BEIJING, May 14 (UPI) -- A China white paper on human rights issued Tuesday lauded the country's improved living standards and claimed higher levels of democracy and the rule of law.
The lengthy white paper titled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2012" was issued by the State Council (Chinese Cabinet) information office, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The document dealt at length with the people's higher living standards brought on by the country's economic boom and noted the government has combined its human rights endeavors with economic, political, cultural, social and ecological construction.
"The cause of human rights in China has entered a stage of planned, sustainable, steady and comprehensive development," it said, stressing development is the key to solving problems and facilitating the progress of human rights.
"After years of unremitting efforts, China has reached a higher level in terms of people's living standards, democracy, rule of law, cultural development, social security and environmental protection," the white paper said.
It said last year, the annual per capita net income for both urban and rural residents increased, hefty investments were directed to poverty reduction, housing conditions were improved for both urban and rural residents and the state made proactive efforts to boost employment.
It said practical measures were taken to ensure citizens' right to know and right to be heard. It said reform and rapid development of information technology have given the public greater power to acquire information and express their opinions.
The white paper said by the end of 2012, direct elections had been conducted for more than 98 percent of village committees across the country. It said the government has ensured that freedom of religious belief is protected.
From 2010-12, the government constructively participated in U.N. human rights activities and made active efforts to meet the obligations stipulated by the international human rights conventions, the document said.