Analysing the Employment Discrimination Phenomena in China From an International Human Rights Perspective -- Focusing on Hepatitis B-Based Discrimination

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: As stated in Article 26 of ICCPR, ''all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law.'' The pursuit of equality and non-discrimination has been widely accepted not only as a formal principle but also binding substantive human rights. In 2003, the first Global Report by ILO on discrimination, Time for equality at work, stressed that the workplace-''be it a factory, an office, a farm or the street-was a strategic entry point to free society from discrimination.'' ILO: ''Time for equality at work'', Global Report under the follow- up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental principles and Rights at work, Report I (B), International Labour Conference, 91st Session, Geneva, 2003, para.11. China had implemented an equal economic policy since 1949, however, in the field of employment and occupation, people from different social origins did not equally enjoy the same opportunity due to the Hukou registration system. Since introducing market economy reforms in 1979, the employment discrimination has even deteriorated. ''Trade, financial liberalization and fiscal policies that were meant to create a more level playing field for healthy market competition, have not always resulted in more equal social outcomes or greater solidarity among individuals and groups of workers.'' ILO: ''Equality at work: Tackling the challenge''s, Global Report under the follow- up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental principles and Rights at work, International Labour Conference, 96th Session, Geneva, 2007, p2, para 13. The reason is that it has been aggravated by the rapid economic growth, coupled with lack of established mechanisms to deal with it, plus the surplus labour force of China due to large population. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to scrutinise the phenomenon of employment discrimination in China from the perspective of international human rights law, and focus on one of the most serious kinds of discrimination: Hepatitis B-Based discrimination. The following issues need to be addressed. First, what is discrimination? What are the international standards on discrimination at workplace? And what is direct and indirect discrimination, what does not constitute discrimination? Why is it important to eliminate discrimination at the workplace in China? What is the influence after China's ratification and accession to the ILO Convention concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation in 2006? Next the paper proceeds to an overview of employment discrimination in China and analyses five types of main employment discriminations. Third, the paper wants to focus on the discrimination based on Hepatitis B, which is considered the most serious one in all types of employment discrimination in China. More than 120 million Chinese, about 10% of the population, carry the Hepatitis B virus. World Health Organization (WHO) 2006, ''Country Cooperation of Strategy at a Glance'' , ''Even the 2004 Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases-seen as a significant step forward by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of infectious diseases-did not specifically mention Hepatitis B, nor is its anti- discrimination provision echoed in the Labour Law.'' Bonny Ling and Wing Lam, ''Hepatitis B: A Catalyst For Anti-Discrimination Reforms?'' Therefore, this chapter states its manifestation, negative influence, the reason it persists, and the way to address it. Fourth, the paper does case study analysing on Zhang Xianzhu v Wuhu Personnel Bureau-the first litigation on Hepatitis B and three other Hepatitis B-Based Discrimination cases in China. Finally, the paper draws conclusions on what should to be done after examination of the Chinese situation comparing with the international standard, what is the significance of addressing employment discrimination in China and in what lies in the future for addressing employment discrimination in China?

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