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For the Common Value and Dignity of All Humanity -- China's Practice of and Contribution to Global Human Rights Governance

2023-12-11 15:22:08Source: Xinhua

For the Common Value and Dignity of All Humanity


--China's Practice of and Contribution to Global Human Rights Governance


Table of Contents




I. China's Practice of Participating in Global Human Rights Governance


1. "In-depth participant" in international mechanisms


2. "Co-constructor" of governance rules


3. "Active advocate" of exchanges and cooperation


4. "Essential promoter" of governance change


II. China's Contribution to the Development of World Human Rights


1. Laying a solid foundation for developing global human rights protection


2. Guarding a secure environment for global human rights protection


3. Defending fairness and justice in global human rights governance


4. Promoting exchanges and mutual appreciation among different human rights civilizations


Iii. Chinese Wisdom Enriches the Forms of Human Rights Civilization


1. The people-centered nature of human rights endeavors


2. Autonomy in human rights practice


3. Comprehensiveness in human rights promotion


4. Sustainability in human rights development


IV. China's Plan Improves Global Human Rights Governance


1. Unity and cooperation


2. Development-driven


3. Multilateral governance


4. Inclusiveness and mutual appreciation


V. Conclusion: Improving Global Human Rights Governance and Building a  Community With a Shared Future for Humanity



Human rights are the fruits and symbols of the progress of human civilization. Respecting and protecting human rights is a fundamental spirit of modern civilization. Seventy-five years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), born in the ashes of World War II, affirmed the respect and protection of basic human rights. Thirty years ago, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action clarified the close relationships among various types of human rights. As a result, the concept of promoting human rights through development and cooperation has taken root in people's hearts.


Since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China has continuously summarized the experience of human society development and pursued a people-centered approach in the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the great practice of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, China adheres to the people-centered human rights concept, combines the universal principles of human rights with China's reality, and has successfully embarked on a path of human rights development that conforms to the trends of the times and is suitable for China's national conditions under the CPC's strong leadership. China has historically addressed the issue of absolute poverty, built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and established the world's most extensive education system, social security system, and healthcare system. The rights of specific groups such as ethnic minorities, women, children, elderly people, and people with disabilities are fully protected. The human rights of the Chinese people have received unprecedented levels of protection, and China has made enormous contributions to the development of global human rights cause.


While continuing to advance its human rights cause, China has actively supported the just cause of developing countries in breaking free from colonial rules, achieveing national independence, and eliminating racial segregation. China has made significant contributions to assisting developing countries in their development, providing humanitarian aid, maintaining world peace and development, and promoting the progress of international human rights endeavors. China has always adhered to the concepts of equality, mutual trust, inclusiveness and mutual learning, win-win cooperation, and joint development. China actively participated in United Nations human rights affairs, conscientiously fulfilled its international human rights obligations, carried out extensive international human rights cooperation. It taken concrete actions to promote global human rights governance toward a more fair, just, equitable, and inclusive direction, providing China's wisdom and solutions to international human rights governance.


Currently, humanity stands at another historical crossroads, and global human rights governance faces severe challenges. China advocates safeguarding human rights through safeguarding international security environment, respecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity, pursuing peaceful development with the rest of the world, and implementing the Global Security Initiative to create a peaceful environment for human rights. China also promotes human rights through development, implements the Global Development Initiative, enhances the inclusiveness, universality, and sustainability of growth, and ensures that people in all countries enjoy human rights fairly through their distinctive paths to modernization. Furthermore, China advocates promoting human rights through cooperation, mutual respecting, treating each other as equals, implementing the Global Civilization Initiatives, strengthening exchanges and mutual appreciation among civilizations, and building consensus through dialogue to jointly advance the development and progress of human rights civilization.


China practices genuine multilateralism, upholds the shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all humankind, promotes the building of a global community of a shared future, and provides new ideas, new solutions, and new opportunities for global governance, including human rights governance. It demonstrates the responsibility and commitment of a major country.


I. China's Practice of Participating in Global Human Rights Governance


China has been elected multiple times as a member of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. It has consistently participated in UN human rights affairs with a responsible attitude, actively engaged in global human rights governance, and made efforts to promote the healthy development of international human rights. China has deepened its involvement over time, expanded its scope of participation, and continued to grow its influence.


In March 2023, at the 52nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, China first made a joint speech on behalf of more than 70 countries on the 75th anniversary of adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR), putting forward clear proposals for implementing the Declaration. Soon after, on behalf of nearly 80 countries, including Brazil and South Africa, China made a joint speech on the 30th anniversary of adopting the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, calling for strengthening international cooperation, reviving the spirit of the UDHR, and promoting high-quality development. On the global human rights governance stage, China is playing an increasingly important role, making greater and greater contributions and gaining more and more international recognition.


1. "In-depth participant" in international mechanisms


As early as the 1950s, China proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and got the Bandung Conference to adopt the 10 principles of Bandung Declaration based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In May 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai pointed out at an enlarged meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress that the ten principles of the Bandung Declaration also stipulate respect for basic human rights and respect for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. These have been the views advocated by the Chinese people and the principles China has always adhered to.


Human rights are essential part of China's participation in United Nations affairs and global governance. After restoring its lawful seat in the UN, China began to participate in the work of its human rights bodies, including sending delegations to attend relevant meetings, participating in the review of relevant human rights issues, and maintaining constructive, cooperative relations with the UN human rights bodies. Since the reform and opening up, China has taken a more active stance on human rights.


Since 1979,China attended meetings of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights as an observer for three consecutive years. In 1981, China was elected a member state of the Commission on Human Rights. The United Nations Human Rights Council replaced the Commission on Human Rights in 2006 and China was elected to the newly established Human Rights Council. Since then, China has actively participated in elections and has been successfully elected every time, thus becoming one of the few countries to have been elected five times since the UN Human Rights Council's establishment.


China participates in the work of UN human rights mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council constructively, increasing its appearance in various UN human rights institutions. Many Chinese experts serve as members of several human rights treaty bodies, including the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Committee against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


China adheres to the principles of international law and conscientiously fulfills its international human rights obligations. As of July 2022, China has ratified or acceded to 29 international human rights instruments, including six core United Nations human rights treaties. China has comprehensively fulfilled its treaty obligations, submitted timely implementation reports, and participated in the deliberations of various treaty bodies, demonstrating its openness and confidence on human rights issues.


In February 2009, China participated in its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations Human Rights Council. At the meeting, the Chinese representative first introduced the development of China's human rights cause. In the subsequent interactive dialogue, representatives from 60 countries spoke one after another. Most of the country representatives believed that China's human rights report was "constructive transparent and open," praising China for its "huge and shocking" achievements in the field of human rights. So far, China has successfully undergone three rounds of UPRs by the United Nations Human Rights Council.


China has also actively expanded cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and its office, and the special mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, prompting them to carry out their work fairly and objectively and to engage in constructive dialogue with various countries. China has invited envoys from some countries stationed in Geneva and UN officials to visit Xinjiang over the past years. We comprehensively deepened their understanding and recognition of China's human rights development path through meetings, discussions, exchanges, on-site visits, and other methods. We exposed them to first-hand experience of a real Xinjiang with social security and stability, sustained development, and a situation where people live and work in peace and contentment.


2. "Co-constructor" of governance rules


The concept and norms of human rights are important expressions of the common values shared by all humanity in contemporary times. The acceptance and implementation of human rights treaties by countries worldwide are essential means to promote and protect human rights. China has continuously striven to promote contemporary human rights concepts and norms, promote and improve the human rights governance rules system, and uphold the shared values of humanity.


China has often sent representatives to participate in drafting international human rights legal instruments. It has successively participated in formulating significant international human rights instruments such as the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. China's opinions and amendments have been valued by all parties and made significant contributions to drafting, revising, and improving these rules. As the world's largest developing country, China firmly regards the rights to subsistence and development as the most fundamental human rights. China represents on the international stage the most basic human rights needs of the vast developing countries. As one of the leading promoters, China participated in the drafting of the Declaration on the Right to Development and has successively urged the UN Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Council to hold consultations on the realization of the right to development, dedicated to promoting mechanisms for the implementation of the right to development.


