by Qi Yanping
BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) opens with an emphasis on the necessity of establishing basic principles such as freedom, equality and the rule of law. These basic principles have two dimensions: form and substance.
While human rights in the West stress formal justice, China has always focused on substantive justice. Over the past decades of reform and opening up, China has also been paying more attention to balancing both dimensions in the construction and practice of a human rights system based on the historical, concrete and realistic features of human rights.
China's political system guarantees that the people run the country and emphasizes that everyone should enjoy equal access to human rights. It adheres to systematic thinking in planning human rights development and promotes the comprehensive development of various human rights. With such a political system, China continuously strives to realize, safeguard and advance the people's fundamental interests.
Over the past decades, China has realized national independence, completed building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, eradicated absolute poverty, and established the world's largest education, social security and healthcare systems. The country has also seen remarkable progress in comprehensively developing the whole-process people's democracy and strengthening legal protection for human rights. All these achievements have ensured that the Chinese people enjoy extensive and concrete human rights. China's full implementation of the principles and spirit of the UDHR speaks for itself.
Freedom, equality, the rule of law and other basic principles were established by the UDHR to uphold social peace and order, promote the sound development of countries, and enhance human dignity and rights. However, these principles may turn into tools that extinguish conscience, undermine reason, foster interpersonal conflicts, cause social division, and lead to national instability if institutional design and practices focus too much on the forms of the principles.
In recent years, Western countries have shouted slogans about human rights and democracy. However, in reality, they are facing growing problems of party struggles, mistrust of the government, and social disorder. Political polarization, wealth disparity and ethnic conflicts continue to intensify, while racism, populism and xenophobia are on the rise. Such facts are beyond doubt illustrations of the deviation from the fundamental principles and the spirit of the UDHR.
China's human rights culture has been rooted in interpersonal relations and coexistence, emphasizing responsibility toward groups and other individuals. The innovative development of the human rights system in China is primarily reflected in the fact that China prioritizes the political premise and institutional foundation of equality for all, promotes whole-process people's democracy, and actively creates social conditions for everyone to enjoy human rights.
While the Western human rights system tends to focus on civil and political rights, China has a rich human rights system that also involves economic, social and cultural rights. It includes a human rights judicial relief system and, more importantly, a national system that actively promotes human rights. Enditem
(Editor's note: Qi Yanping is a chair professor at the School of Law of Beijing Institute of Technology.)