30 March, 2001, Geneva
The Chinese Government has always attached importance to the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms enjoyed by the Chinese people. Through decades of unremitting efforts, we have found a path of promoting and developing human rights, which fits into the specific circumstances in China and have registered achievements attracting worldwide attention. Since the reform and opening-up policy was adopted in China, we have devoted our endeavours to the development of our economy and have considerably improved the living standards of the Chinese people. There were still 250 million poverty-stricken populations in China in 1978. By the end of last year, with the exception of a few remote areas, we have wiped out abject poverty and achieved two historic leaps from poverty to adequate clothing and food, and then to a fairly comfortable life.
In the mean time, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the development of democracy and legal system. Great efforts have been put into the implementation of the fundamental strategies of "rule the country by law" and "rule the country by virtue", so as to effectively guarantee, in conformity with the law, the enjoyment of civil and political rights by the Chinese people.
First, in March 1999, the National People's Congress for the first time enshrined the principle of "rule of law" in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, demonstrating China's determination to completely root out the influence of "rule by man" and pursuing the strategy of governing the country according to the law. Since the reform and opening-up, the National People's Congress and its Standing Committee have promulgated over 390 laws and decisions on legal issues. The State Council issued over 800 administrative regulations. The people's congresses at various levels have formulated over 8,000 local laws and regulations. A legal framework with the Constitution at its core has basically taken shape in China.
Second, the Chinese judiciary is endeavouring to deepen the reform of its judicial system. Measures include improvement of the qualifications of its personnel, implementation of transparency policies to a full extent in the work of the police and procuratorial departments and in court proceedings and prison administration, strengthening the mechanism of external supervision and internal redress, investigation and punishment in a serious manner cases of corruption, obstruction of justice and bending the law out of personal consideration and favouritism involving judicial and law-enforcement officials. We will continue to strengthen the protection of human rights through legal means and ensure legal justice, strictly distinguishing what constitutes an offence from what does not.
Third, the Chinese Government will press ahead with reform of the political system, implementing democratic elections, decision-making, management and supervision, ensuring standardised governance in accordance with the law and strict performance of official duties, and severely punishing corruption in all manifestations.
Fourth, the Chinese Government attaches importance to the protection of the religious freedom of its citizens. Five major religions coexist in China with over 100 million believers. The number of believers has increased considerably in recent years. Taking Tibet as an example, there are more than 1,700 temples and monasteries with more than 46,000 professional clergy. The central and local governments have invested more than 300 million RMB yuan in the renovation of Tibetan temples and monasteries.
Fifth, the Chinese Government guarantees, in line with law, the freedom of speech and association. The Chinese Government encourages the positive role played by the news media in facilitating the citizens' enjoyment of freedom of speech and in exercising supervision and supports the development of the press and publishing undertakings. China is among the leading countries in respect of the development of Internet and its public access. Chinese law also fully guarantees freedom of association. To date, the Government has promulgated three special regulations on the management of social groups and organisations. The number of social groups above the county level has exceeded 200,000 all over the country and is still on an increase. Voices of Chinese NGOs have also been heard in international forums.
The Chinese Government has committed itself to international co-operation in the field of human rights and has engaged in co-operation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Last November, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on technical co-operation in the field of human rights and last month, jointly held the Seminar on the Punishment of Minor Crimes in Beijing. On February 28 this year, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted a decision on the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Not long ago, the representative of the Chinese Government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts. In addition, the Chinese Government has also carried out human rights dialogues with dozens of countries, which have yielded positive results. The above-mentioned measures taken by the Chinese Government have reflected its firm conviction and determination to promote and protect human rights, which have significant and far-reaching impacts.
The present human rights situation in China is at its best in all times. Therefore the allegation that China's human rights situation is deteriorating is completely groundless.
A new century has dawned, and exchange and co-operation have become an irreversible trend of our time in the international field of human rights.
Regrettably, however, the United States, out of its own selfish interests and domestic political considerations, insists on tabling again an anti-China draft resolution at this session of the Commission and provokes confrontation. The EU representative made groundless allegations against China in his speech yesterday. All these are contrary to the overwhelming trend of the new century and a total ingorance of the tremendous achievements of the Chinese Government in promoting and protecting human rights and China's sincerity about engaging in international human rights co-operation.
The United States has always indulged in tabling country specific resolutions against others. This is out of, instead of genuine concern about human rights, its ill intention under the pretext of "protecting human rights", to blatantly accuse the political systems of other countries and politicise the issue of human rights, in an attempt to exert political pressures upon other countries.
It is well known that there are gross violations of human rights in the United States. The United States is notorious with its recurrent and incurable racial and gender discrimination, the ever-widening divide between the rich and the poor, police violence, guns abuse and judicial injustice. What's more, the United States has always been reluctant towards international human rights instruments. It still refuses to ratify the international human rights instruments widely accepted by the international community, among others, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The United States was also the only western country that voted against the Declaration on the Right to Development. Facts speak louder than words. While launching a loud human rights crusade against other countries in the world, the United States is turning a blind eye to its own serious human rights violations. This only serves to prove the U.S. hypocrisy in its so-called concern for human rights.
The U.S. Government has adopted double standards on the question of dealing with evil cults. The United States has levelled irresponsible criticism against the handling of "Falun Gong" cult in line with law by the Chinese Government, wantonly interfering in China's internal affairs. Numerous facts prove that "Falun Gong" deprives lives of innocent people and endangers social stability. "Falun Gong", like the "Davidians" of the United States, is in every sense an evil cult. The Chinese Government has banned "Falun Gong" in consistence with law, persuading and educating the majority of the practitioners, helping them come back to their senses and return to normal life. This not only has protected the fundamental human rights of the Chinese citizens, but is also a great contribution to the international human rights causes. While the U.S. Government mobilised armed forces, including the use of tanks and helicopters to crack down the "Davidians", it makes irresponsible remarks and confounding black and white with respect to the banning of "Falun Gong" cult by the Chinese Government in consistence with law. The United States Government has gone as far as providing refuge and support to a evil cult by allowing "Falun Gong" to establish its headquarters in the United States. This is an approach of pure double standards. If it were not politicising the issue and provoking confrontation, then what logic the United States is following?
To be in a nutshell, the U.S. concern for human rights is a sham, what it really practices is power politics. The U.S. advocacy for humanity is a fake, what it really pursues is hegemonism. The abuse of country specific resolutions by the U.S. constitutes interference in the internal affairs of other countries, runs counter to the spirit of the UN Charter and the purposes of the Commission, and is doomed to fail.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.