Pursuing the belt and Road Initiative from a human rights angle

For a better world-- looking at the past decade of jointly pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative from a human rights perspective (2)

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Belt and Road initiative

Chapter 3: Improving the Quality of Life: Promoting the Realization of the Right to Development of the People in the “Belt and Road” Partner Countries

Through constructing various production and life infrastructures, the cooperative construction of the BRI promotes partner countries’ economic and social development, helps meet their residents’ basic needs, and advocates for broader cooperation in various fields. It encourages companies to fulfill their social responsibilities actively, assisting local communities in improving living conditions and realizing their rights to development in areas such as education, culture, and the environment.

1. Improving living conditions

Infrastructure development is a key focus of cooperatively building the “Belt and Road” with many collaborative projects providing various facilities and conveniences such as transportation, communication, and housing for local populations. These initiatives help residents significantly improve their quality of life.

“My friend, please listen to my long story of the railway.

It cements friendship, and it brings hope.

My hometown is more beautiful day by day,

My compatriots are more high-spirited day by day….”

These are the lyrics from the “Song of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway – A Railway to My Hometown,” sung by Kenyan artist Sudi Boy, telling the story of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) built by Chinese companies. The vision of railway development depicted in the song is becoming a reality one by one.

On May 31, 2017, this SGR connecting the largest port in East Africa, Mombasa, with the capital, Nairobi, was completed and opened for operation. In the past, traveling between these two cities by long-distance bus often took over 10 hours, with high costs and a lengthy journey that left passengers exhausted. Today, passengers can reach their destination on the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway in just over four hours, enjoying its convenience and comfort. After the railway’s opening, Nairobi resident Lilian Otuma embarked on a journey to the seaside in Mombasa. She mentioned that it was her first time riding a modern train, and the convenient and fast Mombasa-Nairobi Railway fulfilled her dream for many years.

Having operated without major hitches for 2,314 days as of Sept. 30, 2023, the modern railway line stretching from Mombasa to Naivasha had transported 2,405 million standard containers and 28.609 million metric tons of goods since its reception.

The number of passengers transported through the Mombasa-Nairobi-Naivasha SGR in the same period stood at 11.155 million, with an average seat occupancy rate of 95.8 percent.

Between April and May 2016, Ecuador experienced a series of strong earthquakes that resulted in significant loss of life and property. China promptly extended a helping hand and actively supported Ecuador in post-disaster reconstruction efforts. The Ecuadorian government’s “Housing for All” national housing project also received support from China, and many citizens have since moved into new homes. Silvia Marquez, who lives with her two young children, expressed her gratitude by saying “thanks to China, we have a home where my children and I can lead a dignified life.”

In recent years, China’s digital infrastructure projects have achieved results in many areas, promoting connectivity and seamless trade to improve the lives of local populations. At the end of 2021, Thailand launched a 5G Smart Hospital project with Siriraj Hospital as the pilot site. This project introduced technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence from China’s Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. It facilitated the comprehensive digital transformation of hospital services, from 5G ambulance services to AI-assisted diagnostics and remote healthcare for discharged patients. Dr Visit Vamvanij, the director of Sriraj Hospital, stated that 5G ambulances have saved crucial time in treating patients and significantly improved survival rates for emergency cases.

Examples like this abound. As of November 2021, Chinese companies have constructed over 50% of wireless sites and high-speed mobile broadband networks in Africa, laying over 200,000 kilometers of optical fiber and providing services to over 900 million African people. A public “cloud” serving the African region and the first commercial standalone 5G network has been established in South Africa. Introducing Chinese cloud technology into the Latin American market has significantly driven regional digital development and supported local technological innovation.

2. Enhancing education standards

Everyone has the right to education. In the BRI, China and its partner countries strive to provide more educational opportunities for their residents, enabling them to acquire professional knowledge and skills, thereby improving their education conditions and standards.

In 2017, Peru experienced severe flooding and mudslides, which caused significant damage to many schools. Chinese companies actively participated in post-disaster reconstruction efforts. In October 2022, Power Construction Corporation of China completed the construction of four schools. Mrs. Bustamante, the principal of one of these schools, said, “I am very excited to see the school completely renovated and students returning to campus with earthquake-resistant features and improved functionality. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the builders.”

