The year 1998 is the 20th anniversary of
China's initiation of the reform and opening-up policy and
also a year when China witnessed continued advances in
China's human rights while achieving steady development in
Despite the profound impact of the
Asian financial crisis and the catastrophic flooding in
China in 1998, China's national economy maintained a steady
growth, the people's standard of living improved, the effort
for developing democracy and a legal system was notably
strengthened, and the human rights conditions maintained a
good momentum of continuous improvement and promised further
I. People's Rights to Subsistence
China is a developing country
with a population of 1.25 billion. The protection and
promotion of people's rights to subsidence and development
has been China's top task in the field of human rights.
Since China's start of reform and opening-up,
the Chinese government has been listing the solving of
people's rights to subsistence and development as its top
Great efforts have been made to
promote economic growth, consequently, the national economy
has maintained a continuous and sound development with an
average annual growth of 9.6 percent and the people's living
standard has witnessed marked improvement.
the past 20 years, the gross domestic product (GDP)
increased by nearly five times, the per capita GDP went up
by 3.4 times and the income of urban and rural residents
also rose by a big margin.
Between 1978 and
1997, the per capita income of rural residents increased
from 133.6 yuan to 2,090.1 yuan, a rise of 3.4 times in real
terms after deducting price fluctuations with an average
annual increase of 8.1 percent.
per capita disposable income of urban residents rose from
343.4 yuan to 5,160.3 yuan during the same period, up 2.1
times in real terms after deducting price fluctuations with
an average annual increase of 6.2 percent.
Saving deposits of urban and rural residents
increased from 21.06 billion yuan in 1978 to 4627.98 billion
yuan in 1997 and the per capita saving deposits rose from 22
yuan to 3,744 yuan, up 218.8 times and 169.2 times,
People's housing conditions were
also remarkably improved. The per capita living space for
urban residents expanded from 3.6 square meters in 1978 to
8.8 square meters in 1997, a rise of 1.4 times and that for
rural residents enlarged from 8.1 square meters to 22.46
square meters, up 1.8 times.
market has an abundant supply of consumer goods and for most
of the commodities, supply exceeded demand and others
achieved a balance between supply and demand.
The number of TV sets among every 100
households in 1998 is higher than that of the world average
With the gradual improvement of
communications and telecommunications and other facilities
for living, people's life quality witnessed a marked
The per capita food consumption
expenses of residents dropped continuously. The
"Engel's Coefficient," which indicates the ratio
between the expenses of food and other items of consumption,
dropped from 59.5 percent in 1978 to 46.4 percent in 1997
and that of rural residents went down to 55 percent.
According to statistics, comprehensive
calculation in terms of economic development, living
standards, quality of the population and quality of people's
cultural life and living environment showed that by 1997,
86.52 percent of the Chinese had reached the preliminary
standards of a comfortable living.
indicated that the living standards of Chinese people have
exceeded the level of having adequate food and clothing, and
is approaching the standards of a comfortable living.
In 1998, China is continuing its tremendous
efforts on the protection and promotion of people's rights
to subsistence and development.
China was hit
in 1998 by rare catastrophic floods. Those hit by floods
were over 200 million people and the direct economic losses
topped 200 billion yuan.
During the fight
against the floods, the Chinese government always gave top
priority to ensuring the safety of people's lives in the
The government mobilized
people all over the country to take every possible effort to
ensure that people in the flood-hit areas had food to eat,
clothes to wear, clean water to drink, proper accommodation
and access to doctors.
All these provided
proper arrangements for people in the flood-hit areas and
the measures minimized losses of life and property.
The Chinese government also took effective
measures to seriously organize rebuilding projects in the
floods-hit areas and ensured that no major epidemic diseases
It also guaranteed that people in
the flood-hit areas spent the winter safely and ensured a
smooth rebuilding of their homeland and resumption of their
normal life and production.
The year 1998
witnessed the further spreading of the Asian financial
crisis which serious harmed the economic profits of many
Asian and Latin American countries and resulted in the
deterioration of the living conditions of hundreds of
millions of people and had a deep impact on China's economic
The Chinese government positively
responded to the Asian financial crisis, successfully
protected the country from the effects of the crisis,
achieved relatively rapid growth of the economy and people's
living standards have further improved.
1998, the GDP rose by 7.8 percent over the previous year,
the per capita income of the rural residents was 4.3 percent
up over the previous year in real terms and per capita
disposable income of urban residents increased by 5.8
percent in real terms.
At the same time, China
encountered pressure and endured great economic losses
because many neighboring countries devalued their currencies
by a large margin. But China has been maintaining it would
not devalue the Renminbi and has been making every possible
effort to help certain countries.
its own contributions to maintaining stability of the world
economy and reducing the harmful impact of the financial
crisis on people's subsistence and development conditions,
winning universal praise from countries worldwide.
While seeking universal improvement of
people's overall living standards, China has been paying
great attention to meeting the poverty-stricken people's
basic need for food and clothing.
common efforts made by the government and all walks of life,
another eight million rural poverty-stricken people met
their basic need for food and clothing in 1998.
The country's total poverty-stricken
population dropped from 250 million in 1978 to 42 million at
China has witnessed the quickest
decrease in its poverty-stricken population more than any
other country and in sharp contrast, there are still 1.3
billion poverty-stricken population in the world and the
figure is increasing at an annual rate of 25 million.
