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Speech by President Jiang Zemin of The People's Republic of China

Jiang Zemin (

Jiang Zemin (

The current situation in China is very good as demonstrated, among others, by the rapid growth of the national economy. This year, the GDP is expected to grow by about 9% while inflation has been brought under effective control. China is now opening wider to the outside world and, as investment environment continues to improve the number of overseas investors already exceeded 290,000. The total amount of foreign capital actually used by China has topped 200 billion U S. dollars, making it the second largest country in attracting overseas investment. China now enjoys social stability with all round progress in its social undertakings. Many foreign friends see China as becoming one of the most dynamic regions in the world.

Despite our impressive performance as the biggest developing country in the world, we are still faced with a multitude of difficulties and challenges which call for continued efforts.

The one hundred years between the middle of the nineteenth century and the middle of the twentieth century began with the Chinese people suffering from humiliation and bullying and ended with their achieving national independence and liberation after strenuous struggles. The one hundred years from the middle of this century to the middle of the next century began with the birth of New China and will end, as we will see, with the Chinese people succeeding, through hard work, in building a strong and prosperous country, achieving national rejuvenation and securing a happy life for themselves. Such are the earth shaking changes and gigantic historic progress that China has witnessed and is about to witness in these two centuries.

Respecting man's dignity and value is a time honored virtue of the Chinese people. "Nothing holds more value and is more dignified in universe than human beings" and "The benevolent is kind toward the people". These ideas advocated by ancient sages have a deep seated influence in Chinese society. Human rights as enjoyed by the Chinese people today have never been as extensive. As a developing country of 1.2 billion people, China's very reality determines that the right to subsistence and development is the most fundamental and most important human right in China. Before adequate food and clothing is ensured for the people, the enjoyment of other rights would be out of the question. During the past twenty years or so, the number of people living below the poverty line in China has dropped by nearly 200 million providing a necessary material condition for better enjoyment of rights by the people.

Human rights are of universal significance. Given the fact that there are so many countries in the world, the realization of human rights must be based on the efforts of the countries. Therefore, the issue of human rights is essentially a subject matter within a country's sovereignty. Human rights come as a product of history, and their full realization requires an evolutionary process which must tally with a country's economic and cultural development level. Collective and individual human rights, economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights are inseparable from one another. The Chinese Government takes upon itself the task to protect human rights according to law and oppose all activities of violating the lawful rights of its citizens. It has made unremitting efforts to this end. As things stand now, China has acceded to seventeen international human rights instruments and has recently signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Different views held by countries on the human rights issue ought to be addressed through dialogues and confrontation should be avoided. China is ready to keep up exchanges and cooperation with other countries in a continued effort to promote human rights throughout the world.

The Chinese Government has always endeavored to protect the rights and interests of ethnic minorities in accordance with the Constitution. Regional autonomy is practiced in places where ethnic minorities live in compact communities. All ethnic groups are free to use and develop their own spoken and written languages as well as to keep and reform their own customs. Chinese citizens have the freedom of religious belief. Inter-ethnic relations characterized by equality, unity and mutual assistance have further solidified, and the process toward common development and common prosperity of all ethnic groups visibly accelerated.