|Statement by Mr. XIAO Caiwei, Alternative Representative of the Chinese Delegation to the 47th 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"|
With the questions of the elderly, persons with disabilities and youth on the top of its agenda, the Chinese government has always worked to improve the quality of life of these groups in an effort to build a harmonious society with the people at the center.
I. At present, the world population is aging at an accelerated speed, bringing the question of aging to the fore. In China, the number of people over 60 has now reached 153 million, which accounts for 11.6% of our total population. It is estimated that by mid-century, the aged population in China will exceed 400 million, over 30% of the total population. The question of aging in China is mainly characterized by the large number of the aged and the fast speed of aging.
In order to address the question of the aging of the population and implement the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, the Chinese government has gradually established a relatively complete social security system based on social insurance, social relief and social welfare, focused on basic old age care, basic medical care and minimum life guarantee, and supplemented by charity work and commercial insurance. The government has worked to strengthen the function of the family in taking care of the old people, and promote the socialized old age care service in which the community plays the central role so as to combine the family care and social care for the elderly people. The government has also actively encouraged cultural and educational activities of the elderly by establishing 670,000 cultural and sports facilities for the elderly and more than 26,000 universities for elderly students with over 2,300,000 students, all with a view to creating enabling conditions for the elderly to use their specialties to integrate in the society and take part in social development.
We will continue to adhere to the principle of "people as the center", steadily improve our social security system and work hard to safeguard the rights and interests of the elderly people.
II. Always attentive to the safeguard of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities, the Chinese government has incorporated the cause of persons with disabilities in the overall planning for our national economic and social development.
In 2008, we have taken the following measures in the field of the protection of persons with disabilities: First, a document on promoting the development of the cause of the disabled was issued with a view to improving the service provided to the disabled, strengthening the medical rehabilitation of the disabled and the prevention of disabilities, guaranteeing the basic living conditions of the disabled, promoting the rounded development of the disabled and improving the social environment for the development of the cause of the disabled. Second, the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities was amended to make clear the responsibility of the government in the development of the cause of persons with disabilities, reinforce the social security for persons with disabilities and provided for the comprehensive development of public services for persons with disabilities such as rehabilitation, education, employment, culture and sports, construction of an environment of accessibility and prevention of disabilities. Third, we are among the first states to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Chinese government sent a delegation to the first conference of states parties to the Convention and Ms. Yang Jia, vice-chairperson of China Association of the Blind, was elected as a member of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In September, 2008, China successfully hosted the 13th Paralympics, which left guests with disabilities from all over the world deeply impressed and was highly commended by the international community. For the Paralympics, we have constructed and refitted numerous accessibility facilities, including information accessibility facilities, enacted a series of special service policies and measures to make it easier for persons with disabilities to go out, watch the games and participate in social life, and recruited nearly 40,000 volunteers for Games events and more than 1,000,000 city volunteers to serve the Paralympics. The successful hosting of the Paralympics has enhanced the profile of the cause of persons with disabilities in the Chinese society, changed profoundly the living conditions of persons with disabilities in China and made important contributions to the development of sports for persons with disabilities of the world and the development of the International Paralympics.
III. The Chinese government has always attached importance to the question of youth and supported the development and capacity building of youth organizations.
Youth employment is among the important issues in the field of employment facing China. The financial crisis has brought about considerable pressure on the employment situation in China, making the employment of youth a more severe problem. In order to solve this problem, we have implemented the Employment Promotion Law of the People's Republic of China and adopted proactive employment policies and measures. We have strengthened vocational training to enhance the employability of young workers. In addition, we have carried out the China Youth Employment Entrepreneurial Action during which 1,952 Youth Employment Entrepreneurial Action Practice Bases were established with 59,802 practice positions to promote youth employment and entrepreneurship. Preferential tax policies and employment service measures have been adopted to help the unemployed youth in towns and cities find jobs or start their own business. We are also working actively to promote the employment of college graduates and organize and guide the young migrant workers from rural areas to seek employment.
In recent years, we have carried out at the country level the Youth to Join the Building of Harmonious Communities Action to mobilize teenagers and youth to participate in activities such as community planning for preventing juvenile crime, community volunteer service, awareness raising campaigns on preventing HIV/AIDS and community assistance for youth employment, thus heightening the sense of social responsibility of the young people and contributing to efforts aimed at building a harmonious society.
The Chinese government highly commends the role of the UN in promoting the causes of the elderly, persons with disabilities and youth at the global level. We will continue to press on with the implementation of the relevant plans and programs of action, actively participate in the international cooperation in the field of social development and make even greater efforts to improve the conditions of vulnerable groups of the elderly, the disabled and the young throughout the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.