BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Information Office of the State Council, or China’s Cabinet, issued a white paper on Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2014 on June 8.
Following is the full text:
Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2014
Information Office of the State Council
The People’s Republic of China
June 2015, Beijing Contents
I. Right to Development
II. Rights of the Person
III. Democratic Rights
IV. Right to Impartial Trial
V. Rights of Ethnic Minorities
VI. Rights of Women, Children and Senior Citizens
VII. Rights of Persons with Disabilities
VIII. Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment
IX. Foreign Exchanges and Cooperation Preface
In 2014 the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government jointly pushed forward the implementation of the country’s four major strategic tasks: (1) build a moderately prosperous society; (2) drive the reform in a deeper level; (3) advance the law-based governance of China; and (4) strengthen Party self-discipline. The Chinese people enjoyed practical benefits from the development of the country, and their human rights situation also made new progress.
The basic rights of the Chinese people became better protected, and China’s constitutional principle of “respecting and safeguarding human rights” was implemented in a better way. In 2014, China made steady progress in comprehensively completing the building of a moderately prosperous society. By the end of the year, among all the 29 countable or measurable indicators for economic and social development set forth in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), 12 had been over-fulfilled, three had been nearly fulfilled and 11 had made smooth progress, accounting for 90 percent of the total. The mid-stage assessment of China’s National Human Rights Action Plan (2012-2015) was carried out in December 2014, and the result showed that most of the targets set in the plan had been reached, and a larger part of the quantitative indexes had been half or even more achieved. In the same year China’s efforts for law-based governance reached a new take-off stage. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC approved the Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China, drawing up a clear blueprint for building a socialist law-based country with Chinese characteristics. The fundamental purposes of the blueprint are to protect civic rights, to defend human dignity and to put basic human rights into practice.
The tremendous achievements China has made in its human rights endeavors fully demonstrate that it is taking the correct path of human rights development that suits its national conditions. Along this path, the CPC will steer the country in the right direction; the combination of the universal human rights principle with China’s national conditions will safeguard, at a higher level, the Chinese people’s rights to life and development; law-based governance will ensure that China’s human rights development is enshrined in the legal system and institutions; all aspects of human rights will be developed with key areas being given priority; China will carry on and promote its fine traditions in this field while learning from and absorbing the merits of all other civilizations.
In order to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, both the CPC and the Chinese government will cherish the country’s precious and hard-won achievements and experiences in the realm of human rights, and will make great efforts to develop various undertakings conducive to the protection and realization of human rights, and ensure that all are able to achieve personal development and to contribute to society, to enjoy equal opportunities to achieve their potential and to realize their dreams, and to enjoy equal opportunities to participate in the development of the country.
I. Right to Development
In 2014 the Chinese government promoted development concepts and systems innovation, adopted effective measures to guarantee citizens’ access to fair development, had more people to share the fruit of reform and development, and better protected the people’s economic, social and cultural rights.
People’s living standard further improved. China’s GDP in 2014 increased by 7.4 percent over the previous year, and the economy operated within an appropriate range. The economic growth in central and western China was faster than that in the east. As many as 13.22 million new urban jobs were created, more than that in 2013. The total output of grain was 607.1 million tons, an increase of 5.16 million tons over the previous year. The first phase of the central line of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project was completed, providing water from the Yangtze River in the south to 60 million people in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in the north. More than 66 million rural people began to have access to safe drinking water in that year. In 2014 minimum wage standards were raised in 19 regions. The nationwide annual per capita disposable income reached 20,167 yuan, up 8 percent over the previous year and faster than the economic growth rate in 2014. The annual per capita disposable income for urban residents was 28,844 yuan, and that for rural residents reached 10,489 yuan, up 6.8 percent and 9.2 percent over the previous year, respectively, with the increasing rate for rural residents higher than that for urban residents for the fifth consecutive year. The urban-rural income ratio fell below 3:1 for the first time over the previous 13 years. Nationwide, per capita consumption expenditure reached 14,491 yuan, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2013, among which the consumption expenditure of urban residents was 19,968 yuan and that of rural residents was 8,383 yuan, up 5.8 percent and 10 percent, respectively. By the end of 2014 the number of telephone users in China had reached 1.53 billion, among whom that of mobile phone users reached 1.28 billion, with the penetration rate hitting 94.5 per 100 people. The number of 4G users was 97.284 million, and that of 3G users was 480 million. The number of Internet broadband users surpassed 200 million, among whom that of subscribers using broadband over 4M reached 177 million, taking up 88.1 percent of the total. The total broadband in China was 2500G, the broadband of the international communications gateway reached 9614Gbps, and the broadband of the international communications service gateway reached 3361.9Gbps. The number of trips abroad made by Chinese citizens was 116.59 million, among which those for private purposes reached 110.03 million, an increase of 19.6 percent over the previous year.
Basic public services coverage increase in both urban and rural areas. The State Council issued the National New-Type Urbanization Plan (2014-2020), and the central government appropriated a fund of 1.1 billion yuan to promote the development of new-type professional farmers in two provinces, 14 municipalities and 300 counties. China improved the occupational training and testing of farmers in 2014, with more than 400,000 people trained and tested in that year. China also organized training sessions for leaders in practical rural skills, and 12,000 people participated in the training in 2014. Professional training sessions were also held on modern planting and breeding as well as on animal sanitation and epidemic prevention, with more than 70,000 people receiving the training in that year. By issuing the Opinions on Further Promoting Household Registration System Reform, the State Council lifted all restrictions on settlement in incorporated towns (towns with a population of at least 2,500) and small cities, established a uniform household registration system in urban and rural areas together with a residence permit system, established and improved a basic public service supply mechanism linked with residence period, and steadily promoted the complete coverage of basic public services for permanent urban residents.
Educational fairness better guaranteed. China is continuing to increase its input in educational resources, giving preferential treatment to central and western regions and compulsory education in the countryside. In 2014, the education expenditure from the general public services budget of the central government reached 410.19 billion yuan, up 8.2 percent from 2013. The central government allocated one billion yuan from its budget as supporting funds for pre-school education, 13.266 billion yuan for free textbooks for compulsory education courses, and 7.293 billion yuan as cost of living subsidies for boarders in schools offering compulsory education from families with financial difficulties. Nearly 110 million rural students receiving compulsory education benefited from exemption of all tuition and miscellaneous fees as well as free textbooks, first-grade pupils received dictionaries for free, and 12.4 million boarders from poverty-stricken households in central and western China received cost of living subsidies. Since November 2014 the nutrition subsidies covered by national pilot projects for rural students receiving compulsory education have been raised from 600 yuan to 800 yuan per person per year. In the same year, the central government allocated 17.156 billion yuan for nutrition improvement, benefiting 31.84 million students. Secondary vocational education was made free for more than 10 million students, and national grants were provided to nearly 4.88 million senior high school students, 3.15 million secondary vocational school students and 6.6 million college students. The central government also appropriated 31 billion yuan to upgrade schools with poor compulsory education conditions in poverty-stricken areas, with the focus on promoting pre-school education in rural areas, building dormitories for rural teachers in remote and border areas, building senior high schools in counties with a weak educational foundation in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities, and building special education schools in central and western China. The percentage of students receiving nine-year compulsory education remaining in school and the gross enrollment ratio of senior high schools were 92.6 percent and 86.5 percent, respectively. Twenty-eight provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government have started to address the problem of whether or not permitting children of rural migrant workers who received their compulsory education in cities to sit the national college entrance examinations in cities where they are now living. Institutions of higher learning continued to implement the country’s Collaborative Admission Plan for Supporting the Central and Western Regions (initiated in 2008) and the Special Admission Plan for Students from Poor Rural Areas (initiated in 2012), expanding the two plans to cover 200,000 and 50,000 people, an increase of 15,000 and 20,000 people, respectively, over the previous year.
Poverty alleviation steadily promoted. China has adopted a strategy of taking targeted measures for poverty alleviation, and declared October 17 as “China Poverty Alleviation Day.” Departments of the CPC Central Committee and the central government at various levels, enterprises and public institutions are paired up with and assisting all of the 592 counties that are key targets of the government’s development-oriented poverty-reduction work. The central government appropriated 43.3 billion yuan for poverty reduction in 2014, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous year, adopted the policy of giving people work in place of relief subsidies, allocated 5.72 billion yuan to support the building of small and medium-sized infrastructure projects for public welfare, such as water conservancy projects, road construction, etc., and earmarked 680 million yuan as remuneration for people in poverty-stricken areas participating in the construction projects. China also resettled 916,900 impoverished people from poverty-stricken areas at a total cost of 5.5 billion yuan. It allocated 154.1 billion yuan out of the vehicle purchase tax to subsidize 14 contiguous poverty-stricken areas, supporting the building and renovation of 31,700 km of expressways and national or provincial highways, building 96,000 km of rural highways and a batch of rural passenger bus stations, and solving the traffic problems of 93 townships, and 10,500 villages. The central government proceeded with the plan of building 138 bridges to replace ropeways in seven provinces and regions, namely, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Xinjiang. By the end of 2014 the impoverished population in rural China had decreased to 70.17 million, based on the criterion that the national poverty line has been set at 2,300 yuan per person per year (calculated at 2010 constant prices). This means that there were 12.32 million fewer poverty-stricken people at the end of 2014 than a year earlier.
