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Nation's human rights plan targets urgent issues
update:September 10,2021

A family enjoys the ginkgo trees in downtown Beijing. [Photo by WEI XIAOHAO/CHINA DAILY]
Sept. 10, 2021 -- China has unveiled its latest five-year plan on human rights promotion, which sets out a number of targets on issues including monitoring climate change, reducing parents' child-rearing burden and helping retirees reenter the job market.
The Human Rights Action Plan of China (2021-25), released by the State Council Information Office on Thursday, said it targets some of the most urgent issues facing the public as the "people's livelihood is the greatest human right".
The eight-chapter plan, the fourth such document issued since 2009, aims to improve people's sense of "gain, happiness and security" and ensure the equal distribution of development benefits among all social groups.
The plan highlighted China's resolve to boost green development with a special chapter on environmental rights, which required the authorities to follow a sustainable development strategy, reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and promote "ecological civilization".
It said that the concentration of PM 2.5-particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns that can enter people's bloodstream through breathing-will be reduced by 10 percent in major cities by 2025, and the waste recycling rate will reach 35 percent in urban areas.
The chapter called for improvements to the transparency of companies' environment data and to involve the public in evaluating and monitoring projects and the environmental damage resulting from business activities. The range of environment-related public interest litigation will also be broadened.
China pledged last year to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
The plan said the authorities will support some industries and individual businesses to peak carbon emissions earlier and upgrade agricultural and urban infrastructure in order to bolster its resilience against extreme weather.
The plan called for the construction of a family-friendly workplace to help balance the role of women at home and at work, as part of a broader effort to boost young couples' willingness to have children.
In May, China further adjusted its family planning policies to allow all couples to have a third child, in order to slow the aging process and bolster the fertility rate. The authorities also said child-rearing costs will be significantly reduced by 2025.
The plan said the supply of affordable preschool education and day care places and after-school services will be boosted to benefit working parents.
It also asked employers to improve their rules relating to workplace sexual harassment, as well as women workers' pay, pregnancy benefits and promotion.
More than 260 million Chinese people-or 18.7 percent-are age 60 or older, according to national census data released in May.
All newly built residential communities will be equipped with elder care facilities, according to the plan. It also sets a target for training 2 million caregivers over the next five years, to ensure that every 1,000 seniors have access to at least one social worker.
The authorities will also help low-income older people with disabilities to add accessible facilities to their homes and receive items including wheelchairs.
The plan said it will expand education resources for older people, which will give them greater development opportunities.
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