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Nation's human rights progress praised

By CHEN WEIHUA in Geneva Source:chinadaily.com.cn 2024-01-25

Many countries spoke highly of China's achievements in improving and safeguarding human rights on Tuesday during the fourth round of the Universal Periodic Review, conducted in Geneva, Switzerland, by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The UPR is a peer review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. All the members have been reviewed three times since the UPR's first meeting in 2008.

During the review cycle, countries are expected to put forward the steps they have taken to implement the recommendations made during previous reviews and highlight their recent human rights development.

During the Tuesday review, representatives from more than 120 countries spoke positively of China's progress in human rights. They expressed appreciation for China's persistent efforts in advancing and protecting human rights. They also commended China's implementation of whole-process people's democracy as well as the development and execution of a national human rights action plan, the amendment of the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, and the enhancements of social security and the service system for people with disabilities.

Margit Szucs, Hungary's representative to the UN in Geneva, said that the UPR serves as a platform for constructive dialogue to promote human rights and shouldn't be used for the instrumentalization of human rights issues. She commended China for ratifying several human rights treaties since the last UPR in 2018.

"We appreciate the (Chinese) government contribution in upholding the UN-centered international system and its expeditious implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," she said.

Tovar da Silva Nunes, Brazil's ambassador and permanent representative in Geneva, said, "Brazil commends China for its efforts in the pursuit of development toward the eradication of poverty expansion and the improvement of the education and health system for all, and the provision of adequate housing."

China is one of 14 countries being reviewed by the UPR working group during the current session, which began on Monday and runs through Feb 2. It participated in UPRs in 2009, 2013 and 2018.

In his speech, Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the UN at Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland and head of the Chinese delegation for the review, elaborated on China's human rights development path and achievements.

"China always considers respecting and protecting human rights as a crucial part of state governance," he said.

Chen said China has pursued a human rights development path that aligns with global trends and is suitable for the country's national conditions, adding that China has adhered to a people-centered approach and has been striving to improve the well-being of its people.

He added that China has pursued a path of peaceful development and advocated for the protection, promotion and advancement of human rights through security, development and cooperation.

Chen announced 30 new measures in order to protect human rights, including initiatives to improve people's livelihoods, reinforce legal protection of human rights, promote international human rights cooperation and support UN human rights mechanisms.

Representatives from the governments of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions also made statements on Tuesday. More than 20 representatives from national ministries and the National People's Congress also spoke at the meeting.

Remina Xiaokaiti, an associate professor at Xinjiang University in Urumqi, the capital of the Xin­jiang Uygur autonomous region, and a member of the Uygur ethnic group, told China Daily that Western anti-China forces have for years been distorting the truth and slandering Xinjiang for its efforts and achievements in combating terrorism and extremism and in eradicating poverty.

"They have fabricated the lies of the century, such as forced labor, genocide and forced sterilization. And these sheer lies actually have one real goal, which is to use Xin­jiang to contain China," she said about the misperceptions of the situation in Xinjiang by some Western nations.

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