“The National Program of Action for Children’s Development in China 2001-2010, passed during a working conference of the State Council on April 20, will soon be issued and implemented nationwide,” said Xu Shaoshi, deputy director of National Working Committee for Women and Children under the State Council and deputy secretary-general of the State Council at the press conference sponsored by the State Council Information Office on April 27, 2001.
The new program provides a comprehensive review of the current situation of the development of Chinese children and sets a goal for the coming 10 years. Top on the agenda are measures guaranteeing the children’s rights to survival and development, their right to be under good protection, and the right to participation, as well as improving the physical and mental health of children.
The program falls into four sections, respectively devoted to children’s health, children’s education, children and environment, and the legal protection for children. The four sections cover 18 major goals, which are supported by 55 targets and 66 working measures.
As a state-level guideline for the new century, the program will further promote the healthy growth of children and the sustainable development of the work related to children, said Xu Shaoshi.
Xu stressed that, as a populous developing country, China is faced with a lot of challenges. According to him, there are two major obstacles hindering the healthy development of the Chinese children. The first one is regional disparity in social and economical development among different regions. The second one is poverty. There remain over 30 million people in poverty in China. A rough statistics show that the immigrating population, which number about 80 million, is also a factor making children living in poor conditions. Besides, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among children is seen increasing.
More effective measures will be taken by governments at different levels to solve these problems, which include establishing educational investment funds, making greater efforts to eliminate poverty in western areas, and improving the medical and health services, added Xu.
In 1992 the Chinese government formulated the National Program of Action for Children’s Development in the 1990s, which set the main goals for the development of children before the end of the 20th century. The past 10 years witnessed China trying every effort to implement the program.
The efforts included establishing and improving the organizations mainly devoted to the implementation of the program, enacting and improving the laws and regulations in protecting children’s rights, and monitoring and evaluating implementation of the program.
The implementation of the program has resulted in significant social progress in the past 10 years, said Xu. The mortality rate of infants dropped by 31 percent compared with that of 1999. The coverage rate of the compulsory education increased, with 99 percent female children enrolled by the primary school. Disabled children and orphans were well arranged and protected by related organizations.