New Realms and New Highlights in the Legal Protection of Human Rights
January 05,2015   By:

-- Theoretical and Practical Innovations in the Legal Protection of Human Rights Since the 18th CPC National Congress
By Xian Kailin, Liu Zhuangqiong

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the system for the legal protection of human rights under socialism with Chinese characteristics has experienced innovative development. In particular, the Decision on Certain Key Issues on Comprehensively Deepening Reform, which was adopted by the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee, has made major reform arrangements related to the system and mechanisms for the legal protection of human rights under socialism with Chinese characteristics. Taking the theoretical and practical innovations since the 18th CPC National Congress in the protection of human rights as its perspective, this article discusses new realms and new highlights in the legal protection of human rights.

I.Legal protection of human rights: New realm in China’s human rights development

During the 36 days from Aug. 22 to Sept. 26, 2013, there were several open trials that gained wide attention, including the cases of Bo Xilai, Li Tianyi, Yang Dacai, a case in Beijing of throwing a baby, the explosion at the Beijing International Airport, the starvation deaths in Nanjing of two girls, and Gong Aiai. The high frequency of these open trials, their transparency, and the broad attention they received are something that has been rarely seen over the last few years. This situation not only reflected the public’s abhorrence of corruption in society, and fervent attention to the environment, the people’s livelihood, the rule of law and justice, but also reflected the gradual improvement in the legal protection of human rights, as well as fairness and justice in Chinese socialism’s human rights judicial systems and activities. Respecting objective facts and conducting trials in an open, fair and transparent way represent legal thinking and legal practice that should exist in a society under the rule of law. Judicial organs enforce laws fairly and openly, without considering who the lawbreakers are, how much power the lawbreakers have or how large the pressure is from public opinion. This shows the transparency and justice of the judiciary and the maturity and improvement in legal institutions and procedures in China. The phrase, “the state respects and ensures human rights,” was written into the Constitution in 2004, the Decision of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee made clear reform arrangements for comprehensively implementing human rights legal protection. This shows that legal protection for human rights has entered the new stage of legal guarantees for human rights and is not just stuck at the legislative stage. In August 2013, the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) compiled China’s Human Rights Development Report (2013), or the “blue book of human rights,” and published Survey of the Chinese Public on Human Rights Concepts, which covered 125 cities nationwide and 15,111 surveyed people. This is the largest survey on human rights concepts ever conducted among Chinese people. The survey shows that the Chinese people have greatly improved their human rights awareness. Their understanding regarding respecting and ensuring human rights has gradually matured; and the human rights cause in China is striving to reach higher goals.

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