The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most comprehensive international convention on the rights of the child that is endorsed most widely by the international community. It has stipulated the four major rights of the child to subsistence, protection, development and participation, and has set the minimum standards that States Parties shall meet in terms of providing health care, education, legal and daily services for the child of their own counties. This Convention has for the first time made rights entitled to the child with international legal force.
Given the unique characteristics of this Convention, it has, with 191 States Parties, become an international convention acceded to by the largest number of States in the history of mankind. This demonstrates the great importance and good will attached to the protection of the rights of the child by all States.
The Chinese Government appreciates the great efforts made by the United Nations and its relevant agencies in the process of promoting and protecting the rights of the child. These include the drafting, which concluded last year, of the two optional protocols of the Convention and their adoption at the 55th session of General Assembly. We believe that with the concerted efforts of the international community, the protection of rights of the child will result in further progress which will benefit the child of the whole world.
The Chinese Government always attaches great importance to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child and fulfills with sincerity its obligations under the Convention. The Chinese Government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography on the 6th last September and is considering positively its ratification. The Chinese Government also signed days ago the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts. These fully demonstrate the determination and political will of the Chinese Government to the promotion and protection of rights of the child. Furthermore, China has, through promulgating new laws and revising existing laws, formed a fairly complete legal system for the protection of children's rights and interests. This legal system has the Constitution at its core and includes civil, criminal and administrative laws and regulations such as Law on the Protection of Juveniles, Law on Health Protection of Mothers and Infants, Compulsory Education Law and Law on Adoption. In accordance with the stipulation of the Convention, the Chinese Government has submitted the first report on its implementation of the Convention to the relevant UN body, and the report has been considered. The Chinese Government is now conducting preparatory work for its second periodical report.
China has made great effort in protecting the rights of the child. The Chinese Government, relying on its own resources, has adopted various effective measures which have enhanced significantly the enjoyment by the child in various aspects such as nutrition, health care and education. The mortality rate of children in China has been greatly reduced. The achievement by China in the field of promoting and protecting the rights of the child is widely recognized by the international community. In its World's Children Report issued in 1996, UNICEF also highly commended on the cause of the development of the child in China.
According to the Convention, children have the right to education and all State Parties shall direct the education of the child to the development of love for peace and respect of human rights. During World War II, the war of aggression waged by the Japanese militarists has grossly trampled upon human rights and has brought about profound sufferings to the Asian people including the Chinese people. To our deep regret, the Japanese government has recently reviewed and approved a new history textbook compiled by the Japanese right-wing extremist forces, which makes no introspection on its act of aggression. On the contrary, it distorts historical facts, denies the aggressive nature of the war, and glorifies Japan's history of aggression. This has seriously hurt the feelings of the people of the victim countries. The Chinese Government strongly condemns the Japanese right-wing extremist forces for, by making use of the textbook, distorting the fact of history and ignoring the conscience of humanity. The Chinese Government urges the Japanese Government to look squarely at and take a responsible attitude towards the history of its militarist aggression, strictly honor its solemn commitment made so far in this respect, and take prompt and effective measures to eliminate the negative effects caused by this textbook issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.