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China's progress in human rights protection / by Li Huiru, February 17, 2015 Adjust font size:


Editor's note:

The National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015) is China's second national plan for human rights protection. It serves as a policy document for advancing the country's human rights. Since its publication in June 2012, the Chinese government has been working effectively toward set goals. Halfway to the target date, approached four of China's leading experts in the area to get their views on the progress China has made in human rights protection. 




Bringing human rights into the mainstream in China


Zhang Wei, associate professor and co-director of the Institute for Human Rights, China University of Political Science and Law. 

The Chinese government is getting more and more comfortable about raising the awareness of human rights issues among the public. The change to a positive human rights attitude will provide further space for the improvement of human rights in China. So far, most of the central government people dealing with human rights action plans or white papers have a relatively sound understanding of legal standards for human rights. The situation is not as good for those working in the local governments. They handle most individual cases, sometime very sensitive issues, but with much less exposure to knowledge of human rights. Probably for this reason, Cai Mingzhao, minister of the State Council Information Office, requested to provide human rights education in educational activities and training at all levels, in particular in all Party schools and civil servant training programs. 



China further restricts the use of death penalty


Zhang Xiaoling, director and professor of the Human Rights Research Center, Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Chinese law places strict restrictions on the use of the death penalty. Article 49 of the Criminal Law stipulates that offenders who are under the age of 18 at the time of the crime or women who are pregnant during the trial shall not be subject to capital punishment. The death sentence with two years' probation, which was first given in China, also plays a role in limiting the number of capital punishment sentences.

The National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015) put forward new requirements on restricting the use of capital punishment in 2012. Since then, China has made further progress on protecting people's right to life.



China needs more human rights education


Zhu Liyu, deputy director of the Human Rights Research Center, Renmin University of China.

Reviewing the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) now, the tasks appointed by the plan have been accomplished ahead of schedule. The Ministry of Education and the Information Office of the State Council have organized experts to examine and evaluate the building of human rights education and training bases and finally approved human rights research centers to be established in Renmin University, Fudan University, Wuhan University, Shandong University, and Southwest University of Political Science & Law as national human rights education and training bases. There are eight such bases in total in China if these three, which were established in Nankai University, China University of Political Science and Law and Guangzhou University under the 2009-2010 action plan, are counted. The bases cover north, east, south and southwest China and will effectively ensure human rights education and training nationwide. But there are no bases in the northeast and northwest regions, so the new bases should be established during the 2012-2015 plan and later new plans in the future.



Impact of research on China's human rights work

Chang Jian, deputy director of the Research Center for Human Rights, Nankai University.

Since the implementation of the plan's second stage, China's human rights research has risen to a new level.

There are more than 60 human rights research institutions in the country, mainly distributed among universities and scientific research institutes but also including a few subordinate research institutions under governmental agencies. Researchers engage in the study of human rights theories while also offering policy consultation, training and the extension of human rights knowledge.