The legitimate rights and interests of migrant workers effectively protected. By the end of 2014 the total number of migrant workers in China was 273.95 million, an increase of 1.9 percent over 2013. Governments at all levels endeavored to stabilize and increase employment as well as business development for migrant workers, thus effectively guaranteeing their legitimate labor rights and interests. The central government formulated the Plan to Raise the Vocational Skills of Migrant Workers, which improved social security and employment service at the community level for them, and provided funds to build 269 county-level employment and social security service centers, and 961 town and township service stations. It gave full play to the important role of the trade unions and other rights-protection organizations for safeguarding workers’ rights, provided various kinds of employment services to more than five million people, and helped one million people sign labor contracts with a duration of over one year. In 2014 various central government departments and a social group jointly issued the Opinions of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, State Administration of Work Safety and All -China Federation of Trade Unions on Further Improving Work on Work-related Injury Insurance in the Construction Industry, further defining and detailing the relevant policies and measures. In the same year, human resources and social security departments at all levels investigated and handled 263,000 cases concerning wage arrears. People’s courts at all levels investigated and settled 219,000 cases relating to the transfer of land-use rights, disputes over rural homestead and wage arrears, and convicted 753 persons for refusing to pay others for the labor rendered. The Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Administrative Cases Concerning Work-Related Injury Insurance was promulgated in the same year to define employers’ responsibility in case of work-related injury insurance, and how to deal with cases of work-related injury caused by third parties. The Provisions also made clear the administrative trial procedures relating to labor relations confirmation, and defined such factors as “work-related, time and place of work” in the identification of work-related injuries.
Social insurance coverage widened. The State Council issued the Opinions on Establishing a Unified Basic Pension Insurance System for Non-working Urban and Rural Residents in 2014, establishing a unified basic pension insurance system nationwide, which solved the problem of laborers, especially migrant workers participating in the basic pension insurance system for urban workers or non-working people. A total of 341.24 million people had participated in the basic pension insurance for urban workers by the end of 2014, and 501.07 million people had participated in the basic pension insurance system for non-working people, increases of 19.06 million and 3.57 million, respectively, compared with 2013. At the same time, some 597.74 million people had participated in the basic medical insurance for non-working urban residents and 736.27 million people had participated in the new rural cooperative medical care system. The coverage of the basic medical insurance system for urban and rural residents exceeded 95 percent. In 2014 a total of 170.43 million people participated in the unemployment insurance scheme, an increase of 6.26 million over 2013, and the number of people receiving unemployment insurance allowances reached 2.07 million, making the average amount of 852 yuan per month. A total of 206.39 million people participated in work-related injury insurance in 2014, an increase of 7.22 million people over the previous year, among whom 73.62 million were migrant workers, an increase of 980,000 people. As many as 170.39 million people participated in maternity insurance, 6.47 million more than in 2013.
Medical security system further improved. The central government has gradually raised the annual government subsidy for the basic medical insurance for rural and non-working urban residents. In 2014 government subsidies for the new rural cooperative medical care system and medical insurance for non-working urban residents reached 320 yuan per person per year, with the individual contribution rising to 90 yuan. Serious illness insurance for urban and rural non-working residents is now available throughout the country, and the reimbursement rate for patients with serious illnesses is 10 percentage points higher than that for the basic medical insurance. The central government appropriated 22.4 billion yuan in 2014 to improve the medical health service system, including the building of 152 disease prevention and control institutions, 257 maternal and children healthcare institutions, 24 other professional public health and disease prevention and control institutions, 360 county-level hospitals, 2,645 town and township hospitals, 53 community health service centers, 44,000 village clinics and 18,000 dormitories in town and township hospitals. The government subsidy for the basic public health services rose from 30 yuan per person in 2013 to 35 yuan in 2014, covering 43 items of services in 11 categories, providing more services and benefiting more people. The central government appropriated 15.4 billion yuan as supporting funds for six major public health service projects, including the prevention and control of HIV, tuberculosis and other serious diseases, healthcare for women and children, supervision of food risks, raising public’s awareness about health, and personnel training. The central government poured 9.1 billion yuan into implementing the basic pharmaceuticals system at grassroots medical and health institutions, and village clinics. Another 11.8 billion yuan was allocated to promote reform of state-owned hospitals and standardized training of physicians.
Social assistance further improved. China issued the Interim Measures for Social Assistance, and solved the livelihood difficulties of poverty-stricken urban and rural people in accordance with the law, and ensured equal rights, opportunities and treatment for all citizens who sought social assistance. By the end of 2014 there were altogether 18.8 million urban recipients and 52.09 million rural recipients of subsistence allowances, and 5.295 million people enjoying the “five guarantees” (food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses). The average minimum cost of living and subsidy for urban recipients was 411 yuan per person per month and 275 yuan per person per month, up 10.1 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively, over the previous year. For rural recipients these figures were 2,777 yuan per person per year and 125 yuan per person per month, up 14.1 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively, over 2013. The central government allocated 500 million yuan to encourage all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government as well as cities and prefectures to establish emergency assistance funds for emergency treatment for seriously ill or injured people whose identities are unknown or who are unable to pay the fees. In 2014, 25.4 billion yuan was spent on providing medical aid to 102 million people nationwide. The in-patient aid, out-patient aid and aid for participating in urban medical insurance and the new rural cooperative medical care system respectively reached 1,723 yuan, 144 yuan and 80 yuan per person. From October 1, 2014, pensions and funds to ensure the minimum living standard for disabled soldiers and other people with special needs both increased by 20 percent.
Construction of government-subsidized housing accelerated. China continued to implement the Opinions of the State Council on Accelerating the Rebuilding of Shanty Towns to give priority to central government’s financial input in the rebuilding of shanty towns, and the building of infrastructure supportive to government-subsidized housing projects within the central budget. In 2014 funds provided in this regard within the central budget reached 78.7 billion yuan. At the same time, the central government provided 23 billion yuan as part of the funds in the renovation of dilapidated rural houses, and finished renovating the housing of 2.66 million families. Government-subsidized housing is regarded by governments at all levels as a promise they have to fulfill to the people. Throughout the year of 2014, construction began on 7.4 million government-subsidized apartments, and 5.11 million were basically completed, exceeding the goals of the construction of 7 million apartments and completing 4.8 million apartments set at the beginning of the year. From 2008 to 2014 China provided more than 800 billion yuan from the central budget in urban government-subsidized housing. During this period, construction began on 45 million government-subsidized apartments, of which 20.8 million were to be located in shanty towns. By the end of 2014 China had solved housing difficulties for more than 40 million urban households.
Basic cultural rights better protected. China has speeded up the building of a public cultural services system that covers the entire society, and enhanced the rule of law in the culture market. It has changed 11 items from pre-access approval to post-access approval for investment in this market. At the same time the state has increased its input in cultural programs, carried out the digital cultural programs, and built libraries, art galleries, cultural centers and similar projects that are open to the public for free. In 2014 the central budget allocated 14.38 billion yuan for rural public cultural improvements, effectively improved the public cultural services at the grassroots level, and promoted equal access to public cultural services. By the end of 2014 China had 2,008 art performance organizations, 2,760 museums and 3,311 cultural centers. In addition, China had 3,110 public libraries, which received a total of 522.5 million visits in that year, and 4,246 archives with a total of 128.35 million open archival records. Some 2,115 museums and 43,510 public libraries, art galleries and cultural centers instituted free admission. China had 321 million cable TV users (households) and 187 million cable digital TV users. About 98 percent of China’s population had access to radio broadcasts, and the figure was 98.6 percent for access to television programs. China has made radio and television services available for every village with more than 20 households, and is working to expand the coverage to every household. The project of providing direct broadcasting satellite services to every household has covered more than 16 million households so far. In 2014 China produced 429 TV series totaling 15,983 episodes, TV cartoon programs totaling 138,496 minutes. It produced 618 feature films, and 140 other films, including popular science films, documentaries, animated cartoons and special-purpose films. The total cinema box office receipts reached 29.6 billion yuan, an increase of 36 percent over the previous year. Thirty-six domestic films each surpassed 100 million yuan in box office receipts. Meanwhile, China carried out a rural film program, projecting at least one film per month in every administrative village. Outdoor mobile film projection is now giving way to projection at permanent indoor venues, and the number of films to be ordered for purchase exceeds 3,000. The rural library project covers all administrative villages, and a long-term mechanism for regular publication updates is taking shape. The building of digital libraries is also accelerating. In 2014 the central government made use of special lottery funds for the building of 3,600 children’s cultural centers for rural schools, up by 80 percent over the previous year. During the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) the central government provided 3.385 billion yuan of special lottery funds to build and encouraged local governments to build more than 25,000 children’s cultural centers for rural schools. According to the sixth national sports venue census at the end of 2013, China had more than 1.695 million sports venues, with a total area of 1.99 billion sq m. In 2014 China’s cultural attractions and scenic spots received a total of 1.4 billion visitors, generating an income of 250 billion yuan and providing employment for more than one million people.
