The Chinese government always respects the purpose and principle of the Charter of the United Nations for promoting and protecting human rights, supports the UN efforts in this regard and actively participates in the UN activities in the realm of human rights.
The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the positive role of international conventions on human rights in promoting and protecting human rights, and has approved or acceded to 18 such conventions. The Chinese government signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1997 and October 1998, respectively. On February 28, 2001, the former covenant was deliberated and ratified at the 20th meeting of the Ninth NPC Standing Committee. This fully demonstrates the Chinese government's positive attitude toward carrying out international cooperation in human rights as well as China's firm determination and confidence in promoting and protecting human rights. In September 2000, the Chinese government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, becoming one of the first signatory countries to this Convention. China has always taken seriously those international conventions on human rights it has ratified, adopted various measures to fulfill its duties under these conventions and submitted timely reports on their implementation, as stipulated by related conventions, for deliberation and discussion by related UN organs. In 2000, the Chinese government submitted to the UN its eighth and ninth reports on the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and, in a timely manner, presented to the UN its report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. These have helped the UN concerned departments and the international community to gain a better understanding of the human rights situation in China.
China attaches importance to the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting and protecting human rights, and has actively cooperated with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In March 2000, the Chinese government and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights together successfully sponsored the Eighth Symposium on Human Rights in the Asian-Pacific Region in Beijing, with representatives from over 40 Asian-Pacific countries attending. Chinese President Jiang Zemin wrote a letter congratulating the opening of the symposium, and Vice-Premier of the State Council Qian Qichen attended and spoke at the symposium. Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, made a special trip to China to attend the symposium. In November 2000, Mary Robinson visited China again on invitation. During her stay in China, President Jiang Zemin and Vice-Premier Qian Qichen met with her, respectively, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry signed with her the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Mutual Agreement to Cooperate in the Development and Implementation of Technical Cooperation Programs. It is defined in the Memorandum that China will carry out project cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the two coming years in the fields of judicial administration, human rights education and legal system, as well as the fulfillment of the right to development and the economic, social and cultural rights. China has actively carried out cooperation with the special rapporteurs and working groups on thematic issues of the UN Commission on Human Rights. It has twice invited the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the UN Commission on Human Rights to visit China, and the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance has also visited China on invitation. China has, in a timely and earnest manner, answered the letters on human rights transmitted by the special rapporteurs of the Commission on Human Rights and other UN human rights mechanisms, clearing up a number of facts and helping the UN and international community toward a better understanding of China. In addition, China and the UN Development Program also jointly sponsored an international symposium on the problem of cults, to carry out exchanges and explore on how to deal with cults and safeguard human rights by various countries.
China has consistently advocated carrying out dialogues and exchanges by all countries on the human rights issue on the basis of equality and mutual respect so as to enhance understanding, promote consensus and reduce differences. In February and September 2000, respectively, China held the ninth and tenth dialogues on human rights with the European Union. China and the European Union held the fourth and fifth judicial symposiums in May and December, respectively. In February and October respectively, China and Britain held the fourth and fifth dialogues on human rights. In August, China held its fourth human rights dialogue with Australia. In October, China and Canada held the sixth dialogue on human rights. In May, China and Norway jointly held the fourth round-table meeting on human rights and the rule of law. In June, China, Canada and Norway held the Third Symposium on Human Rights in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2000, China held consultations and exchanges on human rights with Cuba, Laos and many other developing countries. In October, China successfully held the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation -- Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000 in Beijing, with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and four heads of state from Africa, nearly 80 ministers from 45 African countries and leaders of related international and regional organizations attending. In the Sino- African Cooperative Forum Beijing Declaration adopted at the meeting, it is emphasized that the principle of universality of human rights and basic freedoms should be respected, and the diversity of the world and the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences must be safeguarded; that each country has the right to choose different ways and modes of promoting and protecting human rights domestically; and that politicalizing the issue of human rights and attaching human rights conditions to economic aid are themselves violations of human rights, and therefore should be firmly opposed.
The progress of human rights is an important aspect of the social development of all countries, and it is a historical process of continuous advance. China is a developing country with a huge population. Due to restrictions of nature, history, level of development and other factors, the human rights cause in China is in the process of developing, and there is still much room for further improvement in its human rights situation. In the light of China's national conditions and according to the people's wishes, the Chinese government aims to build a democratic and modernized country with a high level of civilization under the rule of law, actively learn from the beneficial experiences and cultural achievements of other countries, and, while maintaining social stability, expedite development, strengthen the democratic and legal systems, promote social ethical progress, and continuously push forward the development of the human rights cause in China. At the same time, China will, as always, actively participate in international activities in the realm of human rights, carry out wide-ranging cooperation and exchanges with other countries, and make its due contribution to promoting the healthy development of the international human rights cause.
From: Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2000