With the improvement of people's living
standards and living environment, people's health conditions
also marked a great improvement.
indicated that the death rate of people in China has dropped
from 33 per thousand before the founding of the People's
Republic of China 50 years ago to the present 5.5 per
At the same time, the life
expectancy of the Chinese people has gone up from 35 years
old 50 years ago to 70.83 years old at present.
The latest figure is 10 years elder than the
average index in developing countries and reached the level
in intermediate developed countries.
Guarantee of Citizens' Political Rights While promoting
people's rights of subsistence and development, China pays
great attention to the building of a democratic and legal
system, and the guarantee of citizens' political rights
according to law.
In China all power belongs
to the people, who exercise state power through the National
People's Congress (NPC) and people's congresses at all
The deputies to people's congresses at
all levels and the members of people's congress standing
committees are all democratically elected, responsible for
people and subject to people's supervision. They are from
all ethnic groups and all walks of life, with a wide
A total of 2,979 deputies were
elected early in 1998 to the Ninth National People's
Congress, of which workers and farmers accounted for 18.9
percent, intellectuals 21.08 percent, government officials
33.17 percent, non-Communist parties' members and people
without party affiliation 15.44 percent, men of People's
Liberation Army (PLA) 9 percent, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (HKSAR) 1.17 percent, and returned
overseas Chinese 1.24 percent.
As the supreme
state power organ, the NPC decides fundamental state
policies and principles, and formulates national laws.
In 1998, the First Session of the Ninth NPC
heard and deliberated work reports from the State Council,
the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's
Procuratorate; and examined and approved the Plan for
National Economic and Social Development, as well as the
financial budgets. It also elected and decided the new
leadership of the state.
The Ninth NPC and its
Standing Committee have deliberated and adopted 24 laws and
decisions concerning legal issues over the past one year and
more. In March 1999, in particular, the Second Session of
the Ninth NPC made amendments to the Constitution by adding
"implementing the principle of governing the country
according to law and making it a socialist country based on
the rule of law".
The elevation of
"governing the country according to law," which is
a basic principle in administering state affairs, into a
constitutional principle, is of great significance to the
building of a democratic and legal system and to the
guaranteeing of human rights according to law.
The legislation work has become more
democratic. In 1998, the NPC Standing Committee made public
the draft amendments to Land Administration Law, the drafts
to the Organic Law of Villagers' Committees and the Contract
Law and received opinions and suggestions from all walks of
life. Members of the NPC Standing Committee toured the
country to solicit opinions and suggestions about the
formulation and revision of many law drafts.
The NPC and its standing committee have
remarkably intensified their supervision upon implementation
of laws. In the 1993-1997 period, the Standing Committee of
the Eighth NPC inspected the implementation of 23 laws and
decisions concerning legal affairs, including the Law on the
Protection of Women's Rights and Interests and Labor Law.
In 1998, the Standing Committee of the Ninth
NPC organized six groups and inspected implementation of six
laws and decisions concerning legal affairs including the
Agriculture Law. And various special committees inspected
the implementation of eight laws, including the law on the
autonomy of ethnic minority regions. The inspections have
effectively prompted the implementation of those laws.
People's deputies have been more enthusiastic
in exercising state power. During the First Session of the
Ninth NPC in 1998, deputies put forward 830 proposals, a
record number; and put forward 2,782 suggestions, criticism
and opinions, with replies having been made to each of them
by relevant government departments.
Second Session of the Ninth NPC in 1999, people's deputies
put forward 759 motions, of which 60 percent are related to
legislation, again a record number, which demonstrated the
increased awareness of the deputies of the importance of
governing the country according to law.
NPC Standing Committee also deals with complaint and advice
letters and visits from the people. In 1998, the NPC
Standing Committee received more than 60,000 letters, met
over 11,000 ordinary citizens and urged relevant departments
to conclude a number of important cases and solve actual
problems and difficulties for the people.
system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation
led by the Chinese Communist Party is an important component
of China's democratic and political system.
The Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC), comprising of non-Communist parties,
people's groups and those without party affiliation, has a
The 2,196 members of the
9th National Committee of the CPPCC come from 34 sectors, of
which non-Communist party members account for 60.1 percent,
and members of China's eight non-Communist parties account
for 29.7 percent.
parties and the CPPCC are now playing an increasingly
important role in political consultation, democratic
supervision and the participation in and deliberation of
In the 1993-1998 period, the
CPC Central Committee sponsored 62 various forms of
activities consulting with CPPCC members who represent
non-Communist parties, people's groups and different ethnic
groups and different sectors on the state policies,
principles, candidates of state leaders as well as all
important policies, laws and regulations.
Statistics show that nearly 200 non-Communist
party members are now acting as prefecture-level officials
in China's provincial governments and more than 6,000
non-Communist party members are working in prefecture-level
city governments and departments of provinces as division
In the 1993-1997 period, the CPPCC
National Committee put forward more than 100 important
proposals, in the fields of politics, economy, social and
cultural life of the country, to the CPC Central Committee
and the State Council.
In 1998, the National
Committee members of the CPPCC submitted many suggestions
and opinions to the CPC Central Committee and the State
Council on such important issues as the re-employment of
laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises, rejuvenating
the nation through science and technology, and protecting
farmers' right of land use.