In 1993, China participated in the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna and participated in the discussion and drafting of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. China put forth many constructive suggestions, contributing to drafting and adopting the Declaration. China actively engages in developing international documents related to human rights, including labor protection and etc.


3. "Active advocate" of exchanges and cooperation


For a long time, China has actively advocated and vigorously promoted foreign exchanges and cooperation in human rights and is committed to carrying out human rights exchanges and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect. Since the 1990s, China has successively established human rights dialogue or consultation mechanisms with more than 20 countries; conducted human rights dialogues or exchanges with such Western countries and regional organizations as Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Greece, and the European Union; and conducted human rights consultations with developing countries and regional organizations, including Russia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Pakistan, Belarus, Cuba, and the African Union. Human rights non-governmental organizations like the China Society for Human Rights Studies have become increasingly active on the international stage, arranging for delegations to go overseas for exchange visits while inviting officials, experts, and scholars from many countries in the field of human rights to come to China for exchange visits. From March to April 2023, during the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, several Chinese civil society organizations actively participated in the conference, gave speeches online and offline, and held thematic side events covering the topics of "Protecting the Rights of Ethnic Minorities in the New Era," "Empowering Women from a Sustainable Development Perspective," and "China's Human Rights Philosophy and Practices." They aimed to introduce China's perspective on human rights, its specific practices, and achievements while addressing severe human rights violations committed by certain Western countries. These events gave Chinese civil society a voice at the Human Rights Council.


China has actively created platforms and avenues to promote exchanges and cooperation in human rights. It has successfully organized various international conferences such as the Beijing Forum on Human Rights, the South-South Human Rights Forum, the "China-EU Human Rights Seminar, the International Human Rights Cultural Expo, and the International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. These conferences have facilitated consensus-building, reduced differences, and enhanced mutual understanding among all parties on human rights issues. These external exchanges and collaborations have expanded channels for communication and facilitated mutual learning between China and other relevant countries in the field of human rights.


The Forum on Global Human Rights Governance was held in Beijing from June 14 to 15, 2023. More than 300 guests from nearly 100 countries and international organizations, including UN agencies, attended the forum.


During their visit, foreign participants explored sites in Beijing's Dongcheng District, including the Sanlihe Park and the Pigment Guild Hall on Qianmen Street. They highly praised the historical heritage preservation, environmental improvement, and the enhancement of living conditions in the Sanlihe area. They learned about cultural innovations, such as the revitalization through the usage of traditional guild halls in Dongcheng District, and enjoyed a Beijing opera performance. "People not only enjoy civil and political rights but also economic, social, and cultural rights. China's preservation and inheritance of its historical culture have left a deep impression on me," Patricia Narsu Ndanema, Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, said that "Apart from cultural preservation, one thing that has deeply impressed me is how clean it is here. Having a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a fundamental human right."


The forum's attending guests spoke freely about their views on global human rights governance, giving full recognition to China's achievements in the field of human rights practice and its contributions to the development of international human rights endeavors. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Vice Chairperson and Rapporteur of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, expressed that China has achieved numerous accomplishments in protecting human rights, such as poverty alleviation. He stated, "It not only is a major achievement for China but also represents a significant victory for humanity." William Jones, Washington bureau chief of the American magazine Executive Intelligence Review, said that China's role in protecting the human rights of its citizens deserves high praise. More importantly, China's call to consider development as a human right has received widespread recognition from the international community. Robert Coon, Chairman of the Kuhn Foundation in the United States, praised the event as "a relevant and forward-looking gathering."


4. "Essential promoter" of governance change


In March 2017, China, representing 140 countries, made a joint statement titled "Promoting and Protecting Human Rights, Building a Community of Shared Future for Humanity" at the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which resonated widely among diplomats present. Aftab Khurashi, the Permanent Deputy Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, said, "Given the many challenges facing the world today, we should especially appreciate the concept China has offered to our global village."


While advancing its own human rights development, China has consistently attached importance to participating in reforming the global human rights governance system to steer global human rights governance toward greater fairness, equity, and inclusiveness.


China has actively participated in the reform of the United Nations human rights institutions, played an active role in the consultation and final voting process for establishing the United Nations Human Rights Council, and put forward a series of propositions that the vast majority of countries have recognized. China also supports establishing thematic special mechanisms by the United Nations Human Rights Council on issues such as the right to development and food and unilateral coercive measures. It advocates convening special meetings on food security and the international financial crisis and actively promotes the improvement of international human rights mechanisms.


On June 18, 2007, the Human Rights Council agreed on a package plan to establish a charter and system for the Human Rights Council. The Chinese delegation actively participated in relevant negotiations and consultations with a constructive attitude, particularly on issues involving the primary interests of the developing countries, adhering to principles and daring to speak out boldly to uphold justice. For that, it was widely praised by the developing countries. Public opinion generally believed that the Chinese delegation displayed the demeanor of a major country during the negotiations, acted flexibly, helped all parties reach a consensus, and demonstrated the image of a responsible major country.


Over the years, based on its own human rights practices, China has put forward a series of constructive ideas and initiatives that align with the trend of the times and echo the international community's concerns, which have been widely accepted.


In response to the difficulties in improving the level of global human rights protection, impediments in human rights cooperation, and challenges in protecting economic, social, and cultural rights during post-epidemic recovery, China has repeatedly pushed the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution on Promoting the International Human Rights Cause through Win-Win Cooperation, and called on all parties to carry out constructive dialogue and cooperation and strengthen human rights technical assistance;


China has repeatedly urged the passage of the resolution on The Contribution of Development to the Enjoyment of All Human Rights, calling on all countries to achieve people-centered development;


China has advocated for the adoption of resolutions addressing the negative impact of the legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human rights, calling for the elimination of all forms of colonialism and the resolution of issues stemming from colonial legacies;


China has pushed for the adoption of resolutions aimed at promoting and protecting economic, social, and cultural rights and eliminating inequalities in the context of the pandemic. These resolutions call on all countries to promote and protect economic, social, and cultural rights and to take inclusive measures to address the pandemic and advance post-pandemic recovery;


Since 2017, with China's promotion, the idea of building a community of shared future for humanity has been incorporated into more than ten UN Human Rights Council resolutions, becoming an integral part of the international discourse on human rights.


II. China's Contribution to Promoting the Development of World Human Rights


Human rights are concrete, historical, and practical. Respecting and safeguarding human rights requires proactively creating conditions for their realization. Necessary prerequisites for the sustainable advancement of human rights include a secure and peaceful environment, the driving force of development and progress, and a fair and just order. China actively promotes the shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all humanity. While advancing its own human rights cause, China contributes to the world's human rights endeavors with a sense of benefiting both oneself and others. China remains committed to being a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of international order, and a promoter of human civilization progress.


1. Laying a solid foundation for developing global human rights protection


Development is the master key to solving all problems, the foundation of human rights protection, and the crux of achieving people's happiness. China has long been committed to promoting the realization of the right to life and the right to development for the people of developing countries. China provides support and assistance to developing countries and regions in areas such as infrastructure, education, healthcare, and agriculture. Through international cooperation under the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI), China will accelerate the advancement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and contribute to further solidifying the development foundation for global human rights protection.


In the capital of the Solomon Islands, Honiara, there is often a long queue outside the National Referral Hospital's physiotherapy room. Patients are there to see the acupuncture physicians of the Chinese medical team assisting the Solomon Islands. A resident named Rex Faulkner, who often came for medical treatment, mentioned that he used to have severe headaches that lasted for several hours at a time, and the only relief was through medication. However, after receiving a ten-session acupuncture treatment prescribed by the acupuncture physician, he felt relieved after merely six sessions.


