Home Opinion China’s new Civil Code as human rights Opening Up

China’s new Civil Code as human rights Opening Up



The Chinese Civil Code law in the making is a welcome development. I applaud this great landmark by the Chinese government managed by the Communist Party of China (CPC)

I have never been a candidate of fixation or in support of one foisting his or her system on another without a room for dissent in aspects that undermine peculiarities.

I think this is another phase of the China’s continuous Opening Up strictly on the human rights flank

With my little knowledge of the Chinese system, especially the politics, I think the country is acting in the right direction.

China is fast becoming the global cynosure in human migration, economy and politics. Therefore, the political and other operational system of China must also adjust to taste better in the mouth of the world. But that doesn’t mean China should jettison what makes them China. The adjustments should be human and humane but less emulative. The originality of China in my thinking is the composure of the country not be stampeded into decisions to please some external interests. I always say that China has grown at its pace over the years.

It was in 2018 a Chinese president first took an open oath of office when Xi Jinping was sworn in for his second five-years tenure.

With the decision for the Code announced in October 2014 when Xi was a year in office and processes commencing two years later, if this Civil Code eventually crystalizes into a law, it would be one of the landmarks of his government to take China further from where he met it. This is a decisive step for China and the world to meet themselves midway.

These new laws in the offing would encourage more economic benefits to China from the outer world and also to China at the outer world. China I know has built a state and needs to build more virile human beings and relations with the right flexibility and operational environment to sustain the state it has built since there is no country without a people.

China’s mantra at the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) the medium through which I knew China has the people-to-people clause. This Civil Code is like the people-to-people or state-to-people clause at its internal or municipal system.


However, to me who has known China to some extent, this didn’t come as surprise. I know the Chinese system especially after the Cultural Revolution has seen so many changes. The difference is that people who want China to change according to their whims and dictates don’t seem to see it.

I have consistently said that it is the pro-active management style of the CPC that made it sustain its socialism with Chinese characteristics since 1921 and 1949 up till the 1989-1991 days when socialism crumbled even in the USSR that sold the idea to China. It’s innovation that has kept the Chinese political system and I am impressed it preserves that culture in this new law.

In 1978, China took a most pragmatic step in socio-economic innovations that have recreated her world. Till date, they keep expanding and stretching.

In my student days as journalism Fellow at the Renmin University School of Journalism, most of my teachers always said that what China started in 1978 is not what China has today. They agree that even the originators must have been beaten to pieces in their imagination of what China has evolved into today. I bet that change has kept changing till the present Civil Code, and still won’t stop there.

For the Civil Code which I have perused the published pieces of 84 Chapters and 1,260 articles, its heart-warming, especially on the aspects of social and individuals freedom and rights. The days when the state remained the behemoth to the disadvantage of the individual citizen is over and China does it right.

The right of the individual at allowable and reasonable levels are great codes and creed of the world today. China is a member of the Security Council of the UN, not just an ordinary member of the global body. And the most influential codification of the UN is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948 which triggered off the Economic and Socio-Cultural Rights (ECOSOC Rights) and many more. So China adopted the right moves to enshrine the rights of the individual in this new Code. It is also right that China still retains what makes her China like the definition of marriage as between man and woman. This is a position that pitted many African countries against US and the UK under some that felt they had the right to think for Africa. I stand with China on this.

The benefits of this Code comes in so many ways as I noted earlier in making China more friendly to investment, property ownership especially the outer world.

It will help reduce pressure on the state literally doing everything and divesting more rights and responsibilities to the individual citizens and also enable the citizens have more say in the management of their country. China has always carried on at its pace and it will still be right for it not to be allowed to stretch things out of control while advocating more personal rights and freedom in the days and years to come.

The law on the ordinary people

The Code is worth celebrating among the ordinary people especially as it relates to personal and traditional property rights which would encourage more openness in property ownership and reduce conflict between the rights of the state that should by legal provision make public its rules. With China complaining of abuses by the state and local government in the definition of what is public interest to expropriate individual lands, this law does well to give a better definition of what is public interest to better preserve the rights of the individual.

The right to privacy of an individual is inalienable and should be upheld to the extent that it doesn’t conflict with public interest.

I think this is another phase of the China’s continuous Opening Up strictly on the human rights flank

The new draft code defines private information as anything an individual is “not willing to be made known to other persons” and prohibits businesses, individuals — and even the government — from accessing such information without consent. This is a commendable provision and article.

A law that better protects and safeguards the rights of individual citizens to sexual harassment at work places and making the weaker safer from the stronger and more privileged is a wonderful dawn for a better society.

The laws or provisions would better promote social justice by becoming the power of the powerless against the very powerful. A good law of a state should target first to protect the weak from exploitation and I feel these safeguards are awesome.

A law its creation has taken over three years since 2017 when the general provisions were made and drawing from 13,718 people who submitted 114,574 memoranda is really broad-based and would definitely come out with the best for the citizens for a better and stronger social rules for accommodating human rights activists so long as they don’t run foul of societal decency and cohesion. I strongly believe that a good society should allow constructive criticisms to thrive. A good and workable society must self-criticise.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping walks to deliver his speech at the closing session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

As China had done over the years, I expect more changes to come in the future, but not changing China from being China. My emphasis on China being China is on my belief that one of the things that have preserved China strong is the firm and tenacious value for family. Let the traditional family institution and values of China remain sacrosanct. Most citizens that take to most heinous acts are those without family attachment, and China should retain that fine culture that makes you see always and very commonly elderly parents tending their grandkids at the parks, streets, restaurants and neighbourhood gardens. When this is lost, the era of people wielding guns and shooting others without feeling in the name of rights sets in.


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