The world's observation to China is often focused on criticism of human rights in China due to misleading by some Western media and politicians. In the past, due to the relative lag in the development of human rights in China, Chinese society was often not confident enough in the face of Western criticism. Since the beginning of the 21st century, China's economy has grown rapidly, especially with great achievements such as the rapid improvement of infrastructure construction, the full popularization of the digital economy, and the victory in the battle against poverty. Meanwhile, along with the exposure of many human rights issues in the West at the information society, and the Chinese has become more confident who not only can conduct the equal debates with the West in the fields of human rights development and ideology, but also more confidently explain to the world that the Chinese human rights have made important contribution on the world’s development.
Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China and executive director of the China-US Humanities Exchange Research Center, believes that the progress of human rights in China has at least three global significances which have been ignored by most of Western media and politicians.
First, the progress of human rights in China is a new highlight that positively promotes human civilization in the 21st century. Since the 21st century, the progressivism of human civilizationhas encountered the huge shocks such as military conflicts, economic crises, climate change, food famines, and pandemics, which of them have completely failed the expectation that the development of human civilization should be better than that in the second half of the 20th century. Without the progress of human rights in China, the history of human civilization in the first 20 years of the 21st century would be dark.
Since the 21st century, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine have resulted in more than 20 million refugees and death of millions of people. The international financial crisis in 2008 reduced the wealth of more than 100 million people around the world. Natural disasters caused by climate change kill 5 million people every year. The global outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has caused more than 500 million infections and death of about 15 million. At the same time, even the United States, which is regarded as the "Lighthouse" of human civilization, and Europe, which is the "Model" of international governance, have experienced in many crises such as social disorder, populism, polarization between the rich and the poor, and security threats, resulting in unprecedented pessimism in the West..
The progress of human rights in China can be described as upturning the trend. In 2021, the number of people insured in China's national basic medical insurance reaches to 1.36 billion, which is stabilized at more than 95% of the population. It is announced that all rural poor people under the current poverty standard have beenout of poverty, and the problem of absolute poverty has been solved historically. In this year, the Chinese netizens exceeded 1 billion. The equalization of basic services in urban society has been achieved through the popularization of the digital economy (takeout service, express delivery, online shopping, etc.), which greatly shortens the gap in enjoying social progress dividends caused by the difference between the rich and the poor. In the past 40 years, China has not launched or participated in any war, and there is not the food shortageor financial crises. China has made every effort to prevent and control pandemics, and to promote low-carbon development that its forest coverage is doubled. Compared with other countries, those disasters that impact on the progress of human civilization in the 21st century, including the war, economic crisis, climate change, famine, etc., are the minimal to the daily livings in China.
It can be said confidently the progress of human rights in China becomes a new highlight that positively promotes human civilization in the 21st centurydue to the substantive promotion to the progress of human rights in China and the disaster protection against human rights.
Second, the progress of human rights in China is a new breakthrough in the realization of the world's human rights theory in practice. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 established that the maintenance and protection of human rights has become an important normative value standard for the constitution, international law and the judgment of the international community. Since then, a series of international human rights treaties have been adopted, which have played a great role in the promotion of human rights and of the rights to life, liberty, dignity, property and development. However, there is often a distance between theoretical conception and practical realization. Even in the United States, the country of the strongest comprehensive national strength in the world, where the racial discrimination and the proliferation of guns have been in exist, and its medical insurance has been difficult to cover all people in the country for half a century. Human rights theory there is in difficulty that is easier said than done, which can be called “Cancer of Human Right”. The progress of human rights in China provides the possibility of practical breakthroughs in human rights goals that even the Western developed countries fail.
China has created the best and most stable social environment for urban security in the world, effectively realizing residents' rights to life, property and dignity against the threat of guns. A few days ago, 13 shootings occurred in the United States in one day. In the past five months, the death toll from gun shooting in the United States exceeded 15,000, which is equivalent to more than 100 people killed by guns every day. Such event is shocking and unbelievable. The population of ethnic minorities in China has increased several times in the past 40 years, completely fulfilling the provisions of international conventions against racial discrimination. China promotes people's democracy in the whole process, improves the infrastructure coverage at the network and transportation levels, so that effectively protect the citizens' right to freedom in politics and life.
It can be said confidently that the progress of human rights in China has provided a methodological breakthrough for the practice of human rights theories in the world, and also given the hope that the great wish to human rights of human beings in the middle of the 20th century will be fully realized.
Third, the progress of human rights in China is a new reference to help the developing countries implement a counter attack of human rights. In 2021, about 700 million people in the world will still live in extreme poverty, and most of them live in the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The extreme poverty rate in some countries including South Sudan, Burundi, Somalia, Madagascar and others is above 70% all year round. In the past 10 years, even the developed countries such as the United States, Japan, Italy, and Sweden have experienced a progression in the extreme poverty rate from zero to 1%. To the development of human rights, the Western society has focusing on the political election as the core concept, emphasizing the free competition as the social logic, and preferring to the policy of capital first. Where there is election, there are human rights, and where there is capital, there are human rights. These conducts fail to provide a fundamental resolution for the complicated world’s human rights situation, and also mislead the development and transformation of many developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America astray.
China does not completely copy theways of the Western human rights, but regards the people's right to living and development as the top priority, emphasizes and realizes the principle of non-interference in sovereignty, and independently follows the path of human rights development that suits its national conditions, so that achieving the support and affirmation from hundreds of countries. The path to human rights in China has beenreferenced and even copied by more and more developing countries. On June 22, 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed the resolution " The Contribution of Developments to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights" advocated by China, for the first time introducing the concept of " promoting human rightsthrough development " into the international human rights system, which was widely supported by all countries in the world, especially the developing countries.
It can be said confidently that the progress in human rights China has expanded the original path of human rights in the world since the 20th century, and has become the most steadfast major power in support of the UN Human Rights Council, providing new options to the promotion on the human rights for the developing countries.
In summary, the West ignores thesignificance of the rapid development of human rights in China, and constantly criticizes the individual details and cases of China's human rights, and even magnifies them to smear the image of China. The violation to basic facts shows the narrowness of the West in terms of theory and vision, and also the arrogance and even evil of the West in foreign exchanges. The West should express a sincere apology to human rights in China, and more importantly a sincere praise for the development of human rights in China..
Of course, the global significance of human rights in China to the progress of human civilization, the theory and practice of human rights in the world, and to the developing countries does not mean that there are no flaws or deficiencies in human rights in China. In fact, China, as the largest developing country in the world, is still in and will be in the primary stage of socialism for a long time, and there is still a lot of space for development in terms of national income, environmental protection, social equity, rule of law, cultural services, and political rights. .
Formulated firstly the national plan with the theme of “The Development of Human Rights” since April 13, 2009, China has released four phases of work objectives and specific measures for the promotion and protection of human rights. In September 2021, the State Council Information Office of China, on the basis of summarizing the implementation and experience of the first three action plans of human rights, identified the phased goals and tasks for respecting, protecting and promoting human rights from 2021 to 2025 in accordance with the constitutional principles and the "14th Five-Year Plan", as well as the convention of international human rights. I believe that the cause ofhuman rights in China will continue to develop, and also believe that China will make greater contributions to the further progress of human rights in the world.
(Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China and executive director of the China-US Humanities Exchange Research Center)