|Protecting Women's Rights and Interests and Eliminating All Forms of Violence against Women|
MENG XIAO SI ,Head of Delegation :
Ministers and Fellow Delegates,
I am happy to work together with Ms. Lan Qing, Deputy Director General of Legal Department of the All-China Women’s Federation in making a voluntary statement on behalf of the Chinese delegation to talk about elimination of violence against women. I will first introduce the actions taken and progress made by the Chinese Government in protecting women’s lawful rights and interests and eliminating all forms of violence against women.
Violence against women is widespread across borders, cultures, races and age groups. It originates from the unequal gender power structure, undermines physical and psychological health of women and threatens family and social stability and development. Such acts should never be ignored or tolerated. On 27 September 2015 Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired and addressed the Global Leaders' Meeting on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment where he said that China implements the basic state policy of gender equality, and call on the international community to strive to eliminate all forms of violence against women.
In recent years, especially since the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, China has strengthened actions against violence against women and made the following progress in this field.
First, improving legislation to protect women’s rights and interests.
A legal system on protecting women’s rights and interests based on the Constitution and comprised of sectoral laws, administrative decrees and local regulations, has come into being. China continues to incorporate gender equality into new and revised laws. The Law against Domestic Violence was adopted on 27 December 2015 and went into effect on 1 March 2016. Based on China’s reality, the Law against Domestic Violence gives a clear definition and scope of legal application to domestic violence and metes out legal punishment to acts of violence between cohabitants other than family members, including intimate partners. It sets the responsibility of compulsory reporting for relevant institutions and individuals by taking into full consideration the conditions of persons with no or limited capacity of civil conduct. By doing so, it reflects the attention placed on special vulnerable groups. The practice of police admonishment it creates is unique to China and targeted at acts of minor domestic violence below administrative penalties. It adopts the system of personal safety protection orders. It shifts from ex post punishment of the victimizer to ex ante protection of the victim and opens a new way of the state intervening into domestic violence.
Second, strengthening mechanisms to incorporate gender perspectives into mainstream policymaking.
China continues to innovate and improve mechanisms of protecting women’s rights. Besides the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council, the NPC and the CPPCC have also set up women’s groups or agencies on women’s issues. A national coordination group on protecting women and children’s rights and interests has been set up. Governments at and above county-level have also set up coordinating agencies to protect women’s rights. So far there are nearly 3000 collegiate panels on women’s rights in the people’s courts at and above the county-level. Most provinces have set up domestic violence alarm response system through the 110 police hotline network and domestic violence complaint cells. Most of the civil relief stations have opened women’s shelters. The number of trauma centers for domestic violence set up by the health authorities continues to increase.
China is actively exploring and promoting the establishment of the gender equality evaluation mechanism on laws, regulations and policies. Gender and legal experts participate in the making, modifying and reviewing of policies and laws to eliminate the gender bias in them. So far, 16 provinces including Jiangsu and Beijing have set up the gender evaluation mechanism.
Third, empowering women through multiple measures.
China has carried out special campaign to eliminate violence against women. The Plan of Action against Trafficking of Women and Children (2008-2012) and the China Plan of Action against Human Trafficking (2013-2020) have been adopted and implemented to keep on preventing and fighting crimes of trafficking of women and children. The campaign against human trafficking was carried out between 2009 and 2014 and about 10,000 cases of trafficking of women were cracked. The Ministry of Finance has allocated 50 million Yuan RMB to cover the expenditure of local authorities in fighting human trafficking and settling abducted women.
Chinese government regards women empowerment as its core strategy in eliminating violence against women. We actively implemented the government subsidized micro-credit policy. A total of over 290 billion Yuan RMB of micro-credit have been issued, directing benefiting nearly 5.5 million women. We work to promote women’s participation in policymaking and social management. Women represent 23.4% of all the delegates to the 12th NPC, 2.07% up over the previous NPC. Maternity deaths were lowered to 23.2 out of 100,000 in 2013. Women’s level of education has been improved and gender gap in education at all levels has been gradually narrowed.
The Chinese government values the role of civil organizations in promoting gender equality and women’s development and works to include them into our multi-agency working mechanism for better cooperation. The All-China Women’s Federation, as China’s largest women NGO, has made tremendous efforts over the years in fulfilling its basic function of protecting women’s rights and interests and promoting gender equality. Now I would like to invite Ms. Lan Qing to brief you about their work in protecting women’s rights.
