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Introductory Statement by Secretary General WANG Naikun at the Meeting of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on consideration of China's Initial Report
2012/09/18

Mr. Chairperson, Mr. Rapporteur and Dear Members:

I am honored to make the introductory statement on behalf of the Chinese government.

Since its inception,the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has done a great deal of fruitful work in promoting the implementation of the Convention and safeguarding equal rights for one billion disabled people worldwide. You have made important contributions to improving their well-being and to achieving a just, inclusive and sustainable development to the benefit of all. The Chinese delegation wishes to pay tribute to Mr. Chairperson and all the Committee Members for this!

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the submission of its compliance reports and its deliberation. Our delegation is composed of representatives of the Central Government, the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Government of Macao Special Administrative Region. We are ready, in the next two days, to cooperate with the Committee, respond to all your questions with all sincerity and listen attentively to your constructive comments and suggestions.

China is one of the first signatory countries to the Convention. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China approved the Convention in June 2008 and the Convention went into effect in China in September 2008. China has since earnestly fulfilled its obligations, including the compilation of the compliance report. China set up an inter-departmental working group composed of 22 government departments in November 2009, which made centralized arrangements for the compilation of the reports and earnestly solicited views from organizations of persons with disabilities in the compiling process. In October 2010 China submitted a compliance report to the Committee on schedule .

Mr. Chairperson and Dear Members,

As the largest developing country,China is still in the initial stage of socialism and will remain so for a long term. Also,China is the country with the greatest disabled people of about 85 million, beyond the national population of many countries. We face tremendous difficulties and challenges in this regard. The Chinese government and state leaders have all along attached great importance to the affairs of persons with disabilities. Over the past four years since the ratification of the Convention, China has faithfully fulfilled all its obligations and has taken legislative, administrative and other measures to guarantee and promote the gradual realization of all the rights enshrined in the Convention. We can state with certainty that the vast number of persons with disabilities in China have never before enjoyed such good conditions as they enjoy today. The Compliance Report and the reply to the list of issues have given a comprehensive account of China's implementation of substantive provisions of the Convention. As the Report and reply were submitted sometime ago, I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the latest progress in the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

First, China has sped up the improvement of the legal and policy system for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities

In 2008 China revised the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities,so as to keep it in line with the basic principles and spirit of the Convention. The revised law puts greater emphasis on such basic principles as prohibition of disability-based discrimination, equal opportunity and accessibility advocated by the Convention. The various provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under of the Central Government have completed the revision or amendment of the local legislations in accordance with the Convention and the revised Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities. China has also developed a set of supporting administrative regulations for the Law. After the promulgation of the Ordinance on Education for the Persons with Disabilities and the Regulations on Promotion of Employment in succession, China promulgated the Regulations on Construction of Accessible Environment in June this year, which provides legal guarantee for the realization of the right of the persons with disabilities to education, employment and participating in social life.

Greater emphasis has been given to the provision on the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities and on special assistance to these people in the course of the formulation of the Law on Social Security, the Law on Employment Promotion and the Mental Health Law. At the same time, in the development of the policies on medical care, education, employment, social security, public services and other related policies, China paid attention to the equal protection of the rights of and special assistance for the persons with disabilities and facilitated and supported the exercise of the rights by persons with disabilities. The legislative system for the protection of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities in China, including the laws, regulations and policies, is being improved and perfected.

While strengthening the legislation and policy protection of the persons with disabilities, China has actively promoted the implementation of laws and policies. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress carried out in 2011 a nationwide comprehensive inspection of the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities and submitted to the Central Government its observations and suggestions on strengthening law enforcement so as to ensure that persons with disabilities are entitled to and realize all their rights according to law.

Second, China has incorporated the work for persons with disabilities into the mainstream of economic and social development

China has actively incorporated the work for persons with disabilities into the overall plan of the national economic and social development. In 2011, China began to implement the 12th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development, which states "accelerating the development of the cause for the disabled" as a key content and requires a better social security system and service system for persons with disabilities and sound institutional safeguards for the livelihood and development of persons with disabilities. In recent years, the Central Government has set forth policies and measures on protection of the interests of the disabled and improvement of the condition of persons with disabilities in all plans of education, employment promotion, population development, basic public services and social security.

China has formulated and implemented special plans on the work for persons with disabilities. In May 2011, the State Council approved for implementation the Outline of the Work for Persons with Disabilities during the 12th Five-year Development Plan. The Outline sets the overall goal for the five years during the 12th Development Programme, i.e., "Persons with disabilities will generally live a moderately well-off life with markedly improved conditions for their life and development". It has also identified a number of specific goals. They are to provide rehabilitation services to 13 million persons with disabilities, to help one million disabled persons in urban areas to get jobs, to help 10 million persons with disabilities living in poverty in rural areas to improve their living conditions, and to ensure that all persons with disabilities generally get employment services and vocational training.