The Solomon Islands is one of the least developed countries, and its medical and healthcare conditions are relatively backward. At the primary and regional clinics, medical services are often provided only by nurses and nurse assistants, while doctors are available only in hospitals at and above the provincial level. After China established diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands in 2019, a medical assistance team was sent to the Solomon Islands in early 2022. Currently, the second batch of eight team members are working there. With the assistance of the Chinese medical team, several medical milestones have been achieved at local hospitals, including cases of the first dual endoscopic urethral rupture repair surgery, the first ureteroscopy-assisted stone extraction surgery, the first urethral incision combined with prostate resection surgery, the first thrombolysis treatment using third-generation drugs, and the first temporary pacemaker implantation and etc.


2023 marks the 60th anniversary of China's dispatch of medical teams abroad. Since the first medical team for foreign aid was dispatched to Algeria in 1963, China has sent a total of 30,000 medical personnel to 76 countries and regions worldwide, providing medical treatment to 290 million patients. This year, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea-Bissau awarded the "National Medal of Honor for Cooperation and Development" to the Chinese medical team in Guinea-Bissau. The Ministry of National Defense of Laos awarded the Medal of Valor of Lao People's Army to the 8th Chinese military medical experts team to Laos. The Ministry of Health of Cambodia also presented the "Night Class" honoralbe medals to the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) team aiding in Cambodia's fight aginst COVID-19.


Beginning from the early days of the People's Republic of China, despite full-scale reconstruction with financial constraints, China started to assist relevant countries, providing strong support to developing countries in their struggle for national independence and people's liberation and their endeavor to promote economic and social development. The people of Tanzania and Zambia have never forgotten the support they received from China during the 1960s and 1970s when the two countries were committed to developing their national economies and supporting the national liberation movements of countries in the region after independence. They remember that China overcame numerous difficulties, provided interest-free loans, and sent tens of thousands of experts and railway workers to Africa to assist in the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway. This "Freedom Road" running through East Africa and Central and South Africa has effectively promoted local economic and social development and improved the livelihoods of the people there.


Since the reform and opening up in 1978, China's foreign aid has become richer in content and more diverse in form. In the new era, China has steadily increased its foreign aid funding, expanding the scope of assistance. It has increasingly focused on Asia and Africa's least developed and developing countries. The various forms of China's foreign aid include grants, interest-free loans, loans on favorable terms, and the provision of complete sets of equipment. Over the years, China has established channels such as the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Fund. Through these channels, China has collaborated with nearly 20 international institutions and non-governmental organizations, including the UN Development Program (UNDP), the World Food Program (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to implement aid projects jointly, benefiting tens of millions of people in more than 100 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other regions.

While giving "fish" to others, China also teaches them how to "fish."


From Africa to Oceania, Chinese Prof. Lin Zhanxi and his team, the inventors of the Juncao technology, which in Chinese means breeding mushroom with herbaceous plants, have brought it to countries like Fiji, Lesotho, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Eritrea. They have actively engaged in international poverty alleviation cooperation, helping the people of those countries escape poverty and become prosperous. People in Papua New Guinea called the technology "Lincao" to express gratitude to the Chinese poverty alleviation experts led by Lin Zhanxi. A ballad goes in Lesotho, "Some call it weed; some call it life. But it is food and medicine. It is a symbol of hope...." Juncao technology has helped some countries address long-standing agricultural development bottlenecks and created green job opportunities for over 100 countries worldwide, earning the approval of María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.


China helps those in need and those in poverty.


China continues to increase its assistance in technology and human resource development cooperation. It helps developing countries improve their governance, planning, and industrial development capabilities and train their management talents and technological experts. For example, China helped Grenada formulate a national development strategic plan, worked with Cuba to jointly compile medium to long-term industrial development planning recommendations, provided policy advice to Zimbabwe on special economic zones and state-owned enterprise reform, and helped Cambodia work out plans for a national road network and modern agricultural development. It has signed memorandums of understanding on human resources development cooperation with 36 countries, including Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, and Trinidad and Tobago. It provides targeted capacity-building support based on the actual needs of different countries. China has established a trust fund with the UN to provide training for nearly 900 government statisticians in 59 developing countries.


China helps developing countries enhance technological innovation capabilities and industrial production skills by sharing technological achievements, promoting technology transfer, and improving vocational skills. For example, China has implemented over a thousand intergovernmental science and technology exchange projects and invited 755 young scientists from Egypt, Pakistan, Myanmar, and India to conduct research in China through the International Young Scientists Program. It trained over 7,700 students from over 100 developing countries and regions. China's Juncao technology has taken root in over 100 countries worldwide, creating hundreds of thousands of green job opportunities there. With the support of the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program have implemented nearly 50 trilateral cooperation projects to help relevant developing countries improve their food security and comprehensive agricultural production capabilities.


As a responsible major country, China provides essential public goods to the world in global development and international cooperation, offering an action guide for countries to focus on development, unite for development, and achieve joint development. In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to integrate China's development into global development, drive common development among countries worldwide, and promote the realization of people's right to development in all countries.


In December 2021, the China-Laos Railway, a landmark project of the BRI, officially went into operation, realizing the Lao people's dream of turning a landlocked country into a "land-linked country." During the inauguration ceremony, the Vice Chairman of the Lao National Assembly, Sommad Pholsena, who once served as Minister of Public Works and Transport, said emotionally, "China may not be the first to say they will come to Laos to build railways, but it is the only one that has come and built one." Similar projects can be found within the Belt and Road cooperations, such as the Maldives-China Friendship Bridge, Croatia's Peljesac Bridge, Mozambique's Maputo-Catembe Bridge, the Mongolia-Russia Railway, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway,and etc. These projects have become national landmarks, livelihood projects, and symbols of cooperation, paving the way for common development. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama believes that co-building the BRI can prevent conflicts by promoting economic development in neighboring regions.


Over the past decade, the BRI has become a highly welcomed international public good and global platform for international cooperation, attracting participation from more than three-quarters of the world's countries. For ten years, the BRI has attracted nearly trillions of USD in investment, developing over 3,000 cooperative projects and creating 420,000 job opportunities for countries along the route.


In September 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative (GDI), emphasizing the importance of prioritizing development, focusing on people-centered approaches, promoting inclusiveness and innovation-driven development, fostering harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, persisting in action-oriented approaches, advocating for a global development community. The GDI has become another essential public good that China offers to the world. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised the GDI, highlighting its great positive significance in promoting global equality and balanced, sustainable development.


This significant initiative responds to the real needs of people worldwide for peaceful development, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation. Upon its proposal, it received responses from international organizations like the UN and numerous countries. It has already achieved a series of early accomplishments: First, it has garnered broad international consensus for advancing cooperation under the initiative and accelerating the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda. Over 100 countries and international organizations, including the UN, have supported the GDI, and more than 70 countries have joined the Group of Friends of Global Development Initiative established within the framework of the UN. The initiative has been incorporated into cooperation documents with ASEAN, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Pacific Island countries. Second, financial measures are gradually being put into action. The Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund, with a total of 4 billion USD, has been implemented. The third phase of China-FAO South-South Cooperation Trust Fund has officially launched. Third, collaboration platforms have been established, including the Global Development Promotion Center Network, the World Alliance for Vocational and Technical Education Development, and the International Civil Poverty Reduction Cooperation Network. These platforms have built a cooperation network among all parties regarding agriculture, education, anti-epidemic, and response to climate change to drive the construction of cooperation mechanisms in various fields.


Currently, the construction of GDI project database is proceeding in an orderly manner. The first batch lists 50 practical cooperation projects and 1,000 capacity-building projects. They are progressing proactively, covering poverty alleviation, food security, and industrialization. Fourth, the GDI has enhanced knowledge sharing for development. China has published the Global Development Report and is rapidly building a global development knowledge network, actively exchanging governance and development experiences among different countries.


2. Guarding a secure environment for global human rights protection


Everyone has the right to enjoy peace so that all human rights can be promoted and protected and full development can be realized. In 2016, the 71st UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Peace, solemnly declaring that everyone has the right to enjoy peace, further affirming and developing the right to peace.


China has always been a steadfast force in safeguarding world peace.


