Global criticism of China’s disregard for human rights finally seems to have forced President Xi Jinping to give it serious attention, but in his own way.
He tells his people that China has its individual approach to human rights which must be publicized and respected. Xi, in principle, is molding human rights into the mold of Chinese characteristics as he resolves to counter criticism over the treatment of Uyghur Muslims, refusing to apologize for it.
Communist leaders’ shift in approach to human rights on eve of Xi’s third term at 20th party congress later in October recognized in Xi’s speech at 37th group study session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which was held earlier this year.
He takes credit for taking human rights protection to the next level after he came to power in 2012. Significantly, he talks about social, political and economic goals to secure human rights. man, but ignores how his government pursues a ruthless form. of sinicization of Islam to destroy the cultural and religious roots of China’s minority communities, especially Uyghur Muslims. In his long speech, he mentions religious beliefs only in passing. It betrays him.
The objectives of this session were to review our country’s human rights achievements, both theoretical and practical, in the new era, to assess the international struggle in the field of human rights and to “maintain an unwavering commitment to China’s path to promote further progress in human rights”.
Xi went back centuries to claim, “Our ancestors also advanced other similar axioms ‘Of all the things in the world, people are the most precious’.”
Giving the West rare credit for its early forays into human rights, Xi said: “During the Western bourgeois revolution, Enlightenment thinkers put forward the concept of ‘natural rights’, according to which all men are created equal. and possess inalienable rights, a concept that has helped advance revolutions in Britain, America, France and other countries.”
Referring to socialist ideals of human rights, Xi quoted Karl Marx as saying that “law can never be superior to the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned by it.” However, Xi refrained from saying that under his leadership this maxim was followed in full.
Xi then shifted gears to talk about how the Chinese Communists have always ensured “the respect and protection of human rights” as their “relentless pursuit”, “Throughout periods of neo-democratic revolution , socialist revolution and construction, and reform, opening up and socialism. modernization, the CPC has pursued its founding mission of pursuing happiness for the people and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with unswerving commitment, and led the people to great victories in revolution, construction and reform.”
The communist general secretary gives the impression of having always respected and pursued the protection of human rights during his mandate. Referring to the strict Covid lockdowns that are struggling millions of people with hunger and depression, Xi said: “We have promoted fuller and better employment, established the largest education systems, of social security and health care in the world, and remarkably improved the living environment of our people.
With a commitment to putting people and human life above all else, we have responded effectively to Covid-19 and protected people’s health and safety to the greatest extent possible. »
Finally responding to criticism of violating minority religious rights, Xi, in a rare admission, at least managed to reference the subject.
“We have fully implemented the Party’s policies on ethnic and religious affairs, ensuring that all ethnic groups in China are equal, respecting people’s religious beliefs, and safeguarding people’s legitimate rights and interests. all ethnic groups. We have pursued the reform of the judiciary, launched the Peaceful China Initiative, strengthened the rule of law, conducted education and rectification campaigns with judicial authorities, prosecutions and public safety with the aim of improving their conduct, and taken resolute action against criminal gangs and organized crime, as well as against illegal organizations and criminal activities, to ensure lasting social stability and to protect lives and property” .
At the same time, the Chinese president has insisted that he only attributes the Chinese communist interpretation of human rights and not what is presented as Western rights.
He obliquely defends his government’s response to minority communities in Xinjiang province: “Human rights are not special privileges given to certain people or a small minority, but universal rights that everyone should enjoy. . We have safeguarded the democratic rights of the people, given full play to their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, and ensured that in the promotion of human rights, people are the main contributors, promoters and beneficiaries. »
He said human rights are subject to and must conform to “national conditions and popular will”. By anchoring “the universality of human rights in the Chinese context, we have promoted human rights based on our country’s conditions and the needs of our people”, which has “ensured that, as As stipulated by law, people enjoy a full range of human rights which are genuine, specific, effective and functional”.
He envisioned uplifting “the cause of human rights in China” as part of the country’s new journey toward “the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country.”
What exactly is a Chinese human rights cause? “We must continue to follow the Chinese approach to advancing human rights, adapt to people’s new expectations for a better and better life, and continue to meet their growing demands for rights in all respects. We must promote the coordinated development of the economy, democracy, the rule of law, thought and culture, equity and justice, social governance and environmental protection; comprehensively advance initiatives in areas such as employment, income distribution, education, social security, health care, housing, care for the elderly and support for minors We will strengthen the protection of rights rights in the process of material, political, cultural, ethical, social and eco-environmental progress The rights of religious minorities are absent from this narrative.
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