China has included the protection of human rights of persons with disabilities in the national human rights action plans. The protection of human rights of persons with disabilities has been highlighted and stressed as important contents in the two national human rights action plans of China, which has played an important role in promoting the effective implementation of the Convention and the comprehensive protection of the political, economic, social and cultural rights of persons with disabilities.

Third, China has promoted an overall improvement of the conditions of persons with disabilities

China has continuously strengthened the social security of the persons with disabilities. The individual insurance contributions of the impoverished persons with disabilities and persons with severe disabilities who participate in social insurance are covered by the government in whole or in part. The participation rates of urban and rural persons with disabilities in the medical insurance plans reached over 97.4% and 80% respectively. All persons with severe disabilities have been covered by the basic social pension security plan for urban and rural residents. The social security system for orphans and children with disabilities has been upgraded. A welfare allowance system for the disabled is being established gradually. There are now over 6200 boarding care and support services institutions and community-based day-care institutions for persons with disabilities. Nearly 600,000 pour rural families with disabled persons have had their dilapidated homes renovated. China will gradually expand the coverage of social security and raise the security standards along with the continued economic and social development.

China has constantly improved rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities. China has taken the early detection, early treatment and early rehabilitation measures for 0-6 year-old children so as to enhance the ability of children with disabilities to fully integrate into society. During the period of 2006-2011, 11.745 million persons with disabilities received rehabilitation service to varying degrees and about 6 million assistive devices and equipments were supplied to persons with disabilities. Community-based rehabilitation services were carried out in 91% of the counties (including districts and cities at the county level) and an accumulative total of 186,000 community-based rehabilitation stations were established. China has continuously expanded the coverage of rehabilitation services and enhanced the capacity and level of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities so as to provide guarantee for the integration of persons with disabilities into social life.

China has continuously improved the level of education for persons with disabilities. An education system for persons with disabilities spanning from pre-school to tertiary education is being established. The enrollment rate for compulsory education of children with disabilities has risen significantly. Nearly 60% of students with disabilities study in regular schools and the conditions of special education schools have been improved. Free senior-middle-school education for disabled students is being gradually implemented. In 2011, over 8,000 persons with disabilities were admitted by universities and colleges (including regular institutions of higher learning and special education institutions of higher learning).

China has constantly strengthened measures to promote employment of persons with disabilities. In order to fully guarantee the employment of persons with disabilities, China has made efforts to promote various forms of employment for persons with disabilities, such as a certain ratio for employment of the disabled persons, concentrated employment of disabled persons, self-employment, public service jobs for disabled persons, and to help disabled persons in rural areas with productive work, even though the overall employment situation in China is fairly grim. As a result, employment of persons with disabilities has generally remained stable in terms of scale in the urban and rural areas.

China has continuously assisted and supported people with disabilities to shake off poverty. Since 2006, over 7.4 million rural poor persons with disabilities have been lifted out of poverty. Last year, China readjusted the poverty alleviation standards. Under the new poverty alleviation standards, more than 25 million persons with disabilities in rural areas are now under the poverty line in China. At the beginning of this year, the Central Government approved the Outline for Development-oriented Poverty Reduction for China's Rural Areas (2011-2020), which contains arrangements for the social security and poverty alleviation of persons with disabilities in rural areas through development in the next decade with a view to a fundamental improvement in the working and living conditions of poor disabled persons in rural areas as soon as possible.

China has constantly enriched the cultural life of persons with disabilities. China has actively promoted the participation of persons with disabilities in public and cultural life. Sign language programs and special programs for persons with disabilities were produced by radio and TV stations at the state, provincial and municipal levels. China Braille Library with collection, borrow for reading, blind people reading, cultural studies and other functions all in one has been established to provide nonprofit cultural services to the blind; reading rooms for the blind were opened in all public libraries at and above the municipal level; and cultural and sports activities were organized for persons with disabilities, such as the community cultural activities for persons with disabilities, culture weeks for persons with disabilities, sports fitness weeks for persons with disabilities and sports or art competitions in special education schools. The Chinese Paralympics Delegation once again won more gold medals or more of all categories of medals than any other country at the just-concluded 14th London Paralympics Games.

China has constantly improved the environment for the integration of persons with disabilities into society. Accessibility is a fundamental principle of the Convention and is also the premise and guarantee for the persons with disabilities to realize all their rights and integrate into society. China has included accessibility construction in the overall plan of urban and rural accessibility construction. China has actively promoted accessibility construction of public places, urban transportation, airports and railway passenger stations to facilitate travel for the disabled. China has also recognized that the elimination of obstacles in the family life of persons with disabilities is very important and has been carrying out gradually accessibility transformation of the homes of disabled people since 2008, with the financial support from central and local governments.