II. Rights of the Person
In 2014 China strengthened supervision over foodstuffs, improved laws and regulations on production safety, combated terrorism according to law, attached more importance to protecting the rights of the accused, detainees and criminals, and stepped up drug-control efforts to protect citizens’ personal rights.
Stricter supervision over food safety. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) deliberated the revised draft of the Food Safety Law, which enhances the supervision of the whole process in this field from food production and circulation to catering services, and food import and export, sets up a food-traceability system and a quality labeling system, and increases the penalties for violations of food safety to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers in accordance with the law.
In March 2014 the Supreme People’s Court put into effect the Provisions of Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Law in the Trial of Cases Involving Food and Drug Disputes, increasing efforts to crack down on crimes endangering food and drug safety. People’s courts at all levels concluded a total of 11,000 related cases in that year. In March 2014 the Food Safety Office of the State Council, China Food and Drug Administration and State Administration for Industry and Commerce, jointly issued the Notice on Cracking Down on Illegal Acts of Making and Selling Counterfeit and Poor-quality Food, and Strengthening Supervision of Rural Food Markets, launching a special campaign to address problems in the rural food markets such as doing business without a license, and selling and using food and foodstuffs from illegal sources. During this nationwide campaign, the competent departments inspected food producers 424,200 times, food sellers 3,868,800 times, wholesale markets and peddlers’ markets 142,900 times, spot checked these markets 253,600 times, banned 22,800 unlicensed businesses according to law, revoked 1,142 licenses for food production and marketing, canceled 642 business licenses, destroyed 1,375 counterfeit and poor-quality food-producing workshops, checked and confiscated 361,900 kg of foodstuffs that violated trademark laws, investigated and prosecuted 45,100 cases of foodstuffs illegality, and handled 46,800 related complaints and reports from consumers.
Improvement of work safety laws and regulations. In August 2014 the Standing Committee of the NPC approved the Decision on Amending the Work Safety Law, which enhances regulations, mechanisms and measures concerning standardization, planning, liability insurance, responsibility of management organizations and public announcement of serious breaches of the law in the field of work safety. The Decision has helped raise awareness of work safety, strengthen responsibility for law enforcement and supervision, and routine checks and supervision, both overt and covert, to curb violators. In 2014, 453,000 work safety inspection groups conducted 2,342,000 inspections of production and business units, dealing with 1,278,000 incidences of violations, halting the operations of 7,745 such units for rectification and shutting down over 5,000 units. The government strengthened rectification of safety risks, made known to the public all enterprises posing major risks, meted out punitive measures to them such as rectification within deadlines, suspending production for rectification, imposing a fine or shutting down the business completely. The accountability system has been strengthened, and work safety incidents have been thoroughly dealt with. The average time spent on dealing with major and extremely serious safety incidents in 2014 was shortened to 113 days from 123 days in 2013. All the 51 major and extremely serious safety incidents occurred in 2013 have been dealt with, and 38 out of 42 such incidents occurred in 2014 have been dealt with, with 969 persons called to account and 302 of them held criminally liable.
Combating terrorism in accordance with the law to ensure the safety of life and property of the people. In October 2014 the Anti-terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China (draft) was first deliberated at the 11th Plenary Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th NPC. In November 2014 public views of the draft were solicited via www.npc.gov.cn. This draft stipulated the working mechanism, scope of functions and duties, security precautions, intelligence, emergency response and international cooperation in anti-terrorism efforts. On December 28, 2014, the 12th Plenary Session of the Standing Committee of the 12th NPC approved the Anti-terrorism Convention of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to further international cooperation against terrorism. In September 2014 the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate and Ministry of Public Security released the Opinions on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases Involving Terrorism and Religious Extremism, defining the basic principles for handling such cases, how to determine the nature of the cases, and principle of jurisdiction. People’s courts at all levels dealt with 558 cases of crimes of inciting separatism and terrorism, prosecuting 712 culprits. The judicial organs severely punished crimes such as the terrorist attacks at Tiananmen on October 28, 2013 and at Kunming railway station on March 1, 2014 to ensure the safety of life and property of the people.
The rights of the accused, detainees and criminals are protected. In 2014 the Ministry of Public Security formulated the Regulations on Making Audio-Video Recordings by the Public Security Organs When Interrogating Criminal Suspects and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate amended the Provisions on Making Synchronous Audio-Video Recordings Throughout the Entire Process of Interrogation of Duty-Related Criminal Suspects, making sure audio-video recording is used in the entire process of interrogating criminal suspects, and giving detailed provisions on the principle, method and procedure of synchronous audio-video recordings, and management and use of such audio-video recordings. The public security, judicial and administrative departments at all levels worked together to promote the establishing of legal aid stations in detention centers, and resident lawyers from legal aid organizations provide legal consultation for the accused and detainees to protect their legitimate rights and interests. By the end of 2014, up to 1,700 legal aid stations had been set up by the legal aid organizations in detention centers across the country, and this service now covers all the detention centers in the cities of Shanghai and Chongqing, and the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou. The Ministry of Public Security has launched a special program to comprehensively improve the safety management level of detention centers and pressed ahead with professional healthcare services provided in detention centers to ensure that sick detainees are treated in a timely and effective manner. The Regulations on Temporarily Serving Sentences Outside Prison jointly issued by the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, and National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Opinions on Strengthening Sanitation Management in Prisons issued by the Ministry of Justice have helped to make law enforcement fairer, stricter and more civilized.
Major progress has been made in drug control. In 2014 drug control department under the Ministry of Public Security implemented the Opinion of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Strengthening Drug Control, intensified efforts to launch a special drug-control program in 100 cities and cracked down on drug-related crimes, to clean the social environment and ensure the health and safety of citizens. During this period, a total of 145,900 drug-related cases were prosecuted nationwide, with 168,900 criminal suspects arrested and 68.95 tons of drugs of various kinds seized. In helping drug addicts receive treatment we observe the principle of “putting people first, managing drug treatment services according to law, adopting scientific and comprehensive measures based on individual needs, and supplementing treatment with care and aid,” and take measures such as voluntary in-patient treatment, community treatment, compulsory quarantine treatment and community rehabilitation. By the end of 2014 the registered drug addicts totaled 2.955 million, and those who had not relapsed for three years totaled 1.008 million. In 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, 767 drug-treatment clinics were established, receiving a total of 187,000 drug users; 836 employment service centers were set up for drug users recovering from treatment, providing job opportunities for 515,000 ex-addicts of opioids, with an employment rate of 47.8 percent; 46 rehabilitation centers for sick and disabled drug users were set up, providing treatment to over 9,000 people.
III. Democratic Rights
In 2014 China officially designated December 4th as the national Constitution Day through legislation with a view to advancing the rule of law, enforcing the implementation of the Constitution, and promoting citizens’ democratic rights to civic participation, democratic legislation, consultative democracy, community-level democracy, citizen supervision and freedom of speech.
The mechanisms for people to exercise state power being improved. The people’s congress system is the fundamental political system of China. In 2014 the Standing Committee of the NPC exercised its power of supervision in accordance with the law, heard and deliberated 13 work reports from the government, Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate, checked the implementation of four laws, and held three topical inquiries and four topical investigations. It highlighted legislative priorities, accelerated the pace of legislative work, and improved the mechanisms for and effectiveness of legislation to promote democratic legislation. In 2014 the Standing Committee of the NPC deliberated 20 draft laws, revised 10 laws, enacted two laws, and provided eight legal interpretations.
It stressed appraisal before and in the process of legislation. Suggestions were solicited from the general public, experts and related departments via the Internet, symposiums, discussions, investigations and letters. Take the draft amendment to the Administrative Procedure Law as an example. From August 31 to September 20, 2014 over 2,300 pieces of advice were offered by 1,586 people on the second review draft.
The Standing Committee also improved the post-legislation appraisal mechanism to make appraisal a standardized practice that is done on a regular basis. A sound operation mechanism for the enactment, revision, abolition and interpretation of laws was established step by step.
Multilayer consultative democracy steadily developed. Consultative democracy is a form of democracy unique to China’s socialist democratic politics. China’ s fine traditional culture provides a profound political and ideological wellspring for this new-type consultative democracy. In 2014, centered on building a moderately prosperous society in an all-around way, comprehensively deepening reform, governing the country with the rule of law and running the Party with strict discipline, the country gathered strength, explored with consultative democracy in greater width and depth, strengthened the function of democratic supervision, continued to strengthen consultation among political parties, in the people’s congresses, governments, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and people’s organizations, and at the community level. Efforts were made to build a complete consultation democracy system with proper procedures, and expand channels for citizens to participate in state and social governance in an orderly manner, all of which improved the scientific and democratic level of decision-making. Since the Second Session of the 12th CPPCC, the conclusion rate of their proposals has reached 99.8 percent.
