People may not know that though it is home to the world’s most developed high-speed railway network, China still operates 81 slower train services in lesser developed areas annually at an extremely low fare.
The services, operating in 21 provinces and regions as well as 35 ethnic areas, exist not for profit, but to help people in those areas sell their agricultural products, find higher-paying jobs, pursue better education and improve their lives.
The ability to take advantage of these low-cost trains is just one example of how China works to ensure human rights. The nation’s approach is to promote the all-around development of human rights and effectively protect the rights and interests of vulnerable groups, leaving no one behind.
As stated in the white paper published in 2019 titled Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China, living a happy life, access to daily needs and the ability to realize development are primary and basic human rights.
China’s concept of human rights is realistic. It develops its policies based on people’s actual needs, ranging from the most basic (food and health) to the most complex (education, technology and culture), said John Ross, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of the Renmin University of China. Ross is a former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London.
“China’s system of human rights is determined by real results, including the improvements of the real lives of people, not by purely formal, artificial and therefore misleading and false criteria. That is why China will win in a real international discussion on human rights,” Ross said.
China sees poverty as the biggest obstacle in its effort to ensure the human rights of the Chinese people. To resolve the problem, it launched a targeted poverty alleviation campaign, which guaranteed the elimination of extreme poverty in rural areas by the end of 2020.
Hannes Fellner, a professor at the University of Vienna, said the campaign, which lifted nearly 100 million people out of poverty, is “one of the greatest human rights feats in the history of humankind”.
Additionally, China has made remarkable progress in other ways, including ensuring people’s right to work and to receive an education. It has also attached great importance to protecting the rights of women, ethnic groups and the disabled.
Furthermore, the country has been promoting law-based protection of human rights, according to the white paper titled New Progress in the Legal Protection of Human Rights in China published in 2017.
China’s people-centered human rights protection approach is suitable for the country’s development, and it has no interest in emulating Western nations in this regard. In the future, the country will continue to provide Chinese wisdom to promote human rights protection, said Zhang Yonghe, executive dean of the Human Rights Research Institute of Southwest University of Political Science and Law.