• Tue
  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:53pm

Petition urges NPC to ratify human rights treaty in China

Petition addressed to NPC ahead of annual session calls for adherence to international agreement, which Beijing signed in 1998

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 7:28am

More than 120 influential scholars, lawyers and journalists have signed a petition urging the National People's Congress to ratify an international human rights treaty, as part of the leadership's pledge to promote constitutional rights and the rule of law.

The petition, addressed to the NPC Standing Committee ahead of the NPC's annual session beginning next week, calls for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to be ratified "as soon as possible".

"There is still a substantial gap between the situation in China with respect to human rights and rule of law and the requirements of international human rights treaties … but now is the best time for our country to ratify the treaty," the letter said.

There is still a substantial gap between the situation in China with respect to human rights and rule of law and the requirements of international human rights treaties

Signatories include scholars Qin Hui, Yu Jianrong and He Weifang , liberal Communist Party veterans He Fang and Feng Lanrui, and rights lawyers Pu Zhiqiang and Xu Zhiyong .

They said they feared a society that did not value human rights or individual freedoms would plunge into "hatred and violence, division and hostility" if crises erupted.

The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights. China signed the ICCPR in 1998 but has not ratified it.

The covenant commits its parties to respecting civil and political rights, including freedom of speech, religion and assembly and rights to a fair trial.

Professor Li Gongming , a Guangzhou-based commentator who signed the petition, said it was in the spirit of a recent push for rule of law and constitutional government by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping.

"In light of the leadership stressing that the country should be governed under the constitution and with the rule of law, I think ratification is a reasonable step," Li said.

The petition is part of increasingly bold calls from intellectuals for political openness and government transparency. In December, dozens of scholars and lawyers urged the party's new leaders to push ahead with political reform. Even more called on officials to disclose their family assets.

The petition said human rights were not just Western imports, but were ideals that the party itself had aspired to since its early days. The Chinese constitution says citizens enjoy freedom of the press, speech, assembly and association, and the right to demonstrate.

Professor Zhang Ming , a political scientist at Renmin University and a signatory, said he was sceptical about whether the new leadership would be willing to implement the necessary changes to conform to the treaty's requirements. "The 'stability maintenance' regime has not ended, but then you can't not call for ratification to happen."

Xu Youyu, a retired professor at the China Academy of Social Sciences who is also a signatory, said: "It's a matter of whether those in power genuinely want to safeguard human rights or not. If you want to, then you should ratify as soon as possible."

Many copies of the open letter posted on mainland websites have been deleted.



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ICCPR including right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly.
Are ICCPR ever concerned the rights to life of people in Mexico, or Pakistan and India
or a war torn countries that has been massacred or slaughtered by others because of not a proper function of its government due to insufficient constitutions or legal systems.
Religious freedom provided that the religion is not inimical to the peace, good order and morals of society. The good social system is that the religion should not be involved in politics.

Freedom of speech, China must be first to raise level of people education, raise a lever of awareness of its legal right and legal obligation to its society or some kind of legal knowledge and legally adequate ability, such as go to judicial branch for a legal redressing of a damage or equitable relief instead of going to executive office or a ferocious attack on others if said one’s right has been violated. I am a Taiwanese. Many Taiwan currently social problems are the uneven distribution of a level of the education as well as unsophisticated legal systems, it seems to me that the Taiwan judge-made laws and applied to their own laws. However, Taiwan is small and it is manageable if anything goes wrong.
I currently do not recommend the National People's Congress to ratify an international human rights treaty.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 02/27/13 美國
CC: China People Daily News.
Change has to come from within, from Chinese people, and that is exactly what happens. China needs to implement its constitution, obey the rule of law. Those who think that is wrong to ask for, should remember who wrote the constitution. It was not the West. It has nothing to do with "foreign wars". Some Chinese just keep clinging to pieces of history like the Opium Wars, Japanese crimes, etc. Better look into what happened after 1949 and today. Selective amnesia, that is.
Newgalileo, your "signature" bears one of the most glorious figures of Western civilization, the originator of the modern scientific method. Of course Western culture with its Renaissance music -- harmony, musical form and structure, orchestration, etc. -- later culminated in Beethoven and Wagner, and rigor in axiomatic and empirical methods in Englightenment, economic thoughts, processes and institutions, etc. are what Chinese should learn from.
Unfortunately, bananas are not even half baked in Western culture. All they fall for is Western religious superstitions, i.e., God of Abraham, Democracy and all that jazz. Rule of law, transparency in government, human rights, etc. are just empty words like the love of God for the brainwashed.
Good governance, dignity of man and optimal balance for any society must first be defined. The objective function is culturally and nation specific although the scientific method of optimization is universal.
Methods and implementations must be tracked and monitored. Results should be identifiable, preferrably measured. For West-is-best bananas, this is more than a mouthful, let alone comprehensible.
No one is encouraging a victim mentality in the Chinese. The thing to always remember is caveat emptor: There is a dark side to the West along with its greatness.
A silly petition.
If you're truly a humanist, the first requirement to human rights is the right to life. The zeroth law for all documents on human rights should start with this one. Yet nothing about foreign wars waged mostly by the West in the name of national security is mentioned in their petition.
I think it's a good idea that China should go with the flow. We are not exactly a Middle Kingdom Island unto ourselves. We should also request this amendment as a condition for ratification.
Chinese academics must learn to think Chinese and not just regurgitate everything from the West.
Yeah, they need to ratify it and than nuke those tyrants such as the ex PSB chief!!!


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