On May 31, 2016, the camp in the Gao UN mission area in Mali, where the 4th batch of the Chinese peacekeeping engineering unit was located, was suddenly attacked by a terrorist vehicle loaded with explosives. At that time, Shen Liangliang was on duty and quickly reported the situation, sounded the alarm with gunshots, and pushed his comrades away in a moment of life and death, sacrificing himself heroically at the age of 29.


In January 2015, the Chinese military dispatched a 700-strong infantry battalion to the UN Mission in South Sudan, marking the first time that a Chinese military sent an infantry battalion to perform overseas peacekeeping missions in an organized manner. One day in July 2016, fierce fighting broke out in South Sudan, China's second peacekeeping infantry battalion lost two soldiers, the 33-year-old Master Sergeant Yang Shupeng and 22-year-old corporal Li Lei.


China has participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations since 1990. Over the past 30 years, the Chinese military has sent over 50,000 officers and soldiers to more than 20 countries and regions to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Twenty-five peacekeepers have sacrificed their precious lives.


Currently, China is the country that sends the largest number of peacekeepers among the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and is also the second largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. On May 29, 2023, the United Nations International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers and also the 75th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, praised China for playing a significant role in the United Nations peacekeeping efforts. He acknowledged China's unwavering support for United Nations peacekeeping and noted the "extremely valuable contributions."


On the eve of International Children's Day in 2023, 12-year-old Bangladeshi girl Alifa Chin received an exceptional holiday gift, the Chinese President Xi Jinping wrote back to her, encouraging her to study hard, pursue her dreams, and inherit the traditional friendship between China and Bangladesh.


Back on November 9, 2010, the Chinese naval hospital ship "Peace Ark" arrived at Chittagong, a port city in southeastern Bangladesh, and began a week-long medical service to Bangladesh.


At that time, a local pregnant woman faced a life-threatening situation due to a long-term heart condition as she was about to give birth. Bangladesh urgently sought assistance from the "Peace Ark." Despite tremendous pressure, Chinese doctors performed a cesarean section for them. After the child was born, Chinese doctors remained in the ward, watching over the mother and daughter for two days. They did not leave until the mother and daughter's condition stabilized. The father, Anwar Hossen, named his daughter "Chin," which means "China" in Bengali, hoping his daughter would remember China.


In 2013, the "Peace Ark" hospital ship visited Bangladesh for the second time, where doctors conducted a comprehensive medical examination of Chin. In 2017, the anesthesiologist who had been part of the surgical team during the operation, Sheng Ruifang, accompanied a Chinese Navy fleet on a friendly visit to Bangladesh. While at the port, Sheng Ruifang met Chin, and it was the first time Chin called her "Chinese mom." In December 2019, Chin and her family came to China and boarded the "Peace Ark" at a military port in Zhoushan. Since Chin's birth, the care from China has never ceased, and her story with China continues to unfold.


As of June 2023, the Chinese naval hospital ship "Peace Ark" has embarked on ten overseas missions, covering more than 260,000 nautical miles, providing medical services to 43 countries and regions, and serving over 250,000 individuals, with over 1,400 surgeries performed. Today, this big white ship filled with the spirit of international humanitarianism, sows the seeds of peace and friendship worldwide. It has indeed become a vessel of life, peace, and friendship.


The Chinese nation is a peace-loving nation, and the Chinese people are a peace-loving people. The confidence and consciousness of pursuing peaceful development rooted in China's peace-oriented cultural genes. As early as the 1950s, China jointly advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence with India and Myanmar. In recent years, China has contributed Chinese wisdom, proposed Chinese solutions, and played a constructive role in resolving the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran and the problems in Syria. China actively pursues the idea of peaceful diplomatic, emphasizes peaceful coexistence with all countries, advocates a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security concept, is committed to promoting South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, strives to narrow the North-South gap, and proposes global security initiatives. China will continue to contribute its strength to lasting peace and development in the world and to safeguarding the right to peace of people worldwide.


China actively participates in international law enforcement and security cooperation, strengthening collaboration within global and regional organizations such as the UN, the International Criminal Police Organization, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This cooperation aims to combat all forms of terrorism, separatism, extremism, and drug-related crimes. China is also actively engaged in international arms control and disarmament processes, having acceded to dozens of global arms control treaties and mechanisms, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Regarding the Ukraine crisis, China decides its position and policy based on the merits of the matter concerned, upholds objectivity and fairness, and actively promotes peace talks.


Peace is an essential prerequisite for the development of human rights. A continuously growing China remains a significant guardian of world peace. In April 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the Boao Forum for Asia, solemnly put forward the Global Security Initiative (GSI), systematically elucidating China's stance and propositions for promoting security for all worldwide and maintaining global peace and stability. President Xi emphasized that We, humanity, are living in an indivisible security community, advocated a concept guided by the principles of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, with mutual respect as the guide for action, inseparability of security as the essential principle, and security community building as the long-term goal. It paves the way for a new type of security characterized by dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alliance, and win-win cooperation rather than zero-sum competition. Former Slovenia President Danilo Türk believes the GSI was proposed at the right time and provides a robust conceptual framework for global security dialogues and cooperation.


Over the past year, the content of the GSI has continued to evolve and has gained recognition and acceptance from more and more members of the international community. It has contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to addressing international security challenges and filled the deficit in global peace. In February 2023, China released the Concept Paper on the Global Security Initiative, further elaborating on the core concepts and principles, key areas of cooperation, and cooperation platforms and mechanisms of the GSI. China actively engaged in diplomatic mediation efforts and successively issued documents such as China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, and China's Position on the Afghan Issue, firmly standing on the side of peace. On March 10, 2023, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran signed and issued a joint statement announcing the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations. It marks a successful practice of China's vigorous implementation of the GSI. It sets an example for regional countries to resolve conflicts and differences through dialogue and negotiation and promote neighborly and friendly relations. As a result, a wave of reconciliation has swept through the Middle East. Saeed Abu Ali, assistant Secretary-General of the Arab League, expressed that Arab countries looked forward to China's significant role in maintaining peace in the Middle East and the world.


China actively promotes international security dialogue and exchanges. For instance, it facilitated the hosting of the first Horn of Africa Peace Conference for countries in the African region and successfully hosted two rounds of the Middle East Security Forum. Additionally, China actively promotes security-related exchanges and cooperation among various parties through multilateral platforms, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, and the East Asia Cooperation Mechanism. China is committed to cooperating with various parties in non-traditional security areas such as pandemic response, counter-terrorism, biological security, cybersecurity, food security, and climate change. Within the framework of the G20, China proposed initiatives for international food security cooperation and promoted the BRICS Country Food Security Cooperation Strategy. The China-Pacific Island Countries Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center officially commenced operations in February 2023, representing another robust action by China under the GSI framework to assist developing countries in addressing non-traditional security challenges. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko remarked that China is a mainstay in safeguarding world peace.


3. Defending fairness and justice in global human rights governance


Developing countries account for more than 80% of the population in today's world. The development of global human rights cannot be achieved without the joint efforts of developing countries. After the end of the Cold War, faced with Western countries' scheme to interfere in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights, developing countries actively participated in international human rights dialogues, hoping to eliminate confrontation in international human rights activities through international cooperation.


Developing countries emphasize the universality, objectivity, and non-selectivity of human rights. They advocate for promoting human rights through cooperation and negotiation, considering the diverse political, economic, social, and cultural realities of the world when advancing human rights governance. They believe that human rights are indivisible, encompassing both civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights, and including both individual and collective rights. In 1993, the Second World Conference on Human Rights adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which to some extent reflected many developing countries' human rights views and propositions. It resulted from continuous efforts by developing countries, including China, in the struggle for fairness and justice.


Declaration and Programme of Action, which, to some extent, reflected many developing countries’ human rights views and propositions. It resulted from continuous efforts by developing countries, including China, in the struggle for fairness and justice.


