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Speech by Mr. Wang Guoqiang, Vice Minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, at the 39th Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development

2006-04-04 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to extend my warm congratulations on your election as chair of this session. Meanwhile, I would also like to thank the UN Commission on Population and Development for the organizational work they have done for this session.

The topic of this session is international population migration and development. The UN Secretary-General has made a very informative and detailed report on this subject. As a direct outcome of economic globalization, international population migration has an important impact, both positive and negative, on the socioeconomic development in the host countries as well as the source countries. With accelerated economic globalization, cross-border population migration will further increase in quantity and scope. We second the views of the Secretary-General in his report – international population migration is a global issue that must be included in the global development agenda. It is both an opportunity and a challenge for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We also agree that the UN should hold high-level talks to promote international cooperation in addressing this issue.

Mr. Chairman,

Over the past decade, the Chinese government has made earnest efforts to deliver its commitments as to the ICPD Program of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. We have set up the goal of realizing coordinated and sustained development between population and economy, society, resources and the environment. In implementing population and family planning programs, we adhere to the principle of human development and provide safe and effective family planning and reproductive health services. As a result, the momentum of population growth has been brought under effective control and the population reproduction pattern has undergone a historic change with a low level of fertility. According to the 1% population sampling survey conducted by the State Statistical Bureau in 2005, the total population of Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) reached 1.31 billion by November 1, 2005. Compared to the Fifth National Census in 2000, the newly added population totaled 40.45 million, with an annual increase rate of 0.63%. Although China's population growth has achieved a low fertility level, due to a huge population base, the total number will still continue to grow by 8-10 million annually in the coming decades. Therefore, we still face many obstacles and a huge challenge in stabilizing the low fertility and eventually achieving the goals set by the ICPD Program of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. The population issues China faces include accelerated population aging, sex ratio imbalance at birth, poor education and health conditions of the population, and the migration of large numbers of surplus rural labor force, among others. These issues intermingle with each other, aggravating the conflicts between population growth and resources and the environment and bringing a huge pressure on the sustainability of socioeconomic development. The Chinese government will stick to its state policy of family planning and its commitments made at the ICPD and the Millennium Summit, and address the population issues in line with the principle of full human development and sustainable development.

In recent years, especially after its WTO entry, the Chinese government has continuously implemented the reform and opening-up policy to improve its socialist market economic system. A China with a growing economy, a stable society, a contented population and a peaceful foreign policy is emerging. In compliance with WTO rules, we not only protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese expatriates and legal persons, but also provide greater convenience for foreigners working and studying in China. The exchanges between the Chinese people and the outside world have expanded dramatically. Statistics show that in 2005, the number of visits abroad made by mainland Chinese totaled 31.03 million, including 25.14 million for private purposes. In the same year, 20.26 million visits were made by foreigners to China. In 2004, the number of Chinese studying abroad totaled 114,663, and 25,116 returned. From 1978 to the end of 2004, the total number of Chinese people who had studied abroad reached 814,884, of whom 197,884 had returned. In 2004, 110,844 foreigners were studying at 420 institutions of higher learning or research institutions in all the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of China. Overall, more than 630,000 foreigners had studied in China. In 2005, China exported 274,000 laborers. By the end of 2005, the total number of Chinese laborers reached 565,000, with contractual value standing at 21.76 billion US dollars. By July 2005, nearly 100,000 foreigners had worked in mainland China. Coming mainly from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, the United States and European countries, most of them are engaged in technical and managerial jobs in Beijing, Shanghai and southeast provinces such as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong. Expanded ties and communications with the international communities have promoted not only international exchanges and cooperation in the areas of economy, culture, education and science and technology, but also deepened mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and other countries. This is conducive to the socioeconomic development in China and also provides an opportunity for development in other countries.

Despite the remarkable achievements made in economic development, China remains the largest developing country in the world with a large population and an uneven, underdeveloped economy. It is a long-term and strenuous task for China to achieve modernization and build a harmonious and prosperous society. Of China's total population of 1.3 billion, over 500 million are rural laborers. Currently, 140 million surplus rural laborers have moved to cities. With accelerated urbanization and industrialization, more rural laborers need to be transferred. The only solution for China is to promote coordinated development between the urban and rural areas and in the eastern, central and western regions. The population migration issues emerging with industrialization and urbanization should be addressed in a comprehensive way. Meanwhile, we also support and encourage Chinese citizens and enterprises to expand exchanges and cooperation with the international community in the area of economy and cultural exchanges, making a contribution to regional and global economic development. To this end, we propose the following:

All countries, large or small, rich or poor, are equal and should be friendly to each other. To achieve common development and prosperity, all states should conduct and strengthen economic, technical and cultural exchanges and cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit. In addressing the cross-border migration issues, all countries should observe the principle of equality, consultation and cooperation, so as to maximize the consensus and common interests and better brave common challenges.

In this respect, all countries should cooperate with each other on the basis of mutual benefit, opening-up, fair play and mutual complementarity in order to achieve win-win. The international community should strengthen coordination to minimize the negative effects of population migration and promote economic globalization towards the goal of common prosperity. Developing countries should participate in international economic affairs on an equal footing with developed countries.

China advocates and observes diversity of the world. Cultural diversity is a precious common legacy of humanity and competition and exchanges of different cultures are the very force that advances human development. On the basis of equality and cooperation, different cultures learn from each other and complement each other in building a harmonious world for all.

We must respect the basic human rights of the migrant people, improve relevant laws, eliminate discriminatory policies, and protect their rights and interests in host countries.

Mr. Chairman, China will continue to uphold the banner of peace, development and cooperation to promote multipolarity of the world, advocate democracy in international affairs and diversified development models, and boost economic globalization towards the goal of common prosperity. China will do its best to cement ties with the international community in the areas of economy, culture, education and science and technology, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and legal persons abroad. It also seeks to develop relations and expand common interests with other countries on the basis of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation, and settle disputes properly. The Chinese government and people are ready to join hands with the governments and people of all other countries to safeguard and promote global peace, development and progress.

Thank you all!

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