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Wang Yi Attends the High-level Meeting of the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

On February 22, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the high-level meeting of the 46th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Beijing via video link and delivered a speech titled "A People-centered Approach for Global Human Rights Progress".

Wang Yi said that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted calamitous impact on humankind. Global inequality is exacerbated, the North-South divide is widened, and the right to development is faced with new challenges. How to promote and protect human rights in the face of these unprecedented changes around the world and this once-in-a-century pandemic? It is a big question that must be answered with deep reflection. China holds the following views.

First, we should embrace a human rights philosophy that centers on the people. The people's interests are where the human rights cause starts and ends. Increasing people's sense of gains, happiness and security is the fundamental pursuit of human rights as well as the ultimate goal of national governance. The people-centered philosophy means that the people should be the real masters of their country, and that they should take part in national governance and political consultation. It also means that the wealth gap should be narrowed, and that all-round development of the people should be promoted.

Second, we should uphold both universality and particularity of human rights. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are common values shared by all humanity and recognized by all countries. The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have set out lofty ideals and basic principles for advancing human rights. They should be observed and delivered by all countries. On the other hand, countries must promote and protect human rights in light of their national realities and the needs of their people.

Third, we should systemically advance all aspects of human rights. Human rights are an all-encompassing concept. They include civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Among them, the rights to subsistence and development are the basic human rights of paramount importance. The scope of human rights is constantly evolving, and the right to health and the environmental right should also be given more prominence.

Fourth, we should continue to promote international dialogue and cooperation on human rights. Global human rights governance should be advanced through consultation among all countries. And the benefits of human rights progress should be shared by people of all countries. Human rights are not a monopoly by a small number of countries, still less should they be used as a tool to pressure other countries and meddle in their internal affairs. All countries should abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, carry out human rights exchange and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and jointly promote the sound development of the international human rights cause.

Wang Yi said that we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Under the CPC leadership, we have embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics which is widely endorsed by our people, and found the path of human rights development that suits China's national conditions and needs. With all rural residents living below the current poverty line lifted out of poverty, we have met the target of eradicating extreme poverty set out in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule. It is a milestone in our human rights achievement. China's poverty eradication is not just about higher income and living standards. More important, it is also about ensuring every individual's rights to education, healthcare and housing. China has put in place the world's largest social security system. With its long-term social stability, China has laid a solid foundation for advancing its human rights cause.

Wang Yi said that faced with the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, the Chinese government has followed the people-first approach, put the safety and health of every person front and center, and made every effort to safeguard the life and dignity of the people. Vaccines concern the rights to health, subsistence and development of the people. Global distribution of vaccines must be fair and in particular, accessible and affordable to developing countries. We hope that all countries that have the capability will join hands and make due contributions.

Wang Yi stressed that China supports more exchange and cooperation on human rights in the principle of mutual respect. But we oppose using double standards to make slanderous attacks on other countries, and we also oppose using human rights as an excuse to interfere in other countries' internal affairs. Xinjiang-related issues are in essence about countering violent terrorism and separatism. The Xinjiang region of China is taking de-radicalization measures in accordance with law, which is consistent with the requirements raised by the United Nations. Workers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang can choose professions based on their own will, and enjoy labor rights and interests. The freedom of religious belief for all ethnic groups is also protected in accordance with law. There has never been so-called "genocide", "forced labor" or "religious oppression" in Xinjiang. Such inflammatory accusations are fabricated out of ignorance and prejudice. They are simply malicious and politically-driven hypes, and couldn't be further from the truth. The legislation on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong has plugged the long-existing legal loopholes in Hong Kong, and facilitated a major turnaround from turbulence to law and order. It is conducive to the steady and sustained implementation of the policy of One Country, Two Systems. It protects the lawful rights and freedoms that the residents of Hong Kong enjoy under the Basic Law. We have every confidence in the future of Hong Kong.

Wang Yi said that let us join hands to promote and protect human rights with the people-centered approach and facilitate the building of the community with a shared future for mankind!

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