Human Rights as the Basis for a New Chinese Constitutionalism
In China, before the 1990s, the conception of human rights has been regarded as a concept of a bourgeoisie’s right and not a socialist notion.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Chinese government started participating in the international dialogue concerning protection of human rights and gradually learned about the current movement in the sphere of international protection of human rights. On the basis of taking a prudent look at the concept and significance of human rights, human rights were accepted by the Chinese government and academic groups. A great success in the field of protection of human rights in China is the signing of two important international covenants on human rights: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). With the wave of spreading support for the concept of human rights, when the new amendments to the current Constitution were passed by the NPC on March 14, 2004, the concept of human rights was incorporated in the Constitution with the latter providing: “[t]he state respects and protects human rights.”
On April 13, 2009, the Chinese government published its first working plan on human rights protection, pledging to further protect and improve the country’s human rights conditions in an all-round way. According to this document, in the period of 2009–2010, China was to continue to fulfill its obligations to the international human rights conventions to which it has acceded as well as initiate and actively participate in exchanges and cooperation in the field of international human rights.
KeywordsSupra Note Chinese Government National Human National Action Plan Optional Protocol
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