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Chinese Government’s Follow-up Response to the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

October 8, 2019

 Chinese Government’s Follow-up Response to the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

October 8, 2019



Chinese Original

English Translation by HRIC


The issues mentioned in the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have been given certain explanations by China in the periodic reports on its implementation of the Convention and the list of themes to the Committee as well as in the interactive dialogue with the Committee. The Chinese government now responds, according to the Concluding Observations’ recommendation for follow-up (para. 61), and to the issues related to paragraphs 33 (b), 42 (a)-(d), 42 (f)-(h), and 44 (c) of the Concluding Observations:


I. Concerning the number of non-governmental organizations officially registered in China carrying out activities on issues related to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination


The Chinese government has always attached importance to the role of social organizations in eliminating racial discrimination and protecting the rights of ethnic minorities. At present, there are nearly 1,800 social organizations related to ethnic groups registered with civil affairs departments. These organizations have actively carried out activities in fields including education and health, culture and sports, economics and trade, foreign exchanges, and theoretical research. They have played an important role in safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of ethnic minorities and promoting equality, unity, mutual assistance, and the harmonious development among all ethnic groups.


II. Concerning issues relating to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region


During the dialogue, the relevant Committee members showed concern over the issue of vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang (hereinafter referred to as “education and training centers”). The Chinese government wishes to explain the issue of the education and training centers before answering other relevant issues involving the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.


Terrorism and extremism are the common enemies of human society. Counterterrorism and de-extremification are the common responsibilities of the international community. Xinjiang is the main battlefield for China's struggle against terrorism and extremism. For a period of time, Xinjiang has been deeply victimized by terrorism and religious extremism, and the security of people’s lives has been seriously threatened. Xinjiang perseveres in treating both the symptoms and the root causes, and combining attack and prevention; carries out vocational education and training through establishing education and training centers in accordance with the law; strives to eliminate the soil and conditions for the breeding and spread of terrorism and religious extremism; has effectively curbed the momentum of the frequent occurrences of terrorist activities; protects the basic rights of the people of all ethnic groups to the maximum extent, such as the rights to life, health, and development; and has achieved a major interim victory in the struggle against terrorism and extremism.


In accordance with the Counter-Terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Implementing Measures for the Counter-Terrorism Law of the People’s Republic of China, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Regulation on De-Extremification, and other laws and regulations, Xinjiang has established education and training centers to carry out work such as mentoring.

There are currently three categories of students entering education and training centers: First is persons who are instigated, coerced, or lured into participating in terrorist or extremist activities, or persons whose participation in terrorist or extremist activities is minor and does not constitute a crime. Second is [those] who are instigated, coerced, or lured into participating in terrorist or extremist activities, or whose participation in terrorist or extremist activities poses a real danger but has not yet caused actual harmful consequences, whose subjective malice is not deep, who can plead guilty and repent, who do not need to be criminally sentenced or are exempt from criminal penalties, and who voluntarily accept training. Third is [those] who have been convicted of and sentenced for terrorist or extremist crimes and found through assessment before their release to still be dangerous to society at the completion of their sentence, and for whom post-release educational placement is ordered by the people's court in accordance with the law.

For the first and third categories of persons, according to the provisions in Article 29 and Article 30 of the Counter-Terrorism Law of the People's Republic of China, mentoring or placement education is conducted in accordance with the law. For the second category of persons, based on the criminal policy of “tempering justice with leniency” [and the principle of] striking a small number to save the majority, those who plead guilty and repent and voluntarily accept training, mentoring is provided after a decision is made, in accordance with the law, not to prosecute them.

For the above-mentioned persons, free vocational education and training are carried out in various forms including “centralized training, boarding studies, and practical cultivation,” and a completion certificate is issued after assessment showing that the student has met standards. After students complete their studies, they can choose their own employment, or be assisted by relevant departments to arrange for employment. The number of people attending education and training is dynamic, showing entrances and exits. With the effective development and promotion of education and training work, the majority of trainees have met training requirements and successfully completed their studies.