Committee of the CPPCC also organized 51 special
investigations on such topics as education and
poverty-relief work in ethnic minority regions and
state-owned enterprise reform, as well as the development of
environment-friendly industries, and produced 45 special
Meanwhile, the CPPCC
National Committee intensified efforts to handle motions and
managed to reflect the real situation of the country and
genuine opinions of the people.
First Session of the 9th National Committee of the CPPCC,
various non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of
Industry and Commerce, people's groups and the CPPCC
National Committee members have put forward 3,041 proposals
and put on file 2,664 cases, which were all sent to relevant
government departments and institutes for further
investigation and solution.
China has made
eye-catching progress in promoting democracy in grass-roots
units in rural areas. Villages across the country continue
to conduct rural grass-roots mass self-management activities
that focus on villagers' committee' democratic elections,
democratic policy-making, democratic management and
The director, deputy
directors and members of the villagers' committee are all
directly elected by eligible voters in a village through a
secret and competitive election, and they can be removed
from their posts if they do not perform well.
All major village affairs in connection with
villagers' rights and interests, such as land-contracting
plans and land for building houses, are all submitted to the
villagers' committee for deliberation and approval.
The routine affairs of the village are
democratically administered through villagers' meetings and
governed by villager self-management regulations and village
regulations in a democratic form, and the villagers conduct
democratic supervision upon the work of villagers' committee
and matters concerning villagers' interests through
village's budget records and other important information
made public by the committee.
By the end of
1997, more than 900,000 village committees had been elected,
with a total of 3.788 million villagers' committee cadres
now in place across the country.
To date, the
system of villagers' self-management has been established in
a preliminary fashion in 60 percent of China's villages.
Villagers' committees have generally conducted three to four
elections, with the participation rate of eligible voters
standing at over 90 percent.
The practice of
open and transparent village affairs has been established in
most of China's villages, and in 11 provinces and cities
including Hebei, Sichuan, Yunnan, Shanxi and Tianjin, such
practice has been introduced in more than 90 percent of
In November 1998, the NPC Standing
Committee adopted the newly revised Organic Law on
Villagers' Committee, which is aimed at perfecting the
system of villagers' autonomy, promoting the building of
grass-roots democracy in rural China, and providing a firm
legal guarantee for the masses to directly exercise
III. Judicial Guarantee for
Since 1979, the National People's
Congress and its Standing Committee have promulgated 351
laws and decisions concerning legal issues; the State
Council has formulated over 800 administrative regulations
and ordinances; and local people's congresses and their
standing committees have adopted more than 6,000 local laws
and regulations. A relatively systematic legal establishment
now provides fundamental legal guarantees for various
aspects of social life and human rights of citizens.
China cracks down on criminal offenses in
accordance with law, and guarantees the safety of the
livelihood and property of its citizens, as well as various
other aspects of human rights.
and judicial departments have consistently cracked down on
serious violent crimes such as homicides, robberies, rape
and the illegal use of explosives.
courts across China handled some 480,000 cases of the first
instance and sentenced more than 530,000 criminals in 1998.
In addition to investigating and punishing
crimes and protecting the rights of victims according to
law, judicial departments have also paid close attention to
safeguarding the legal rights of defendants and criminal
suspects in terms of legal aid, defense, applications for
withdrawal of judicial personnel, appeals, charges against
infringements of legal rights and obtaining compensation.
Various courts in the past year concluded
1,431 cases of state compensation in strict accordance with
the State Indemnity Law and ensured the legitimate rights
and interests of Chinese citizens.
rigorously enforced the letter of the law and strengthened
human rights protection efforts in every aspect of law
Courts and procuratorates
nationwide launched and intensified education movement last
year in an effort to combat judicial corruption, and ensure
justice and the legitimate rights and interests of
The initiative of law enforcement
departments to act in accordance with the law has been
comprehensively enhanced, a number of misjudged cases have
been corrected, and violations of the law and discipline on
the part of judicial personnel have been seriously
investigated and corrected. Rules and the overall system for
rigorous enforcement of the law in a civil manner have been
adopted, as well as a mechanism providing checks and
balances on the judiciary.
that last year courts across the country reexamined 4.56
million closed cases, with misjudgments cited for some
12,000 cases. Over 11,600 have been corrected. A total of 2,
512 legal or disciplinary violations on the part of judges
and court officials were dealt with during 1998, with some
221 officials prosecuted.
departments reexamined 477,000 cases and rectified 3,773
mishandled cases in 1998. Related departments granted
compensations for 161 litigants involved in mishandled
criminal cases. Related departments redressed excessive
periods of detention for 729 criminal suspects.
A total of 1,641 prosecutors suspected of
violations of law and breaches of disciplines were
investigated. Some 1,550 have been settled, with 116 people
In 1998, courts at all levels
extended great efforts to promote open trials and intensify
social and media supervision over court proceedings. Open
trials were conducted in all first instance cases, with the
exception case the law defines as inappropriate for a public
hearing. In terms of second instance cases, courts adopted
open trials and related verdicts or rulings were announced
Trials of various major cases were
televised or broadcast live. The general public has voiced
total support for 11 higher people's courts and 58
intermediate courts which have permitted televised cases.