Power list system actively promoted. In 2014 the State Council made a series of decisions concerning administrative approval items to be canceled or delegated to lower levels, canceling and delegating to lower levels over 246 items for administrative approval. This means the current Administration has honored the promise of deducting the administrative approval items by one third ahead of schedule. The State Council also released a list of items for administrative approval by all departments, stipulating that no department should exercise administrative approval beyond the list of 1,235 items so as to minimize the possibilities of officials seeking personal gain through power and improve the procedure of the exercise of power. We have actively implemented the Regulations on the Disclosure of Government Information, gone all out to make government affairs public, promoted e-government and online services to ensure timely and accurate access by ordinary citizens to information, and put the government under public supervision.
More efforts being put in improving Party conduct, upholding integrity and combating corruption. The CPC Central Committee and the Chinese government are unswervingly improving their work practices, adopting zero-tolerance toward corruption and further improving the governance by law. In 2014 the discipline inspection and supervision departments nationwide received a total of 2.72 million tip-off and complaint letters, filed 226,000 cases, concluded 218,000 cases, gave Party and administrative discipline sanctions to 232,000 people, and transferred 12,000 people to judicial organs for suspected crimes; investigated and handled 53,085 cases for violating the “Eight Provisions” of the CPC Central Committee, involving 71,748 people, of whom, 23,646 were given Party and administrative discipline sanctions. We beefed up our efforts to pursue offenders who have fled overseas and recover their ill-gotten gains, strengthened bilateral and multilateral cooperation, launched the “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt” campaigns, released the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption and established the Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies. These steps have helped the government hunt down over 500 escaped convicts and recover over three billion yuan in illegally diverted funds. In 2014 discipline inspection and supervision departments at all levels retrieved 10.5 billion yuan for the country through rectifying Party conduct and combating corruption; a total of 130,000 units nationwide were audited, and over 250,000 audit reports and files were delivered, resulting in an increase in revenue and decrease in expenditure, and over 400 billion yuan of losses recovered. Over 3,800 pieces of evidence of cases involving violation of laws and regulations were found and submitted to the judiciary for further investigation. All these efforts helped to promote the country’ s healthy economic growth, ensure social equity and justice and safeguard the immediate interests of the people.
The construction of core socialist values gathering momentum. China’s human rights will not be able to make progress without the construction of core socialist values. They are supplementary to each other. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, core socialist values, namely, prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, the rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity and friendship have been advocated, fostered and implemented in all sectors of society. Core socialist values are the common ideals and spiritual pillars of the Chinese people. In 2014 the state renewed its efforts to promote human rights education, and advanced the construction of core socialist values, launching volunteer services and programs inculcating filial piety education, integrity education, thrift education, cultivating and inheriting fine family traditions, school mottoes, entrepreneurship, fine village traditions and festival culture, and publicizing public service advertisements titled “Our Values.” We intensified the building of civilized cities, towns, villages, and units, and exhorted Chinese tourists to behave themselves. We presented role models representing the spirit of our time through the online column “365 moral models.” Recommendations for role models and good deeds totaled over 40,000 throughout that year, and by the end of 2014 the page featuring this topic on weibo.com at the website Sina was read by more than 170 million people, exerting a positive influence on society.
Freedom of speech better protected. In 2014 China published 46.5 billion copies of newspapers, 3.2 billion copies of periodicals, and 8.4 billion copies of books, with 6.12 copies of books per person. By the end of 2014 the population of netizens in China was 650 million, and the Internet penetration rate was 47.9 percent. Of all the netizens, 508 million were smartphone users, an increase of 76.83 million over 2013, registering an increase rate of 17.8 percent. The users of the top three Internet applications instant messaging, search engine and netnews were 588 million, 522 million and 519 million, respectively. The number of online video users was 433 million, microblog users 249 million, and WeChat accounts over eight million, with its active domestic and overseas accounts per month close to 500 million. The public can air opinions, and raise criticisms and suggestions freely through the news media, and discuss problems of this country and society. The government encourages enterprises to provide various Internet services to the public in accordance with the law so as to create a good environment for the public to acquire and exchange information. A cleaner cyber space is becoming an ever important place for the public to get information and make their voices heard.
Social organizations playing their roles better. Renewed efforts are being made to promote the direct registration of social organizations, providing more favorable conditions and an institutional guarantee for citizens to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, express their legitimate demands, participate in the management of public affairs and engage in social services through these social organizations. In 2014 the social organizations registered at the Ministry of Civil Affairs totaled 600,000, an increase of 11.1 percent over the previous year; among them, 307,000 were social groups, with year-on-year growth of 7.3 percent; 4,044 were foundations, a year-on-year growth of 15.7 percent; and 289,000 were non-governmental nonprofit units, a year-on-year growth of 15.1 percent. Meanwhile, the government continued to outsource services from social organizations. In 2014 it allocated a budget of 200 million yuan to initiate 448 projects, with supporting funds of 166 million yuan to assist social organizations to serve society, directly benefiting over 2.35 million people and training about 20,000 heads of social organizations.
IV. Right to Impartial Trial
In 2014 China’s judicial bodies at all levels enhanced judicial justice and openness, adopted multiple judicial reform measures and ensured impartiality in the trial of cases, thereby safeguarding human rights in the field of justice at a higher level.
Judicial justice maintained. Public security, procuratorial and judicial bodies continued to implement relevant laws and regulations to improve the mechanisms of preventing, identifying and redressing cases involving unjust, false and wrongful charges throughout all criminal procedures from investigation to prosecution to trials. In 2014 the people’s courts at all levels punished criminals in accordance with the law, protected the lives and property of the people, concluded 1.023 million cases of first instance, and convicted 1.184 million people. Based on the principles of “statutory crime and penalty,” “no punishment in doubtful cases” and “evidentiary adjudication,” the courts acquitted 518 defendants in cases of public prosecution and 260 in cases of private prosecution, thereby maintaining the freedom of innocent people. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Measures of the Supreme People’s Court for Listening to Opinions of Defense Lawyers in the Handling of Death Penalty Review Cases. It ensured lawyers’ rights to search case-filing information and consult case files, and empowered lawyers to present defense arguments directly to judges of the Supreme People’s Court. Procuratorial bodies at all levels got the investigation bodies to cancel 17,673 cases that should not have been filed; provided 54,949 opinions to correct illegal investigation activities such as misuse of compulsory measures, illegally obtaining evidence and extorting confessions by torture; got 116,553 arrests and 23,269 prosecutions annulled since the conducts in question did not constitute crimes or lacked sufficient evidence. Following the trial supervision procedures, the people’s courts altered the judgments of 1,317 criminal cases after retrial. A number of major criminal cases involving unjust, false, or wrongful charges were redressed in accordance with the principle of “no punishment in doubtful cases.” The Higher People’s Court of Fujian province heard the poisoning case involving Nian Bin, and acquitted the suspect on the ground of “lacking sufficient evidence.” The Higher People’s Court of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region retried the case of Hugjiltu who was originally charged with intentional homicide and indecent assault, and absolved him of guilt.
Judicial openness increased. The Supreme People’s Court implemented the Several Opinions on Advancing the Establishment of the Three Major Platforms of Judicial Openness. A trial procedure information platform has been established so that litigants can inquire about the progress of their cases, and a judgment disclosure platform has been created. On January 1, 2014, the Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on the Publicizing of Written Judgments of the People’s Courts on the Internet was officially implemented. In 2014, a total of 6.294 million judgments were publicized on the Internet, of which 7,993 were published by the Supreme People’s Court. An execution information disclosure platform has been built. China has improved the system of publicizing the name and other information of people who fail to obey the rulings of the people’s court. In 2014 China published information about 1.1 million such persons, and enforced punitive measures 1.5 million times, including restricting them from high consumption. On October 1, 2014 the Provisions on Case Information Disclosure by the People’s Procuratorates (Trial) was implemented. China has completed the construction of a nationwide system of case information disclosure by procuratorial bodies, putting into operation the four platforms of case procedural information inquiry, legal documentation disclosure, information disclosure of major cases, and application by appointment for defense and representation.
The system of excluding illegally obtained evidence implemented. Public security, procuratorial and judicial bodies have further improved the implementation mechanism of excluding illegally obtained evidence. They would refuse evidence obtained by these means: confessions of criminal suspects or defendants that are extorted by torture or other illegal means, witnesses’ testimonies or victims’ presentations obtained through violence or threats, material or written evidence obtained by violating legal procedures, and other actions that might severely affect justice, and to which no correction or supplementation can be made or reasonable explanations given. In 2014, by refusing to adopt illegally obtained evidence, procuratorial bodies at all levels decided not to arrest 406 people and not sue 198 people. During the investigation and examination of an intentional homicide case, the People’s Procuratorate of Shunping County in Hebei province identified multiple questionable points, resolutely refused to adopt illegally obtained evidence, decided not to arrest the suspect by the family name of Wang, and urged more investigations, with the result that the real culprit was apprehended.