At the end of 2022, during the graduation ceremony of the first senior class at Butuka Academy in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, Mr. Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital District of Papua New Guinea, stated that the establishment of Butuka Academy serves as a vivid example of China’s development benefiting the world. He emphasized that every student benefits from the educational cooperation between Papua New Guinea and China.

A Chinese-funded project for the local community, Butuka Academy, has been built by China to benefit the local people. Since its inauguration in November 2018, it has become a new landmark in Port Moresby. The academy was originally a primary school with 1,500 students and a building area of 2,000 square meters. Some classrooms collapsed due to disrepair, and there was a severe shortage of desks and chairs, forcing many students to sit on the floor during classes. After expansion, the academy now covers an area of 10,800 square meters and includes facilities for kindergarten, elementary, and middle school education, totaling 52 classrooms. This expansion has successfully addressed the challenges more than 3,000 primary and secondary students face in accessing education. It has become the largest, most comprehensive, and most advanced school in Papua New Guinea in terms of its facilities and functionality.

Professor Jose Pedro Magalhaes Lucas, the leading expert in automation at the Polytechnic Institute of Setubal in Portugal, still vividly recalls his first encounter with colleagues from Tianjin. In 2018, during his initial visit to the Tianjin Vocational College of Mechanics and Electricity, he was profoundly impressed by the college’s advanced training equipment and technology. “I never imagined that China’s technology is leading the world,” he remarked.

Where advanced technology education is concerned, Sino-Portuguese collaboration thrives on a hardware-software synergy. The Chinese side excels in equipment operation and installation, while the Portuguese strength lies in system debugging. “It’s a perfect match, a mutually enriching process,” describes Jiang Ying, the Director of the Electrical Automation Research Department at Tianjin Vocational College of Mechanics and Electricity, deeply involved in establishing the Luban Workshop in Portugal.

“Here, I not only learned how to use various robots and machine vision but also developed an industrial communication research project.” Alexander Geraldo, a student at the Polytechnic Institute of Setubal, has gained a lot during his three years of practical training at the Luban Workshop in Portugal.

In August 2022, the first World Vocational School Skills Competition was held in Tianjin. Over a thousand teachers and students from more than 100 countries and regions participated, including a team of students and teachers from Tianjin Vocational College of Mechanics and Electricity and the Luban Workshop in Portugal. The former pair comprised He Linfeng and Zhang Bo, and the latter, Sosa and Luis Barroso.

Although they could not meet in person due to the pandemic, the teammates overcame the time difference and synchronized their preparations in the “cloud.” “We connect multiple times weekly and jointly research and resolve every challenge no matter how minute. We became a cohesive unit and developed close bonds through learning from each other,” said Zhang Bo. Ultimately, this team won the silver medal in the intelligent production line installation and debugging competition.

Since 2016, China has established 27 “Lu Ban Workshops” in countries participating in the BRI. These workshops offer programs in industrial robotics, new energy, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other specialized fields. They have provided formal education to over 3,000 individuals and conducted training for more than 11,000 people. This initiative has contributed significantly to developing a substantial number of skilled technical professionals in these regions.

3. Supporting public cultural development

Enjoying cultural achievements and participating in cultural activities are important manifestations of cultural rights. Many projects of joint pursuit of the BRI are being implemented, actively participating in constructing public cultural infrastructure, protecting and salvaging local cultural heritage, enriching partner countries’ cultural resources, and helping their people realize cultural rights.

The Chinese “Access to Satellite TV for 10,000 African Villages” project aims to provide satellite digital television access to 10,000 villages in African countries. As of the end of 2022, the project has successfully been implemented in 20 African countries. It covers 9,512 villages, benefiting over 190,000 households of nearly ten million people. Transitioning from having no access to electricity to being able to watch satellite digital television, Emir, a local employee of the project in Africa, said: “When we gained “eyes,” we also acquired tools to understand the world and improve our homeland. We can now learn about more advanced development technologies and models.”