The education and training work in Xinjiang complies with the basic principles specified in relevant international treaties and initiatives. As a responsible member of the international community, China actively supports the United Nations in playing a guiding and coordinating role in international counterterrorism cooperation; resolutely adheres to the principles and standards in the Charter of the United Nations and other international law; supports the series of resolutions on counterterrorism passed by the United Nations Security Council; and vigorously promotes the comprehensive implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (60/288).

At present, China has joined international counterterrorism treaties including the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages. The education and training work carried out in Xinjiang is precisely a concrete demonstration of our country’s integration of the lessons that China has learned from the foundation of the international community’s experience in counterterrorism and de-extremification into our country’s domestic implementation of such initiatives and ideas.


The nature of the education and training centers is that of schools. Focusing on Xinjiang’s actual needs for counterterrorism and de-extremification, instructional courses are set up for the learning of standard national spoken and written language, legal knowledge, vocational skills, and de-extremification as their main contents.

First, [the education and training centers] tackle the issue that trainees have a generally low level in the use of standard national spoken and written language by conducting training on the standard national spoken and written language. Professional teachers qualified in the teaching of the standard national language are put in place, to use materials specifically written for trainees, and according to the general methods of school teaching, to rapidly improve trainees’ ability to use the standard national spoken and written language.

Second, [the education and training centers] tackle the trainees’ general lack of the concept of rule of law by setting up legal knowledge courses. Through study, trainees’ knowledge about citizen rights and duties is strengthened, and their concepts of equal enjoyment of citizen rights and the exercise of citizen duties are developed, [so that] they will, of their own volition, obey the country’s Constitution and laws and conduct themselves in accordance with the rights and duties conferred by the Constitution and law.

Third, [the education and training centers] tackle the issues of trainees’ lack of vocational skills and difficulties in obtaining employment by conducting vocational skills training. Education and training centers view the learning of vocational skills as an important way to raise trainees’ employability and, according to local demands and employment conditions, provide multi-skills training to trainees who show potential and capabilities, ensuring that trainees possess relative familiarity with the skills of 1-2 vocations after the completion of their studies.


The education and training work in Xinjiang is a social governance measure adopted by the government in accordance with the law, aimed at safeguarding the security of the lives of the people, and safeguarding the basic rights of citizens from violation. In the course of conducting education and training work, education and training centers strictly implement the provisions of the Constitution and laws, safeguarding the basic rights of trainees who participate in trainings from violation. Chinese law explicitly prohibits discriminatory conduct based on reasons including locality, ethnicity, and religion, and this provision is effectively executed in Xinjiang. The only standard used by education and training centers in choosing rescue targets is whether they have committed unlawful or criminal acts of terrorism or religious extremism, and is completely unrelated to the targets’ place of residence, ethnicity, or religion.

The personal freedoms of trainees throughout the learning process in education and training centers are safeguarded in accordance with the law. Education and training centers fully safeguard the personal dignity of trainees from violation, and strictly prohibit all manner of insulting or abusing trainees.

Education and training centers adopt a boarding system; trainees may visit home at designated times and request leave for cause, and trainees enjoy freedom of communication. In the education and training centers, the customs and practices of each ethnic group and the right to use one’s own ethnic spoken and written language are fully safeguarded, and trainees’ freedom of religion and faith, and the various needs of trainees’ spiritual and cultural lives are respected. Education and training centers are equipped with bilingual teachers, counselors, doctors, and logistical services management personnel, etc., to safeguard trainees’ daily life in normal learning.

To relieve the worries of trainees, Xinjiang’s authorities of all levels implement various preferential policies for all families of trainees equitably, including social security, education and medical services, and poverty alleviation, in order to assist trainees’ families in solving practical difficulties in production, daily life, and seeking employment, education, and medical services, thus strengthening trainees’ motivation to participate in education and training.


