|Statement by H.E. Mr. Zhang Yesui, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, at the Plenary Meeting of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly under Agenda Item "Sports for Development and Peace"|
The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Secretary-General for his report entitled "Sports for Development and Peace:Building on the Foundations".(A/63/466), which gave a comprehensive assessment of the various programs and initiatives in this aspect carried out by UN Member States, Funds and Programs, specialized agencies and other partners over the past year and a full account of the major contributions made by the 29th Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games, both held in Beijing, to the promotion of peace and development and to the realization of the MDGs. The Chinese delegation wishes to express its appreciations in this regard. We welcome the appointment of Mr. Lemke by the Secretary- General as his Special Advisor on Sports for Development and Peace and appreciate the good work he has done since he took office.
From Aug. 8 to Sept. 17, 2008, China had the honor of hosting both the 29th Olympic Games and the 13th Paralympic Games. This is the first time for China to host the Olympic Games. Together, the Chinese people and the people of many countries lived through the exciting moments of the competitions of the Games; together, we witnessed the splendor and long history of the Chinese culture; together, we felt the openness and harmony of a modern China; together, we carried on the Olympic spirit of "unity, friendship and peace" and the Paralympic spirit of "self-respect, self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement"; and together, we wrote a new and splendid chapter of the Olympic Games.
We wish to thank all the Member States of the United Nations. With your support, the 62nd GA adopted by consensus a resolution sponsored by China and co-sponsored by 186 member states to observe the Olympic Truce. The resolution reaffirmed the determination of the Member States to promote cooperation and resolve differences through sports, provided precious opportunities for starting dialogue and building mutual trust in regions of conflict and created conditions for the promotion of development, education and heath care through sports.
We wish to thank the relevant international organizations, governments and peoples. With your support, the Beijing Olympic torch relay completed its tour of 19 cities in 19 countries on the five continents outside China, disseminating and carrying on the Olympic spirit.
We wish to thank the leaders of many countries and international organizations who, in the midst of their busy schedules, took time to come to Beijing in person to attend the opening or closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, supported and participated in the Beijing Olympics and cheered the athletes.
We wish to thank the 16,000 athletes of the Olympic Games and 4,000 athletes of the Paralympic Games. Upholding the Olympic spirit, they strove to be "Swifter, Higher and Stronger", gave perfect expression to "Transcendence, Equality and Integration", demonstrated high competitive skills and good sportsmanship and achieved remarkable results, breaking 38 world records, 85 Olympic records, 279 Paralympic world records and 339 Paralympic records.
We wish to thank tens of thousands of wonderful volunteers who came from China as well as from all over the world. It is they who, with their smiles and excellent volunteer service, ensured the smooth running of the Olympic Games and the normal functioning of the cities, creating a miracle in the history of the Olympic Games and giving a powerful impetus to the development of volunteerism in China.
We wish to thank the numerous construction workers from all over China. Ever since 2001 when Beijing won the bid to host the Olympic Games, they had worked around the clock with great diligence and built a host of beautiful architectural masterpieces exemplified by "Bird's Nest" and "Water Cube", which not only embody the characteristics of our times but also have a national flavor, thus providing excellent gymnasiums and athlete villages for the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Beijing Olympic Games gave a big boost to the development of popular sports activities in China. The Chinese government carried out an outreach program on the knowledge about the Olympic Games among over 400 million adolescents. This is by far the largest program ever carried out in the history of China in the dissemination and popularization of sports knowledge.
The Beijing Olympic Games is also a perfect expression of the integration of the UN purposes and principles with the Olympic ideals. In order to promote and publicize the Convention on the Rights ofPersons with Disabilities which just came into effect, the Chinese government had a memorial wall built in the square of the Paralympic Village. This is the first time in the history of Paralympic Games that a memorial wall centering on the theme of a UN convention was built. The Chinese leaders, Paralympic athletes and leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities from 147 countries and regions attended the ceremony of the unveiling of the wall and jointly appealed to the international community to be more committed to the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities and support the Convention with real action.
Sports are important ways to improve people's health and enhance both the physical fitness and the quality of life of a nation. The Chinese government attaches great importance to and brings into full play the major role of sports in facilitating a fuller development of human being, promoting economic and social progress and achieving MDGs. It supports using sports as a means to promote education, health, gender equality, guarantee of the rights of persons with disabilities and environmental protection. The Chinese government supports the Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Sports for Development and Peace and the relevant bodies in continuing to play an active role so as to integrate sports in the development cooperation in various fields.
The Beijing Olympic Games has come to an end, but the task of carrying forward the spirit of sports and promoting peace and development remains a long-term challenge. The Chinese government will continue to integrate sports into its national economic and social development strategies, speed up the building of sports facilities and infrastructure and improve the public system of fitness facilities so as to provide more and better public sports facilities and services to our people and enable them to enjoy the good health and benefits of development brought about by sports.
Thank you, Mr. President.