China amends law for human rights protection

Human rights protection was written into the Constitution in 2004, which attracted widespread attention. Eight years later, The National People’s Congress amends the Criminal Procedure Law and once again highlights the principle of protecting human rights.

The criminal litigation system closely relates with citizens’ personal freedom and other fundamental rights. Writing human rights protection into the law can not only show the socialist nature of China’s judicial system, but also better follow the principle of respecting and protecting human rights in criminal proceedings.

The human rights legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics should provide comprehensive and systematic legal guarantees for respecting and safeguarding human rights, serving people’s livelihood and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of citizens.

China’s constitution has not only clearly defined the basic principle of “the state respects and safeguards human rights” but also provided more than 20 fundamental rights. China’s laws, including the constitution, civil law, commercial law, administrative law, economic law and social law, specify citizens’ political rights, economic rights, social rights, cultural rights and other human rights from different angles and at different levels to ensure that citizens enjoy extensive, actual and universal human rights and fundamental freedoms through law and system. Now, “to respect and protect human rights” has been written into the Code of Criminal Procedure, which makes the legal protection of human rights even more solid and perfect.

The legal system of socialism with Chinese characteristics should put people first. In a people-oriented law, rule of law is not the measure of control but a lifestyle shared by all the people. No matter in the process of legislation or in the specific provisions, a country should adhere to the principle of keep “people-oriented”.

Law has been and will continue to be the main regulator of modern social relations. Laws are made to maintain social stability, safeguard and promote social development. And laws are the synonym of fairness and justice, which makes the realization of rule of law a process of recognizing and protecting human rights. Rule of law is always centered on protection of human rights.

Writing human rights protection into the law should clarify what are human rights first. The concept of “human right” proposed during the bourgeois revolution period in the 17th century and 18th century was mainly used to fight against the feudal theocracy, monarchical power and aristocratic privilege.

After the World War II, the Charter of the United Nations learned the painful lesson from the fact that fascists trampled human rights, began to emphasize the protection of human rights, then issued a Universal Declaration of Human Rights later and developed International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, reflecting the international demands for the protection of human rights.

In the past half a century, the concept of human rights is also expanding with great political and economic changes in the world, for example, the human right values of the developing countries now pays more attention to right to subsistence, right to development and environmental right while continuing to emphasize the traditional protection of human rights.

Therefore, only by fully establishing the socialist rule of law, taking democracy, freedom, human rights, fairness, justice, rule by law, administration according to the law, impartial administration of justice, equality before the law, the openness, stability, and authority of the law, law of non- retroactivity and no crime without a law as the principles of socialist rule of law, cultivating culture of socialist rule of law and improving the legal awareness of the whole people, can “write human rights into the law” be truly implemented.

People’s Daily