The practice has proven that education and training work in Xinjiang has effectively eradicated the soil and conditions for the breeding and spread of terrorism and religious extremism, and effectively safeguarded the right to life, right to health, and right to development of the people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, not only leading to the realization of social stability in Xinjiang, but also forcefully maintaining the security and stability of the region. This method completely complies with the international community’s basic spirit of and basic principles on counterterrorism and de-extremification, and fully complies with the fundamental interests and demands of citizens of countries all over the world.


(1)    Concerning the recommendations to “halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried and convicted for a criminal offence in any extralegal detention facility”; “immediately release individuals currently detained under these circumstances, and allow those wrongfully held to seek redress”; and “provide the number of persons held against their will in all extralegal detention facilities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the past five years”


There do not exist any extralegal detention facilities or any instances of extralegal detention within the borders of China’s territory, including the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Laws and regulations such as the Criminal Procedure Law and State Compensation Law of China have strict provisions on criminal detention and confer citizens full right to remedy.


One is the strict regulation of the applicable scope of criminal detention. Criminal detention is a criminal compulsory measure by public security organs to temporarily restrict the personal freedom of a criminal suspect by keeping him in custody in a detention facility. It is only in situations specified in the Criminal Procedure Law that public security organs may apply [criminal detention] to apprehended criminals or important suspects.


Two is the strict regulation on the decision-making organ and execution organ for criminal detentions. Aside from public security organs enjoying the authority to decide on and execute criminal detention in accordance with the law, people’s procuratorates also have the authority to make decisions on detention in the cases they have accepted, to be executed by public security organs.


Three is the strict regulation on the procedure of criminal detention. When a public security organ needs to detain a criminal suspect in accordance to the law, the head of the public security organ above county level approves and issues a detention warrant. For a case of criminal detention decided by a people’s procuratorate, the chief procurator makes the decision. With the exception of cases where there is no way to notify, or crimes involving endangering national security or terrorist activities where notification might obstruct the investigation, the family of the detained shall be notified within 24 hours. A public security organ shall conduct interrogation within 24 hours of detaining a person. When it is discovered that a person should not have been detained, he must be immediately released and given a proof of release.


Four is the provision of remedial measures to persons under criminal detention. China’s Criminal Procedure Law protects a detainee’s right to defense, right to appeal, and right to file a lawsuit. Starting from the day of detention, a criminal suspect has the right to appoint a lawyer as his defender; in a case where the criminal suspect has not retained a defender because of economic hardship or other reasons, the criminal suspect and close relatives may apply to a legal aid institution. A criminal suspect and his lawyer have the right to apply for a change in the compulsory measures, and file appeals or lawsuits against judicial organs and their personnel for violation of the law.

The State Compensation Law provides that victims shall have the right to state compensation in cases of detention of citizens in violation of the Criminal Procedure Law, or cases of detention in accordance with the conditions and procedures provided in the Criminal Procedure Law but where the period of detention exceeds the limit under the Criminal Procedure Law and which cases are subsequently dismissed, where charges are dropped, or where innocence is declared at trial and criminal responsibility is not pursued.


Criminal detention is conducted in specific detention facilities and is subjected to supervision by law. Article 85 of the Criminal Procedure Law provides: “After being detained, a detainee shall be immediately transferred to a detention facility within 24 hours.” The Regulations on Detention Facilities provides that detention facilities are organs for custody of criminal suspects arrested or under criminal detention in accordance with the law. Under national law, criminal suspects in custody are placed under surveillance of armed police to ensure safety. Detention facilities receive a detainee into custody on the basis of a criminal detention warrant presented by the escorted organ and is issued by a public security organ above the county level. Where there is no warrant or where the record of the warrant does not match the actual situation, detention is withheld. Detention facilities’ supervisory activities [of detainees] are under the legal supervision of people’s procuratorates.


(2)    Concerning “allegations of racial, ethnic and ethno-religious profiling”


China’s Constitution and laws provide that citizens of the People’s Republic of China are equal before the law. Anyone who commits a crime shall be equal in the application of the law, regardless of nationality, race, gender, occupation, family origin, religious belief, education level, property status, or residency period, and shall be investigated and bear the corresponding criminal responsibility. Litigation rights and other legitimate rights and interests are equally protected by national laws, prohibiting any form of discrimination.


