China issues white paper on human rights

Beijing, May 14 (IANS) The Chinese government Tuesday released a white paper detailing the progress made in human rights in 2012, stressing its achievements in improving living standards and increasing room for citizens to express their opinions.

"The cause of human rights in China has entered a stage of planned, sustainable, steady and comprehensive development," says the white paper, published by the State Council Information Office under the title "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2012".

Development is the key to solving all existing problems and facilitating the progress of human rights in China, reported Xinhua citing the paper.

China has combined its human rights endeavours with economic, political, cultural, social and ecological construction, it said.

The country has prioritized people's rights to subsistence and development and made efforts to promote the comprehensive and balanced development of their economic, social and cultural rights, as well as their civil and political rights, it notes.

"After years of unremitting efforts, China has reached a higher level in terms of people's living standards, democracy, rule of law, cultural development, social security and environmental protection," says the white paper.

In 2012, the annual per capita net income for both urban and rural residents increased, hefty investment was directed to poverty reduction programs, housing conditions were improved for both urban and rural residents and the state made proactive efforts to boost employment, according to the white paper.

Practical measures have been taken to ensure citizens' right to know and right to be heard, according to the white paper.

Deepened reform and the rapid development of information technology have given the public greater power to acquire information and express their opinions, it notes.

In 2012, more than 90 central government departments made their budgets and expenses for official receptions, vehicles and overseas trips known to the public. The Communist Party of China (CPC) continued to press ahead with making party affairs public and established a spokesperson system for Party committees, the paper says.

The Internet has become an important channel for citizens to exercise their rights to know, participate, be heard and supervise, as well as become an important means for the government to hear public opinions, according to the white paper.

Democracy building at the grassroots level further expanded citizens' right to participate, the paper says.

New progress related to human rights protection has been made in the judicial field as well, according to the white paper.

China has enforced strict controls over and prudently applied the death penalty and protected the rights of detainees, the paper says.

In 2011, the death penalty was removed as a form of punishment for 13 economic and non-violent crimes, reducing the number of death sentences handed down by nearly one-fifth.

--Indo-Asian News service

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