The Chinese Government has all along attached great importance to the significant role of the international human rights instruments in promoting and protecting human rights. On February 28 this year, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted a decision to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Thereafter the Chinese Government deposited the Instrument of Ratification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan. The ratification of the Covenant is a major step with far-reaching significance taken by China in the field of human rights. It fully demonstrates China's consistent and principled position to vigorously promote and protect human rights and to actively carry out international cooperation in this field. This also demonstrates China's determination and confidence to guarantee the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by its citizens.
Up until now China has acceded to 18 international human rights instruments. In addition, China has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, China is taking an active part in the drafting and elaboration of new international human rights instruments.
The Chinese Government takes a serious and responsible attitude towards its obligations under the relevant international human rights instruments. It acts in an earnest and sincere spirit in preparing and submitting it's periodic reports for the consideration by the relevant treaty bodies. Pursuant to its basic state policy of One Country, Two Systems, the Chinese Government continuously supports the efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights in Hong Kong and Macao. Prior to the return of the two regions to China, arrangements had been made with regard to the application of human rights instruments and the submission and consideration of the relevant reports after their return. As a result, all the international human rights instruments applicable to Hong Kong and Macao before their return to China continue to be applicable after the return. Since the last session of the Human Rights Commission, the Chinese Government sent its delegation to participate in the consideration of its third periodic report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture by the UN Committee against Torture in May 2000. Representatives from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region participated in the consideration as members of the Chinese delegation and replied to questions concerning the Hong Kong SAR. In October 2000, the Chinese Government submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination its integrated eighth and ninth periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The report has incorporated in it two separate parts from the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR respectively. Currently the Chinese Government is preparing its second periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Chinese Government believes that the provisions on the reporting and consideration procedures contained in international instruments on human rights are conducive to the effective implementation of these instruments as well as helpful for the international community to better understand their implementation by the contracting parties. Provisions of international instruments on human rights should be put into practice by the contracting parties through various administrative, legislative and other measures. The contracting parties should formulate implementation measures in the light of their own concrete situations in order to ensure the effective implementation of the provisions of these instruments. When considering the reports submitted by the contracting parties, the treaty bodies should take into full account the different circumstances, levels of economic development and social-cultural backgrounds of different countries and should establish a relationship of mutual respect, cooperation and dialogue on an equal footing with them. The treaty bodies should work in strict compliance with their mandates and adhere to the principle of fairness and objectivity. In recent years various problems have emerged in the reporting system, such as delayed submission of reports, backlogs of reports to be considered and postponement of considerations. We hope that the treaty bodies concerned will consider the following suggestions: that the repetitive contents required by different treaty bodies be avoided so as to reduce the burden of the contracting parties; that study be conducted on the possibility of submitting consolidated reports by contracting parties on the implementation of several conventions; that a code of conduct for the treaty bodies be formulated; and that exchanges and dialogues between the treaty bodies and the contracting parties be increased.
The Chinese Government will, as always, continue to fulfill its obligations under international instruments and further enhance its cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms. We will make continuous efforts to promote a sound development of the work of the United Nations in the field of human rights.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.