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Statement of H.E. Mr. He Yafei, Ambassador of China, at the General Debate during the 13th Session of Human Rights Council

Mr. President,

At the outset, please allow me to congratulate you on assuming the presidency of this session. I would also like to take this occasion to express, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, my deepest sympathy and condolence to the peoples of Haiti and Chile and other members of the international community for the huge casualty and loss they have suffered in recent earthquakes.

The Human Rights Council has been in existence for nearly four years. Even though there are still problems or gaps, its accomplishment is there for all to see. The purpose of reviewing its function is therefore not to renegotiate what has been agreed upon but to seek improvement in certain specific areas, so as to better align its work to the mandate and the spirit of the GA resolution 60/251.

At present, we are still feeling the repercussions of the financial crisis. All countries, especially the developing ones, are struggling with an ever worsening external environment. This crisis has also brought into sharp focus the importance of promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights, especially the right to development. We call on developed countries to honour their obligations, fulfill their commitment on ODAs and increase their financial and technical support to developing countries.

Mr. President,

We are living in a diversified world. What the world needs is a generous frame of mind to live and let live and to understand and respect differences and divergence. We should learn from each other through dialogue and cooperation, seek to live together in harmony and work gradually to achieve our common objectives in promoting and protecting human rights. In doing so, one must put a complete end to politicization and double standards.

Mr. President,

2009 marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China. Life in today’s China is totally different from that of six decades ago. During this period of time, the average life expectancy of Chinese has risen from 35 years to 73 years; 200 million people have bid farewell to illiteracy; 160 million students are enjoying 9 year free compulsory education, and 210 million peasants have been lifted out of poverty. China is also making steady progress in democracy and the rule of law through gradual reforms in its legal system and enhanced efforts to ensure the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Chinese law protects citizens’ right to the freedom of expression. There are now 384 million internet users in China. Citizens may access information through different media, including internet. They can also express their views on political and social issue. All such moves attest to the remarkable progress my country has made in promoting and protecting human rights.

As the world’s biggest developing country with 1.3 billion people, China is facing a number of difficulties and challenges in the field of human rights. Premier Wen Jiabao, in his Chinese new year’s greeting to the nation, stressed the need to make people lead a happier and more dignified life. This is also a solemn pledge that the government has made to the people.

At this moment, all our government departments are working hard to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan and the outcome of the UPR on China. We are ready to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries in the field of human rights on an equal footing and continue with our efforts towards the lofty goal of promoting and protecting human rights.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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