Full Text: Progress in China's Human Rights in 2012 (15)

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-5-14 11:11:59

Citizens' right to good eco-environment is further secured. From 2008 to 2012 China dredged 24,500 km of key medium and small rivers, and increased the water-saving irrigation area by 7.7 million hectares (ha). In 2011 and 2012, the central government earmarked a special fund of 2.4 billion yuan for supporting a pilot program for a balanced lake eco-system, increasing the initial eight lakes to 27 now. So far, 80,000 mu (about 5,333 ha.-tr.) of wetlands have been restored and 160,000 mu (about 10,667 ha.-tr.) of forest-covered area has been created in the first eight lakes of the pilot program, effectively improving the water quality and self-recovery capability of these lakes. China implements in full a mechanism for subsidization for grassland eco-system protection. In 2011 and 2012 the central coffer allocated 28.6 billion yuan to subsidize a grazing ban on 1.23 billion mu (about 82 million ha.-tr.) of pastureland and to reward efforts to achieve a balance between the forage yield and number of animals on 2.605 billion mu (about 174 million ha.-tr.) of pastureland. By 2012 the vegetation coverage of grasslands across China had reached 53.8 percent, an increase of 2.8 percentage points over 2011, and the fresh grass yield of natural pastures amounted to 1.05 billion tons, an increase of 4.7 percent over 2011. The comprehensive conservation of water and soil has been further improved. From 2008 to 2012 an additional 29.53 million ha. of land was planted with trees, desertification was halted on 11.96 million ha. of land, soil erosion on 246,000 sq km of land was brought under control, and a total of 180,000 sq km of land was improved. The number of key counties halting stony desertification was increased to 300, and the project to control the sources of the sandstorms that hit Beijing and Tianjin was extended to include 138 counties in six provincial-level regions. The pace is accelerated in key regional eco-system development projects, such as the comprehensive treatment plan of the Tarim, Heihe and Shiyang river basins and the plan of water resources sustainable utilization for Beijing. The integrated project for rational utilization of water resources and ecological protection in Dunhuang has been going into full swing. China's urban green areas now total 2,242,861 ha., covering 39.22 percent of the total urban land, with the per-capita green area in public parks being 11.8 sq m. China now has 10,780 public parks, among which 63 are key national ones and 45 national urban wetland parks. Regional ecological treatment and protection has been constantly intensified. The state has set up the National Committee for Biodiversity Protection. By the end of 2012, there were 2,640 nature reserves of various kinds and at various levels in China (excluding those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions), among which 363 were at national level, covering an area of 94.15 million ha., or 9.7 percent of China's total land area. Besides, China boasted 962 scenic areas, among which 225 were national ones, covering an area of 193,700 sq km, or 2.02 percent of China's total area. In order to improve the eco-system of the Qinghai Lake area, the state set up a 6,200-mu (about 413 ha.-tr.) experimental and demonstration zone for wetland protection and recovery, a 10,100-mu (about 673 ha.-tr.) demonstration zone for desertification control and a 14,650-mu (about 977 ha.-tr.) demonstration zone for deteriorated grassland recovery. A regional technical mode of ecological environment improvement was formed, effectively improving the eco-system of the lake area. Steady progress has been made in protecting its wetlands. The state has confirmed 11 national major wetlands and the total number of wetlands has reached 39. An additional 330,000 ha. of wetlands is put under state protection, and 23,000 ha. of wetlands is restored. It has introduced pilot projects for recovering the habitats of nearly 20 species of wild animals and implemented breeding projects for nearly 30 species of rare or endangered wild animals. Marine ecological environment protection has also been strengthened. In 2012 the State Oceanic Administration investigated and handled 176 cases that violated the marine environment law. The newly established 15 national marine conservation zones increased the total conservation area by 751 sq km. China has initiated a plan to create a red-line system in the Bohai Sea to delimit zones in which development is prohibited or limited. It confirmed 21 marine eco-environment restoration projects and 70 island improvement and protection projects. Among the 301 offshore seawater quality monitoring points, 69.4 percent met the national Grade I or II standards for ocean water quality. VI. Foreign Exchanges and Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

China has long taken the initiative to have exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the realm of human rights. It plays a constructive role in the UN's human rights bodies, encouraging countries around the world to handle human rights issues fairly, objectively and non-selectively. It endeavors to promote the sound development of human rights on the international stage.

Constructively participating in UN human rights activities. In 2010 and 2011 China constructively engaged in the review of the UN Human Right Council (HRC), and encouraged the UN General Assembly to adopt the HRC's resolution on the review. From 2010 on, Chinese delegations attended the meetings of the Third Committee of the 65th, 66th and 67th sessions of the UN General Assembly, and the 13th to 21st sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, and participated in the seventh to 14th sessions of the HRC's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Team. When working in the organizations and participating in the meetings mentioned above, China plays a constructive role by upholding the basic purpose and principles stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations, performing its duties conscientiously, and proactively participating in reviews and discussions of human rights issues. China attaches great importance to technical cooperation with the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In 2011 China and the OHCHR jointly held the China-UN Legal Seminar, and discussed such issues as death penalty reform trend in the world. Both sides regarded the seminar as a positive move. China resolutely supports the programs of the OHCHR, and made donations of 20,000 US dollars, 30,000 US dollars and 50,000 US dollars to it from 2010 to 2012. In December 2010 the HRC's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food visited China upon invitation, and fully affirmed China's efforts in improving the right to food.
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