On June 14, 2023, during his visit, Palestinian President Abbas, in a meeting with President Xi Jinping, said, “I sincerely thank China on behalf of the Palestinian people for its strong support and selfless assistance to the Palestinian people in their just cause of restoring their legitimate national rights.” President Abbas’s statement, “China is a trusted friend and partner for the Palestinian side,” expresses deep recognition of China’s long-standing commitment to speaking up and upholding justice for the Palestinian people in multilateral forums.


In history, China shares a similar fate and experiences with many developing countries. Today, there are common demands for economic development, improving people’s livelihoods, and enhancing fundamental human rights such as the rights to life and development. All of these factors determine that China and many developing countries have similar or identical concepts and positions on human rights issues. China has consistently upheld justice and made unremitting efforts to defend third-world countries’ national self-determination rights and prevent large-scale human rights violations. China’s persistent efforts over the years in seeking a just and equitable resolution to issues such as Cambodia, Afghanistan, Palestine, and occupied Arab territories are well-known.


On July 5, 2023, during the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Chinese representative spoke about the issue of Syria, stating that peace and stability are the greatest guarantees of human rights and that advancing a political solution is the only way out for Syria. The Chinese representative emphasized that when discussing the issue of Syria, the Human Rights Council should not forget the responsibilities that countries like the United States and the United Kingdom bear for the suffering of the Syrian people. China urged these countries to cease their illegal presence and military operations in Syria, halt unilateral sanctions against Syria, and restore genuine human rights, wealth, freedom, and dignity to the Syrian people. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has exercised its veto power in several Security Council votes related chiefly to the Syrian issue. China consistently bases its decisions on principles of right and wrong, safeguarding the interests of the Syrian people, speaking up for the fair treatment of Syria, and acting fairly, thereby upholding international equity and justice.


Sovereign equality is the foundation of global human rights governance. In global human rights governance, we must respect sovereignty and oppose hegemony to safeguard human rights. We must resolutely oppose the politicization of human rights. We must insist that all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal and participate in global human rights exchanges and dialogue as equal partners, striving to achieve win-win cooperation and jointly contributing to global human rights governance. As an essential member of the international community, China upholds fairness and justice and has made joint statements on behalf of countries with similar views at the UN Human Rights Council on many occasions. In response to unwarranted smears from Western countries, China courageously fights back and tells the true stories of human rights in China. It has exposed Western countries’ racism, gun violence, forced labor, violations of indigenous rights, and other human rights abuses, firmly opposing the bullying behavior of some countries that frequently impose unilateral sanctions and blockades against other countries... These concrete actions not only steadfastly defend international fairness and justice and safeguard the sovereignty and dignity of developing countries but also effectively promote international human rights exchanges, cooperation, and the healthy and orderly development of global human rights governance.


4. Promoting exchanges and mutual appreciation among different human rights civilizations


Human rights are the fruits and symbols of the progress of human civilization. Respecting and safeguarding human rights is the fundamental spirit of modern civilization. Through long and arduous efforts, China has successfully embarked on a human rights development path that conforms to the trends of the times and suits its national conditions. China’s human rights development path is a significant manifestation of the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the field of human rights. It has enriched and advanced human rights civilization, contributing Chinese strength, wisdom, and solutions to the cause of human progress.


Chinese modernization is deeply rooted in China’s fine traditional culture and infused with the vitality of Chinese civilization. Its practical path is based on the realization of human freedom and comprehensive development, contains profound and rich human rights thoughts, and injects the power of Chinese civilization into the development of the world’s human rights cause and conceptual innovation. In the modernization practice characterized by a vast population, China can perceive the people-oriented thinking of “people being the foundation of the country, and a consolidated foundation determining the country’s stability. In the unremitting pursuit of “common prosperity for all the people,” China can find the governance philosophy of “a prosperous nation being built on the well-being of its people.” In the coordinated development of material and spiritual civilization, China can appreciate the moral character of “virtues promoting growth” and “improving oneself with unceasing efforts.” In the solid actions of “harmoniously coexisting with nature,” China can realize the development philosophy of “following the natural order and achieving unity between man and nature.” In the determined choice of “pursuing a path of peaceful development,” China can understand the social ideal of “emphasizing trustworthiness and seeking harmony” and “all people under heaven being of one family.” The profound and extensive Chinese civilization benefits not only the Chinese people but also provides valuable insights for the world.


In the “world history” process initiated during the Age of Exploration, debates regarding the paths to modernization and the diversity and singularity of civilizations have never ceased. Unlike those who embraced “civilization superiority” and “clash of civilizations” theories, China has consistently advocated for the coexistence and exchange of different civilizations, always with the genuine well-being of people worldwide as the starting point. “The contributions made by a country or a nation to the world and humanity are not only measured by material creations but also by the ideas it puts forward.” The former Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos sincerely appreciated China’s view on civilization.


On March 27, 2014, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the UNESCO headquarters, clearly expounding China’s cultural perspective in the new era. He pointed out, “Intercultural exchange and mutual learning are important impetuses for the progress of human civilization and world peace and development.” His speech received enthusiastic applause and strong endorsement from the audience. “The vision of Chinese leader aligns with the mission of UNESCO,” commented the then Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.


In May 2019, the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC), initiated by China, was held in Beijing. The conference produced a document endorsed by more than 1,000 representatives from 47 Asian countries and other countries worldwide, as well as international organizations. The document emphasized the principles of diversity and coexistence transcending claims of civilization superiority, harmony and symbiosis transcending civilization conflicts, integration and sharing transcending civilization divides, and prosperity and progress transcending the stagnation of civilizations. China has consistently been committed to providing a platform for equal dialogue and mutual learning among different civilizations.


In March 2023, President Xi Jinping introduced the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), issuing a heartfelt call to all countries worldwide, urging them to “fully harness the relevance of histories and cultures to the present times, and push for creative transformation and innovative development of all fine traditional cultures in the process of modernization.” The GCI aims to promote cultural exchange and mutual learning among civilizations, fostering the progress of human civilization. It represents China’s new and significant contribution to improving global governance and advancing the building of a human community with a shared future. It reflects China’s firm commitment to upholding lasting world peace and development and promoting the continuous progress of human civilization.


III. Chinese Wisdom that Enriches the Form of Human Rights Civilization


Respecting and safeguarding human rights at home is the foundation of China’s participation in global human rights governance. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Chinese government has regarded respecting and safeguarding human rights as an important task in its governance. It has promoted historic achievements in the field of human rights, accomplished the first centenary goal, and built a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China has historically solved the issue of absolute poverty, contributing to over 70% of global poverty reduction, achieving the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s poverty reduction goals ten years ahead of schedule, directly accelerating international poverty reduction efforts, and making significant contributions to the progress of human rights worldwide. This success has laid a more solid material foundation for the development of China’s human rights cause.


China has continuously developed a whole-process people’s democracy, promoted the rule of law to safeguard human rights, and firmly upheld social fairness and justice. The Chinese people enjoy broader, more extensive, and more comprehensive democratic rights. China has strived to achieve fuller and higher-quality employment; established the world’s most extensive education system, social security system, and healthcare system; vigorously improved the quality of the living environment; and made continuous progress in areas such as childcare, education, employment, healthcare, elderly care, housing, and support for the vulnerable. China upholds the principle of people first and the sanctity of life, and it has effectively responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, maximizing the protection of people’s lives and health... China’s human rights practices, achieved through independent exploration of development paths, have been highly successful. The underlying logic of this success stems from a commitment to putting people first, a practical and truth-seeking approach, and self-confidence in open and inclusive human rights.


From a moral perspective, people are the core concern of human rights development. Taking the aspirations of the people to live a better life as the focus of our efforts, adhering to the basic principle of developing and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the vastest majority of the people, and constantly enhancing the sense of gain, happiness, and security among the people are the core values of the CPC’s governance. Upholding the people’s central role in the human rights cause, prioritizing the people’s interests before anything else, promising a good life for the people, ensuring that the fruits of development offer greater benefits to all the people in a fair way, and enabling every person to enjoy opportunities for self-development and a good life is the essence of China’s efforts to ensure that everyone enjoys more comprehensive human rights. In the over 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, tremendous achievements have been made in China’s human rights endeavors, vividly demonstrating the people-centered human rights philosophy, which is the moral essence of China’s human rights path.


