Xinhua, December 1, 2016

The Chinese government Thursday issued a white paper on the right to development, expounding on its philosophy, practice and contribution.

The white paper, titled “The Right to Development: China’s Philosophy, Practice and Contribution,” said that development is the top priority of the Communist Party of China in governance and national revitalization, and the key to resolving all other problems. It said that China is willing to join the international community to share its philosophy and experience and to boost sound development of global human rights.

Poverty Reduction

According to the white paper, China has lifted 700 million people out of poverty through more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global reduction in poverty.

The average life expectancy in the nation had grown from 35 years in 1949 to 76.34 years in 2015, ranking high among the developing countries, the white paper said.The level of education has also soared. In 1949, more than 80 percent of the national population was illiterate, and the enrollment rate of school-age children was only 20 percent.

In 2015, net enrollment rate of school-age children at the primary school stage was 99.88 percent and that at the senior high school stage was 87 percent. China’s higher education has approached the level of medium-developed countries, the white paper added.

China’s Human Development Index (HDI) in 2014 ranked 90th among 188 countries, already in the high human development group, it said, citing the “China National Human Development Report 2016” released by the United Nations.

Ensuring People’s Right to Development

A legal system with Chinese characteristics has provided a legal basis for the people’s right to development, according to the white paper.China has promulgated and implemented a series of laws and regulations to protect the right to development of all citizens, especially that of the ethnic minorities, women, children, senior citizens, and the disabled, it said.

To ensure people’s right to development, China has issued the National Human Rights Action Plan (2009-2010), (2012-2015), and (2016-2020), striving to address the most immediate problems that are of the most concern to the public, it added.The Chinese government has also formulated special action plans in the fields of economy, culture, society, and environment, and built a judicial remedy mechanism to prevent and punish infringements of people’s right to development.

Promoting Common Development

China has provided approximately 400 billion yuan (about 58 billion U.S. dollars) in development aid to 166 countries and international organizations over the past 60 years, said the white paper.

The world’s current second largest economy has trained more than 12 million personnel from developing countries, and dispatched over 600,000 people to aid development in other countries.Among them, 700 have given their lives in the course of these programs.It will also increase its investment in the least developing countries, write off certain countries’ debts, establish an International Development Knowledge Center, and further the Belt and Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network proposed by China in 2013, the white paper said.

In the next five years, China will implement six “One Hundred Programs” targeting developing countries — namely 100 poverty reduction programs, 100 agricultural cooperation programs, 100 trade aid programs, 100 eco-protection and climate change programs, 100 hospitals and clinics, and 100 schools and vocational training centers, it said.

Forefront in International Peacekeeping

As a staunch contributor to international peacekeeping, China has to date sent 33,000 military, police and civilian personnel to join UN peacekeeping missions.In the coming five years China will train 2,000 peacekeeping personnel for other countries, launch 10 mine sweeping aid programs, provide 100 million U.S. dollars of non-reimbursable military aid to the African Union, and allocate part of the China-UN Peace and Development Fund to support UN peacekeeping operations, the white paper said.”

China joins other countries in safeguarding international peace, opposes all forms of terrorism, and supports international and regional cooperation in fighting terrorism, in order to create an environment of peace and harmony that promotes development and thereby consolidates peace,” the document read.

Commitments to International Conventions

China has been actively honoring its commitments to various international conventions that propel environmentally-friendly development, said the white paper.China became the first country in the world to formulate and implement a national strategy to cope with climate change.

The country has eliminated the production, use, and import and export of 17 of the 26 types of persistent organic pollutants listed in the “Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants,” according to the paper.China has made significant efforts in moving the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emission mitigation toward adoption and taking effect, it said.

According to the white paper, by the end of 2015, total forest acreage in China had reached 208 million hectares, covering 21.66 percent of China’s total land area, and the country has 2,740 nature reserves, covering a total area of 147.03 million hectares.