Bao Wei of Qinghua University and his former teacher Amourence Lee from the United States received awards presented by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Wednesday for their strong support for the worldwide "Say Yes for Children" campaign.
A total of 19 recipients from various Chinese institutions, including the China Children's Publishing House and Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC), won similar awards for mobilizing large numbers of people to sign forms pledging to show their support for offering a better world for children.
This is a key part of the Global Movement for Children, conducted by the UNICEF.
The pledge form lists 10 actions and responsibilities needed to improve the lives of children and adolescents everywhere. These actions highlight the importance of educating every child, protecting children from war, fighting poverty and HIV/AIDS, and protecting the earth for children.
According to UNICEF, more than two million Chinese have signed the pledge forms to show their support for the 10 listed goals and tasks since the campaign was officially launched in China in late April this year.
The campaign is determined to deliver the clear and unmistakable message that the citizens of the world care about children and expect governments to keep the promises they make to them, according to the UNICEF.
"I just handed out the forms to my fellow students, and to my surprise over 6,000 feedback letters came back," said Bao, who also expressed his firm willingness to continue to be involved in such activities that really benefit children on the whole.
"It is our obligation to help every child, and more young people should be encouraged to contribute to the child protection campaign, which will help to form a healthy world view and attitude toward others," Amourence Lee remarked in fluent Chinese.
China is one of the few nations that has achieved most of the 24 global goals for child development set at the World Summit For Children, according to Mehr Khan, regional director of UNICEF's East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, saying at today's awards ceremony that "China's achievement is very impressive".
Over the past decade, the status of and environment for child development have been improved significantly, and their rights of survival, development, protection and participation have been effectively guaranteed, according to various statistics provided by UNICEF and relevant Chinese departments. Therefore, children's overall quality has made further improvement.
"This remarkable achievement was made largely through the political will of the government, very careful planning at all levels and relocation of various resources at all levels", she noted, "But challenges still remain in China as far as children are concerned."
To realize the goals of improving the quality of education and health services for children, fighting HIV/AIDS, giving help to disabled children, and cracking down on trafficking in women and children, China still has a long way to go, she added.
Mehr Khan said that he still feels optimistic about the collaboration between UNICEF and China in the next 10 years based on the past accomplishments, and that he believes that more Chinese institutions will participate in the global child protection campaign.
(China Daily November 23, 2001)