The Supreme People's Court issued its
"Regulations on Strictly Enforcing the Open Trial
System" in March 1999. The regulations contain
stringent standards for the scope of trials open to the
public. The regulations specifically stipulate that all
proceedings and aspects of trial-related activities must be
open to the public. They also provide for relevant
mechanisms which guarantee implementation of the open trial
Procuratorial departments have
accelerated efforts to supervise law enforcement and have
focused on problems involving lawsuits, including failures
to file criminal cases, failure to file charges against
individuals suspected of criminal offenses and various other
forms of judiciary injustice.
procuratorates issued 71,000 corrected opinions on excessive
detention periods for criminal suspects, and 9,964 corrected
opinions on illegal detentions by police.
Procurators challenged 3,791 criminal
judgments which they deemed to be incorrect, and issued
corrected opinions concerning 1, 211 cases involving
irregularities in the judicial process, as well as 9,672
cases involving irregularities by relevant departments in
terms of commutations, paroles, temporary decisions allowing
individuals to serve sentences outside prison under
surveillance, and prisoners released on bail for medical
Procuratorates fulfilled their
supervisory role in civil and administrative cases by
focusing on civil, economic and administrative judgments, as
well as wrongful rulings. Related departments examined
26,158 appeals and challenged court verdicts for 8,438
In addition to handling crimes related
to official duties, procuratorates investigated and
prosecuted 7,067 judicial personnel and law enforcement
administrative personnel involved in 5,811 cases of bribery
and abuse of power. They also handled 1,467 crime cases
related to illegal custody, forced confessions, retaliation
or frame-ups in an effort to protect the legitimate rights
of citizens according to law.
contingent of lawyers has grown rapidly, and has emerged as
a major force which safeguards the legitimate rights and
interests of citizens.
The number of law firms
jumped from 79 in 1979 to 8,600 at the end of 1998, with the
number of lawyers soaring from a mere 212 to more than
By the end of March 1999, 79 foreign
law firms (including 27 from the United States) and 26 law
firms from Hong Kong had opened offices in China.
Chinese lawyers handled over two million
criminal, 1.21 million civil and 1.5 million economic
lawsuits, as well as 2.06 million legal investigation cases
between 1993 and 1997. Chinese lawyers currently serve as
consultants for 250,000 government institutions and
The national legal aid system is
playing an ever increasing role in improving the country's
legal system, protecting the rights and interests of
citizens and ensuring that justice is served.
The establishment of the Legal Aid Foundation
of China and Legal Aid Center under the Ministry of Justice
in May 1997 marked a substantial step of the nation's effort
to establish and implement the legal aid system.
In 1998, more than 500 legal aid institutions
nationwide handled over 80,000 legal aid cases, offered
legal consultations to more than one million people, making
tremendous contributions to guaranteeing that Chinese
citizens facing economic difficulties protect their rights
and interests on an equal footing.
Citizen's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
China attaches great importance to the
protection of citizen's labor and social security rights. In
order to protect citizen's rights of employment, the state
offers employment services and directions through developing
various employment agencies, creates jobs, opens job
training classes and adopts many other measures to promote
the workers' employment and re-employment.
Over the past two decades, with the economic
development, China has created non-agricultural jobs of more
than 250 million, and 130 million laborers have been changed
from the agricultural to non-agricultural sector.
By the end of 1997, China had established over
34,000 employment agencies. With their help, a total of
8.737 million people found jobs that year. The registered
unemployment rate in cities and towns was 3.1 percent in
A re-employment project aiming to solve
the problem of the jobless and the laid-off workers was
initiated in 1994, and has been carried out nationwide.
By the end of 1998, all of the state-owned
enterprises with laid-off workers had set up re-employment
service centers and 99 percent of the laid-off workers had
registered with the centers, with 93.2 percent of them
receiving living expenses from the centers. With the help of
the re-employment project, 10.425 million workers laid off
by state-owned enterprises were re-employed in 1997 and
The state actively promotes the
development of job training, exploits workers' job skills
and increases their employment capability. There were 4,395
secondary technical training schools in China by the end of
1997, with nearly 1.932 million students and 699,000
graduates that year. At the same time, 1.37 million
personnel of various kinds also received training in the
There were also 2,700 employment
training centers and over 20, 000 non-government training
agencies approved by labor departments at various levels by
the end of 1997, with an annual training capacity of about
The state protects laborers'
rights to payment, and their income level has been increased
gradually on the basis of economic development. In 1997, the
total income volume of workers throughout the country was
940.53 billion yuan, up 3.6 percent over the previous year.
The per capita annual income of the workers in 1997 was
6,470 yuan, up 4.2 percent than the previous year. If taking
into consideration price fluctuations, it rose 1.1 percent
in real terms.
In the first half of 1998,
workers in China earned a total wage of 446.69 billion yuan,
18.7 billion yuan more than the same period of the previous
year, up 4.4 percent in real terms. The per capita monthly
salary was 513 yuan, a real increase of six percent on an
The state has implemented a
minimum wage system. To date, all provinces, autonomous
regions, and municipalities have issued and implemented the
lowest standards for wages in their own areas to ensure the
minimum wage standard for workers.
the safety and health of workers, the state has promulgated
a large number of special laws and regulations, established
and improved labor safety and health systems, and
strengthened the supervision and examination on labor safety
In recent years, injury and death
from accidents in enterprises and the incidence of
occupational diseases have dropped. More enterprises have
been given approval for their work environment after routine
examinations In 1997, the incidence of fatal accidents
dropped 12.5 percent over the previous year, with the death
toll down 9.8 percent. The number of major accidents
decreased by 15.6 percent, and the death toll in serious
accidents declined 1.8 percent.
security work has witnessed rapid development. By the end of
1998, a unified basic pension system for workers had been
basically established throughout the country, and most of
the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities had
carried out their own basic pension insurance systems in a
More than 84 million workers have
participated in the pension insurance systems, and 99
percent of the retirees receive their pensions in full
amount on time.
