Author: Leng Shumei
Posted on: Global Times, December 2nd, 2016
China has lifted over 700 million people out of poverty and given around $58 billion in development aid to other countries and international organizations, a white paper said on Thursday.
The State Council Information Office (SCIO) Thursday issued a white paper on the right to development, expounding on its philosophy that economic development serves as a foundation for safeguarding other human rights, analysts said.
The white paper, titled “The Right to Development: China’s Philosophy, Practice and Contribution,” said that development is the top priority of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in governance and national revitalization, and the key to resolving all other problems.
The white paper was released three days before the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which was issued in 1986 and defined the right to development as a basic human right for the first time, Zhang Xiaoling, director of the human rights research center of the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the Global Times on Thursday.
China’s focus on the right to development, which is a rectification of the West’s excessive politicization of human rights, could point the way for other developing countries in safeguarding and promoting human rights, Chen Xulong, a research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, was quoted as saying by China Central Television on Thursday.
According to the white paper, China has lifted some 700 million people out of poverty through more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, accounting for more than 70 percent of the total reduction in poverty worldwide.
China’s Human Development Index in 2014 ranked 90th among 188 countries, already in the high human development group, the white paper said, citing the “China National Human Development Report 2016” released by the United Nations in August.
“The most valuable experience that China has gained in the last 30 years is to focus on economic development, which serves as a basis for the right to development,” Zhu Liyu, deputy director of the Center for Human Rights Studies at the Renmin University of China told the Global Times on Thursday.
The white paper noted that China is willing to join the international community to share its philosophy and experience and to boost sound development of global human rights.
China has provided approximately 400 billion yuan ($58 billion) in development aid to 166 countries and international organizations over the past 60 years. It also has trained more than 12 million personnel from developing countries and dispatched over 600,000 people to aid development in other countries, read the white paper.
The white paper also said that the country will increase its investment in the least developed areas, write off certain countries’ debts, establish an International Development Knowledge Center, and further the “Belt and Road” initiative, an infrastructure and trade network proposed by China in 2013.
“By applying China’s experiences to other countries and launching international cooperation, including the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China will play a more important role in global development,” Zhu said.
Zhu noted that the country will also invest more in eliminating uneven development between different Chinese regions, especially in promoting the economy in remote areas in western China where many ethnic minorities live.
Focus on minorities
There were 55.7 million people living in poverty in rural China at the end of 2015, said the white paper.
Ethnic minorities, who account for only 10 percent of China’s population, occupied a major part of the current impoverished population, Zhu said, adding that specific plans should be made to improve the economy in regions where ethnic minority groups live.
“Although the country is very likely to eliminate overall poverty by 2020, there are still problems of individual poverty and re-poverty, which are usually caused by unemployment, disease and nature disasters,” Zhu said.
The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2016-2020), which was released by the SCIO in late September, says that the State will prioritize the development of ethnic minorities and ethnic minority areas, respecting and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities, china.com reported.
According to the plan, the State will continue to help boost the economy of ethnic minority areas by increasing budgetary input and financial aid, improving infrastructure and supporting competitive industries and economic endeavors with distinctive features of minority areas. The plan says that the country aims to ensure that absolute poverty in these areas shall be basically eliminated by 2020 and that the major indicators of economic development in these areas shall be higher than the national average.