In May 2022, China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited’s Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) signed an agreement with the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports in the Port of Piraeus. According to the agreement, the Chinese company will provide approximately 13,000 square meters of land to construct the Underwater Archaeology Museum of Greece to enhance the port’s cultural significance and enrich the local community’s cultural life.

“I am willing to give a bag of gold just to catch a glimpse of Khiva,” says this ancient saying from Central Asia. The thousand-year-old city of Khiva in Uzbekistan had some of its ancient buildings in disrepair due to the passage of time, causing this “pearl” of the Silk Road to be “covered in dust” for a while. Thanks to the joint restoration project between China and Uzbekistan and the ingenious craftsmanship of Chinese experts, the ancient city of Khiva has now been restored to its original appearance and is once again shining brightly. Shakir Madaminov, the director of the Ichan-Kala Museum-Reserve, stated, “Chinese experts have been involved in restoring the ancient city of Khiva for three years, and now the city looks exceptionally beautiful. Seeing the restored ancient city, the residents here are very proud because it is a cultural treasure of Uzbekistan.”

4. Respecting religious customs

“Freedom of religious belief is a fundamental human right and a long-standing basic policy of the Chinese government. Customs and habits represent the cultural heritage created, enjoyed, and passed down by the vast populations of a nation or ethnic group throughout history. In jointly constructing the BRI, China fully respects the religious beliefs and customs of the people in various countries, provides services or financial support for the construction of local religious venues, and facilitates local employees to carry out religious and folk activities.

The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is a flagship project of China and Indonesia to foster greater synergy between development strategies and the BRI’s joint pursuit. To respect Indonesia’s local population’s religious beliefs and cultural traditions, the Chinese design team tailored its plan for the project. It is reported that the design of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway station buildings is adapted to the local context, following the concept of combining traditional and modern elements and fully integrating the religious and cultural characteristics of Indonesia to incorporate local cultural elements. The station buildings include facilities such as dedicated prayer rooms for Muslims. Chinese companies trained their employees on religious etiquette and related matters during the project’s implementation. They also gift local employees and nearby mosques during festivals like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

The Great Mosque of Algiers, constructed by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), is the largest mosque in Africa and the third-largest in the world. It has become a new landmark and is featured in Algerian currency. A resident named Habib Nadir mentioned that the Great Mosque of Algiers exemplifies modern Islamic architecture. By attending religious activities here, he can meet more fellow Muslims to share experiences and feelings, thus better understanding his people’s religious beliefs.

5. Protecting the ecological environment

The BRI is a path not only to economic prosperity but also to green development. China has consistently been committed to promoting green development within the framework of the joint pursuit of the BRI. This commitment involves respecting the people’s environmental rights in partner countries, adhering to local laws and regulations, establishing platforms for ecological and environmental cooperation, and fostering harmonious economic, social, and ecological development in the local areas. This approach aims to make green development a fundamental aspect of the joint pursuit of the BRI.

China is actively promoting the establishment of a cooperative mechanism for green and low-carbon development for the joint pursuit of the BRI. They have signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Green Belt and Road Construction with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and have entered into more than 50 cooperation agreements on ecological and environmental protection with relevant countries and international organizations. China has jointly launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development with 31 partner countries and jointly established the Belt and Road Initiative Energy Partnership with 32 partner countries. It also launched the BRI International Green Development Coalition, established the Green Belt and Road Lab, and set up the BRI Environmental Big Data Platform. These initiatives aim to help partner countries enhance their environmental governance capabilities and improve the well-being of their populations. China is actively assisting partner countries in strengthening green talent development by implementing the “Green Silk Road Ambassador Program,” which has trained over 3,000 people from more than 120 partner countries. Additionally, they have formulated and implemented the “Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road” to promote green investments in the BRI.