From a practical perspective, human rights are a product of specific historical conditions, and as history progresses, they will exhibit gradual and diverse changes. Different countries, at various stages of development, with varying levels of economic growth, cultural traditions, and social structures, face different human rights development tasks and must adopt different approaches to human rights protection. China has not mindlessly copied the practices of other countries but has, based on its own experiences, proposed that the rights to survival and development are fundamental human rights. China adheres to the principle of the universality of human rights while integrating it with its own reality, thus pursuing a human rights development path that aligns with its national conditions.


From an open perspective, China has developed a systematic concept of human rights centered on the people, based on more than 70 years of achievements in human rights. It also engages in human rights cooperation and exchanges with countries worldwide, learning from each other and sharing experiences. Emphasizing the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom cherished by humanity, China seeks common ground in international human rights cooperation. China has put forward significant concepts, such as building a community with a shared future for humanity. These ideas contribute Chinese wisdom and solutions to developing international human rights efforts, significantly promoting global human rights governance toward greater fairness, equity, justice, and inclusiveness.


1. The people-centered nature of human rights endeavors


The people-centered set of principles is the most prominent characteristic of China’s path to human rights development. “A country’s human rights condition is essentially gauged by whether its people’s interests are protected and whether they enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. It is the most important criterion for evaluating a country’s human rights situation.” China ensures the democratic rights of its people, fully stimulates their enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity, and allows them to become the main participants, promoters, and beneficiaries of human rights development. This approach effectively advances comprehensive human development and achieves more significant substantive progress in shared prosperity for all people. The human rights that China aims to achieve are not abstract concepts but tangible, happy livelihoods for its people. They are not privileges enjoyed by a few but inclusive human rights accessible to the vast majority of the population. Over the years, China has adhered to the people-centered development philosophy, making it a starting point and focus of development to improve people’s well-being, safeguard their rights to self-governance, and promote comprehensive human development. This approach effectively protects the rights and interests of the people. China regards the happiness of its people as the most significant human right, making human rights construction more tangible and practical. The “goal-practice” logic it has established is clear and aligns with a new era of development, representing a fresh perspective on human rights.


2. Autonomy in human rights practice


The autonomy of China’s human rights practices is reflected in the insistence on proceeding from reality, integrating the principle of universality of human rights with China’s specific conditions, promoting the development of human rights from the perspective of China’s national conditions and people’s demands, and ensuring that the people enjoy a wide range of rights which are genuine, specific, and effective in accordance with the law. Countries have different national conditions, histories, cultures, social systems, and economic and social development levels. They must and can only explore a human rights development path that suits them based on their own realities and the needs of their people. Only the wearer knows best if a pair of shoes fits. Departing from reality and mindlessly adopting foreign institutional models not only leads to dysfunction and failure of implementation but also brings disastrous consequences, ultimately harming the interests of the vast majority of the people.


3. Comprehensiveness in human rights promotion


Over the years, China has consistently combined the principle of universality of human rights with its own realities, continuously promoting economic and social development, enhancing the well-being of its people, fostering social fairness and justice, strengthening the rule of law for human rights, and striving to promote the comprehensive and coordinated development of economic, social, cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights. These efforts have significantly improved the guarantee level of the people’s rights to survival and development, charting a path for human rights development suitable for China’s national conditions. Human rights cover a wide range, and various human rights are interdependent. Economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights are inseparable components of the human rights system. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reaffirms the fundamental view and position that “all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated.” The connotation of human rights is complete and rich, requiring comprehensive and systematic measures to advance. Based on its own historical traditions, specific national conditions, and institutional characteristics, China plans its human rights development goals systematically, recognizing both the progressive nature of the human rights cause and the comprehensiveness and coordination of human rights construction. For a large society with a population of 1.4 billion, China adheres to the concept of “food is the priority for the people,” striving to eliminate poverty, “the biggest obstacle to the realization of human rights,” and protecting people’s rights to survival and development. At the same time, in line with the people’s expectations for a high-quality and better life, China continuously meets the growing and diverse rights demands of the people. It coordinates promoting economic development, democracy and the rule of law, ideology and culture, fairness and justice, social governance, and environmental protection. China comprehensively improves employment, income distribution, education, social security, medical care, housing, elderly care, and child support, among other aspects. In the coordinated development of material, political, spiritual, social, and ecological civilizations, China enhances human rights protection in all aspects. It has embarked on a progressive, coordinated, and comprehensive path of human rights development, allowing every individual to enjoy their human rights more thoroughly, thus creating the Chinese model of respecting and safeguarding human rights.


4. Sustainability in human rights development


Sustainable development of human rights means not only providing a sustainable development impetus and material foundation for human rights but also institutionalizing and legalizing successful experiences in human rights progress to form a stable mechanism for respecting and safeguarding human rights. China attaches great importance to the sustainability of human rights development, adheres to the principle of people-centered development, and regards development as the top priority, laying a solid foundation for sustainable human rights development. China entirely, accurately, and comprehensively implements the new development concept; adheres to the idea of people-centered development; ensures that development is for the people, relies on the people, and benefits the people; focuses on addressing the most concerning and immediate issues of the people; and works to address the problems related to imbalances and inadequacies in development. Efforts are made to achieve higher-quality, more efficient, fairer, more sustainable, and safer development, ensuring that the general population experiences greater fulfillment, security, and sustainability regarding their sense of gain, happiness, and safety within the context of development. At the same time, China adheres to the rule of law, exercises law-based governance, and builds the rule of law in China to provide institutional guarantees for promoting sustainable human rights development. “The rule of law is the most effective safeguard for human rights.” In advancing comprehensive law-based governance, China integrates human rights protection into various aspects such as sound legislation, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and social-wide observance of the law. Respecting and safeguarding human rights has become essential principles in legislation, and the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics with the Constitution as the core has been continuously improved; law-based government administration has been further promoted, making exercising administrative power more standardized. Judicial reform has been deepened, with efforts to ensure that the people feel fairness and justice in every judicial case. The construction of a law-based society has advanced in depth, and the society’s awareness of the rule of law and the legal protection of human rights has been significantly enhanced. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, its Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, has made a major strategic deployment for law-based governance in all respects. It places a greater emphasis on respecting and safeguarding human rights in building a socialist, law-based country, ushering in a new era of human rights rule of law construction in China from the perspective of advancing the modernization of the national governance system and capacity. From compiling the Civil Code to the comprehensive implementation of the Outline for Building a Law-Based Government (2015-2020), from the unwavering promotion of judicial system reform to the advancement of building a society based on the rule of law in all areas... China has achieved significant accomplishments in the legal guarantee of human rights. The fundamental rights and freedoms of the Chinese people are effectively safeguarded, and the foundation for the sustainable development of human rights in China is even more solid.


IV. China’s Plan to Improve Global Human Rights Governance


Human rights civilization continues to evolve. Temporarily, the breadth and depth of human understanding of their rights expand with technological innovation, economic development, and social progress. Spatially, differences in historical culture, social systems, and development stages result in distinct human rights forms in different countries. The diversity of human rights civilization keeps enriching itself.


In today’s world, economic globalization is further deepening, and despite headwinds, the historical trend cannot be reversed. Humanity is increasingly becoming an interconnected global community where “your interests are mine, and mine are yours.” The rise of groups and the political awakening in developing countries drive international power structures and political landscapes toward multi-polarity. The demand for autonomous development and an enhanced voice in global governance continues to grow. This historical trend significantly impacts international human rights governance and presents new needs for our time. The holistic nature of human society is increasingly prominent, highlighting the need for a holistic human perspective in global human rights governance. The alignment of development with human rights progress is becoming increasingly crucial to meeting developing countries’ realistic demands. Raising developing countries’ voices in human rights discussions and practicing genuine multilateralism have become urgent tasks in constructing a new vision for global human rights governance in the context of the new era. China has made outstanding historic achievements in human rights practice and opened up a path for developing human rights with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, China has also contributed its ideas and plans to promote the development of global human rights causes and improve global human rights governance.