Forth,China has made efforts to create conditions for a sustainable development of the work for persons with disabilities

China has made efforts to improve services for persons with disabilities. China has actively sped up the training of specialized personnel on rehabilitation, education, employment, legal services and social work for the persons with disabilities and strived to provide better services for people with disabilities. China has newly built, renovated or expanded a number of basic service facilities for persons with disabilities and has 2500 comprehensive service facilities for disabled persons at the grassroots level, which have improved the services conditions for persons with disabilities. In the next five years, the Central Government will continue to give financial support to the construction of service facilities and the training of specialized personnel for persons with disabilities.

China has encouraged non-governmental sectors to participate in the work for persons with disabilities. China has actively promoted the cause for the disabled through a variety of media and encourages people from all walks of life to understand and participate in the work for persons with disabilities. The rehabilitation, education and pension institutions for persons with disabilities organized by non-governmental sectors continue to expand in scale. Philanthropy for persons with disabilities developed continuously. Volunteer services for the persons with disabilities have become more extensive and we have now 7 million registered volunteers to help persons with disabilities.

China has carried out monitoring on the conditions of persons with disabilities. In order to learn more about the condition of persons with disabilities, to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities and to promote the development of the work for the persons with disabilities, China has established a national dynamic monitoring mechanism over the conditions of persons with disabilities, which systematically collects the basic data related to persons with disabilities and to the work for disabled persons, so as to provide a scientific basis for the development of laws and regulations and development plans on the work for persons with disabilities.

Fifth,China has actively promoted the international exchanges and cooperation in the area of the work for persons with disabilities

To strengthen international cooperation is an important obligation of the states party. China has actively carried out international exchanges and cooperation in the area of the work for persons with disabilities. China hosted "the International Beijing Forum: Removing Barriers, Promoting Integration", at which various countries shared experiences in the work for persons with disabilities and compliance of the Convention and formed a consensus on the way to deal with the challenges faced by all countries. China successfully hosted the Beijing Paralympics and the Guangzhou Asian Para Games in 2008 and 2010 respectively, which advanced the communication and exchange among the persons with disabilities of various countries; A Theme Pavilion especially designed for persons with disabilities was set up at Shanghai World Expo, namely, Life & Sunshine Pavilion, for the first time in the 159-year history of the World Expo. In this connection, The Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Ban Ki-moon specially sent a congratulatory letter and spoke highly of it.

Mr. Chairperson and Dear Members,

China is a developing country with a population of 1.3 billion and in the course of reform. With a large population and uneven development, China is facing with unimaginable difficulties on the road of economic development and improving its people's livelihood. There is still a fairly large gap between conditions of persons with disabilities and the average level of other people in China. Persons with disabilities are still facing many difficulties and obstacles in rehabilitation, education, employment, culture, sports and social participation. Discrimination against them and infringement of their rights and interests still exist to varying degrees. Mr. Deng Pufang, the pioneer and leader of China's work for persons with disabilities, has rightly said that what we have done falls far short of what we need to do. We are ready to make long-term tenacious efforts. The Chinese government will continue to fully implement the Convention, and protect the political, economic, social and cultural rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with law. We are bent on making every child with disabilities educated,every adult employed, and every old person provided for,so that all persons with disabilities can live a happier life with more dignity. We strive to gradually realize the lofty goal of "equality, participation and sharing" for persons with disabilities!

I wish to especially thank the Committee for your attention and support to the work for persons with disabilities in China. We have seriously considered the comments from NOGs and given our feedbacks on some comments in the reply to the question list. We are ready to avail ourselves of this meeting to exchange ideas with Committee Members and to solicit your views and suggestions, in a bid to promote China's implementation and push forward the cause for disabled persons in a better and faster way,and to benefit the vast number of persons with disabilities.

Mr. Chairperson and Dear Members,

According to the Chinese law, the Chinese government will fulfill all the international rights and obligations arising from the application of the Convention that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region should undertake. Therefore, the implementation of the Convention in these two regions has been incorporated into the compliance report that China has submitted to the Committee for its consideration and deliberation. However, Hong Kong and Macao have different social, economic and legal systems from those in the mainland of China. Therefore, the implementation of the Convention in these two regions could not be exactly the same as in the mainland. The part on the implementation of the Convention by Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region in the compliance report and reply materials has been compiled by the governments of the two special administrative regions themselves. Now, please allow me to invite Ms. Cheung Mei Chu, Deputy Secretary for Labor and Welfare Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Mr. Iong Kong Io, Director of the Social Welfare Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region of China to brief you on the implementation of the Convention in Hong Kong and Macao.

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