Upholding Equity and Justice to
Promote Sound Development of the Global Human Rights Cause
Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi
State Councilor and Foreign Minister of
The People's Republic of China
At the High-level Segment of the 49th Session of
The United Nations Human Rights Council
28 February 2022
It gives me great pleasure to speak on behalf of the Chinese government at the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
To ensure full enjoyment of human rights by all is an unremitting pursuit of humanity. In a world of rapid development where human rights awareness has taken hold, we are more able and better positioned than ever before to promote and protect human rights. That said, the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc around the world, exacerbating poverty and inequality. The global human rights cause is facing further grave challenges.
Promoting and protecting human rights is the shared cause of all countries. As such, China believes we should act as:
First, true champions of human rights. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have set a lofty goal for the global human rights cause. It falls on every country to keep exploring an effective way to achieve this goal. Human rights have historical, specific and practical contexts, and the human rights cause can only be advanced in light of each country's reality and its people's needs. The economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of all should be advanced in a coordinated manner to promote and achieve well-rounded human development.
Second, staunch guardians of people's interests. A happy life for all is the biggest human right. A country's human rights are essentially gauged by whether its people's aspirations for a better life are satisfied; whether their needs, concerns and expectations are addressed; and whether they enjoy a growing sense of fulfillment, happiness and security. It is essential to put the people front and center and deliver more benefits of national governance and development to all people more fairly, making sure that no one is left behind.
Third, positive contributors to common development. Without development, there would be no human rights to speak of, nor could the rights enjoyed by the people be sustainable. President Xi Jinping has put forth the Global Development Initiative (GDI), committing China to working with the UN and all countries to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The GDI is yet another public good China provides for the development of the global human rights cause. It has been endorsed and supported by the UN and up to 100 countries.
Fourth, firm defenders of equity and justice. In judging whether human rights are upheld in a country, one cannot use other countries' standards, still less apply double standards or use human rights as a political tool to interfere in the affairs of other countries. We need to steadfastly promote greater democracy and rule of law in international relations, follow true multilateralism, and steer global human rights governance toward greater fairness, equity and inclusiveness. The Human Rights Council needs to uphold the principles of non-selectiveness and non-politicization. It must not be reduced to a stage for political confrontation.
Respecting and protecting human rights is the unremitting pursuit of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 2021, we solemnly commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC. With the lifting of 770 million rural poor out of poverty, China brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty. We realized a moderately prosperous society in all respects and pioneered a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization. Throughout our fight against COVID-19, we put the people and human lives first, writing a most inspiring chapter in the protection of every person's life and health. Going forward, China will continue to steadfastly pursue a human rights development path that meets the trend of the times and suits its national conditions. We will continue to uphold a human rights philosophy that puts people front and center, develop the whole-process people's democracy, promote common prosperity for all, and safeguard the human rights of the Chinese people at a higher level. We will continue to take an active part in UN human rights endeavors by making China's voice heard and contributing China's part to this worthy cause.
Some forces with ulterior motives have kept hyping up matters relating to China's Xinjiang. I must point out that over the past six decades and more, the Xinjiang region's economic output has expanded by 160 times and per capita GDP by 30 times. The Uyghur population there has surged from 2.2 million to around 12 million, with life expectancy across Xinjiang rising from 30 years to 74.7 years. In the Xinjiang region, there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims, a rate higher than many Western or Muslim countries. The claims of "genocide", "forced labor" and "religious oppression" are sheer lies. Xinjiang's door is open, and we welcome people from all over the world who harbor no bias to come to Xinjiang for visits and exchanges. China also welcomes the visit by High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet to China, including a trip to Xinjiang, in the near future.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the central government of China has fully and faithfully implemented the policy of One Country, Two Systems under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong residents enjoy far more rights and freedoms according to law than under British colonial rule. Hong Kong's transformation from chaos to governance in recent years is ample proof that the enactment and implementation of the National Security Law has filled a legal vacuum in Hong Kong and the Law better protects the rights and freedoms of the people. Improvement of Hong Kong's electoral system, which reflects the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong, has better promoted the sound development of Hong Kong's democratic system. Nearly three million Hong Kong residents have voluntarily signed a petition in support of the National Security Law, and 70 percent of Hong Kong's residents are happy with the current state of affairs.
No one can claim to be perfect in human rights protection; there is always room for improvement. China is ready to engage in human rights exchanges and cooperation with all countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Nevertheless, we do not accept self-styled "lecturers" on human rights and reject stoking bloc confrontation in the name of human rights.
A week ago, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, which had captured so much attention worldwide, drew to a successful conclusion. The Paralympic Winter Games will take place soon in Beijing. China has presented to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Games, living up to the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger — Together" and, equally important, instilling a sense of confidence and strength into a world overshadowed by the pandemic. Let us unite behind humanity's common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, jointly advance the global human rights cause, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
I wish this session of the Human Rights Council positive outcomes.