The National Human Rights Action Plan, which addresses human rights protection from 2012 to 2015, continues to put people's rights to survival as a priority and focuses on improving people's livelihood.
Compared with the first action plan issued in 2009, the new plan reflects many publicized issues of the past few years while underlining specific economic and social targets set in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).
The document includes the monitoring of PM2.5 to address people's increasing concern about air quality. In light of frequent food scandals, it also emphasizes the implementation of the country's food safety law and establishment of food safety emergency plans.
Increasing the number of school buses and stepping up school security, as well as improving the nutrition of rural students were also included in the blueprint.
Addressing people's right to oversee, it encourages more consideration from society and the media. It specifies that accountability in accidents in production safety, food and drug scandals, forced evictions and pollution should be intensified.
"It's impressive how the plan is responding to hot topics of public concern," Liu Huawen, deputy director of the Center for Human Rights Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
The paper also includes a chapter titled "Implementation and Supervision," which stipulates that a joint meeting mechanism will be responsible for the enforcement, supervision and evaluation of the plan.
The mechanism is headed by the Information Office of the State Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and includes representatives from 56 central government agencies, people's groups and NGOs.
The second action plan follows up on many guidelines outlined in its predecessor of 2009-10.
For instance, the previous version stressed the government would revise the Election Law, while the new plan focuses on implementing the law and guaranteeing citizens' rights to vote and stand for election in local people's congresses.
"The first plan was carried out smoothly and many targets were met," said Liu, who has participated in the drafting of both action plans.
"More importantly, people's awareness of human rights has grown and the concept has entered the mainstream," he added.
The document noted China still faces many challenges in the development of its human rights cause due to multiple factors and the current development situation, adding it has a long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy wider human rights.
The US State Department published an annual report heavily criticizing China's human rights situation on May 24. China rejected the report and demanded Washington stop applying "double standards."
China is one of 29 countries to promulgate a national human rights action plan - one of the indicators that a country values human rights, said Liu.
(Global Times, 12 June 2012)