The legitimate rights of ethnic minority groups, women, children, the elderly and the disabled have been fully protected via improved mechanisms and measures since China began its reform and opening up in 1978, said a white paper released by the State Council Information Office Wednesday.
The white paper, titled "Progress in Human Rights over the 40 Years of Reform and Opening Up in China," said the right of ethnic minority groups in administering state affairs was effectively guaranteed and the economy of ethnic minority areas had experienced rapid growth.
The total GDP of the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang, as well as the three provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai grew from 32.4 billion yuan (about 4.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 1978 to 8.49 trillion yuan in 2017, it said.
Education in ethnic minority areas has developed rapidly, with a series of measures launched to promote educational equality and ensure ethnic minority groups' right to education, the white paper said.
It said the ethnic minority groups' right to use and develop their spoken and written languages, their freedom of religious belief, and also the cultural heritage and relics in ethnic minority areas were all well protected.
Over the past 40 years, women's rights to equal participation in the administration of public affairs and socio-economic development have been effectively protected, according to the white paper.
Health services, protection and assistance for women and children have been enhanced, and the mechanism for protecting the rights and interests of the elderly has also been improved, it said.
China has been improving the mechanism for ensuring the rights and interests of the disabled since its reform and opening up began, the white paper said.
The disabled persons' right to social security is ensured and their right to rehabilitation has been improved, and the educational and cultural rights of people with disabilities have been better protected, it said.
The disabled persons' right to employment is effectively guaranteed, the white paper said, adding that the country has been providing more barrier-free facilities and assistance devices.
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