Human Rights in China (HRIC) welcomes the announcement of a Human Rights Exhibition to be held in Beijing. This is a step forward for the Chinese government, signaling its acceptance of the importance and relevance of human rights for China.
While Dong Yunhu, vice chairman of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, has reasserted China’s position that history, culture and national sentiments of each country is unique, international human rights norms and standards are universal, and apply to all countries. As an active participant of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, China contributed to the framing of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which affirms “all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. . . . it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
China’s obligations under international human rights law include implementing economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights. “Actions speak louder than words, especially in the final lead-up to the 2008 Olympics,” said HRIC Executive Director Sharon Hom. “Instead of the increasing crackdowns on rights defenders, grassroots activists, journalists and lawyers, the Chinese government must take action to implement freedom of expression and access to information, which is crucial to understanding and developing solutions to the serious economic, social and cultural rights problems facing China. These include economic and social gaps between rural and urban areas, and loss of homes and disruption of communities due to corruption, coercive land acquisition, large development projects and Olympics venue construction.”
In the final lead up to the Olympics, HRIC urges the Chinese government to demonstrate its commitment to promoting human rights by complying with the promises it made as host of the Olympics, as well as its other international obligations.