|Statement by Ms. Wang Xun, Alternative Representative of the Chinese Delegation to the 48th Session of the Commission for Social Development under Item 3(b) "Review of relevant United Nations plans and programmes of action pertaining to the situation of social groups"|
The Chinese government cares deeply about the well-being of the elderly, persons with disabilities and the youth, and has taken active measures to improve the quality of life of these groups as part of its endeavor towards the goal of building a people-centered harmonious society.
Currently, the world population is aging at an accelerated pace and the issue of aging has become increasingly prominent. Population over 60 years old in China has now reached 167 million, accounting for 12.5% of the country’s total and about 1/5 of the world’s aged population. China has a large population of the aged and its population is aging at a fast pace. The pace of aging is faster in eastern regions than in central and western regions; the problem of aging is more serious in rural areas than in urban areas; females constitute a larger part of the aged population than males. The aging of China’s population is mainly characterized by its growing old before rich and an imbalance across different regions and between urban and rural areas.
The Chinese government has incorporated the issue of aging into the overall national economic development plan by an integration of economic, legal and administrative measures. We have put in place a fairly comprehensive social security system based on social insurance, social relief and social welfare, and which includes basic pension, basic healthcare and minimum life guarantee, and is supplemented by charities and commercial insurance. In 2009, a pilot project on a new type of rural social pension scheme was launched with the initial coverage of about 10% of the counties (towns and districts) nationwide. We have been working to strengthen the function of the family in caring for the elderly and actively promote the socialized old age care service in which the community plays the central role, with a view to making the family as the core unit in caring for the elderly with the community providing support and supplemented by homes for the elderly. Much has been done to develop a social service network for the elderly and over 40,000 service-oriented institutions for the elderly have been set up in urban and rural areas.
China has 80.3 million persons with disabilities. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of their rights and interests and has taken during the last year a host of measures for the promotion of their welfare:
First, promote the setting-up of a social security system and a service system for persons with disabilities. The formulation of relevant guidelines has provided effective system-wide support as well as policy guarantees for an all-out initiation of the building of the above-mentioned two systems. The overall requirements of the two systems have been incorporated into China’s Human Rights Action Plan 2009-2010.
Secondly, increase financial input and implement a host of key projects which have a direct bearing on the interests of persons with disabilities. In 2009, the total budget for persons with disabilities increased by 62.21%. The key projects now under way include the Project on Rehabilitation of Disabled Children Living in Poverty, the Project on Cataract Extraction for One Million Poor Patients and the Project on the Construction of 100 Model Accessible Cities.
Thirdly, seek new breakthroughs in the area of special education and in relation to driving by persons with disabilities. These endeavors include making greater efforts to develop high-school and special college education for persons with disabilities focusing on vocational training, expanding the scope of compulsory education for persons with disabilities, improving the mechanism for ensuring special education funds, raising the quality of teachers and carrying out various forms of literacy campaign among adult persons with disabilities. Relevant provisions governing application for and use of driver’s license for motor vehicles have been revised so as to loosen up driving restrictions for persons with disabilities.
Fourthly, step up efforts in building a Life and Sunshine Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. This is the first pavilion dedicated to persons with disabilities in the 158 years of the World Expo’s history. It will provide a window for the world to learn about persons with disabilities in China and progress made in safeguarding their rights and interests.
Fifthly, work energetically to prepare for the 10th Asian Para Games to be held in Guangzhou, China from December 12 to 19, 2010. It will be another great sports event for persons with disabilities on the heels of the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. We hope that the 10th Asian Para Games will further the cause of persons with disabilities, promote understanding and friendship among the athletes.
China has the largest youth population in the world and promoting their employment is one of the major focuses of job creation China faces today. Currently, difficulties in youth employment find expression mainly in the following three aspects: supply of newly added labor force outstrips demand; it is harder for college graduates to find jobs; and there is increasing difficulty in the alternative employment of the rural youth.
The Chinese government lays great emphasis on the employment of the youth and has worked hard to address this issue. It has established all kinds of vocational training institutions to intensify vocational training for young workers in order to improve their employability. It has adopted favorable tax policies and supportive measures to help unemployed urban youth to seek jobs or start their own business. It has worked hard to promote employment of college graduates, implemented enabling policies to encourage their employment or self-employment, lowered the threshold of market access for college graduates who wish to start their own business, and provided favorable policy support in aspects such as financing, business locations and taxes. Efforts have been made to strengthen employment guidance, expand channels of employment and take concrete measures in providing employment service, apprenticeship and employment assistance. Over 100,000 job fairs have been held.
Furthermore, the All-China Youth Federation, in cooperation with relevant financial institutions, has initiated a project on micro-credit for young entrepreneurs. As of October, 2009, it has made loans in the total amount of 2.12 billion RMB yuan. The All-China Youth Federation also set up a Fund for the Entrepreneurship and Employment of the Chinese Youth with a view to pooling social resources by way of promoting public welfare and to further improving and innovating the mechanism for promoting youth entrepreneurship and employment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.