1. Unity and cooperation


Humanity living together on the earth has a shared destiny. Global human rights governance based on human integrity is the right direction for human rights civilization’s evolution. From the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the bourgeois revolution to the national independence and liberation movements after World War II and then to the rapid advancement of globalization that integrates the global village, the importance of collective human rights in the international human rights governance structure has become increasingly evident. The primary forms of collective human rights, such as those pertaining to ethnic groups, individual nations, or all of humanity, also take a more significant place in international human rights. In today’s world, the situation unseen in a century is evolving faster, and the world has entered a new period of instability and transformation. Traditional security risks intertwined with non-traditional ones and external challenges combined with internal ones pose profound challenges to human rights protection in individual countries and global human rights governance. Challenges such as hunger, poverty, conflict, terrorism, environmental pollution, climate change, and emerging issues in the realm of the internet get intertwined, especially with the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and various countries’ response philosophies and strategies. While demonstrating the global nature of modernization risks, they also call for a holistic and cooperative approach to address common challenges. Promoting global human rights governance with a holistic perspective has become an inevitable trend in the evolution of human rights civilization in the context of globalization.


In the “engagement” philosophy of traditional Chinese culture, individuals do not live in abstract or isolation” but rather “coexistent” with one another based on interactive relationships. It is only within the context of these “coexistent” relationships with others that individuals derive value and meaning in their existence. This “coexistence and sharing” mindset shapes the way Chinese people perceive interpersonal relationships and, at the same time, profoundly influences China’s interactions with the world.


When attending the “Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Humanity” high-level meeting in Geneva on January 18, 2017, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech entitled “Work Together to Build a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity,” explaining the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity to the world. To elucidate China’s perspective on human rights governance through the idea of a “a community with a shared future for humanity” means taking the diversity of global human rights governance and the diversity of interest demands as the practical context, taking the fact that “in today’s world, the degree of interconnection and interdependence between countries has increased to an unprecedented level” as the logical starting point, taking shared risks in globalization and “shared destiny of humanity” as the basic awareness, and taking the cooperative development and rights protection of all human beings as the goal. Such an approach presents a distinct feature of holism. China’s perspective on human rights governance guided by this significant concept emphasizes the pursuit of the times: common prosperity, mutual benefit, joint development, shared results, balanced and inclusive growth, and peaceful coexistence. It encompasses not only the shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all of humanity but also underscores the holistic nature of global human rights protection efforts, representing a significant advancement beyond previous human rights concepts. It greatly enriches the content of human rights in the new era and has important guiding significance for building a fair and equitable international human rights governance system.


On March 1, 2017, on behalf of 140 countries, China issued a joint statement entitled “Work Together to Promote and Protect Human Rights and Build a Community of Shared Future for Humanity.” It elaborated on the essential concept of a human community with a shared future and its significance in promoting the development of international human rights, thus receiving recognition and support from all parties. The two resolutions passed at this meeting on “economic, social, and cultural rights” and “food rights” clearly stated the need to “build a community with a shared future for humanity.” Since then, building a community with a shared future for humanity has been written into multiple UN human rights documents and has become an essential part of the international human rights discourse system. Under the guidance of this concept, China advocates that all countries should collectively discuss global human rights governance, and the fruits of human rights development should be shared by the people of all nations, thus promoting the development of international human rights governance toward a more equitable, just, fair, and inclusive direction.


2. Development drive


It is an ideal pursuit of human society to have equal opportunities for development and share the benefits of development so that every individual achieves comprehensive growth and enjoys the full right to development. The right to development, along with the right to life, is a fundamental and primary human right. It represents the successful experience derived from China’s own human rights practices and reflects the practical aspirations of many developing countries in their independent exploration of human rights paths. It aligns with the contemporary need to improve global human rights governance.


Most developing countries have experienced a long history of being colonized or semi-colonized. Dominated in the imperialist colonial system, they have long suffered economic exploitation and political slavery. After World War II, the independence and liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America flourished, and most developing countries gained sovereignty and independence. However, these countries continue to grapple with profound challenges such as hunger, poverty, educational deficiencies, stalled development, and governance inefficiencies. The collective psychological experiences shaped by their specific political histories and social memories often make it the most pressing human rights needs for developing countries to eliminate hunger and poverty and gradually realize the right to development based on ensuring the right to life. As developing countries increase their awareness of self-reliant development, more and more of them are attracted to and supportive of the “development-based human rights path.” In 1986, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 41/128, formally recognizing the Declaration on the Right to Development and establishing the right to development as an “inalienable human right.” This move represents the natural evolution of global human rights governance in response to the changing times.


Since China initiated its reform and opening-up policy, China’s human rights cause has continued to develop and progress. A fundamental experience China has gained in the continuous development and advancement of its human rights cause is that it has steadfastly committed itself to development as something of paramount importance, consistently based its growth on its realities, and unswervingly laid a solid foundation for advancing human rights cause in all respects through development. In the new era, the CPC, based on the latest development stage, has implemented the new development philosophy and constructed a new development pattern, thus promoting high-quality development and leading people to achieve the first centenary goal. It has then embarked on a new journey toward building a socialist modernized country in all respects and advancing toward its second centenary goal. China’s development and progress in its human rights cause promote and complement each other, exhibiting an explicit, logical relationship, namely, “the effective safeguarding of the right to subsistence is a prerequisite and foundation for enjoying and developing other human rights” and “only through development can the root causes of global challenges be eliminated; only through development can the basic rights of the people be guaranteed; only through development can human society progress.” President Xi Jinping pointed out when meeting with the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet Jeria in May 2022, “For developing countries, the rights to subsistence and development are their primary and basic human rights. They must ensure higher-quality and more efficient, equitable, sustainable, and secure development of their economy and human rights.”


The world economy faces high inflation, weakening demand, geopolitical conflicts, and energy and food security issues. Many countries, especially developing ones, are grappling with multiple development predicaments. The obstruction of the right to development has become a significant obstacle in global human rights governance. UN Secretary-General Guterres warned during the opening of the 2023 Development Financing Forum that the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is at risk of becoming a “mirage.” Based on its development-driven approach to realizing human rights, China advocates “promoting development through cooperation and advancing human rights through development.” It has also put forward the GDI, which is particularly significant in the current global development challenges. To fully protect their people’s rights to human rights, countries cannot stay aloof from the interconnectedness of joint development. They should promote human rights development through cooperative development. They must form a development community for economic growth and adopt an open attitude to learn from each other’s development experiences. For countries facing development difficulties, all other nations should offer assistance and extend a helping hand proactively. The China-proposed GDI advocates action-oriented approaches, focusing on developing countries’ urgent livelihood needs. It urges practical cooperation in critical areas such as poverty reduction, food security, pandemic response, development financing, climate change, and the digital economy. The initiative is committed to advancing human rights progress through joint development and has received positive responses from members of the international community.


3. Multilateral governance


Changes in the global balance of power will inevitably promote the democratization of international relations. Developing countries will actively participate in global human rights governance, and their demands for enhanced representation and voice in human rights governance will be significantly improved. In this context, practicing genuine multilateralism and promoting multilateral co-governance led by the United Nations is the future of global human rights governance.


Equity deficit is a critical issue facing current global human rights governance. For a long time, Western countries have dominated the global governance mechanism and often adopted double standards in the global governance process based on their national interests. The “center-periphery” structure of the international power system remains clearly defined, and unilateralism and hegemonism continue to erode the effectiveness and fairness of the global human rights governance system. Against this background, it is difficult for developing countries to participate in global human rights governance on an equal footing and enjoy a voice commensurate with their rising international influence.


