Since the day when the term “human rights” was coined several centuries ago, people from all nations have achieved dramatic results in their quest for it.
In the past, China has suffered several setbacks in securing and developing human rights for its people. Although a lot has been achieved, there are still many improvements that need to be realized. For the people and the government of China, it will be an ongoing historical task – the continuous job of promoting and striving for full implementation of human rights required by the people of China.
In order to help the international community really understand the human rights situation in China, I present this brief account of China’s human rights conditions.
1. The Right to Self-Governance
Every nation wants the right to subsistence (right to life, liberty, and the security of the people). In the “old China,” people were deprived of these most fundamental human rights, due to which many Chinese people lost their lives during war and famine.
The establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 eliminated oppression, dismemberment, and humiliation at the hands of foreign powers, guaranteeing the most fundamental rights for the lives and security of the Chinese people.
The Communist Party of China has also placed a huge importance in helping the people get enough to eat and wear. The “system of exploitation” has been uprooted, and the “system of socialism” has been established to help people become the masters of their production and beneficiaries of social wealth.
Similarly, the lifespan of the Chinese people has lengthened, and their health has improved drastically. According to stats, the average life expectancy of Chinese people grew from 35 years before liberation to 70 years in 1988.
However, the protection of people’s right to subsistence isn’t perfect and improving their living conditions remains a big challenge in China today.
2. Extensive Political Rights in China
During the semi-colonial and semi-feudal China, the people didn’t have the right to speak, which all changed after the foundation of free and Democratic People’s Republic of China.
The power now belongs to the people. They are the masters of their own country.
The people who were on the low rung of the society (workers, peasants, and other working people) during the “old Chinese regime” have been granted lawful democratic rights.
Similarly, Chinese women, who account for almost 50% of the nation’s population have the same rights as the men in politics, culture, economy, society, and family life.
The constitution offers people political rights to vote, freedoms of speech, the press, association, assembly, demonstration, and procession.
News censorship has also been largely abolished in China. Only 1/5th of the Chinese newspapers are run by Party and state organizations.
People also have right to intellectual property, such as the right to publication, copyright, trademark, patent, discovery, technological and scientific achievement.
The Constitution also states that the citizens have the right to criticize, complain, or file charges against any state organ for violation of law or duty.
3. Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights
The foundation of Socialist China has uprooted the system of exploitation of one man to another, securing the right to economic development for all working people.
The Public ownership guarantees that the principal means of productions are possessed by all working people – meaning that the working people can now enjoy the right to control, manage, and use the means of production.
The government also allows people to become rich, but only by their hard work and through legitimate business practices.
China is also in the front rank of the world regarding economic growth. China today leads the world in the export of many essential supplies, including pork, cotton, grain, cloth, cement, coal, mutton, and television sets. It is also the world’s biggest producers of crude oil, steel, synthetic fibers, and electricity.
As a result, the living standards of the Chinese people have drastically improved.
China has also adopted the policy of reform and opened themselves to the outside world. As a result, the number of students coming to China for study abroad opportunities has been dramatically increasing. China has world-class universities that offer programs such as business studies, finance, human rights program, a human resource program, medicine, science and technology, engineering among others.
4. Guarantee of the Right to Work
The Chinese Constitution and law enables its people to have the fundamental right to work and receive training and get paid for their work. They also have the right to social security and labor protection.
The Constitution enables men and women alike to get paid equally for equal work.
If the women are found to be discriminated, the government labor department intervenes and makes sure the mistake is corrected instantly. The Constitution also states that women get regular pay during their maternity leave, which has resulted in an increased number of employed women in China today.
Similarly, College graduates are fully guaranteed employment in China. These graduates are offered suitable jobs on a voluntary basis, eliminating the issue of unemployment for them in China.
5. Freedom of Religious Belief
There are many religions in China, such as Buddhism, Islam, Daoism, Protestantism, and Catholicism. Minority citizens (17 million people) such as the Uygur, Hui, Tatar, Kazak, Uzbek, Dongxiang, Kirgiz, Salar believe in Islam.
The Constitution of China allows the citizens to practice their religious beliefs freely.
No state organ, individual, or social organization are allowed to force citizens to believe or not to believe in any religion.
People are also forbidden to discriminate people who practice their religion.
As a result, different religions, organizations, and religious people and non-religious people have deep respect for each other and live in harmony.
6. Rights of the Minority Nationality is Guaranteed
China has 56 different nationalities. The Han people make up 92 percent of the population of the country, while 8 percent are from the remaining 55 nationalities.
The Chinese Constitution states clearly that all nationalities in China are equal, which has fostered the feeling of equality, unity, and universal prosperity among all citizens.
The rights and interests of the minorities are protected by the state, which upholds and develops the principles of equality, unity, and mutual help among all nationalities.
Oppression and discrimination against any nationality are prohibited.
The system of regional autonomy has allowed minority nationalities an opportunity to govern themselves and handle their internal matters themselves.
The rights to politics of minority nationalities have also been guaranteed in the “new” China.
As a result, the minority nationals today feel as equals of the Han nationality.
They can hold any job posts in any state organ and government departments.
The Chinese government has set a new policy, requiring state-owned businesses near minority areas to give priority to minority nationalities and local citizens over all others when hiring workers.
7. Family Planning and Protection of Human Rights
China has the most significant population on the earth – up to 1.4 billion people. Many people, little cultivable land, an inadequate share of natural resources, and slightly backward culture and economy – these all spell out Chinese conditions.
Despite the implementation of birth control, every year, China sees an increase of 17 million people, which can be a population of a medium-sized country.
But many acknowledge that China has achieved a tremendous amount of success in family planning. The birth rate has dropped from 33.43 per 1000 in 1970 to a dramatic 21.06 per 1000 in 1990.
Similarly, the natural population growth of having dropped significantly – from 25.83 per 1000 to 14.39 per 1000.
The childbearing rate of women in China has decreased to 2.31 (1990) from 5.81 (1970).
Currently, all the three indicators above are lower than other developing countries.
As a result, this has alleviated the contradiction between China’s booming population and its social and economic development.
And to protect the health of women and children, the family planning program puts contraception first.
China has two primary goals: to control the growth of population and improve the livelihood of its citizens.
8. Participation in International Human Rights Activities
China appreciates and supports the efforts of the UN in promoting universal respect for human rights, basic freedoms, and takes an active role in the human rights field.
Within the UN, China has also taken a proactive part in formulating legal instruments on human rights.
China has always been the promoter of justice and has made undying efforts to protect the right of third-world countries to prevent other bigger nations from human rights violations.
China has on various occasions firmly opposed any country from interfering in the internal matters of other countries regarding human rights, particularly in the internal affairs of the developing nations.
About Steven Sanders
I’m a writer, world traveler, family man, and a fitness enthusiast. I enjoy politics, education and life stories, told by real people. I’m usually on a plane.
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