China has ratified the following documents:
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of China:
    The documents listed above require China to protect and promote the following rights:

    Right to development
    Right to education
    Right to equal protection of the law
    Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
    Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
    Right to housing
    Right to just and favorable work conditions
    Right to liberty and security of the person
    Right to life and survival
    Right to marry and found a family
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
    Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
    Right to private and family life
    Right to receive and impart information
    Right to the benefits of scientific progress

    Constitutional Protection of Rights

    The Constitution of China can be viewed at http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/ch00000_.html

    The Constitution of China provides for the protection of a certain number of human rights.

    The Constitution enables China to translate international agreements into domestic laws, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

    The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

    Right to dignity (art. 38)
    Right to equal pay for equal work (art. 48.2)
    Right to freedom of association (art. 35)
    Right to freedom of speech (art. 35, art. 41)
    Right to inherit (art. 13)
    Right to liberty (art. 37)
    Right to marry (art. 49.4)
    Right to own private property (art. 13)
    Right to social security (art. 45)
    Right to work (art. 42)

    The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

    It mandates the State to take steps that empower individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health. The Constitution:

    • provides that "The state develops medical and health services, promotes modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, encourages and supports the setting up of various medical and health facilities by the rural economic collectives, state enterprises and undertakings and neighborhood organizations, and promotes public health activities of a mass character, all to protect the people's health" (art. 21)
    • requires China to develop education (art. 19)
    • obliges China to protect the environment (art. 26)
    • mandates China to encourage and supervise the development of non-public economy, and the involvement of private actors "such as the individual and private sector of the economy" (art. 11)
    • establishes a mechanism for the accountability of the State by granting citizens a right to make to relevant state organs complaints and charges against, or exposures of, any state organ or functionary for violation of the law or dereliction of duty" and to obtain compensation for violations of the right to freedom of speech (art. 41)
    Why is that important? It is the value added of human rights to public health to make public authorities accountable for failing to ensure rights. Accountability is also a mechanism to ensure implementation of policies and laws, including those adopted to further individual rights.

    The Constitution empowers women and protects the family. The Constitution:

    • provides for women's "equal rights with men in all spheres of life, political, economic, cultural, and social, including family life" (art. 48)
    • requires China to protect "the rights and interests" of women (art. 48.2)
    • empowers working women by providing for the right to equal pay for equal work (art. 48.2)
    • obliges China to protect motherhood and childhood (art. 49)
    • prohibits maltreatment of women and children (art. 49.4)
    However, the Constitution provides that "The state promotes family planning so that population growth may fit the plan for economic and social development," (art. 25) and imposes a duty on citizens to "practice family planning" (art 49.2).