Handbook on Human Rights in China
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Handbook on Human Rights in China

Edited by Sarah Biddulph and Joshua Rosenzweig

This Handbook gives a wide-ranging account of the theory and practice of human rights in China, viewed against international standards, and China’s international engagements around human rights. The Handbook is organised into the following sections: contested meanings; international dimensions; economic and social rights; civil and political rights; rights in/action and access to justice; political dimensions of human rights in Greater China; and new frontiers.
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Chapter 8: Health and human rights performance in China: stronger on entitlements, weaker on freedoms

Lesley A. Jacobs


This chapter is designed to put pressure on the view that China can successfully realize progressively the right to health in international human rights law without attending in tandem to issues of freedom. The argument is based on the observation, originating in the field of health and human rights, that the right to health in international human rights law is now formulated as having two components — entitlements and freedoms — and that respecting, protecting and fulfilling the right to health requires attention to both of these components. Although China’s performance on entitlement issues such as universal access to health care and tobacco control has been improving in the past decade, its performance on freedom issues such as the administrative detention of drug users and accountability in the sense that there should be mechanisms to enable rights holders to seek remedies for violations of their human rights remain weak.

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