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China: 2013 Human Rights White Paper Issued

(June 2, 2014) On May 26, 2014, the Information Office of China’s State Council issued the 2013 white paper on China’s human rights, Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2013. The white paper is published in both English and Chinese. (White paper [in English], XINHUANET (May 26, 2014); White paper [in Chinese], PEOPLE.CN (May 26, 2014).)

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the white paper details the progress China made in human rights development in 2013, highlighting enhanced social fairness, justice, and freedom of speech. (China Issues White Paper on Human Rights, XINHUANET (May 26, 2014).) “The white paper, elaborating the government’s achievements in improving people’s right to development, stated: ‘China’s development provides all Chinese people with the opportunities to develop themselves, serve society, make successes in their life and realize their dreams.'” (Id.)

Under the section concerning citizens’ rights, the white paper emphasizes that in 2013, the system of reeducation through labor was abolished. The country also “waged special campaigns against human trafficking, searched for and rescued abducted and trafficked women and children, punished serious violations of its citizens’ rights of the person in accordance with the law, improved the mechanism for preventing and rectifying unjust, false and erroneous charges, took various measures in ensuring the rights of suspects, defendants and detainees, and strengthened law-enforcement in key areas such as workplace safety and food and drug production.” (White paper, Part V, supra.)

The report also noted that in the year between March 2013 and March 2014, twenty-one existing laws were amended and a few new laws were promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. (White paper, Part III, supra.)

This is the eleventh report China has issued on human rights since the government began releasing such reports in 1991, according to Xinhua. The tenth report was released in 2013. (China Issues White Paper on Human Rights, supra.)