By the end of 1998, 79.32
million workers had contributed to unemployment insurance.
Up to the end of 1997, 3.964 million workers and 11.15
million retirees had participated in the reform of the
medical insurance system. About 11.553 million enterprise
workers and 2.668 million retirees had joined in the medical
cost social pools for major diseases.
same time, 26 provinces, autonomous regions, and
municipalities had implemented social pools for work-related
injury insurance and birth insurance, with 35.078 million
and 24.859 million enterprise workers participating in the
social pools for the two insurance systems respectively.
Social relief and social welfare work has
developed steadily. A system to ensure a minimum standard of
living for city residents had been established in 600 cities
and 1,242 counties by the end of 1998, providing more than
3.32 million people with relief for the minimum standard of
living. Welfare institutions cross the country had a total
of 1.06 million beds, caring for 800,000 people.
The right of Chinese citizens to receive
education has been further protected. The state has
increased investment in education, and vigorously created
improved educational conditions for citizens.
In 1997, China's total expenditure on
education increased by 11.91 percent over the previous year,
with the government's budgeted expenditure on education up
The state budget expenditure on
education accounted for 2.49 percent of the GDP, higher than
the previous year. The education funds in the budgets of
both central and local governments rose 12.03 percent over
the previous year.
In 1998, an additional 360
counties, cities and districts met the demand to make the
nine years of compulsory education universal and basically
wipe out illiteracy among the young and adults. This meant
that the total number of the counties, cities and districts
realizing the goal came to 2,242 and covered 73 percent of
the total population, compared to 65 percent in 1997.
China wiped out illiteracy in 3.2 million
youngsters and adults in 1998, reducing the illiteracy rate
among the young and adults to 5.5 percent.
China had 629,000 primary schools nationwide
in 1997, and the goal that every child could attend primary
school was basically realized. There were 66,000 junior
middle schools, and 94 percent of the graduates from primary
schools entered junior middle schools.
the graduates from junior middle schools received education
in 31,000 senior middle schools. There were more than 2,000
colleges and universities with an enrollment capacity of
more than two million. About 45 percent of the graduates
from senior middle schools entered colleges and
In 1997, 6.08 million students
were studying in colleges and universities, including
180,000 postgraduates, 2.2 times and 9.6 times the figures
of 1979 respectively.
The gross enrollment
rate of colleges and universities increased to 9.07 percent,
higher than the average level of developing countries.
According to statistics, 42.5 percent of China's population
aged at or above 25 have received secondary education,
approaching the level in developed countries including the
V. Legitimate Rights and
Interests of Women and Children
have been more and more involved in the administration of
state and social affairs. There are 650 women deputies to
the Ninth National People's Congress, accounting for 21.82
percent of the total, up 0.82 percentage points over the
Eighth NPC. There are 341 female members of the Ninth
National Committee of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference, accounting for 15.5 percent of the
total, up 1.54 percentage points over the Eighth National
Committee of the CPPCC.
Currently, there are
five female state leaders, 18 female ministers and
vice-ministers in China. There are women among the
provincial level party and government officials in all of 31
provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, which
bring the total number of female provincial officials up to
43, an increase of 46.47 percent, compared with five years
By the end of 1997, the number of women
cadres in government departments, enterprises and
institutions had climbed to 13.838 million, making up 34.3
percent of the total number of cadres in China. The number
is eight percent bigger than the figure of 1995.
The number of women employees in China has
increased and the proportion of women employed is larger
than before. According to a survey of employment conducted
by the International Labor Organization in the United
States, Russia, India and other 23 countries in 1998, the
employment rate of Chinese women reached 56 percent, ranking
first among all the other countries.
women employees accounted for 46.5 percent of the total
number of employed people, up 1.5 percentage points over
1990. The total number of women employees has increased by
more than 36 million compared with the figure of 1990.
There were 5.13 million women employees in
non-public businesses in 1997, more than six times the
figure for 1990 and women employees in such businesses
accounted for 47 percent of the total number, compared with
36 percent in 1990. The overall employment rate of female
workers is increasing in spite of the increasing number of
female laid-off workers which is a result of the structural
readjustment of industries and the change in the enterprise
Women's educational level
has been greatly improved. It is estimated that in 1997, the
average personal education period for female population
above 15 years old stood at 6.41 years, an increase of
nearly one year over 1990, and a more rapid growth compared
with that of the male education period.
illiteracy rate amongst female adults dropped from the 31.93
percent in 1990 to 23.20 percent in 1997. The discrepancy
between the enrollment rate of boys and girls decreased from
the 2.91 percentage points in 1990 to 0.21 percentage points
in 1997. By the end of 1997, there were more than 1.18
million female undergraduate students and more than 50,000
female graduate students, which accounted for 36 percent and
30 percent respectively of the total.
proportions of female students in primary and middle schools
have increased from 41.5 percent and 44.9 percent
respectively in 1978 to 45.5 percent and 47.6 percent
respectively in 1997.
