BEIJING, June 11 (UPI) -- China said Monday it would take steps to protect rights of defendants in death penalty cases, ensure religious freedoms and make government more transparent.
The pledge came in the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015), China's official Xinhua news agency reported.
"China endeavors to develop socialist democracy, improve the socialist rule of law, expand the orderly political participation of citizens and guarantee people's civil and political rights in an all-around way," the document stated.
Xinhua said the plan acknowledges "China is still facing many challenges in the development of its human rights cause and it has a long way to go before fully allowing people to enjoy human rights" because of "influences and limitations of natural, historical and cultural factors, as well as the current level of economic and social development."
China, the plan said, "remains a developing country that is fraught with problems from unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development."
The plan said the country will improve trial procedures in death penalty cases/ Appeals in death penalty cases will be open to the public and the review of the death penalty should include questioning the defendant and hearing from the attorney, if the attorney chooses.
The plan said the government would protect religious activities in accordance with the law, improve organization and management of the Hajj, or Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and provide better services for pilgrims.
More money is to be budgeted for rebuilding and expanding religious venues in Tibetan-inhabited areas in the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai, Xinhua said.