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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

China
Represented by 43-member delegation headed by H.E. Ambassador WU Hailong, Special Envoy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the China page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Poland, Sierra Leone and United Arab Emirates.

Opening statement by State under review**

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the China page on the UPR Extranet)

  • China has held consultations with more than 20 representatives of NGOS and academic institutions in the preparation of their UPR report.  All of the 42 recommendations that China had accepted at the first UPR had been either implemented or were being carried out;
  • Between 2008 and 2012, rural and urban income had increased by 9.9 % and 8.8 % annually. The Government has vigorously implemented a poverty reduction outline for China’s rural areas, which has led to a drastic decline in the number of rural population living in poverty. China has adopted various measures to safeguard the rights and interests of workers, including the general establishment of a minimum wage adjustment mechanism;
  • The Government attached great importance to ensuring peoples’ right to education; from 2008 to 2012, the ratio of government spending on education to GDP had increased form 3.31 % to 4.07 %;
  • China has also basically established a nationwide primary medical insurance system and over 1.3 billion people had joined various medical insurance schemes;
  • China had put in place a socialist legal system with Chinese features. It was committed to democratic legislation and encouraged greater public involvement in the legislative process by publishing draft laws and holding hearings, discussions and forums;
  • The political rights of the Chinese citizens have been upheld in an improved manner. The amendment to the electoral law was making clear for the first time that deputies to the people’s congresses were to be elected based on the same population ratio in both urban and rural areas;
  • An amendment to the criminal law had abolished death penalty for thirteen economic and non-violent crimes. The procedure for the review of death penalty and the system to exclude the uses illegal evidence had also been improved in the newly revised criminal procedure law;
  • China has redoubled efforts in raising judicial transparency; the systems of open trial and open enforcement had been improved.  Practices such as live broadcast of trials on TV and online and putting verdicts online had been promoted;
  • The Government has taken concrete actions in protecting peoples’ freedom of speech and freedom of religious belief in accordance with law.   By the end of December 2012, the number of Chinese “netizens” had reached 564 million. People could express views freely through micro-blogs;
  • The Government ensured that minority ethnic groups enjoyed extensive rights. The ratio of leading officials with ethnic background was growing in ethnic minority areas. Freedom of belief and the right to use and develop their spoken and written languages were fully respected and guaranteed;
  • Unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remained an acute problem. Too many people still lived under the poverty line and a balanced income distribution structure had yet to be put in place.
  • China is ready to receive the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice to visit this year, and also invited the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and the Interdependent Expert on the effects of foreign to visit China next year.  The head of delegation also extended an invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit China at a convenient time.

Participants

In total 137 States participated in the dialogue:  43 HRC members and 94 observers  (Statements available on China page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Advancements made in the area of socio-economic development;
  • Progress in achieving the MDGs, in particular to eradicate poverty and ensure access to education;
  • Technical assistance provided to developing countries;  
  • The strengthening of human rights mechanisms including the drafting of a National Human Rights Action Plan for 2012-2015;
  • Cooperation with the UN human rights treaty body system and the UPR process;
  • The commitment towards adopting a national policy to combat child labour.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts taken to promote and protect freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Measures to ensure NGOs were able to operate freely and unrestricted;
  • Plans envisaged to ratify the ICCPR and its OPs;
  • Steps taken towards reform or the complete abolishment of the death penalty;
  • Policies in place to encourage ethnic minorities to fully exercise their human rights;
  • Measures to protect the right to freedom of religion or belief.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to China.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To expedite legal reforms to fully protect in law and in practice freedom of expression, association and assembly, and religion and belief;
  • To take steps to ensure the media and human rights defenders can freely exercise their right to freedom of expression online and offline without restrictions; To enhance Internet connectivity in the country, in particular in rural areas;
  • To continue efforts at poverty reduction and enhancing development in rural areas;
  • To continue addressing the right of vulnerable group, including disabled persons and children; 
  • To allow national and international NGOs to play a full and active role in promoting and protecting human rights and facilitate a safe and enabling environment where civil society and human rights defenders can operate freely;
  • To work towards the abolition of the death penalty; To reduce the number of crimes carrying the death penalty and introduce a system of clemency; To publish figures regarding death sentences and executions;
  • To release all people in administrative detention for political reasons and eliminate the “re-education through labour” system;
  • To ensure the enforcement of existing laws prohibiting torture and dismissing illegally obtained evidence;
  • To ensure all forms of discrimination were prohibited, including based on sexual orientation and gender identity, ethnicity and religion;
  • To adopt additional measures to allow ethnic minorities to fully exercise their human rights, and to ensure the active participation of ethnic minorities in political and economic decisions;
  • To establish an independent national monitoring mechanism for human rights in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the ICCPR and its 1st and 2nd OPs, the OPCAT, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Court (APIC), the 3rd OP to the CRC, the Convention of the rights of migrant workers and the Convention on enforced disappearances; To extend a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on China is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 October 2013 after 3 pm.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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