In recent years, the international community has increasingly called for a change in Western countries’ monopoly control of global governance mechanisms. In this context, China advocates that the global human rights governance structure should reflect the multi-polarity of international politics, the globalization of the world economy, the democratization of international relations, and the diversity of world civilizations. To this end, China supports the structural reform of global human rights governance to ensure the active participation of developing countries. It aims to enhance the democracy and inclusivity of international human rights institutions, uphold the principle of cultural diversity, further strengthen the principle of equitable geographical distribution of members in international human rights institutions, and increase the representation and discourse power of developing countries in global human rights governance. This approach is intended to ensure that all nations share the benefits of global human rights governance and that the international human rights order is established on the basis of fairness and equity.


Multilateralism is an important foundation for promoting the development of human rights in the world, and the UN is the leading force in global multilateral cooperation and governance of human rights. President Xi Jinping pointed out: “In the world, there is only one international system, the one with the international system with the United Nations at its core. There is only one international order, the one with the international order underpinned by international law. And there is only one set of rules, the one with the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.” The global human rights governance system and order must be based on firmly safeguarding the authority and status of the UN as a necessary condition. China proposes to champion the banner of multilateralism, adhere to genuine multilateralism, defend international law and norms of international relations, practice the concept of global governance through consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, promote the common values of all humanity, address human rights issues in a just, objective, and non-selective manner, resolve human rights disputes through equal dialogue, advocate for UN-led multilateral governance, push for the evolution of global human rights governance toward greater fairness and equity, and build a community with a shared future for humanity.


Enhancing global human rights governance cannot be achieved without active engagement from civil society. While maintaining or even strengthening national responsibilities, it is essential to involve other actors from the market and society in the collective effort to advance global human rights governance. Civil society organizations also play a crucial role in promoting human rights and development, contributing significantly to mutual development, human rights advancement, dialogue and exchange, and cultural mutual learning. For example, during the 47th UN Human Rights Council session, the China International Exchange Promotion Association for Civil Society organized a thematic side event on “The Contribution of Civil Society to the Right to Development in Times of Great Changes.” Experts, scholars, and leaders of civil society organizations from China, Pakistan, India, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, and other countries participated in the discussion. During the 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council, several social organizations and human rights research institutions in China, including the China Society for Human Rights Studies, the China Association for NGO Cooperation, and the UN Association of China, organized multiple online side events. Leaders of civil society organizations, experts, and scholars from China, Pakistan, Cambodia, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and other countries engaged in extensive and in-depth discussions and exchanges on 12 topics, including “Human Rights Progress in Xinjiang and the Well-being of People of All Ethnic Groups,” “Experience Sharing on Whole-process People’s Democracy and Development,” and “American View of Human Rights and Its Harm to Global Human Rights Governance.”


4. Tolerance and mutual appreciation


In terms of both conceptual ideas and practical content, human rights civilization is an evolving and open system, and the historical trajectory of human rights development fully confirms this. In scope, human rights have gradually expanded, reaching out to the entire world and ultimately becoming a mainstream international discourse. The universality of human rights is widely recognized and acknowledged. In addition, more and more developing countries combine the universality and particularity of human rights based on their specific national conditions. They independently explore human rights development paths that suit their particular situations. The diversity in human rights continues to grow, showcasing each country’s unique and independent human rights civilization values. It shows that the development of human rights progresses alongside human society’s development and progress. Human rights have unlimited potential for development and are rich in diversity. Viewing human rights from a Western-centric perspective will only hinder human rights civilization’s progress. Approaching human rights development with an open and evolving mindset, fostering a spirit of inclusiveness and mutual learning, and adopting a developmental and innovative attitude to enhance global human rights governance is the direction for advancing human rights civilization.


The cause of human rights is an integral part of the socio-economic development of all countries and must be promoted according to their national conditions and people’s needs. The richness and variety of human rights development concepts and practices in various countries should become the source of the prosperity of the international human rights cause rather than the source of confrontation and opposition among all parties. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights advocates openness, inclusiveness, and mutual learning among civilizations. One of the fundamental principles of international human rights is “that of non-discrimination.” Some countries, however, neither recognize cultural diversity nor respect the right of all nations to choose their particular development paths, and incite color revolutions and forcefully promote regime change under the guise of human rights and humanitarianism, resulting in conflicts, turmoil, and a series of humanitarian crises and becoming a significant source of the current chaos in the world.


Modernizing human rights civilization does not necessarily mean the universalization of Western-centrism; the modernization of global human rights governance does not necessarily mean the Westernization of international human rights governance. As some Western scholars have pointed out: “Modernization is different from Westernization in that it has neither produced any meaningful universal civilization nor produced the Westernization of non-Western societies. President Xi Jinping emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all path for human rights development in the world. “When it comes to human rights issues, there is no such a thing as an ‘ideally perfect country.’ We do not need patronizing lecturers, still less should human rights issues be politicized or used as a tool. Double standards and using them as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ affairs should be rejected.”  


Inclusion and mutual learning are the driving forces for promoting and safeguarding human rights. The Chinese concept of human rights takes the pluralism of human rights civilizations as the theoretical context, advocates the diversity of human rights theoretical systems and development paths, and opposes unilateralism and hegemonism in international human rights governance. In the last analysis, this is because the diversity of human rights theoretical systems, discourse systems, and human rights paths is an essential part of the diversity of human civilization, and respecting diversity is the foundation for the sustainable development and vitality of human civilization. Human rights can be interpreted as “insubstantial” or “substantial.” The so-called “insubstantial human rights” refers to those expressed in abstract concepts with which all countries may agree easily. It simply talks about whether human rights exist and if they are good or bad. Whereas the “substantial human rights” refers to the rich-contented human rights rooted in each society’s history, culture, and particular conditions. It is easier for various countries to reach a consensus on “unsubstantial human rights,” but where “substantial human rights” are concerned, mutual learning and appreciation rather than forced uniformity are needed.


V. Conclusion: Improving Global Human Rights Governance and Building A Community With a Shared Future for Humanity


“Everyone can enjoy human rights” is the lofty goal that humankind strives for. After “humans twice experienced the unspeakable scourge of war,” they learned from the painful experience and established the UN to “promote social progress and improve people’s livelihood in greater freedom.” The international human rights cause has since opened a new chapter. For over 70 years, the world has experienced relative peace and stability, with most countries and regions spared from the impacts of war and conflict. The rights to peace and life have been generally protected, and significant achievements have been made in the rights to survival and development. The mainstreaming of human rights has continued to evolve, and international cooperation on human rights has thrived, with principles of fairness, objectivity, and non-selectivity serving as the foundation and guiding principles of United Nations human rights work. At the same time, injustice, intolerance, and unrest persist in the world. Imbalances, disparities, and unsustainability in development continue to be prominent, especially with persistent issues like hunger, poverty, refugees, pandemics, terrorism, racial discrimination, protectionism, and climate change, severely affecting human social development. The tendencies toward politicizing human rights and double standards remain prevalent, and a significant “governance deficit” still exists in the international human rights arena.


Respecting and safeguarding human rights mirrors humanity’s long-standing pursuit of justice against tyranny and oppression, the struggle for freedom and equality, and the aspiration for peace and happiness throughout history. It reflects humankind’s deepening understanding of the meaning and value of its existence and its beautiful vision for the future. China’s human rights dream is one of national prosperity and people’s happiness. It is also a dream of promoting world peace, development, and win-win cooperation. In the process of advancing the development of the global human rights cause, China has never stood by. Instead, it has always been taking earnest actions, playing an increasingly important role in promoting the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity. China has become a significant force influencing and driving the development of the global human rights cause, contributing Chinese wisdom and providing Chinese solutions to promote the development of human rights worldwide.


Under the strong leadership of the CPC, the Chinese people are working hard to embark on a new journey of building a socialist modernized country in all respects and marching toward the second centenary goal. In this new journey of grand scale, China will uphold the principle of placing people first, adhere to the path of human rights development aligning with the trends of the times and suitable for its own national conditions, continuously enhance the level of human rights protection, and promote the free and comprehensive development of individuals during the process of advancing Chinese modernization. China is willing to work together with the international community to uphold the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, promote the development of global human rights governance toward greater fairness, justice, and inclusiveness, and strive to build a community with a shared future for humanity and create a better world together.