kong” has nothing to do with the accusation of “suppressing critics”, “eroding democracy” and “undermining the one country, two systems” in electoral system. On the contrary, it’s beneficial to the steady development of Hong Kong’s democratic system.
Justice will never fail to prevail and facts speak so much louder. At this session, 64 countries made a joint statement in support of China’s position on Xinjiang-related matters, stressing that Xinjiang is an inseparable part of China, and they urge relevant parties to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, stop using Xinjiang-related matters to interfere in China’s internal affairs and firmly oppose the politicization of human rights issues and double standards. Meanwhile, 71 countries delivered a joint statement to reiterate their support for China’s practice of “one country, two systems” in the Hong Kong SAR and urge the relevant parties to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs. These statements clearly show the support of the people, also show that lies are lies and never stand the test of facts.
China and Timor-Leste both are developing countries, share similar positions on human rights issues and maintain good communication and cooperation in this field. The Constitution of Timor-Leste clearly states protecting human rights, also emphasizes mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality of all countries and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. From striving for independence, national building, improvement of people’s livelihood to fighting against the epidemic, China has actively made contributions. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Timor-Leste last year, China demonstrated full support and was the first country to give a helping hand and send chartered flights, which were widely praised by all walks of life in Timor-Leste. At present, the pandemic in Timor-Leste is severe and the response work is facing unprecedented pressure. China will continue to provide assistance within its capacity. On the premise of epidemic containment, China is ready to work with Timor-Leste to promote a high-quality “Belt and Road” cooperation, deepening cooperation between the two countries, promoting economic and social development in Timor-Leste and enhancing the well-being of Timorese people.
“Mountains and seas cannot separate those who share a common aspiration.” China will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the field of human rights with Timor-Leste and other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect, put more wisdom and strength to the development of the world’s human rights cause and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.