Since the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) constructed by China began to operate, the mangrove forests in the Mombasa Mangrove Wetland Park along the railway line have continued to thrive as usual, thanks to the efforts of the Chinese engineering team. During the SGR’s construction, China pre-installed multiple water culverts within the mangrove growth area to ensure that seawater can enter the area cut off by construction work to nourish the mangroves and allow them to grow undisturbed. Additionally, many sections of the SGR run through wildlife passages. Therefore, sound barrier technology has been applied to reduce noise when trains pass through. Renowned Kenyan environmentalist Ali Mohammed commented, “I am proud that my country has such a modern railway because it not only contributes to economic revitalization but also prioritizes the protection of the ecosystem along the route. The efforts made by the project have safeguarded marine ecosystems, including the mangrove forests.”

The Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the CAS Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, in collaboration with the Forestry and Wildlife Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the S. Seifullin Kazakh AgroTechnical University jointly implemented the Kazakhstan Capital Region Ecological Forest Construction Technology Demonstration Project. They established a nursery spanning hundreds of acres and provided training in planting techniques and irrigation. During the project’s implementation, a joint survey team from China and Kazakhstan examined various protective forest belts and collectively identified construction obstacles. China invited several Kazakh experts to inspect ecological projects in Xinjiang, and together, they reached agreements on plant selection, structural configuration, and initial planting density control. They overcame critical technical challenges through concerted efforts, including selecting highly stress-resistant plants and large-scale seedling cultivation. They also broke through technical bottlenecks for afforestation on arid slopes and gravelly barren land. They developed forest belt nurturing and maintaining techniques, created a reforestation model for subarctic desert grasslands, and established monitoring networks. As of now, the project has completed more than 20 hectares of demonstrative carbon-sequestration protection forests, contributing to establishing an ecological protective barrier for the capital region of Kazakhstan and mitigating the impact of grassland windstorms on its residents’ lives.

Chinese companies also make efforts to raise environmental awareness among local communities. During their involvement in the investment, construction, and operation of the Lekki Port in Nigeria, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited regularly educates local employees and nearby villagers about environmental protection and conducts activities such as beach cleanups. In June 2022, the company collaborated with a local environmental association to organize a “Beach Rescue Action” event involving over 300 villagers from the surrounding area and company employees. Together, they cleaned approximately 5 square kilometers of the beach. Dr Felicia Chinwe Mogo, President of the African Marine Environment Sustainability Initiative (AFMESI), commented, “The Chinese companies’ actions demonstrate that they not only adhere to local laws and regulations but also prioritize environmental protection. They work diligently to raise environmental awareness among local communities and collaborate with partners to protect the environment.”

Chapter 4: Making Development More Universally Beneficial: Promoting Special Groups to Equally Share the Results of the Cooperative Construction of the “Belt and Road”

In the joint pursuit of the BRI, efforts are being made to promote the protection of the rights and interests of special groups, including women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities from various countries, aiming to enable them to participate equally in social life and share the benefits of developing the joint pursuit of the BRI.

1. Promoting the protection of women’s rights and interests

Equal employment and safeguarding women’s economic rights are key factors in improving women’s social and family status and achieving gender equality.

In April 2016, the Sindh government of Pakistan, several Pakistani companies, and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) formed a consortium to initiate the construction of the Thar Coal Field’s open-pit mining project, which required a significant number of dump truck drivers. The project employed exclusively Pakistani drivers, establishing a dedicated training center that provided training to tens of thousands of individuals, including over 50 women. The employment of female drivers not only increased household income but also enhanced the social status of women.

Nusrat Bai, originally a tailor in Bhakuo of the Thar district, faced financial hardship. After a year of training, she became an outstanding dump truck driver, earning several times more monthly than before. She said, “Now, I’m one of the few in my area who can afford milk, fruit, and good clothes. Our family’s life has changed tremendously, and it’s hard to describe how happy I am.”

Mosini Bai is a mother of four children who had no prior employment. Her family’s livelihood depended solely on her husband’s small vendor business. She had a strong desire to work as a dump truck driver. However, according to local customs, it was nearly impossible for women to work independently without the companionship of brothers or husbands. She said, “The project also hired my husband to support me. Now, both of us are working on the project, and we receive a good income. Our children can go to school, and we are building a beautiful brick house,’ Mosini added.

