Last June, the special session of the General Assembly on women's issues held in New York adopted the plan for further actions for realizing the goals set forth in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The plan has confirmed the objectives to be achieved in enhancing women's status and promoting gender equality both at the national and the international levels. It is pertinent to say that the governments, the international community and NGOs all attach importance to the outcome of the GA special session and they are taking positive steps to implement the results.
At the same time, the difficulties faced by many countries, the developing countries in particular, must be taken into account. The benefit from globalization has not been distributed equally. The gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider; the impoverishment of women becomes ever increasingly prominent and poverty constitutes a major obstacle for the realization of women's rights. While facing the scourge of various diseases, especially HIV/AIDS and inability to pay high prices for drugs and medical care, the number of woman victims is on the increase and the problems are ever extending. The traditional prejudice and discrimination against women deprive many of them of the opportunities for employment and education.
In this connection, I would like to focus on some priorities to be dealt with in this area:
1. Poverty eradication should be the foremost priority in our work. Poverty is a source of evil. Faced with difficulties and challenges, the developing countries should strive to develop their economies and eradicate poverty. Only by doing so, can an economic foundation be laid for enhancing women's status and promoting their rights.
2. The level of health for women should be raised effectively. Diseases and poverty form a vicious circle. Poverty runs counter to development. Governments in various countries, especially those in developing countries, should take special care to women's health issues and adopt practical measures to this end.
3. Efforts should be made to improve education, so that the quality of citizens including that of women is enhanced. The levels of citizens' quality and of education determine the pace and quality of the social development and they are the important guarantee for women's participation in the politics and employment. Therefore, developing education and increasing the input for education are the effective ways to enhance the status of women.
We call upon the international community and the developed countries in particular, to provide positive and genuine assistance and support to back up the efforts made by the developing countries in the above-mentioned areas and to make utmost contribution for women's well-being throughout the world.
The Chinese Government has always attached great importance to the protection of women's rights, progress and development, and made tremendous efforts in this regard. However, at today's world, women's rights are trampled upon by various evil powers, one of which is the Falun Gong cult. Among the Falun Gong practioners, women constitute a considerable part. By taking advantage of women's sincere and kind nature and their ardent eagerness for a happy life, the Falun Gong entices them to be under the obsession of the cult. Falun Gong practices inhumane mind control upon women, gradually deprives them of freedom of expression, and makes them abandon family and become irrational, which ultimately leads to great misfortune to their families and irremediable disaster to their health and even lives. Up till now, several hundreds of women have died of curable diseases just because they, by following the absurd doctrine of the Falun Gong cult, refused to go to hospitals. What is more striking and horrible about Falun Gong is that, many female practitioners, tempted by the so-called going-to-heaven, even paid the price of mutilating themselves or committing suicide to escape the "dooms-day" and enter the "heaven". On January 23, 2001, seven Falun Gong practitioners set fire on themselves at Beijing Tiananmen Square. Among them five are females. They are LIU Chunling, LIU Siying, HAO Huijun, CHEN Guo and LIU Baorong. LIU Chunling and LIU Siying, the mother and daughter, have died subsequently. Another couple of mother and daughter, HAO Huijun and CHEN Guo, are still at serious risk. The very reason that the Chinese government banned the Falun Gong cult according to law, is to protect more innocent women and girls free from danger and harms by the evil cult. We would therefore take this opportunity to call upon the whole international community to act together for the eradication of all evil cults, one of the common hazards of the world, so to protect women's rights and interests.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.