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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UNOCT High-Level Meeting on Preventing Violent Extremism through Sport Values

2020-09-18 05:54

Mr. President,

China commends the UNOCT for convening this high-level meeting to discuss the important topic of promoting sport and its values as a tool to prevent and counter violent extremism.

Sport is a hallmark of social development and human progress. It promotes economic and trade activities, people-to-people exchange, and social harmony. It provides people with valuable opportunities of employment and individual development, thereby reducing the risk of influence by terrorism and extremism.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the "growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in the promotion of tolerance and respect as well as the contributions sports make to the empowerment of youth and women, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives". Promoting the values of sport is conducive to advocating peace, tolerance and respect, maintaining equity, stability and harmony, and removing the root causes of terrorism and extremism ideologies.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have temporarily reduced the risks of terrorist attacks, the socio-economic fallout from the crisis has the potential to nourish terrorism and increase the mid- to long-term threat. Under such circumstances, the international community should work together and leverage the important role of sport in preventing terrorism and extremism.

Solidarity and cooperation should be strengthened. Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, some major sporting events are forced to be postponed or adjusted. The international community should work together to defeat the pandemic and return social and cultural activities to normalcy as soon as possible. We should encourage professional sports institutions to help countries, especially African countries, to build capacity in hosting sporting events, and to expand social participation and positive impacts of sporting events.

Politicization of sports should be resisted. Sports activities provide a unique platform of exchange for countries around the world. Sports rules should be followed, the Olympic spirit should be upheld and political factors should be prevented from interfering with sports activities. Sport, if politicized, will be unable to promote social harmony; instead, that will create tensions and division, which are harmful to the prevention of terrorism and extremism.

Preventive counter-terrorism measures should be adopted. Terrorism is a common enemy of mankind. The international community should fight against it together and denounce double standards. Targeted and precautionary measures should be taken to strengthen the security for major sporting events and integrate counter-terrorism perspective into event preparation and venue construction. We should encourage all social sectors to participate in sports activities, expand in particular the participation of youth, women and vulnerable groups, and prevent the infiltration of terrorist and extremist forces.

China attaches great importance to promoting the values of sport. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games left a valuable spiritual legacy to China and the world. China will host the 24th Winter Olympics in Beijing and Zhangjiakou in 2022. The Chinese government is sparing no effort to meet the security requirements of the International Olympic Committee to ensure safe, smooth and successful holding of the Winter Olympics and to present a splendid, extraordinary and outstanding Olympic event to the world.

China actively supports international cooperation in sports. We sponsored the UNOCT Global Project on Sports through the China-UN Peace and Development Fund.

I wish this meeting and the upcoming expert group meeting a great success in building consensus on promotion of sport and its values as a tool to prevent violent extremism.

China is ready to work with the international community to promote sport and counter-terrorism cooperation, and contribute more to world peace and development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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