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 China - Declaration of Human Rights

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{ Adopted on: 17 Jan 1979 }
{ ICL Document Status: 17 Jan 1979 }


This Declaration is an inofficial document, which is also known as the 19 Articles on Human Rights, was adopted by the Chinese Human Rights Alliance after its founding on 1 Jan 1979. Posted on Democracy Wall on Peking's Tian An Men Square, it attracted wide attention and led to a lively discussion of its contents which were, however, far from universally acknowledged among Chinese citizens.

Article 1 [Freedom of Expression, No Deification]

(1) The citizens demand freedom of expression and the release of all political prisoners. It is equally absurd to write an individual's thought into the Constitution as it is absurd to include the name of an heir apparent in the Party and State Constitutions. This is in violation of the principle of freedom of expression, in violation of a person's thinking processes, and in violation of the fundamental principle of the complexity of matter in materialism.

(2) The people of the country deeply detest an ingratiating attitude, because they know there is nothing in the world that is sacred and inviolable. The citizen demand the uprooting of superstitious deification and idol worship, the removal of the crystal coffin, and the conversion of the mausoleum to a memorial hall, the construction of Premier Zhou's memorial hall and the annual solemn observance of the Tian An Men Incident in order to free faith from superstition.

Article 2 [Criticism, No Feudal Standards, Democracy]

(1) The citizens demand that the Constitution guarantee the right to criticize and evaluate Party and State leaders.

(2) In order to spare this generation and succeeding ones further misery, to uphold truth and justice, and to promote productivity, the citizens demand the complete abolition of the feudal and despotic standards now in force which equate opposition to certain individuals with counter-revolution.

(3) The citizens further demand that Chinese society be genuinely built on the foundation of democracy.

Article 3 [Minorities, Parties, Democratic Centralism]

(1) The citizens demand that minority nationalities be given broad autonomy.

(2) It is important to realize that China is not only a multi-national country, but also a multi-party country. In marching down the road of socialism, our country must face the multi-party reality, allowing representation of all parties in the National People's Congress. It is absurd that although according to the law the highest organ of the state is the National People's Congress, other parties are barred from participating in it.

(3) It is against the principle of democratic centralism to replace the Government with the Chinese Communist Party and to merge the Government and the Chinese Communist Party into one, for the result of such a merging is the inevitable continuation of rampant bureaucratism. The citizens of our country do not want a good-weather Constitution.

Article 4 [Elections, Control]

(1) The citizens demand that nationwide general elections be held to choose state and local leaders by direct balloting. Delegates to neither the Fourth nor the Fifth National People's Congress were popularly elected. This not only made a laughing-shock of our country's socialist democracy, but also represented a fraud perpetrated on the human rights of the 970 million citizens of China.

(2) The citizens demand that a Citizens' Committee or Citizens' Board be elected as a permanent organ of the People's Congress to participate in the national decision-making process and to supervise the government.

(3) The citizens further demand that party and state leaders violating the law be brought to justice and that party and state leaders be always under the purview of the law.

Article 5 [Information]

Every citizen of the People's Republic of China must have the right to demand that the government make public the following information:

- state budget and gross national income,

- gross industrial and agricultural production,

- military expenditures,

- government administrative expenditures,

- investments and revenues,

- total number of industrial workers and cadres,

- total wages,

- size of armed forces,

- unemployment figures,

- workers' insurance,

- welfare and relief statistics,

- retail price index,

- foreign trade volumes and foreign economic and military aid (including aid to parties not in power or involved in armed struggles),

- production figures in various sectors of the national economy,

- current population and population growth,

- deaths and injuries from industrial accidents,

- diplomatic agreements,

- budgetary deficits, and

- domestic and foreign debts.

Article 6 [Publicity]

The National People's Congress shall not hold any secret sessions. The citizens shall have the freedom to attend the National People's Congress, and the meetings of its Standing Committee and the Preparatory Committee.

Article 7 [Public Property Control]

(1) There must be a gradual abolition of the system of state ownership of the means of production and a gradual transition to the system of ownership by all of society, under which the citizens must have the right to supervise the control and distribution of the surplus labor of all citizens by the state. This is to prevent further wanton exploitation by feudal-socialist swindlers like Lin Biao and the Gang of Four, so that the citizens will be spared further miseries which were brought about by such campaigns as the slogans:

"counter-attacking of the rightists,"

"the maladjustment of ratios,"

" the tearing up of agreements,"

"the all-out civil war,"

"the economic stagnation" and the one called

"bordering on collapse."

(2) The citizens demand a voice in setting industrial, agricultural and commercial taxes, and the amount of industrial profits going to the state.

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