Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday proposed a people-centric human rights philosophy in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic during a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The minister also called for promoting human rights via dialogue and cooperation and highlighted the importance of combining the universal principles of human rights with the reality in different countries.
'People-centered' concept of human rights
At the beginning of his speech, Wang, who addressed the body via video link, said the COVID-19 pandemic is the common enemy of humankind and cooperation is the only choice for the international community.
People's interests are where human rights start and end, he said.
The Chinese foreign minister called on all countries to systematically advance all aspects of human rights to protect people's rights to life, freedom and property.
Wang said vaccines are related to people's right to health, survival and development, adding that these rights are especially a priority amid the pandemic.
"China is the first country to make a commitment to making its COVID-19 vaccines global public goods," he said, adding that vaccines should be distributed fairly around the globe to ensure accessibility and affordability, especially in developing countries.
Human rights no excuse for interference
Wang also reiterated China's position on issues related to China's Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
China supports all countries in strengthening exchanges and cooperation on human rights based on the principle of mutual respect but opposes any attempt to attack and smear other countries or interference in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.
The essence of Xinjiang-related issues is to fight against violence, terrorism and separatism, Wang said, adding that basic facts have shown that there has never been "genocide," "forced labor" or "religious oppression" in Xinjiang.
As for Hong Kong issues, Wang said the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong has closed long-standing legal loopholes in safeguarding national security in the region and will promote the practice of "One Country, Two Systems."