Judicial system reform advanced. The Third Meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening the Reform deliberated on and adopted the Framework Opinions on Several Issues Concerning Judicial System Reform and other documents. Shanghai Municipality and Guangdong, Jilin, Hubei, Hainan, Guizhou and Qinghai provinces were designated as pilot areas to implement four judicial reform measures, namely, improving the categorized management of judicial personnel, improving the judicial accountability system, improving the career security of judicial personnel, and implementing the integrated management of personnel, finance and property in the people’s courts and procuratorates below the provincial level. According to the Plan of the Supreme People’s Court on Setting up Pilot Circuit Courts, the Supreme People’s Court set up the First Circuit Court in Shenzhen City, Guangdong province, and the Second Circuit Court in Shenyang City, Liaoning province, to hear major administrative, civil and business cases across administrative regions, shifting its work focus to lower levels and resolving disputes on the spot, thus making it more convenient for the ordinary people to file lawsuits and ensuring judicial justice. In line with the Opinions of the Supreme People’s Court on Comprehensibly Deepening the Reform of the People’s Courts, Beijing and Shanghai have set up trans-administrative regional intermediate courts to handle major criminal, civil and administrative cases; Beijing and Shanghai have been exploring ways of setting up trans-administrative regional people’s procuratorates, focusing on administrative litigation supervision cases, major civil and business supervision cases, major duty-related cases, major criminal cases concerning environmental and resource protection and food and drug safety, so as to ensure that the law is enforced correctly and consistently across the country.
Administrative adjudication system reformed and improved. The Standing Committee of the NPC adopted the resolution on amending the Administrative Litigation Law, further improving the systems covering every aspect of administrative litigation, from bringing a case to court, the trial of the case, to making of the judgment and enforcement, so as to further protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations. China has expanded the case-filing scope for administrative litigation to include such activities as administrative bodies’
abuse of power to exclude and restrict competition, illegal raising of funds and apportioning expenses, and failing to provide subsistence allowances or social security benefits. China practices case-filing registration and has extended the time limit for prosecution to six months. In 2014 the people’s courts at all levels took up 151,000 administrative cases of first instance and concluded 131,000 of them, up 16.3 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, over 2013. Shandong, Guangdong, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Yunnan and Henan provinces continued the pilot work of centralized jurisdiction of trans-regional administrative cases.
Judicial protection of intellectual property rights improved. In 2014 Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou set up intellectual property courts. The Supreme People’s Court issued the Guiding Opinions on Selecting and Appointing Judges for Intellectual Property Courts (Trial), which prescribed the principles, criteria and approaches for selecting and appointing such judges, and improved the professional level of intellectual property adjudication. In 2014 the people’s procuratorates at all levels prosecuted 9,427 persons for infringement of trademarks, patents, copyrights or business secrets, up 7.1 percent over 2013. The people’s courts at all levels concluded 110,000 intellectual property cases of first instance, up 10 percent over 2013.
State compensation and judicial assistance enhanced. China has made it clear that the principles and conditions guiding the compensation for psychological damage can be applied in state compensation cases, and is making efforts to build a joint mechanism for state compensation to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of compensation applicants. In 2014 the people’s courts at all levels concluded 2,708 state compensation cases, and decided on a compensation amount totaling 110 million yuan. China has improved the criminal victim relief system, reducing or exempting litigation fees totaling 180 million yuan, so as to protect the litigation relief rights of impoverished people.
V. Rights of Ethnic Minorities
In 2014 China’s ethnic minorities and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities made new developments in various social programs, and ethnic minorities’ civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights were further guaranteed.
The rights of ethnic minorities to participate in the administration of the state are effectively guaranteed. All ethnic autonomous areas enjoy autonomous rights in a wide range of areas in accordance with the law, including local legislative power, flexibility in the execution of relevant state laws and regulations based on the characteristics of each ethnic minority, the right to use their own spoken and written languages, power of personnel and financial management, and the right of independently developing their own culture and education. Nationwide, the number of civil servants from ethnic minorities keeps increasing. The proportion of such civil servants in the total number of civil servants is higher than the proportion of ethnic minorities in the country’ s total population, and is on the rise every year. In Tibet, of the 34,244 deputies to the people’s congresses at all four levels, 31,901 persons, or 93 percent, are from the Tibetan or other minority communities. The Tibet autonomous region has 20 deputies to the NPC, 14 of whom are Tibetans or from other minority groups. Tibetans and other ethnic minorities account for 70.53 percent of the government officials in the Tibet autonomous region. Tibetans and other ethnic minorities account for 73.03 percent of the leaders at county and township levels.
Ethnic-minority areas achieve fast economic growth. In 2014 the per capita disposable income of urban residents in the Inner Mongolia, Guangxi Zhuang, Tibet, Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, and Guizhou, Yunnan and Qinghai provinces, which have large minority populations, reached 28,350 yuan, 24,669 yuan, 22,016 yuan, 23,285 yuan, 23,214 yuan, 22,548 yuan, 24,299 yuan and 22,307 yuan, respectively, a year-on-year increase of 9 percent, 8.7 percent, 7.9 percent, 8.4 percent, 10.1 percent, 9.6 percent, 8.2 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively; the per capita disposable income of rural residents in the same areas reached 9,976 yuan, 8,683 yuan, 7,359 yuan, 8,410 yuan, 8,724 yuan, 6,671 yuan, 7,456 yuan and 7,283 yuan, respectively, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent, 11.4 percent, 12.3 percent, 10.7 percent, 11.2 percent, 13.1 percent, 10.9 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively. In 2014, the total foreign trade value of these five autonomous regions and three provinces registered 814.8 billion yuan, growing by 15.4 percent over the previous year and 13.1 percentage points higher than the national growth rate. Exports reached 552.6 billion yuan, increasing by 20 percent over the previous year and 15 percentage points higher than the national growth rate. The rural impoverished population decreased by 3.57 million from the previous year, with a poverty reduction rate of 13.9 percent. The central government appropriated 4.059 billion yuan as special funds for the development of minority groups, a growth rate of 10 percent compared to 2013. Aiming to support the development of border areas, where large numbers of minority peoples reside, the central government provided 2.88 billion as assistance funds for revitalizing border areas and bringing prosperity to their residents and central budgetary investment, an increase of 88.9 million yuan over the previous year. The central budgetary investment and funds for the development of minority groups provided 1.53 billion yuan to support the development of minority groups with small populations, an increase of 87.1 million yuan compared with 2013. The state vigorously implemented protection and development projects for ethnic-minority villages with cultural significance, and provided 490 million yuan as specialized funds, up 22.5 percent over the previous year.
Quality of life in Tibet and Xinjiang keeps improving. In 2014 the growth rate of the GDP of the Tibet autonomous region was 3.4 percentage points higher than the national average. The region completed its housing project for farmers and herdsmen, after eight years of incremental investment that totaled 27.357 billion yuan. The region’s 2.3 million farmers and herdsmen of 460,300 households have moved into solid and convenient houses. The per capita living space of Tibetan rural and urban residents is now 33.77 sq m and 41.39 sq m, respectively. Lhasa completed a natural gas heating project, enabling 105,200 households to enjoy “warm winters.” Now Tibet has a public medical and health service system combining Tibetan, Western and traditional Chinese medicine that covers all urban and rural areas of the autonomous region with Lhasa as the center. So free medical services are now available to all the farmers and herdsmen in Tibet. The subsidy for each farmer or herdsman for these medical services was raised to 380 yuan per person in 2015. The autonomous regional government allocated a special fund of 23 million yuan to set up a major disease supplementary health insurance for farmers and herdsmen. A project is being carried out to provide the “five guarantees” (food, clothing, medical care, housing and funeral expenses) to the needy and orphans in communal settings. Some 72 percent of residents entitled to the “five guarantees” are now supported, and more than 5,900 orphans have received assistance from the government in this manner. The average life expectancy in Tibet has increased to 68 years and the death rates of infants and women in childbirth have dropped significantly. The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region ranks among the top in economic growth in the country, with a growth rate 2.6 percentage points higher than the national average. In 2014 the public financial revenue of the Xinjiang government reached 128.26 billion yuan, an increase of 13.7 percent compared to 2013; 70.3 percent of the public financial expenditure of the autonomous region was used to improve its people’s livelihood; the government in Xinjiang had fulfilled its promise to implement 150 key livelihood projects of 25 types. Xinjiang has ranked among the top in China in the growth of per capita disposable incomes of both rural and urban residents for three consecutive years. The region’s employed population has increased by 380,000 and its poverty-stricken population has been reduced by 100,000. Sums of 24.644 billion yuan, 26.24 billion yuan and 3.653 billion yuan have been used in building comfortable housing for 307,800 families, 265,200 government-subsidized apartments, and 30,100 units of nomad-settlement housing, respectively. The region has newly developed 134 sites of safe rural drinking water, supplying 600,000 rural residents. Some 3.42 billion yuan has been allocated for the construction and reconstruction of rural highways with a total length of 6,087 km, providing better travel conditions for 850,000 farmers and herdsmen. Xinjiang has raised the per capita funding level for the new rural cooperative medical care system to 436.9 yuan, and the per capita expenditure on public health services to 35 yuan. Screening breast cancer and cervical cancer in women, treating congenital heart disease in children, and providing medical care to those who suffer from 54 kinds, or 22 categories of serious diseases in agricultural and pastoral areas are in progress as planned.
