Event Highlights Women's Rights

It is a woman's right to lead a life free of violence.

That was the message from the "White Ribbon" activity held Monday in Beijing by the United Nations (UN) and the Chinese Media Watch Network to celebrate International Human Rights Day Monday.

It was part of China's "Sixteen Days of Activism" (November 25 to December 10) initiative.

People have been urged to wear white ribbons as an individual statement to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Violence against women is essentially "an unequal power structure within a society and a family," said Kerstin Leitner, UN resident coordinator at the activity.

She said violence against women lies fundamentally on "women's lack of access to the control of resources, being excluded from decision-making procedures, and assertion that women are subordinate to men."

Therefore, she added, violence against women is gender-based.

The cost of violence against women - mainly health care expenditure and loss of productivity - is huge. For example, in Canada, costs amount to US$1.6 billion, and it is estimated to be as much as US$67 billion in the United States, according to Leitner.

China has been trying to address the problem of violence against women.

In Beijing's far suburban Yanqing County, a pilot programme to fight domestic violence by the All-China Women's Federation began in April, and has produced satisfactory results so far, according to Li Ziping, an official at the activity.

To date, the county has set up a complete help network for women inflicted by domestic violence.

In November, China established the National Co-ordinating Group for the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, a move described by Leitner as a stride towards recognizing and creating coalition needed to fight domestic violence.

The "White Ribbon" activity was not the only event held to celebrate International Human Rights Day.

Last night, Beijing Television Station broadcast a programme on human rights development in China, produced by China Foundation for Human Rights Development.

According to the foundation, the programme showed how the situation of human rights in China has changed since 1840, when the Opium War between China and England broke out.

(China Daily December 11, 2001)

In This Series

Tibet Publishes New Outlines for Development of Women

National Unit Formed to Fight Domestic Violence

First Sexual Harassment Suit Heard in China

Chinese Women Hold up Half the Sky

More Women's Colleges in China

Urban Women Under Tremendous Pressure

Marriage Law to Better Protect Women and Children

Women’s Choice: Home or Work?

China Issues White Paper on Human Rights

China Puts Forward Proposals for Improvement of UN Human Rights

Legal Aid for Women Effective

Ban on Family Violence Urged in China

Violence Against Women Becoming Global Epidemic



The Situation of Chinese Women

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