Child protection over the next five years should focus on HIV/AIDS, cracking down on the trafficking of children and improvements in basic hygiene and nutrition in rural areas.
This was the view of delegates at a conference discussing the programme for child protection in western China held Monday in Shanghai.
"I hope every province and every county will view these as an important part of protecting children, especially from HIV/AIDS, which is spreading fast around the world," said Edwin Joseph Judd.
Judd is the China and Mongolia representative for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which has been cooperating with China over the past five years in child protection.
Great attention should also be paid to the survival, growth and development of young children, according to Judd.
"We will meet a lot of challenges from 2001 to 2005 during our further cooperation with China," said Judd, "but we are confident about protecting the rights of every child in China. This confidence is based on the impressive achievements of the past."
In cooperation with UNICEF, China has lowered the death rate of babies and children under five years old, extended immunization to more than 90 percent of children, improved drinking water and it has made sure 99 percent of children attend school in 88 counties in west China.
There are about 377 million children below 18 in China, which exceeds the total population of some countries.
An investigation launched by the State Council in the early 1990s to look at the situation of children in west China showed there were differences between them and those in more developed areas.
(China Daily 12/05/2000)