Rapid development in education. When making educational reform and development policies, the state always gives special support to areas inhabited by ethnic minorities to develop preschool education, improve basic conditions of schools carrying out compulsory education and accelerate the development of vocational education. In 2014 the central government provided 2.4 billion yuan in the development of regular high schools at counties inhabited by ethnic minorities and with a weak educational basis. The state implements a preferential policy toward ethnic minorities and areas inhabited by ethnic minorities in college admissions, giving rural students from ethnic-minority areas easier access to high-quality higher education resources. The state adopts special measures of “preparatory classes for ethnic minorities” and “plan for high-caliber personnel of ethnic minorities” for personnel training of ethnic minorities. In 2014 there were 53,000 ethnic-minority students enrolled in preparatory classes, up 3.31 percent over the previous year.
Cultural services keep growing. Ethnic-minority areas have improved their cultural public service system. A total of 104 radio stations and television stations in ethnic autonomous areas at provincial and municipal levels run 191 radio programs, including 45 programs broadcast in ethnic-minority languages, and 215 TV programs, including 42 programs broadcast in ethnic-minority languages. There are more than 50,000 cultural institutions of various types in ethnic autonomous areas. The “Cultural Volunteers Going to Border Areas” activity has attracted about 10,000 volunteers, giving and running more than 1,200 performances, lectures and exhibitions in border areas inhabited by ethnic minorities. Training courses have been held on 7,000 occasions, and several million people have benefited. The projects “Digital Cultural Corridor in Border Areas” and “Tibetan, Qiang & Yi Cultural Corridor” have been carried out in border areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, aiming to build a digital cultural service network with broad coverage and high effectiveness.
Respecting and safeguarding the right of ethnic minorities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages. The state takes concrete measures to ensure the legitimate use of ethnic-minority languages in the administrative and judicial sectors, news and publication, radio, film and television, culture and education, and other areas. China National Radio and local radio stations broadcast in 21 ethnic-minority languages on a daily basis. There are ten Tibetan-language magazines and 22 Tibetan-language newspapers in Tibet. Tibet People’s Radio has 42 programs in Tibetan. Tibet TV Station has a Tibetan-language channel broadcasting 24 hours a day. Bilingual teaching is done in the classroom in more than 12,000 schools around the country. There are more than four million students receiving bilingual education, and over 200,000 bilingual teachers. Tibet has more than 400,000 students receiving bilingual education at the stage of compulsory education, accounting for 97 percent of the total.
Cultural relics and historic sites effectively preserved. China has further enhanced the preservation of intangible cultural heritage projects and their representative inheritors in ethnic-minority areas. Tibet has nearly 800 intangible cultural heritage projects. Tibetan opera and the Gesar Epic have been included in UNESCO’ s Masterpieces of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and 158 books have been put on the State List of Valuable Ancient Books. In 2014 the preservation and maintenance of the three key projects of the Potala Palace, Norbulingka and Sakya Monastery was completed, for which more than 380 million yuan was used. This is the largest project for the preservation and maintenance of cultural relics in Tibet, with the most funds from the central government, in which sci-tech means have been widely applied and the latest construction techniques have been used. “Silk Road: the Route Network of the Chang’ an-Tianshan Corridor” has been designated as a new World Heritage Site by UNESCO, including the ruins of Beiting City and other five sites in Xinjiang.
Freedom of religious belief of ethnic minorities fully guaranteed. Currently there are 1,787 venues for religious activities of various types in Tibet, with 46,000 resident monks and nuns. Living Buddha reincarnation, as a special succession system of Tibetan Buddhism, is respected by the state. There are 358 living Buddhas in Tibet, of whom over 40 incarnated living Buddhas have been confirmed through traditional religious rituals and historical conventions. Under the special care of the government, all the monks and nuns in Tibet are covered by health insurance, pension insurance, basic living allowance and personal accident insurance. Tibet provides free physical examinations to monks and nuns annually. In accordance with the senior academic titles system of Tibetan Buddhism, by the end of 2014 a total of 110 monks had received senior academic titles and 84 had received intermediate academic titles. Ethnic minorities’ religious classics have been protected and preserved. The country has provided 35 million yuan in the collating and publishing of the Chinese Tripitaka (Tibetan) over the past two decades. The Chinese Islamic Association has compiled and published Islamic scriptures in Arabic, including Sharhal-Aqeedah al-Tahawiyyah and Tafsir al-Jalalayn. The Association has also set up a website in the Uygur language, providing introduction of religious knowledge and online explanation of the scriptures to meet the religious needs of the people. In 2014 a total of 14,466 Chinese Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Relevant government departments strengthened the training of accompanying medical staff, and worked hard to improve medical care and epidemic prevention for pilgrimage groups to guarantee the pilgrims’ health and safety.
VI. Rights of Women, Children and Senior Citizens
In 2014 the Chinese government further implemented the basic national policy of equality between men and women, and the principle that “the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration,” and built up a system of old-age services and related businesses, so as to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of women, children and senior citizens.
Women’s right to participation in public affairs management protected in accordance with the law. The mechanism for assessing relevant laws and policies concerning gender equality was improved. By the end of 2014 Beijing and Tianjin cities, and Shanxi, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei and Sichuan provinces had established their own mechanisms for assessing the effects of regulations and policies from the perspective of gender so as to avoid institutional gender discrimination caused by improper stipulations. Efforts were made to include rural women into the village branch committees of the CPC and the villagers’
committees when a new round of election of these two committees was conducted, and to improve the work of women’s deliberative councils, boards of women directors, mutual-assistance groups of women in the countryside whose husbands are seeking employment in cities, and women volunteers. In 2014 more than 33,000 such mutual-assistance groups were set up, and 2.22 million women volunteers were registered.
Employment of women effectively increased. In 2014 some 217.275 billion yuan of small-sum secured loans were granted to women, and 18.681 billion yuan of subsidies for interest discount were issued from central and local government budgets, benefiting 4.59 million women. Training of a new type of professional women farmers was offered to enhance their market competitiveness. Some 17,000 modern agricultural scientific and technological demonstration bases at various levels run by women received government support, more than 4,000 domestic service training bases were built for women, more than 580,000 women received training, and more than 600,000 women found jobs as domestic helpers. Efforts were made to help more than 500,000 female students in 227 colleges and universities find jobs or start businesses through publicity of employment policies and by provision of information on job vacancies.
The rights of the person of women and children better protected. In 2014 the people’s courts at various levels concluded 1,048 criminal cases involving the kidnapping of women and children and sexual assault on minors, resulting in 876 criminals sentenced to five years’ imprisonment or more, with some receiving the death penalty. The Opinions on Law-based Handling of Crimes of Domestic Violence was enacted to provide legislation for the punishment of domestic violence in accordance with the law. In February 2014 the Supreme People’s Court held a press conference focusing on domestic violence cases handled by the people’s courts in recent years, citing 10 typical cases as examples, which improved the consistent application of the laws in tackling domestic violence. By the end of 2014 a total of 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government had enacted local regulations and policies to prevent and deter domestic violence. The Anti-domestic Violence Law of the People ‘ s Republic of China (draft) was published to solicit the public’s opinions.
Efforts were made to improve the joint response mechanism for protecting minors, which featured “monitoring for prevention, timely reporting of clues, and assistance and intervention,” to build a nationwide social protection network for minors, and to explore a guardian system with “family guardianship as the basis, public supervision as the guarantee, and state guardianship as the supplement,” so as to form a working structure for the protection of minors that integrates efforts of family, society and government.
In December 2014 the Supreme People’s Court, Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Civil Affairs jointly released the Opinions on Law-based Handling of the Infringement of the Rights and Interests of Minors by Their Guardians, which made explicit stipulations, created a mechanism for reporting and handling the infringement as soon as it occurs, specified the requirements for the trial of cases involving guardianship transfer, and defined the duties of civil affairs departments, courts, prosecution organs and public security organs. The Tongshan District People’s Court of Xuzhou City, Jiangsu province, concluded the first case in China that stripped the parents of their guardianship of their minor child. The practice of “round-table trial” of cases involving minor suspects was improved, and the system of sealing up criminal records of minors was followed.