By the end of 1998,
among the more than 1,000 academicians at the Chinese
Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering,
there were 62 female academicians, or six percent of the
total number, higher than that in any other country.
The health of Chinese women has continuously
improved. In 1998, there were 3,207 hospitals for women and
children, with 42,002 beds.
organizations at all levels have built up a health care
network for women and children gradually, and a complete
series of health services, which include recording the
health condition of women in early pregnancy, ante-natal
examinations, medi-care for pregnant women in critical
cases, child delivery in hospital and visits after delivery,
have been set up to guarantee safe births.
1997, 63.5 percent of pregnant women delivered children at
hospital, and the mortality of pregnant women and women in
labor was 63.6 per 100,000, a one-third decrease from the
figure of 1990.
The average life expectancy of
women has risen from 36.7 years before the founding of the
People's Republic of China in 1949 to 73.2 years in 1997,
4.5 years longer than that of male Chinese, and eight years
longer than that of women by the year 2000 estimated by the
The rights of children are
protected in accordance with the law. In 1997, there were
183,000 kindergartens in China, with 25.19 million children.
The gross enrollment rate of kindergarten children is above
40 percent, and the enrollment rate of children at school
age reached 98.9 percent, up 1.1 percentage points from the
figure of 1990.
In 1998, Project Hope helped
251,800 school dropouts and built 1,855 primary schools,
while aiding 53,907 children from poor families.
During the nine years since it was initiated,
Project Hope has received domestic and overseas donations in
cash totaling 1.611 billion yuan (about 194 million U.S.
dollars), and has aided over two million school dropouts,
and helped build 7,111 primary schools.
settle the problem of the school enrollment of children
among the transient population, the then State Education
Commission and the Ministry of Public Security issued
"Temporary Provisions on Transient Children's
Schooling" in 1998, and asked the people's governments
which are responsible for the management of the transient
population to provide more school opportunities to children,
and guarantee a certain period of compulsory education.
In 1997, there were 1,440 special schools for
handicapped children across the country, nearby doubling the
figure of 1990. The school enrollment of the blind, dead and
mentally-retarded children has increased from six percent to
64.3 percent. The number of children in special education
schools has increased from 31,000 in 1978 to 341,000 people
in 1997. The number of handicapped children who study at
ordinary schools totaled 340,600, almost five times the
figure of 1990.
The health level of children
in China has been remarkably improved. At present, there are
4,730 infant-friendly hospitals across the country.
Statistics show that by the end of 1997, China
had achieved or was going to realize 14 out of the 24 goals
for the development of children in the world by the year
The infant mortality rate and the
mortality rate of children under five years old stood at
33.1 and 42.3 per thousand respectively. The infant
mortality rate has dropped 40.9 per thousand from the 74 per
thousand of 20 years ago and the mortality of children under
five years old has also dropped by about one-third.
In 1997, the mortality of children suffering
from diarrhea was 141.7 per 100,000, down 67.8 percent from
Some 3,371 rehabilitation centers have
been built across the country, with 4.16 million handicapped
people recovering to various degrees within ten years. Among
them, 90,000 deaf children have been able to speak, 600,000
children suffering from sequelae of polio have improved
their body function through orthopedics.
140,000 mentally retarded children have improved their
learning ability and ability to take care of themselves,
through rehabilitation training.
The State has
funded the building of 91 children's welfare institutes in
urban areas, which have received more than 20,000 orphans.
China has eliminated the incidence of polio
through a planned immunization program. The project of
putting iodine in salt and providing iodine pills for more
than 90 million pregnant women and infants under two years
old has reduced the incidence of the handicapped caused by
China follows the policy
that all ethnic groups are equal and all the ethnic groups
enjoy special protection. The people of all the ethnic
groups not only enjoy the same rights offered by China's
Constitution and laws as the Han nationality, but also enjoy
the special rights specially designed for the ethnic groups.
The ethnic groups enjoy the rights to
participate in administrating the affairs of the country and
of their own groups. All the 55 ethnic groups have their
deputies to the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) and
members in the Ninth National Committee of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The
ethnic groups, with their aggregated population accounting
for 8.98 percent of the total of China, have 428 NPC
deputies, or 14.37 percent of the total NPC deputies, and
have 257 CPPCC members, or 11.7 percent of the total CPPCC
China institutes a system of regional
autonomy in areas inhabited by ethnic groups. Sixty-three
more areas have become autonomous in China since 1978.
Today, China has five autonomous regions, 30
autonomous prefectures, 120 autonomous counties or banners,
and more than 1,200 townships of various ethnic groups.
Among China's 55 ethnic minority groups, 45
have set up autonomous areas of their own. The population of
ethnic minority groups in different autonomous areas makes
up 75 percent of the whole population of China's ethnic
The system of regional ethnic
autonomy has granted all ethnic minority groups the right to
fully govern the affairs of the autonomous areas and local
According to the Law on
Regional National Autonomy, the chairman or vice-chairman of
the standing committee of local people's congress of the
autonomous areas are invariably citizens of the ethnic group
that exercises regional autonomy.
all autonomous regions, and heads of an autonomous
prefecture and autonomous county should all be citizens of
the ethnic group that exercises regional autonomy.
