Xinhua Insight: China's new five-year plan safeguards human rights

2015-11-09 12:43:44 GMT2015-11-09 20:43:44(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Cheng Dan, a farmer from Gushi County in central China's Henan Province, considers her family blessed after her son survived neuroblastoma at the age of five months in 2013.

Cheng's son was treated with 11 rounds of chemotherapy and one operation over two years, costing 250,000 yuan (39,600 U.S. dollars), roughly seven times the poor family's annual income.

Fortunately, nearly 50 percent of Cheng's medical bills were covered by critical illness insurance, which is currently being piloted in more than 100 cities.

The insurance reimburses patients when their medical bills exceed basic medical insurance.

The trials, which have proved very successful in critical illness insurance, will soon be expanded to cover the entire population nationwide, according to the proposal on formulating the country's 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020) unveiled by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) on Nov. 3.

The country's nearly 1.4 billion people can expect many more safety nets in next five years as the latest blueprint highlights economic and social development on various fronts.

The CPC's proposal for economic and social development has showcased the country's commitment to fulfilling people's aspiration for a better life and safeguarding human rights and dignity.

United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The CPC has highlighted green development in the five-year roadmap and considered a better quality environment as essential in building a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020, according to the proposal.

The proposal promises an "energy revolution" with clean, safe resources replacing fossil fuels. Energy-intense industries, such as power, steel, chemical and building materials will be subject to carbon emission control regulations.

RIGHT TO SOCIAL SECURITY

The CPC stressed equal opportunities and social security so that everyone can attain a moderately prosperous life in a communique issued after the Party's key meeting held in late October.

The proposal for the new five-year plan said the pension program will be extended to cover the entire elderly population.

Official statistics show nearly 200 million Chinese have yet to be included in the country's senior insurance scheme.

The CPC also vowed to channel more funding to the social security fund.

China will raise the proportion of earnings from state assets which should be turned over to public finance and transfer part of state assets to enrich the social insurance funds, according to the proposal.

RIGHT TO EDUCATION

According to a white paper on China's development on human rights released in 2010, 99.7 percent of the population received a nine-year compulsory education by the end of 2009. And by 2008, free compulsory education programs were fully implemented across the country.

Despite progress, the country realizes that there is a lot to do to boost citizens' right to education, said Liu.

In the proposed plan, the CPC is moving to improve the quality of education and bridge the urban-rural gap, vowing subsidized education for all poor students for the duration of their compulsory education.

The country will also promote universal education for high school students.

The document said China will eliminate high school education tuition for poor students and gradually waive tuition fees for vocational education.

Higher education will also be improved in the next five years, with the CPC pledging to elevate "several universities and subjects to, or close to, top world level."

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