On the island of Luzon, the Philipines, the Powerchina International Group Limited Office of the San Marcelino Photovoltaic Power Project actively optimized the construction process by creating specific tasks suitable for women, such as pre-installing bolts and sorting washers. This initiative has provided nearly a hundred job opportunities for women in nearby villages. Many local female workers have expressed that this job increased their income, made them recognize their worth, and significantly improved their status in their families.

China is committed to improving healthcare conditions for women to enhance their health. China Gezhouba Group Company Limited, which undertook a dam project in southern Kenya, learned that a local hospital lacked a dedicated maternity ward and essential facilities. Therefore, they invested in constructing a maternity building, providing pregnant women and newborns with improved healthcare services.

2. Paying attention to children’s rights and welfare

Children are the future and hope of the world. In the BRI, Chinese companies strive to promote realizing children’s rights through donations for education, infrastructure improvement, and volunteer activities, thereby ensuring that children become the BRI’s essential beneficiaries.

Iraq once had the best educational facilities in the Middle East, but years of conflict and turmoil have resulted in a shortage of school buildings. Many students can only attend classes in makeshift huts or converted shipping containers. To address the “access to education” challenge, the Iraqi government has formulated plans for new school construction, prioritizing it as one of the most urgent projects for the well-being of its citizens. In the first phase, out of the 1,000 schools tendered, Powerchina International Group Limited has been contracted to construct 679 schools in ten provinces. Upon completion, this project will provide access to education for approximately 430,000 students.

In January 2018, China and Cambodia signed the “Memorandum of Understanding of the ‘Love Heart Journey’ Project,” aimed at providing medical assistance to children with congenital heart disease (CHD) in Cambodia. Subsequently, medical professionals from the two countries conducted screenings in remote villages across more than ten provinces in Cambodia, examining tens of thousands of children. One of the beneficiaries of this program was a Cambodian boy named Doudang suffering from CHD. Through the collaborative efforts of medical personnel from both countries, Doudang successfully underwent free surgery and fully recovered at the Fuwai Hospital in Yunnan Province, China. The hospital is also China’s National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases.

In November 2021, the 19th batch of Chinese medical teams arrived in Senegal, starting a two-year medical assistance mission at the Chinese-aided Children’s Hospital of Diamniadio. The Chinese doctors’ remarkable medical skills and a strong sense of duty received high praise and widespread acclaim from the local population. As of March 31, 2023, the medical team had conducted outpatient services for 7,058 patients and performed 3,150 surgeries.

On May 23, 2022, a few days before the International Children’s Day, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation’s Egypt branch, in collaboration with four other Chinese enterprises in Egypt, visited the “African Hope Learning Center” for refugee children to provide them with textbooks, stationery, and children’s masks. Emeke Adim, the Administrative Assistant at the center, expressed that this initiative would help improve the learning conditions for all students and contribute to a brighter future for refugee children.

Similar stories abound. Take Cambodia, for example, again. With the help of Chinese enterprises, the Cambodian Children’s Art Welfare Institute boasts a new school building with kitchens and bathrooms, and its outdated equipment and facilities have been upgraded…

3. Caring for the rights of disabled individuals

The cooperative construction of the BRI is a significant platform for inclusive development. While promoting partner countries’ economic and social development, it also pays attention to the special group of persons with disabilities, helping them hone their skills and making them participants and beneficiaries of the joint pursuit of the BRI.

In Pakistan, China Huadian Group Co., LTD. actively hires local individuals with disabilities, providing them with equal employment opportunities. It built accessible pathways and elevators in residential and work areas when construction began. They also accommodate employees with disabilities on the ground floor of their dormitories, helping them better integrate into the community and realize their dreams and values.

Mr. Mohammad Kashif, the senior financial manager of the company, cannot walk due to an illness he suffered in his childhood. Still, he always believed that his physical disability would never hinder him from achieving his life goals. Since joining China Huadian Group, he has constantly helped the company improve its tax system with his excellent competency and professionalism. He works hard to pursue tax incentives and demonstrate the company’s positive image to local tax authorities. As a result, he has received the title of “Outstanding Individual” for multiple consecutive years.

