China consistently respects the universal principles of the international community on human rights, advocating to hold dialogues and co- operate with other countries in terms of human rights.
The year 1998 was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In January 1998, President Jiang Zemin wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, expressing that the Chinese Government fully supported the international community in commemorating this progressive document in the sphere of human rights.
On December 10, 1998, president Jiang wrote a letter addressed to a commemorative meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was hosted by the China Society for Human Rights Studies.
President Jiang highly valued the position and role of the important document, saying that the Chinese people, together with the international community, will make their own contribution to a just, reasonable, peaceful and prosperous world.
In October 1998, China hosted the first international symposium on World Human Rights Towards the 21st Century. Nearly 100 experts and scholars from 26 countries invited to the symposium summed up the practice and experience in the field of human rights protection in the world in the 50 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, studied opportunities and challenges the international community is facing now, and inquired into the development perspective of international human rights in the coming next century.
The vice - premier of the State Council Qian Qichen was invited to speak at the symposium. Qian expounded the principled stand held by the Chinese government for promoting international human rights.
As part of the activities marking the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, the Chinese academic and research circles also organized a series of other symposiums.
In addition, China Central Radio Station in December broadcast various programs on the human rights progress, popularizing the knowledge of human rights.
The Chinese Government always attaches great importance to international human rights covenants, which are regarded as playing an active role in promoting the progress of human rights.
China has so far signed a total of 17 international covenants on human rights and taken various measures to conscientiously implement the covenants which China has joined. On this basis, it signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in October 1997 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in October 1998.
China is now deliberating the covenants in accordance with the constitution and concerned laws.
In agreement with the Joint Declaration between China and Britain on the Question of Hong Kong and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the relevant provisions in the two covenants applicable to Hong Kong continue to be effective in the region and will be implemented through laws in the HKSAR.
In November 1997, the Chinese Government decided to transmit to the United Nations reports by its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus making the relevant institutions involving the covenants and the international community better aware of the human rights conditions in the HKSAR.
China has actively co - operated with the United Nations in the field of human rights. In September 1998, the Chinese Government invited the United Nations high Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to visit China. The two sides extensively exchanged their views on human rights issues and signed a memorandum of Intent on a technical co - operation program.
In 1999, China invited a concerned expert group from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit China. The expert group conducted friendly exchanges and extensively discussed issues on consultation and technological co-operation in the field of human rights and exchanged views with relevant Chinese Government departments, non - governmental organizations and relevant local government departments.
In recent years, the Chinese Government has invited the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance (in 1994) and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (in 1996) to the country.
In the near future, China plans to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to come for a visit.
China always advocates dialogue and opposes confrontation in the field of human rights. For the past several years, China has conducted dialogues and co - operation in the field of human rights with many foreign countries.
Chinese leaders have extensively discussed and exchanged views in the field during their meetings with foreign heads of state and government, as well as concerned personalities from foreign countries.
In 1997, President Jiang Zemin paid a successful state visit to the United States. In the Joint Statement between China and the United States, the two sides are determined to build a constructive strategic partnership.
They agree that while China and the United States have areas of disagreement on human rights issues, they should carry out governmental and non - governmental dialogues on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
When visiting China in 1998, US President Bill Clinton met President Jiang Zemin and held candid talks on human rights issues. The two presidents reiterated the common ground announced in the Sino - US joint Statement.
In 1998, the European Union and the United States gave up anti - China proposals in the 54th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva, pushing forward the dialogues and co - operation between China and other countries.
After that, China held governmental and non - governmental talks on human rights issues with Norway, Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, Japan, the United States and the European Union.
The bilateral and multilateral talks between them stimulated extensive exchanges and co - operation, improved mutual understanding and made great achievements.
Like the rest of the world, China has many problems which should be solved in the field of human rights. The Chinese Government is willing to learn from other countries' useful experiences in promoting the development of human rights.
China will persistently accelerate the progress in human rights in the country. Meanwhile, it will actively push forward the healthy development of international human rights through dialogues and co-operation.
From: Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 1998