Other members of the people's government of an
autonomous region are also to be made up, as far as
conditions permit, by citizens of the ethnic group that
exercises regional autonomy and citizens of other ethnic
minority groups in that area.
ethnic minority background account for 2.5 million in China
today. In 1998, Tibetan officials made up of 74.9 percent of
all officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
By offering policy preferences as well as
support in funds, technologies and skilled professionals,
the central government has promoted economic development and
social progress, and improved the living standard of local
people in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities.
Statistics show that the Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) of the regions mostly inhabited by ethnic
minorities across the country increased to 708.7 billion
yuan (about 85 billion U.S. dollars) in 1997 from 1978's
32.4 billion yuan (about 3.9 billion U.S. dollars), a
21-fold increase and an annual growth rate of 10.9 percent
which was even 1.1 percentage points higher than the
The 1997's GDP per capita of
these regions, 15 times more than that of 1978, increased to
4,053 yuan (about 488.3 U.S. dollars) from 247 yuan (about
29.8 U.S. dollars). The net annual income of farmers there
increased by more than 11 times to 1,482 yuan (about 178.6
U.S. dollars) in 1997 from 1978's 120 yuan (about 14.5 U.S.
dollars). The disposable income of urban residents grew by
nearly 12 times to 4,818 yuan (about 580.5 U.S. dollars) in
1997 from 1978's 375 yuan (about 45.2 U.S. dollars).
In recent years, the fixed financial subsidies
to the Tibet Autonomous Region by the central government
surpassed 1.2 billion yuan (about 144.6 million U.S.
dollars) each year. The central government invested more
than 40 billion yuan in Tibet from the 1950s to 1997.
Meanwhile a great amount of goods and materials were
transported to Tibet.
In 1984 nine provinces
and municipalities aided Tibet by undertaking 43
construction projects. The central government and various
regions across the country again in 1994 provided free aid
to Tibet for 62 projects with a total investment of four
billion yuan (about 482 million U.S. dollars). To date
construction of 60 of the 62 projects has been completed.
The aid and support from the rest of the
country has greatly accelerated economic development in
Tibet and remarkably improved the life of local people.
According to statistics, the economy of Tibet
has been developing at an annual growth rate of 12.9 percent
over the past five consecutive years. And the economic
growth rate of Tibet has surpassed that of the national
average for two successive years.
farmers and herdsmen's annual income reached 1,150 yuan
(about 139 U.S. dollars) on average in 1998. The living
expense income per capita of urban residents that year
surpassed for the first time the national average to reach
5,130 yuan (about 618 U.S. dollars).
average floor space one Tibet urban resident occupies was 14
square meters, almost five square meters more than that of
the national average. The figure was more than 20 square
meters in rural areas of Tibet, about the same as that in
other rural areas across the country.
population of Tibet grew to more than 2.4 million in 1998
from some one million before the democratic reform of Tibet
four decades ago. And the average life expectancy was
extended by 30 years.
The ethnic minorities'
right to education and culture has been guaranteed. The
number of ethnic teachers increased to 833,200 in 1997
compared with 433,000 in 1978; the number of ethnic students
enrolled in schools at different levels increased from
10.248 million to more than 29 million. The proportion of
ethnic students is, respectively, 6.8 percent in colleges,
6.7 percent in middle schools and 8.9 percent in primary
schools; 97.6 percent of school-age children attend primary
schools in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and 7 other
major ethnic minority provinces and regions.
Fifty-five ethnic minorities have their own
college graduates and the number of college students per
10,000 persons of more than 10 ethnic minorities has gone
beyond the national average. In old Tibet, there were no
schools in modern sense and the illiteracy rate was as high
as 97 percent.
By 1998, 4,365 schools at all
levels had been set up in the Tibet Autonomous Region and
the illiteracy rate dropped by 47 percentage points. The
literacy rate in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is now
above 96 percent, 2 percentage points above the national
China emphasizes the protection of
the freedom of ethnic minorities for their traditional
cultures and their freedom in religious beliefs. In China,
ethnic minority freedom is guaranteed by law to use and
develop their both spoken and written languages, to preserve
or reform their customs, and to believe in religions as they
wish. Statistics show that bilingual education in Chinese
and other ethnic languages is practiced in more than 10,000
schools at all levels and in more than 60 ethnic languages.
There is also bilingual education in middle
schools and primary schools in Tibet, and departments or
classes of Tibetan language have been established in
colleges and vocational schools in Tibet.
The fine Tibetan traditional culture
has been carried forward and developed. Currently there are
over 50 research institutes nationwide studying Tibetan
culture involving thousands of researchers.
The work to systematically investigate,
collect, compile and publish the traditional cultural
heritage of Tibet on a large scale is continuing.
Abundant traditional Tibetan classics have
been compiled and preserved. The Tibetan People's Publishing
House has compiled and published classics covering Buddhist
scripture, Tibetan pharmacology, the Tibetan calendar,
history, biography and literature, etc.
Tibetan Library alone has collected and compiled over 100,
000 volumes of Tibetan classics. The Tibet Autonomous
Regional Government has set up a specific bureau to compile
the Tibetan epic King Gesar and over 50 million words have
been compiled and more than 30 books have been published on
Large numbers of rare cultural
relics have been put under full protection. After the
maintenance project of the Potala Palace, the regional
government allocated 26 million yuan to complete a similar
project at the Gandan Palace in October 1997.