One day in 2022, warm sunlight streamed into a brand-new kindergarten in Peru, where a little girl named Yamile, who suffered from a degenerative neurological condition, sat happily in her classroom, reciting her favorite poem once again. Five-year-old Yamile, who could not walk due to her illness, had previously been carried up and down the stairs by her teachers. Thanks to an electric wheelchair donated by Powerchina International Group Limited, Yamile could navigate the building using elevators and accessible pathways. The restrooms also feature disability-friendly facilities, making it much more convenient for disabled students like Yamile.

At the Parnassos Ski Resort in the central part of Greece, 40-year-old alpine skier George Sfaltos is diligently training with a customized sit-ski, trying to earn a spot at the 2026 Winter Paralympics taking place in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Participating in the Winter Paralympics is George Sfaltos’ dream. However, due to the inability to afford new equipment, Sfaltos’ training plans were severely impacted, causing him to lose hope. In his quest for social support, China COSCO Shipping Corporation Piraeus Port Authority SA (PPA) extended a helping hand by donating a customized sit-ski for him. “The act has provided tangible assistance for me to pursue my dream,” said Sfaltos. “I have found my footing little by little through competitive sports. I will continue to chase my dream.”

Chapter 5: The Relevancy of the Joint Pursuit of the “Belt and Road” Initiative for Global Human Rights Governance

Currently, the world continues to face issues of injustice, intolerance, and unrest. Imbalancd, disparate, and unsustainable development persists. The advancement of global human rights and their governance faces significant challenges. Humanity urgently needs to explore concepts and solutions for global human rights governance that align with the demands of the times.

The joint pursuit of the BRI conforms to the urgent expectations of many developing countries to promote human rights through cooperative development, assists partner countries in their economic and social development and human rights advancement, and provides new thinking, new impetus, and new opportunities for global human rights governance.

1. Putting people first

People’s happy life is the most significant aspect of human rights. Whether the human rights situation in a country is good or not primarily depends on whether the interests of its citizens are effectively safeguarded and whether the people’s sense of gain, happiness, and security are enhanced.

The joint pursuit of the BRI adheres to the people-centered thinking of development, focusing on eradicating poverty, increasing employment, and improving people’s livelihoods. It aims to ensure that the results of jointly building the “Belt and Road” benefit partner countries’ people and make tangible contributions to their economic and social development and human rights advancement. Over the past decade, more than 150 partner countries have embraced the concept of win-win cooperation in jointly pursuing the BRI. They are committed to the cooperative construction of the “Belt and Road” to drive their social and cultural development and to the continuous effort to enhance their people’s quality of life and well-being.

Human rights are not privileges enjoyed by some or a few people. Instead, they are the rights enjoyed equally by all. As Stephen Brawer, Chairman of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden, pointed out, “A crucial concept is achieving the common interests of all.” In this sense, the joint pursuit of the BRI aligns with the goals of human rights development and the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

Global human rights governance should adhere to a people-centered approach. The concept of people-centered human rights is rooted in the pursuit of the values of human civilization. It aligns with the UN’s original intent to incorporate human rights into the international governance system and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. It respects people’s aspirations worldwide for a better life and represents the direction of human rights cause. Therefore, the BRI makes human rights more practical and comprehensive, injecting new meaning into the development of global human rights.

2. Promoting cooperative development

The interdependence and indivisibility of various human rights are fundamental principles of human rights protection. At the same time, for developing countries, which account for over 80% of the global population, the rights to subsistence and development are vital and urgent. Realizing other human rights is difficult or impossible without economic development laying the material foundation and various social conditions. In today’s world, where countries’ development is deeply intertwined, cooperation and mutual benefit are the best solutions to address development challenges and remove development obstacles. Strengthening cooperation to ensure people’s subsistence and development and promoting the progressive protection of other human rights through comprehensive economic and social development holds significant implications for the human rights cause of developing countries and the world.

