The Chinese government on Monday publicized its second national plan for human rights protection, promising to address challenges and work for the happiness and dignity of every citizen.
The new plan, which addresses human rights protection work from 2012-2015, was published by the State Council Information Office and follows the previous one that covered the 2009-2010 period.
Due to the influences and limitations of natural, historical and cultural factors, as well as the current level of economic and social development, China is still facing many challenges in the development of its human rights cause and it has a long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy human rights, the document says.
"It should be remembered that China remains a developing country that is fraught with problems from unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development," it says.
The 2012-2015 period will be a crucial time for the country to improve its human rights situation while implementing the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), deepening reform and opening-up and accelerating the transformation of the country's economic development pattern, it says.
In the next three years, the Chinese government will combine its human rights endeavors with economic, political, cultural, social and ecological construction, the document says.
To meet people's needs of living better lives, the country will "prioritize people's rights to subsistence and development," the document says, adding that it will safeguard and improve people's livelihood and spare no efforts to solve problems of the utmost and immediate concern to the people.
Moreover, the country will practically safeguard its citizens' economic, political, social and cultural rights and promote social equity and harmony, so as to ensure that every member of society lives "a happier and more dignified life," it says.
GUARANTEEING CIVIL RIGHTS
"China endeavors to develop socialist democracy, improve the socialist rule of law, expand the orderly political participation of citizens and guarantee people's civil and political rights in an all-around way," the document says.
In the plan, the country promises to observe more stringent judicial procedures for issuing the death penalty and the supreme court's review of cases in which the death penalty is issued.
China will improve the trial procedures in death penalty cases, the document says, adding that second-instance trials for all death penalty cases will be open to the public and the review of the death penalty should include the questioning of the defendant and hearing the opinions of his or her attorney, if the attorney so demands.
The supreme court will publicize typical cases to clarify standards for applying the death penalty, it says.
Measures will also be adopted to protect the rights of the citizens involved in lawsuits and law enforcement activities. For instance, the country will equip police investigation rooms with sound and video recording devices as well as video surveillance systems to prevent any violation of citizens' rights.
It will also step up efforts in investigating and punishing officials who abuse their power and violate citizens' rights in cases such as those involving illegal detention.
PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
In the plan, the Chinese government pledges to protect religious activities in accordance with the law.
The country will improve the organization and management of the hajj, or the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and provide better services for pilgrims, the document says.
The government will provide financial support for the construction of new school buildings in the Buddhist Academy of China as well as the expansion and improvement of the China Islamic Institute.
More money will be budgeted for rebuilding and expanding religious venues in Tibetan-inhabited areas in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces.