China's Relation with International Telecommunication Union
The predecessor of the International Telecommunication Union was the International Telegraph Union established on May 17, 1865, and was renamed in 1932 with an international telecommunication convention devised. It became one of the UN specialized agencies in 1947.
Chinabecame its member in 1920 and was first represented in the Madrid Plenipotentiaries Conference, and signed the Madridconvention for the International Telecommunication in 1932. In 1947, Chinawas elected for the first time as member of the Administration Council at a plenipotentiaries conference held in the Atlantic City, US. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China, Chinawas deprived of its rightful seat in the ITU, and not until May 1972 was Chinarestored its legitimate seat by a resolution adopted at the 27thITU Administrative Council meeting. Over recent years, Chinahas actively been involved in the ITU's meetings and activities.
In 2002, Chinacontinued to make its presence felt in the ITU.
From 18-27 March, the ITU Telecom World was held in Turkey. The theme topic of the meeting was "to narrow the digital divide". Countries present at the meeting carried out in-depth discussion as to how to narrow down the digital divide, and share respective experience in developing telecommunication. The meeting was finally wrapped up with an Istanbul Declaration and Istanbul Action Plan. Vice information industry minister Zhang Chunjiang headed the Chinese delegation. Zhang made a keynote speech entitled The Narrowed Digital Divide is an Eternal Topic of Telecom Development, whereby he briefed the participants on the development experience and achievements scored in the last 20-plus years.
From 1-5 July, the first inter-governmental preparatory meeting for the World Summit on the Information Society was held in Geneva. Ambassador Sha Zukang of the Permanent Mission of the PRC to the UN Offices at Genevaheaded the Chinese delegation. The meeting discussed and passed the rules of procedure for the preparatory meeting, qualification screening for NGOs and modalities of their participation, and devoted to a preliminary discussion of the items to be placed on the Summitagenda. Ambassador Sha pointed out in his statement, the information technology is developing in an extremely uneven manner with the digital divide between the developed and the developing countries further widened, which needs to be addressed immediately if an information society is to be in place. The Chinese government holds that the Summitshould put emphasis on and study the issues including the building of information infrastructure, information talents development and network safety. Sha stressed that the eradication of the divide calls for the joint efforts of all the countries with the developed countries shouldering their responsibility by giving positive and effective assistance to the developing countries in terms of financial support, transfer of technology and human resources training. And the Summitshould make substantial progress in this regard. Sha further noted that the Summitand its preparatory activities should identify their basic goals, stick to the theme topic, and focus on those economic and technical problems related to the information society without being diverted from its attention.
From 23 September to 18 October, ITU convened its once-every- four- years annual meeting of delegates with full powers in Marrakech, Morocco. Participants from 156 countries and 27 international organizations and regional organizations attended the meeting Wu Jizhuan, information industry minister headed the Chinese delegation. The meeting deliberated on the ITU quadrennial strategy, financial and operational plan, revised the ITU Organizational Statues and the convention, and discussed the issues related to the Summit. The meeting was accompanied by the election of ITU Governing Council members and its secretary-general. Chinawas re-elected as member of the Governing Council. Minister Wu in his statement called on countries to bolster their cooperation, forge partnership and make the sound and stable telecom development worldwide a reality.From 1-4 December, the ITU Asia Telecom 2002 was held in HKSAR. Sponsored by the ITU and the Chinese Central government and hosted by HKSAR, it was the second exhibition of its kind following the one held in 2000. Minister of Information Industry Wu Jizhuan attended the opening ceremony on behalf of the Central government, and delivered a keynote speech entitled Go along the Path of Steady and Pragmatic Telecom Development.