Subsistence security of children living in difficult circumstances strengthened. The Ministry of Civil Affairs has issued the Opinions on Regulating the Adoption of Children with Extremely Indigent Biological Parents and of Abandoned Orphans, Measures for the Management of Families with Children Entrusted to Their Care, Opinions on Establishing a Guiding Mechanism for Charitable Deeds Concerning Children, and other regulatory documents, explored the provision of classified security for children living in difficult circumstances, pushed forward a pilot program of a moderate general preferential welfare system for children, and encouraged the public to join in philanthropic activities for children. The subsistence allowances for orphans were continuously increased. The central budget allocated 2.3 billion yuan in addition to the financial provision of local governments to cover the basic cost of living for orphans, benefiting 557,000 orphans and 5,200 HIV-affected children nationwide.
Woman and child healthcare service improved. The National Health and Family Planning Commission made 2014 “Woman and Child Health Care Service Year,” kicking off a campaign to provide high-quality healthcare service for women and children. In-patient childbirth subsidies were granted to rural women. Rural women received free cervical cancer and breast cancer screening examinations practices that had been continued for years. In 2014 some 10 million and 1.2 million rural women, respectively, had such free examinations, and 10,362 women patients with financial difficulties each received 10,000 yuan of aid on average.
The government went ahead with free pre-pregnancy physical examinations, which covered more than 80 percent of the targeted women in 2014. Common diseases, frequently-occurring diseases afflicting women and children were effectively prevented and cured. The mother-to-child transmission rate of AIDS dropped to 6.3 percent. The occurrence of serious anemia among pregnant or lying-in women, of low-birth-weight infants, and of malnutrition among children all declined. The central budget allocated 2.162 billion yuan of special subsidies to support 552,000 orphans and 5,226 HIV-infected children.
The “pilot program of nutrition improvement for infants in poverty-stricken areas” had spread to 300 counties in 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government by the end of 2014, and the “act to eliminate anemia among infants” benefited 150,000 babies. Some 500 million yuan and 159 million yuan, respectively, were spent on nutrition improvement of children and disease-screening examinations of newborns in contiguous poverty-stricken areas. Free nutrition packages were provided to 1.37 million infants aged six to 24 months, and screening for phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism and hearing loss was conducted for 1.325 million newborns. Some 10,000 children suffering congenital heart disease in Tibet autonomous region received free treatment.
Rights and interests of senior citizens guaranteed. The government continued to implement the 12th Five-Year Plan for Helping Senior Citizens and 12th Five-Year Plan for the System of Old-age Services (both 2011-2015), Opinions of the State Council on Accelerating Old-age Services and Opinions on Improving Care for Senior Citizens. Shandong, Hebei, Guangdong and Hainan provinces, and Shanghai have drawn up their own regulations regarding the protection of the rights and interests of senior citizens, special care for them, and management of nursing homes. In these provinces and the city of Shanghai, allowances were provided for senior citizens over a certain age, and old-age service subsidies were issued to the elderly in financial difficulties.
Information platforms for the elderly have been set up in more than 60 counties, cities and municipal districts in 25 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, benefiting 20 million elderly people. Home care and community services now cover 70 percent and 37 percent, respectively, of the elderly population.
The basic pension benefits for enterprise retirees have been increasing for 10 years in a row, with the per capita monthly amount being raised from 647 yuan in 2004 to 2,050 yuan in 2014. From July 2014 the lowest monthly basic amount of the pension insurance for rural and urban non-working residents was raised from 55 yuan to 70 yuan per person, for which the central budget allocated 12 billion yuan as additional subsidies, benefiting 143 million rural and urban non-working residents.
The central budget provided 2.5 billion yuan to improve the conditions of welfare institutions and rural nursing homes to satisfy the needs of senior people in difficulties. By the end of 2014 the number of nursing home beds nationwide had reached 26 for every 1,000 senior citizens, and over 88.8 percent of the Chinese over 65 years old had been incorporated into the health management system. One billion yuan from the central special lottery public welfare fund was provided to 33,300 rural nursing homes.
Non-governmental organizations of senior citizens received support. By the end of 2014 China had 490,000 community-level associations of senior citizens and nearly 20 million senior volunteers. There were 2,137 legal assistance centers offering timely services for the elderly. In 2014 judicial and administrative agencies handled 113,000 cases of legal assistance for the elderly and provided legal consultations to more than 340,000 senior people.
VII. Rights of Persons with Disabilities
In 2014 the government adopted a series of measures to protect and improve the well-being of persons with disabilities, and progress was made in social security, employment, education, and provision of public services for disabled people.
The lives of disabled persons with financial difficulties better secured. The Ministry of Civil Affairs and China Disabled Persons’ Federation supported the introduction of living expense subsidies to disabled persons with financial difficulties and of nursing subsidies to those suffering from a high degree of disability in some regions. Nineteen provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government adopted the policy of granting living expense subsidies to disabled persons with financial difficulties, and 15 had adopted the policy of granting nursing subsidies to those suffering from a high degree of disability. Nationwide, 77.42 percent of the entitled population had access to either of the two policies, benefiting more than seven million people with disabilities.
Notable achievements in key rehabilitation projects. In 2014 the central special lottery public welfare fund provided 1.063 billion yuan for the rehabilitation of the disabled. Thanks to a number of key rehabilitation projects, 7.515 million disabled people received rehabilitation services of various kinds: 748,000 received cataract surgery, including 300,000 free operations; 142,000 visually impaired people received visual aids; 123,000 blind people received orientation and mobility training; 32,000 children with hearing impairments received hearing restoration or language training; 30,900 children with intellectual disabilities received training in rehabilitation institutions; 73,400 children and 34,800 adults with intellectual disabilities received rehabilitation guidance in their communities or homes; 40,000 children with brain paralysis received training in rehabilitation institutions, and their parents also received relevant training; 367,000 physically challenged people received rehabilitation training in their communities or homes; 8,860 physically handicapped children from poor families and 224 persons suffering from leprosy received surgery; 5.837 million patients with mental disorder received comprehensive rehabilitation services, 462,000 indigent people with mental disorder received medical services, and 20,000 children with autistic disorders received rehabilitation training; 1.524 million assistance devices were provided to people with disabilities, of which 403,200 were provided gratis by the central special lottery public welfare fund for disabled people living in poverty; and 29,000 artificial limbs and 64,000 remedial aids were provided cheaply or free for disabled people living in poverty.
In addition, efforts were made to train rehabilitation personnel, including 25,800 rehabilitation management staff, 55,900 rehabilitation specialists and 169,800 community rehabilitation coordinators. In total, 914 municipal districts and 2,023 counties and county-level cities provided community rehabilitation services, benefiting 6.1445 million people.
Construction of barrier-free facilities accelerated. In 2014 the construction of a barrier-free environment progressed in accordance with the law. All provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government made steady headway in building barrier-free cities and counties, involving 650 cities and 1,600 counties nationwide. The focus was on building barrier-free curb ramps, ramps for wheelchairs and pavements in residential quarters, and barrier-free entry-exit, passages, floors, stairways, elevator landings and compartments, and other areas in public buildings. The “database of barrier-free renovation of deprived families with disabled members” was put into operation to promptly record the progress of barrier-free renovation work.
Public cultural services to persons with disabilities improved. In 2014 nearly 50,000 urban and rural centers of public cultural services provided barrier-free access, with rehabilitation facilities and cultural amusement devices available where conditions permitted. Public libraries nationwide had 800,000 copies of books in braille, and provided 180,000 reading seats for blind people. Libraries and cultural and art centers at all levels organized performances, cultural training programs and resources distribution around the “National Day for Assisting Disabled Persons,” “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” and “Ear Care Day.” Blind people who sat the national college entrance examinations in 2014 took the exams in braille, or with the assistance of audio device. Special staff were provided to assist them in taking the exams.
VIII. Right to a Clean and Healthy Environment
In 2014 the Chinese government gave the country’s major environmental problems high priority, making considerable efforts to safeguard the people’s right to a clean and healthy environment, and further exploring a new way to make ecological progress with Chinese characteristics.
The legal system for protecting the environment and ecosystems was further improved. In 2014 China made a comprehensive amendment to the Environmental Protection Law, by which governments at all levels and all enterprises are required to shoulder more responsibilities, the citizens’ right to a clean and healthy environment and their duties regarding the protection of the environment are clearly defined, and a series of new mechanisms concerning closing down or distraining facilities (causing environmental pollution), total quantity control of major pollutant emissions, fines accumulating by the day, production restriction and halts, detention, environmental public interests litigation, regional joint defense against and control of pollution, and public participation are included. Specific normative regulations were also drawn up and issued to support the newly amended law, including the Rules on Investigating and Handling Emergent Environmental Incidents, Rules on Environment Information Disclosure of Enterprises and Public Institutions, Rules for Environmental Administrations in Limiting or Halting Pollution-causing Production, Rules for Environmental Administrations in Levying Fines Accumulating by the Day and Rules for Environmental Administrations in Closing Down or Distraining Pollution-causing Facilities and Equipment. These have all greatly reinforced China’s legal system in the ecological and environmental field.
