The Chinese delegation wishes to thank the Turkish government as well as International Migration Policy Program and other organizers for their meticulous arrangements made for the third Issyk-Kul Dialogue. It is of special significance to choose this beautiful, historic city Istanbul as the venue of this meeting. Turkey, linking the continents of Asia and Europe, has long been playing an important role in promoting contacts and interaction between the peoples of Asia and Europe. I believe the Dialogue will, like the previous two, further enhance mutual understanding and cooperation among countries on the issue of immigration.
Mr. Chairman, immigration has come into being since ancient time. As early as 2000 years ago, there were people-to-people exchange and population flow via the "Silk Road" between Asia and Europe. Today with the rapid development of economic globalization and the extensive use of modern transportation means, the world has turned into a "global village". With more frequent and easier flow between even widely apart lands, countries in the world are deepening their links in all fields such as politics, economy, trade and culture. The number of immigrants has increased remarkably world-over. Generally speaking, immigrants have contributed greatly to cultural exchange, economic development and social progress among countries.
In recent years, for all kinds of reasons, there has been a rising trend in the illegal immigration. This is often related to transnational organized crimes and has a negative impact on the economic and social development of the concerned countries. It has adversely affected the normal personnel exchange, and in some cases, has disturbed the social order and endangered state security. The issue has drawn considerable attention and caused high vigilance in the international community.
We believe the fundamental cause of illegal immigration lies in the existing world economic order, which is broadly considered, as far from being fair and just. With the widening gap between the rich and the poor, many people leave their home countries even at the risk of their lives in order to seek a better life. More direct cause should be referred to the fact that transnational crime groups unscrupulously commit migrant trafficking and smuggling for high profits. The windfall profits of "snake-heads" are gained at the cost of the victims' sweat and blood and even their lives. Furthermore, the implementation of unreasonable immigration policy and the abuse of asylum policy have, in some way, encouraged illegal immigration.
Here, I wish to elaborate a few points as to how to effectively address the issue of illegal immigration.
Firstly, It is necessary for the international community to adopt a right attitude toward the issue of immigration and pursue the approach of widening normal channels to facilitate legal immigration while blocking the abnormal bypasses to curb illegal ones. The developed countries need migrants in order to meet the demand of their labor markets whereas the labour surplus in the developing countries asks for more job opportunities. Fighting against illegal immigration on the one hand, efforts should also be made to readjust migration policies so as to ensure regular migrants' flow on the other hand. This will in turn serve to reduce illegal immigration.
Secondly, the fundamental remedy has to be for the international community to move towards a just and fair new international economic order. Only through common prosperity can the gap between the rich and the poor be narrowed, and the root-causes of illegal immigration be removed. In this regard, I want to stress that the industrialized and developed countries should provide more technical and financial aid to developing countries to help them build up capacity in dealing with illegal immigration.
Thirdly, in order to effectively stem illegal immigration, a clear line must be drawn between illegal migrants and refugees by strictly complying the Convention of the Status of Refugees. Combating illegal immigration is in the interests of all parties and requires a close international cooperation. Disregarding the distinction between illegal migrants and refugees, as well as abusing asylum policy, will unavoidably disrupt the international cooperation in our common cause. All of us need to attach importance to and properly handle this issue.
Fourthly, in the course of combating illegal immigration, the role of UN and other related international organizations ought to be strengthened. Countries need to join efforts at bilateral and multilateral levels and, on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and respect for one another. Cracking down on migrant trafficking and smuggling especially those committed by transnational crime groups is critical to reducing illegal immigrants and protecting the basic rights of the victims. What should be stressed here is that illegal immigrants are as much lawbreakers as victims. They are entitled to basic humanitarian treatment and necessary relief to be provided by governments.
China is not an immigration country in the traditional term. We are firmly opposed to illegal and abnormal immigration and have severely put down all the related crimes especially transnational ones. In China, relevant laws and regulations have been erected and further improved through revision; strict supervision and verification of travel documents have been administered; law enforcement has been strengthened; people's awareness has been raised through intensified education. Thanks to unremitting efforts through many years, remarkable results have been achieved. Meanwhile, China also brings prominence to and actively participates in international cooperation in this field. Since June last year, China has been an observer of IOM. Cooperation between China and IOM has been going on well. China has also conducted effective bilateral cooperation with more than 40 countries in the field of immigration. To look forward, we are willing to further strengthen cooperation with other countries as well as relevant international organizations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.