Ms. Lan Qing’s Speech
Over the years, the ACWF and its local branches have combined protecting women’s rights with promoting their participation in social management and enhancing social stability, worked actively with the Chinese government in coordinating and promoting efforts of all sectors of the society to ensure women’s rights and interests, eliminate all forms of violence against women and promote joint advancement of protecting women’s rights, economic and social development and democracy and legal development. I wish to talk about the following three aspects.
I. Pushing for gender equal legislation and policies.
According to the rights provided for by law and its organizational charters, the ACWF, in accordance with the legislative plan of the NPC Standing Committee, makes overall planning and takes the initiative to follow up on the state legislation and policymaking processes. It has participated in the formation and revision of over 300 laws and public policies involving women’s rights and interests, including the Criminal Law, the Social Insurance Law, the Rural Land Contracting Law, the Organic Law on Rural Village Committees, the Provisional Measures on Social Relief and the Mental Health Law, where its recommendations for women’s interests have been accepted by legislative organs and relevant agencies. On the basis of thorough investigation and theoretical studies, we have pushed for legislation in a number of key areas. For example, during the NPC session in 2008, the ACWF for the first time proposed the inclusion of formulating the Law on Domestic Violence into the legislative work plan of the NPC Standing Committee, which means that we began to pool all resources into the legislative efforts on this law. Since then, we kept making this proposal every year and undertook the pre-legislation preparatory work and legislative research and evidence collection and made specific recommendations on the draft law.
II. Taking part in innovative social management and improving services for women’s rights and interests.
The ACWF has opened women’s rights hotline in over 2800 counties, and set up over 700,000 “women’s homes” in villages and communities to provide advice and guidance to women for rights protection. Every year women’s federations at and above county-level receive and handle 250,000 to 300,000 letters, visits and phone calls from women. Women’s mutual assistance groups, women’s councils and women’s petitions management agencies have been established. We push for integrating work on women’s rights into government’s work plan by presenting key cases on inter-agency meetings on women’s petitions at corresponding levels, and allocating spending in this field from budget or petition handling expenditure of government at corresponding levels. We have been conducting the Legal Assistance Program for Chinese Women in the past five years. 5703 cases of legal assistance have been handled, 6513 women have received assistance and nearly 329 million yuan of economic losses have been retrieved. The women family dispute mediation committees were set up to prevent and mitigate family disputes, and reduce violence against women. We have encouraged courts at all levels to put in place “collegial panels on women’s rights” and over 8000 women’s affairs workers have become people’s assessors.
III. Campaigns advocating gender equality and gender awareness are carried out to foster favorable environment.
Public awareness and perceptions are the key factors in realizing gender equality and elimination of prejudice and violence against women. With the support of the government, we have moved courses on social gender into party schools, universities and communities. Activities advocating gender awareness and gender mainstreaming among policymakers, judicial workers and law enforcement staff have been carried out at the decision-making level. At community level, all sorts of nationwide awareness programs have been conducted for women and the general public on the March 8th Women’s Festival, the Day of Anti-violence against Women, the December 4th China Constitution Day and other important dates. For example, major activities, such as workshops, TV shows and press conferences were held to publicize the Law against Domestic Violence around 1st March this year. We have cooperated with China Women Judges Association, China Women Procuratoraters Association and All-China Women Lawyers Association in producing “Ten Cases on Protecting Lawful Rights and Interests of Women and Children” to advocate the law and urge judicial organs and the entire society to value and protect women’s rights and interests. We have also worked with central and local media to expose major cases of violating women’s rights and interests and notify the public key measures to protect women.
Concluding Remarks by Head of Delegation
We have made tremendous efforts and some progress in addressing violence against women. That being said, there is still a long way to go before we meet the ultimate goal of elimination of violence against women and the expectations of woman and the whole society. We are facing challenges in such fields as further improving enforcement measures to strengthen law enforcement, providing better relief and assistance to women victims of violence, fighting the perception of gender inequality, including gender awareness into macro-policy and decision-making and further strengthening gender statistics and budgets.
It is our hope that our meeting will be a good platform where we can conduct sincere cooperation with the UN Women and other partners, exchange and share experience with all countries and work together to drive away the shadow of violence, embrace the sunshine of equality and jointly promote the development of the world women’s cause for the building of an even better world shared by all.