New progress achieved in ecological construction. In 2014 some 6.027 million ha of trees were planted all around China, among which 1.999 million ha was in the key ecological-rehabilitation projects. In addition, 96,000 ha of urban built-up areas were greened. The state improved 1.265 million ha of desertified lands, newly designated 23 counties as pilot areas for forest conservation, set up 32 national pilot desert parks, built 11 new nature reserves totaling 140,000 ha, and increased the areas of conserved wetlands by more than 500,000 ha. By the end of 2014 there were 2,729 nature reserves in China, including 428 national ones. In the same year, 17,800 cases concerning grassland damage were placed on file across the country, and 17,400 cases, or 97.6 percent, were closed; 49,000 cases of illegal encroachment on forest lands were investigated and settled, with 3,517.3 ha of forests illegally encroached upon being rehabilitated; 31,000 cases concerning forest and wildlife crimes were recorded by public security organs, among which 25,000 were solved, an increase of 14.1 percent over 2013; and 6.1 tons of illegal ivory and ivory products were destroyed publicly for the first time. In the meantime, China provided a total of 5.7 billion yuan in a project for building and protecting a national ecological security barrier in Tibet.
Remarkable results in energy conservation and emission reduction. In 2014 China made an enormous adjustment to its industrial structure, accomplishing the year’s goal of abolishing outdated production capacities in 15 key industries like steel and cement, and overfulfiling the targets for scrapping yellow-labeled and outdated vehicles whose emissions were above the national standards. A goal-oriented responsibility and assessment system for air protection was gradually put in place, with the Tibet autonomous region, and Guangdong and some other provinces having drawn up feasible and specific measures. The Ministry of Environmental Protection gave warnings in line with the law to heads of local governments and departments that had failed to fulfill their environmental protection duties or hadn’t performed them well, including the mayors of Anyang in Henan province, Hengyang in Hunan province, Liupanshui in Guizhou province, Linyi in Shandong province and Chengde in Hebei province, and supervised their improvements. In 2014 the chemical oxygen demand, and the discharges of ammonia nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide continued to decrease, nitrogen oxide seeing the largest annual cut of 6.7 percent. The overall consumption of coal was reduced by 2.9 percent, and clean energy sources such as hydroelectricity, wind energy, nuclear energy and natural gas, rose to 16.9 percent of all energy consumption in China during the year. In China energy used to produce 10,000 yuan of GDP declined by 4.8 percent and the amount of water used to produce 10,000 yuan added value of industry decreased by 5.6 percent. The daily treatment capacity of urban sewage plants had reached 128.96 million cubic meters by the end of the year, an increase of 3.5 percent over that by the end of the previous year, and 90.2 percent of urban sewage was treated.
Punishments for activities violating environmental laws were intensified. Environmental administrations at all levels strictly executed laws concerning environmental protection, sending 2.16 million enforcement officers to inspect 840,000 enterprises, putting 12,531 cases on file and settling 8,373 of them, and particular supervision was given over the handling of 1,600 major cases. China actively explored a trans-regional and trans-river joint prevention and coordination mechanism, gradually established trans-regional joint planning, monitoring, forecasting, prevention and control systems for air and water quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta areas, and improved the relevant information-sharing mechanism. Environmental departments at all levels coordinated closely with public security organs, setting up the three systems of “joint enforcement conference,” “permanent liaison officers,” and “consultation on and joint supervision of major cases,” and the four mechanisms of “transferring cases,” “joint investigation,” “sharing information,” and “rewarding and punishing.” China introduced unmanned planes for inspecting pollution, and during the year 11 flights were made, flying more than 2,000 km and covering an area of 1,000 sq km.
The legal guarantee of the right to a clean environment was further strengthened. The Supreme People’s Court established a special tribunal to hear cases related to the environment and natural resources, and stipulated a practical environmental public interest litigation system covering jurisdiction, judicial procedure, liability, compensation scope and lawsuit costs, so as to fully safeguard the right of public interest litigation of the institutions and related civil organizations as stipulated by the law. In December 2014 the Supreme People’s Court announced ten typical administrative cases concerning environmental protection, including the Jincheng (Foshan) Scien Fine Materials Co., Ltd’ s lawsuit against an administrative penalty meted out by the Shunde District People’s Government of Foshan City, Guangdong province for the company’s alleged environmental offense. The number of cases involving environmental offenses that was transferred to public security organs in 2014 exceeded the total of the previous ten years.
The channels for citizens to participate in the management of environment-related affairs were further broadened. The amended Environmental Protection Law stipulates that: The environmental departments should disclose information about the environment and improve their procedures, so as to facilitate the public’s participation in and supervision of environmental protection; the environmental NGOs which have registered with the civil affairs authorities at municipalities which contain districts or above, which are engaged in environmental protection for the public interest and have no law violation records for five consecutive years are eligible to file environmental public interest lawsuits to the people’s courts, and the latter should accept and hear all lawsuits filed by eligible NGOs. Governments at all levels also actively explored ways of soliciting public opinions through online platforms, questionnaire surveys, hearings and reviewing panels. Since January 1, 2014 the national air quality real-time announcement website has released 150,000 pieces of information on the air quality in cities. The Ministry of Environmental Protection listened to and dealt with the public’s complaints on environmental offenses through the “12369” hotline. By the end of 2014 the hotline had handled 1,463 complaints from the public, and settled all of them on time. The ministry issued the Notice on Better Disclosure of Information Related to Emergent Environmental Incidents, requiring related departments to publish the names of reported offending enterprises, their problems and the handling of their problems in the China Environment News and the website of the ministry every month. By the end of 2014, the handling of 1,479 complaints (including those received in 2013 but settled in 2014) and 33 typical cases had been made known to the public.
IX. Foreign Exchanges and Cooperation
In 2014 China continued to take the initiative in exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the realm of human rights. It played a constructive role in the UN’s human rights bodies, and endeavored to promote the sound development of human rights on the international stage.
China fully participated in the global governance of human rights. Chinese delegations attended the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 25th, 26th and 27th sessions, and 20th, 21st and 22nd special sessions, the relevant meetings of the Third Committee of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly, the 18th, 19th and 20th sessions of the HRC’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, and a series of multilateral conferences such as the HRC’s Social Forum and Forum on Business and Human Rights. In those meetings, China actively introduced its principles, policies and achievements in the human rights field, joined in the discussions of various topics, brought all member states’ attention to the reasonable assertions of developing countries, and urged the UN’s human rights mechanisms to deal with all human rights issues in a just and objective manner. The Chinese government actively participated in the intergovernmental process of the UN General Assembly on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, and played a constructive role therein. With the efforts of China and other countries holding similar positions, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to strengthen and enhance the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system. In April 2014 China was re-elected as a member of the UN’s Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.
China conscientiously fulfilled its international human rights obligations. In March 2014 the HRC approved China’s actions after receiving HRC’s second Universal Period Review for China. With an open mind and in a serious manner, China accepted 204 recommendations, or 81 percent, raised by other countries during the review, which received worldwide praise. In May 2014 the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights reviewed China’s second periodic report on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Chinese delegation explained in a thorough manner their country’s achievements in safeguarding its people’s economic, social and cultural rights, and replied candidly to the questions raised by the Committee, with some Committee experts regarding it as an exemplary review. China’s combined seventh and eighth periodic report on its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in October 2014. With a confident, inclusive and open attitude, the Chinese delegation held a constructive dialogue with the Committee.
Promotion of cooperation with the UN’s human rights bodies. China continued to cooperate closely with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, promising to greatly increase its donations to the office in the period 2014-2017. It held constructive talks with the Special Procedures of the HRC, earnestly replied to its letters on time, and invited its independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to visit China.
Enhancing bilateral human rights dialogues and communication with other countries. In 2014 China held human rights dialogues and communication with the EU, the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and entered into technical cooperation with Australia regarding human rights, so as to improve mutual understanding. It also held discussions with Russia on human rights affairs, and communicated with Laos and Sri Lanka in the field to share the experience gained from international human rights work. It sent a delegation to attend the 14th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Informal Seminar on Human Rights, exchanging views with human rights officials of other Asian and European countries, and civil society representatives. The China Society for Human Rights Studies and the China Foundation for Human Rights Development jointly held the seventh session of the Beijing Forum on Human Rights. Centering on the theme of “The Chinese Dream: New Progress in China’s Human Rights,” participants both at home and abroad engaged in deep and extensive discussion concerning the sub-topics of “the Chinese dream and human rights,” “transcultural international exchanges on human rights” and “national governance innovation and human rights protection, and anti-terrorism and human rights protection.”
Working closely with other countries, China will continue to spare no effort to promote the wholesome development of human rights worldwide.