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Human Rights Achievements in China

April 9, 2000--The Chinese government attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of civil and  political rights while working to realize the economic, social and cultural rights and  improve  the people's livelihood, a Chinese delegate said in Geneva on April 6.

Alternate Representative of the Chinese delegation Li Baodong  told the 56th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights of China's achievements by illustrating them with examples  in the following four aspects:

--To administer the state affairs according to law. In March  1999, the concept of running the country in accordance with law was formally incorporated into the Constitution. The key  essence is to ensure that the government functions as the law sees it, law-enforcement and judicial bodies operate within the bound of law and  citizens exercise their rights and fulfill their obligations  according to law.

The Chinese society is now in the process of transition from  too much emphasis on the rule of person and insufficient emphasis on the rule of law to establishing concept of the rule of law,  from supremacy of the power to supremacy of the law, from too much emphasis on duties and insufficient emphasis on rights to establishing a correct notion about rights and obligations.

--Strengthening legislation, popularizing legal education and increasing supervision on law-enforcement. In recent years, a  series of important laws, including the Law on Prison, the Law on  Judges and the Law on Lawyers, have been adopted. In particular,  the revision of and amendments to the Criminal Law and the  Criminal Procedure Law have considerably improved human rights protection during criminal proceedings.

Lately, the National People's Congress and its Standing  Committee have also passed the Law on Administrative Review and  the Law on Legislation. They are now drafting the Law on  Supervision.

The nationwide education on legal provisions is developing in  depth. Citizens are quickly increasing the awareness of  safeguarding their rights and interests by making use of law. The  Chinese judicial bodies have moved ahead with comprehensive reform to further enhance the fair administration of justice and to upgrade the level of law enforcement.

--Effective guarantee of freedom of religion and belief.  The Chinese constitution provides that the citizens enjoy the freedom  of religious belief.

At present, there are more than 85,000 sites for religious activities in China, more than 300,000 clergy, over 3,000  religious organizations and 74 religious schools and colleges.  Various religions have witnessed the increase of followers in  recent years. For example, the number of Protestant believers  has grown to over 10 million from 700,000 in 1949.

--Prohibition of and opposition to torture. Through its legislation, China explicitly prohibits torture and metes out  severe punishment against the use of torture. In judicial practice, China has installed a variety of vigorous mechanisms of  supervision, including legislative, administrative and social  supervision, and stresses the training of law enforcement  personnel in order to effectively prevent occurrence of torture.  In 1988, China acceded to the UN Convention Against Torture. China is serious about fulfilling its obligations under the Convention and has  thus far submitted three reports on its implementation.

"China has made great efforts to strengthen the legal system  and develop democracy," said Li. "Remarkable achievements have been scored in promoting and protecting all civil and  political rights. These achievements are acknowledged by any one  free of bias and certainly cannot be negated by the misinformation against China by the United States,  and some other Western countries or a handful of NGOs."

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