|Statement by H.E. Ambassador LIU Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN, at the First Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
31 October 2008
At the outset, please allow me to express, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, my heartfelt congratulation to you and other members of the bureau on your election.
Persons with disabilities are equal members of the society. Governments and the society as a whole should pay greater attention and do more to advance their rights and interests. In less than five years, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drafted, adopted, signed by many countries and entered into force on the 3rd of May this year. This shows eloquently the strong will of many countries to safeguard and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, and signals the progress of human civilization. Efforts to improve the situation of persons with disabilities in various countries will be boosted as a result.
With 83 million persons with disabilities in China, the Chinese government has always taken the advancement of the well being of persons with disabilities and the improvement of their situation as an important and urgent task in its endeavor to build a harmonious and well-off society. We actively advocated and supported the formulation under the auspices of the UN of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was among the first to sign the Convention in March 2007. In June this year, the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress formally ratified the Convention. We have also amended our Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities in light of the provisions of the Convention, thus bringing our domestic law in line with the Convention. This is yet another proof of the commitment and resolve of the Chinese government to the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities. My government has nominated Prof. Yang Jia, who is blind, as a candidate for the membership of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Madam Yang Jia is currently the vice chairperson of the China Association of the Blind and she used to serve on the board of directors of the World Federation of Deaf-blind and as an advisor for the Beijing Paralympic Games. As an outstanding representative of women with disabilities, she has long been engaged in the promotion and protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. China believes that if elected, she will contribute greatly to the work of the committee.
In September this year, the 13th Paralympic Games was held in Beijing. This grand gathering has not only promoted the development of the international Paralympic movement, but also become a festival for persons with disabilities throughout the world and an excellent opportunity for raising awareness of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. During the Beijing Paralympics, leaders of the Chinese government joined athletes and heads of organizations of persons with disabilities from 147 countries and regions in front of the memorial wall dedicated to the Convention that was erected in the Paralympic village, to issue a joint appeal to the international community to pay more attention to persons with disabilities and take practical actions to support the Convention.
The promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a human right issue, but more importantly a development issue. I would like to ask the panelists while implementing the Convention, how can countries better address these two dimensions in an integrated manner?