The health care conditions for ethnic
minorities have been greatly improved. A basic medical and
public health network now covers the whole of the Tibet
By the end of 1997, there
had been in Tibet 1,324 medical and health establishments,
6,246 hospital beds, averaging some 2.5 beds per 1,000
people; and 10,929 medical professionals with 1.84 doctors
per 1,000 people.
The Ningxia Hui Autonomous
Region has now 476 medical and health establishments,
averaging 5.15 doctors per 1,000 people, and the average
medical expense is 19.51 yuan per person, with a growth rate
respectively of 51.59 percent, 213.41 percent and 2,923.14
percent as compared with the figures of 1957. The lack of
medicine in poor rural areas has been totally eradicated.
VII. Foreign Exchange and Cooperation in the
Field of Human Rights
respects universal principles of the international community
on human rights, advocating to hold dialogues and
cooperation among countries in terms of human rights.
1998 was the 50th anniversary of the adoption
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In January
1998, Chinese President Jiang Zemin wrote a letter to UN.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, expressing that the Chinese
Government fully supports the international community to
commemorate the programmatic document in the sphere of human
rights, reviewed and summed up activities and work done in
the field, and looked forward to the future.
On December 10, 1998, President Jiang wrote a
letter to a commemorative meeting marking the 50th
anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, which was hosted by the China Society for
Human Rights Studies.
President Jiang highly
valued the position and role of the important document,
saying that the Chinese people, together with the
international community, will make their own contribution to
a just, reasonable, peaceful and prosperous world.
In October 1998, China hosted the first
international symposium on World Human Rights Toward the
21st Century. Nearly 100 experts and scholars from 26
countries invited to the symposium summed up the practices
and experiences in international human rights since the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted. They also
studied the opportunities and challenges in the field of
international human rights and discussed the prospects of
the cross-century development of human rights in the world.
They summed up the practice and experience in
the field of human rights protection in the world in the 50
years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, studied opportunities and challenges the
international community is facing now, and inquired into the
development perspective of international human rights in the
coming next century.
The Vice-Premier of the
State Council Qian Qichen was invited to speak at the
symposium. Qian expounded the principled stand held by the
Chinese Government for promoting international human rights.
As for part of the activities marking the 50th
anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of
the Human Rights, the Chinese academic and research circles
also organized a series of other symposiums.
In addition, China Central Radio Station in
December broadcast various programs on human rights
progress, popularizing the knowledge of human rights.
The Chinese Government always attaches great
importance of international human rights covenants, which
are regarded as playing an active role in promoting the
progress of human rights.
China has so far
signed a total of 17 international covenants on human rights
and taken various measures to conscientiously implement the
covenants which China has joined. On this basis, it signed
the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights in October 1997 and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights in October 1998.
China is now deliberating the covenants in
accordance with the Constitution and concerned laws.
In accordance with the Joint Declaration
between China and Britain on the Question of Hong Kong and
the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the relevant provisions in the
two covenants applicable to Hong Kong continue to be
effective in the region and will be implemented through laws
in the HKSAR.
In November 1997, the Chinese
Government decided to transmit to the United Nations reports
by its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the
implementation of the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, thus making the relevant
institutions involving the covenants and the international
community better aware of the human rights conditions in the
China has actively cooperated with the
United Nations in the field of human rights. In September
1998, the Chinese Government invited the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, to visit
China. The two sides extensively exchanged their views on
human rights issues and signed a Memorandum of Intent on a
technical cooperation program.
In 1999, China
invited a concerned expert group from the office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit
China. The expert group conducted friendly exchanges and
extensively discussed issues on consultation and
technological cooperation in the field of human rights and
exchanged views with relevant Chinese government
departments, non-governmental organizations and relevant
local government departments.
In recent years,
the Chinese Government has invited the UN Special Rapporteur
on Religious Intolerance in 1994 and the UN Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention in 1996 to the country.
the near future, China plans to invite the United Nations
Special Rapporteur on Torture to come for a visit.
China always advocates dialogues and opposes
confrontations in the field of human rights. For the past
several years, China has conducted dialogues and cooperation
in the field of human rights with many foreign countries.
Chinese leaders have extensively discussed and exchanged
views in the field during their meetings with foreign heads
of state and government, as well as concerned personages
from foreign countries.
In 1997, President
Jiang Zemin paid a successful state visit to the United
States. In the Joint Statement between China and the United
States, the two sides are determined to build toward a
constructive strategic partnership.
that while China and the United States have areas of
disagreement on human rights issues, they should carry out
governmental and non-governmental dialogues on the basis of
equality and mutual respect.
China in 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton met Chinese
President Jiang Zemin and held candid talks on human rights
issues. The two presidents reiterated the common ground
announced in the Sino-U.S. Joint Statement.
1998, the European Union and the United States gave up
anti-China proposals in the 54th session of the UN
Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva, pushing forward
the dialogues and cooperation between China and other
After that, China held governmental
and non-governmental talks on human rights issues with
Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Brazil,
Japan, the United States and the European Union.
The bilateral and multi-lateral talks between
them stimulated extensive exchanges and cooperation,
improved mutual understanding and made great achievements.
The same as the rest of the world, China has
many problems which should be solved in the field of human
rights. The Chinese Government is willing to learn from
other countries useful experience in promoting the
development of human rights.
persistently accelerate the progress in human rights in the
country. Meanwhile, it will actively push forward the
healthy development in international human rights progress
through dialogues and cooperation.