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White Paper: Human Rights, "Consultative Democracy" and Judicial Rights by Victoria Cole, June 24, 2015 Adjust font size:

The Chinese government released a white paper on June 8th, entitled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2014", highlighting the progress of human rights protection in the legal system as well as economic and social development.

Rights of the Person

The white paper began its second section on human rights with this brief statement on the government's efforts on behalf of the Chinese citizens, "in 2014 China strengthened supervision over foodstuffs, improved laws and regulations on production safety, combated terrorism according to law, attached more importance to protecting the rights of the accused, detainees and criminals, and stepped up drug-control efforts to protect citizens' personal rights."

Later expanding on food safety, the paper stated that, "the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) deliberated the revised draft of the Food Safety Law, which enhances the supervision of the whole process in this field from food production and circulation to catering services, and food import and export, sets up a food-traceability system and a quality labeling system, and increases the penalties for violations of food safety to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers in accordance with the law." It went on to cover several improvements made to the court systems for handling cases involving food and drug disputes and programs in place battling the selling of counterfeit and poor-quality food, along with figures for both for 2014.

Referring to the introduction’s mention of Improvements made to work safety laws and regulations, "in August 2014 the Standing Committee of the NPC approved the Decision on Amending the Work Safety Law, which enhances regulations, mechanisms and measures concerning standardization, planning, liability insurance, responsibility of management organizations and public announcement of serious breaches of the law in the field of work safety." With as many as "2,342,000 inspections of production and business units, dealing with 1,278,000 incidences of violations", "The Decision has helped raise awareness of work safety, strengthen responsibility for law enforcement and supervision, and routine checks and supervision, both overt and covert, to curb violators."

An important discussion in the realm of human rights is the stand against terrorism – a topic readily addressed in the paper with a timeline of deliberations and drafts made by the government. "On December 28, 2014, the 12th Plenary Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th NPC approved the Anti-terrorism Convention of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to further international cooperation against terrorism." In addition to such actions, legal ramifications have also been addressed and properly administered as "the judicial organs severely punished crimes such as the terrorist attacks at Tiananmen on October 28, 2013 and at Kunming railway station on March 1, 2014", the paper stated.

The white paper also asserted that "the rights of the accused, detainees and criminals are protected" by "making sure audio-video recording is used in the entire process of interrogating criminal suspects", as well as, "public security, judicial and administrative departments at all levels work[ing] together to promote the establishing of legal aid stations in detention centers, and resident lawyers from legal aid organizations provide legal consultation for the accused and detainees to protect their legitimate rights and interests." The paper also mentioned several initiatives "to make law enforcement fairer, stricter and more civilized."

In matters of drug control, the "drug control department under the Ministry of Public Security implemented the Opinion of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Strengthening Drug Control, intensified efforts to launch a special drug-control program in 100 cities and cracked down on drug-related crimes." The paper reflected on efforts made to assist drug addicts in recovery and "observed the principle of "putting people first, managing drug treatment services according to law, adopting scientific and comprehensive measures based on individual needs, and supplementing treatment with care and aid," and take measures such as voluntary in-patient treatment, community treatment, compulsory quarantine treatment and community rehabilitation." As such, "by the end of 2014 the registered drug addicts totaled 2.955 million, and those who had not relapsed for three years totaled 1.008 million." Additionally, hundreds of clinics and service centers were opened across 28 provinces.

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