(3)    Concerning the collection, analysis, and handling of personal data and information


China protects citizens' personal information and privacy in accordance with the law. China has promulgated a series of laws and regulations, judicial interpretations, and national standards, and has continuously increased the efforts to protect citizens' personal information and fight against infringement of citizens' personal information.


In terms of civil law, Article 111 of the General Principles of the Civil Law provides, “the personal information of natural persons is protected by law. Any organization or individual that needs to obtain personal information of others shall obtain and ensure the security of the information in accordance with the law, shall not illegally collect, use, process, or transmit personal information of others, and shall not illegally buy and sell, provide, or disclose personal information of others."


In terms of criminal law, the 2009 Criminal Law Amendment (VII) added the crime of selling or illegally providing citizens’ personal information and the crime of illegally obtaining citizens’ personal information. The 2015 Criminal Law Amendment (IX) was further improved to integrate the two crimes into the crime of infringement of citizens’ personal information, expand the scope of criminal subjects and infringement of personal information, and increase the maximum penalty for the crime from three years’ imprisonment to seven years’ imprisonment. In 2017, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation of Several Issues Concerning the Application of Laws in Handling Criminal Cases Involving Infringement of Citizens' Personal Information, defining the scope of "citizen's personal information" and clarifying the standards of conviction and punishment for the crime of infringement of citizens' personal information.


In terms of personal information security governance, the 2016 Cybersecurity Law regards personal information protection as an important system, comprehensively and systematically regulates the collection and use of personal information, and strengthens the protection responsibility assumed by the subject in the collection and use of personal information. The Personal Information Security Specification issued by the National Information Security Standardization Technical Committee in 2017 applies to various organizations’ activities in processing personal information. It targets the security issues of personal information, and regulates the relevant behaviors in the information processing links such as collection, preservation, use, sharing, transfer, and public disclosure, focusing on curbing problems including the illegal collection, abuse, and disclosure of personal information, and maximally protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the individual’s and the public’s interest.


(4)    Concerning “travel restrictions that disproportionately affect members of ethnic minorities”


The Chinese government protects the legitimate rights and interests of every citizen in exiting and entry into [China’s] territory. Chinese citizens who enter into or exit [China’s] territory shall apply for passports or other travel documents in accordance with the law. The Passport Law, the Exit and Entry Administration Law, and other laws and regulations have detailed provisions for Chinese citizens’ application for and obtaining of passports, and exit and entry, etc., that clarify circumstances where passport issuing authorities not issuing passports and not allowing Chinese citizens to exit [China’s] territory, and at the same time entitle relevant individuals to remedial measures. For example, Article 6 of the Passport Law provides that if a passport is not issued in accordance with the provisions, the entry and exit administration of the public security organ shall explain the reasons in writing and inform the applicant of the right to apply for administrative reconsideration or file an administrative lawsuit in accordance with the law.


(5)    Concerning the disclosure of “the current location and status of Uighur students, refugees and asylum seekers who returned to China pursuant to a demand made by the State party in the past five years,” etc.


In recent years, the situation of individuals in China deluded and incited by "East Turkistan" terrorist organizations outside the country and illegally exiting the country to participate in "jihad" is acute. Most of these individuals came under the spell of and are corroded by religious extremism, or are hoodwinked and coerced by "East Turkistan" terrorist organizations outside the country to illegally exit the country, posing a great threat to the security and border management order of China and that of relevant countries. In this regard, Chinese law enforcement departments have carried out international law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries in accordance with the law, carried out extradition or repatriation work in a safe and orderly manner, and differentiated among situations before handling them. For those who are deluded and influenced by religious extremism or those who are hoodwinked and coerced, resettlement assistance and education transformation are conducted well. Those who are suspected of exiting the country to join terrorist organizations or those who are at large are harshly punished in accordance with the law. The Chinese government handles, in accordance with the law, those who are extradited or repatriated and safeguards their legitimate rights.