The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action emphasizes, “The international community should promote an effective international cooperation for the realization of the right to development and the elimination of obstacles to development.” The joint pursuit of the BRI has established an inclusive and pragmatic platform for broad international cooperation. Its concept of peaceful cooperation and mutual benefit has attracted the participation of more than three-quarters of the world’s countries and over thirty international organizations. Therefore, it can effectively activate the partner countries’ economic development potential and promote their economic and social development, thus meeting the practical demand of the international community for “development through cooperation, and human rights through development” and satisfying the needs of the times for advancing the improvement of global human rights governance.

According to Sebastien Perimony, an international affairs expert from the Schiller Institute in France, the joint pursuit of the BRI is not a solo performance by China but rather a symphony of partner countries. China promotes development through cooperation, and the joint pursuit of the BRI has contributed significantly to global development. China’s initiative is conducive to achieving win-win cooperation, which is the correct path the world should choose today.

3. Embracing openness and inclusivity

Human rights are historical, concrete, and realistic. Countries have different national conditions, histories, cultures, social systems, and economic and social development levels and face various human rights issues. We should adhere to the principle of universality of human rights and integrate it with the actual situation of each country, follow a human rights development path suitable for each country’s national conditions, and determine the priority, protection methods, and realization methods of human rights based on each country’s actual situation. All countries should maintain the diversity of civilizations in a spirit of equality and openness, strengthen dialogue and exchanges among different civilizations, build more consensus through dialogue and exchanges, and jointly promote the development and progress of human rights.

The joint pursuit of the BRI adheres to mutual respect and equal treatment, advocates cultural tolerance, respects the development paths and models chosen independently by each country, respects each other’s core interests and major concerns, views the development and policy concepts of other countries objectively and rationally, and strives to seek common ground while reserving differences and working together on development.

An article in the Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post points out that the joint pursuit of the BRI spans different countries and regions, diverse cultures and religions, and various customs and lifestyles. In the framework of the cooperative construction of the BRI, the partner countries’ common goal is to seek to establish a mutually beneficial partnership.

4. Upholding fairness and justice

Global human rights governance should promote the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom shared by all humans. It should uphold the dignity and rights of people in all countries, promote the building of a community of shared future for humanity, and jointly create a better future for the world. Countries come in different sizes, strengths, and development speeds. Still, they are all equal members of the international community and have the right to equal participation in regional and international affairs, including human rights.

The joint pursuit of the BRI spans different regions, development stages, and civilizations without any sense of superiority toward any. It neither excludes nor targets any party nor imposes any special requirements on the political and economic systems of the partner countries. All BRI partner countries have the right to fair rights, opportunities, and rules as they develop. All BRI partner countries are equal participants, contributors, and beneficiaries, sharing intertwined interests and destinies. The joint pursuit of the BRI upholds the principle of “consultation, contribution, and shared benefits,” rejecting the power logic of some countries to conquer or assimilate different cultures and civilizations and striving to promote the construction of fairer and more equitable order and norms.

The development of human rights is a joint endeavor for all humanity. Only by turning “you,” “me,” and “him” into “us” and ensuring that every country and its people enjoy equal rights and opportunities can the world effectively address global challenges and truly achieve equal participation, cooperation, and shared benefits in the development of human rights.

Conclusion

Though initiated by China, the joint pursuit of the BRI belongs to the world. It is rooted in history and faces the future.

The first decade of jointly pursuing the BRI is one for China and other countries to develop together under a new paradigm of international cooperation. It is also a decade for us to protect and enhance human rights in our common development.

Currently, the world is once again standing at the crossroads of history. Building a community with a shared future for humanity is the future for people of all nations. Only through equality, mutual benefit, cooperation, and shared development among countries can prosperity be sustained and the great dream of every individual thoroughly enjoying human rights be realized.

We believe that in the next decade of jointly pursuing the BRI, China will continue to offer new opportunities to the world through its development, adding fresh momentum to establishing a community with a shared future for humanity. The Chinese people and people of other countries will undoubtedly enjoy broader, more adequate, and more comprehensive rights, achieving all-round development at a higher level.

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