III. Concerning “providing information regarding the promotion of, and any restrictions on the use of, ethnic minority languages”


The Chinese government safeguards the freedom of ethnic minorities to use and develop their own spoken and written languages. Including the Constitution, the Law on Regional National Autonomy, the Education Law, and the Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Language, nearly 40 laws and regulations in China regulate ethnic minorities’ use and development of their own written and spoken languages. The government safeguards the lawful use of ethnic minority languages in areas including administration and justice; press and publication; radio, film and television; and culture and education. Documents in and simultaneous interpretation of Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Kazakh, Korean, Yi, Zhuang and other ethnic languages are provided at important meetings such as the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the National People's Congress, and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. [The government] strengthens the construction of regional radio and television infrastructure, incorporates the implementation of key radio and television public service projects into the national targeted poverty alleviation strategy in frontier ethnic areas such as Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet, and vigorously promotes [the reach of] radio and television services into villages and homes. Farmers and herdsmen in remote mountainous areas and border areas with traffic difficulties and information blockage can watch more than 50 high-quality and clear radio and television programs through live satellite reception equipment.

In 2017, the national ethnic minority language radio and television program production and translation time totaled about 122,000 hours and 42,000 hours, respectively. The 11 ethnic minority language program translation centers nationwide have completed the minority language translation of 1,104 films, and the number of orders of films with completed translations has exceeded 210,000.

The types of ethnic language programs are becoming more abundant day by day, and the “National News Simulcast” with five ethnic minority languages is broadcast online by the Central Radio Station.

The translation centers also carry out nurturing of talents in translation of ethnic languages by many methods, including upgrading program translation hardware facilities, holding training courses, and cooperating with social institutions.


The Chinese government attaches great importance to the study, use, and development of the Tibetan spoken and written language, and effectively safeguards the freedom of the Tibetan people to use and develop their own language. Currently, in the Tibet Autonomous Region and all Tibetan autonomous localities, all regulations, resolutions, official documents, and newspaper publications, broadcasts, and television use both Tibetan and Han languages. Tibet has already established a complete education system from kindergarten to university, Tibetan language teaching is safeguarded. The Tibet Autonomous Region publishes and distributes over 100 kinds of books in the Tibetan language each year, with several hundred thousand copies distributed. The people's courts train Tibetan-Han bilingual judges through training bases, including in Lhasa in Tibet and Zhouqu County in Gansu's Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture; the people's procuratorates train Tibetan-Han bilingual procurators in a national procuratorial organ language training base established in Nyinchi [Prefecture] in Tibet, providing more convenience for citizens of Tibetan ethnicity in using their own ethnic spoken and written language in litigation. At the same time, the Tibetan language has entered the age of informatization, the encoding of Tibetan characters has met the national and international standards, and the Tibetan language is the first ethnic minority language in China attaining international standards and has become a widely popular language for interaction on the Internet.


In summary, the Chinese government hopes the response materials provided above can assist the Committee to more comprehensively and objectively understand the Chinese government's efforts and progress in eliminating racial discrimination. The Chinese government is also willing to continue cooperation and engagement with the Committee on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and continue to improve the levels of ethnic minorities’ enjoyment of various human rights.

Related Resources

Combined Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Review (2018)

  • Chinese Government’s Follow-up Response to the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (October 8, 2019): EN, CH
  • Concluding observations on the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports of China (including Hong Kong, China and Macao, China)(2018): EN, CH
  • (Video) Consideration of China - 2654th Meeting 96th Session Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (August 2018)
  • List of themes by the country rapporteur in relation to the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports of China (2018): EN
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  • China’s combined fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth periodic reports (2017): EN, CH
  • List of themes by the country rapporteur in relation to the combined fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports of China (2018): EN
  • HRIC parallel submission in advance of the review of PRC’s fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth periodic reports (2018): EN
  • China’s combined fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth periodic reports (2017): EN, CH