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Chinese Children

 Guarantee of Children's Rights and Interests

The collective creation
Children's survival, protection and development, which are the basis for improving the quality of the population and the prerequisite conditions for the advance of mankind, directly concern a nation's future and destiny. The Chinese Government, with an earnest and responsible attitude, always shows great concern for children's survival, protection and development. It regards "the education of children to improve the quality of the whole people" as a fundamental policy for its socialist modernization program. Since the initiation of reform and opening to the outside world, children's programs in China have moved into social, scientific and legal tracks; and children's programs have become an important component part of the nation's construction and the duties of the whole society.

 Children's Programs for the 21st Century

On February 16, 1992, the Chinese government formally promulgated the Outline of the Program for Chinese Children's Development in the 1990s. The formulation of this program fully displays the Chinese Government's earnest and responsible attitude toward, and its concern for, the work impacting children. In accordance with the tasks and general objectives proposed by the Ten-Year Program for China's National Economic and Social Development and the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-95), the spirit of the two documents adopted by the Summit Conference on the Issue of World Children, as well as China's actual children's programs, the Outline, having the world, the future and China's modernization program in view, puts forward ten main objectives and tactics and measures for realizing these objectives. It states that the mortality rate of infants and that of children under five in 1990 will both be reduced by one third, and that disease occurrence in children under five caused by moderate and severe malnutrition will drop by 50 percent in 2000. All of the 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government in China have worked out development programs for children in light of the Outline and their respective local conditions. The measures and work for implementing the Outline are carried out in a down-to-earth and effective way throughout the country.

 Children's Health and Care

The Chinese Government and various circles in Chinese society have paid great attention to the health and care of its children. Much painstaking work has been done in protecting children's lives and health. As a result of these efforts, remarkable success has been achieved. In 1995, China's birthrate was 17.12 per thousand and 20.63 million children were born, the natural growth rate being 10.55 per thousand. In order to realize the global strategic target whereby everybody would enjoy health care by the year 2000, a maternity and child hygiene service system commensurate with its national conditions has been established in China and a three-level network of medical treatment, prevention and health care has been developed in its rural and urban areas, providing health care and planned immunity services for children.

China has paid great attention to improving children's nutritional status and various medical and health measures have been adopted. In the early period after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government handed out infant foodstuffs in some areas. From the 1960s to the 1970s, a scientific diet for children was popularized in China. The nutritional status of Chinese children has gradually improved since the supplementary food was developed in the 1980s and since breastfeeding was advocated and dietary scheme was optimized in the 1990s. Now it is rare to find cases of serious malnutrition caused by shortage of food or cases of serious vitamin-A deficiency.

 Education for Children

The Chinese Government always gives pride of place to children's education in the promotion of education in general. Thanks to the mutual efforts made by the government and society, children's education in China has seen great progress in the past few years, with many indexes higher than those of other developing countries and some indexes close to those of developed countries.

In recent years, China has established an educational fund-raising system, whereby financial allocations are the predominant source, with funds collected through other channels as a supplement. It is stipulated that the increase of allocations for education by the central and local governments should be higher than the increase of regular revenue, thus ensuring a year-by-year increase of average educational appropriations for every student. 

According to statistics, in 1994 China spent 59.4 billion yuan on primary education, with operating expenses for public use averaging 89.47 yuan per student; 43.5 billion yuan was spent on ordinary middle schools, with operating expenses for public use averaging 239.89 yuan per student.

In China's poor areas there are children unable to go on to school because of poverty. Governments at all levels have incorporated help for children from poor families to enter school in their help-the-poor programs and, at the same time, have taken various measures to help them return to school. In the mean time, thanks to the concern of and vigorous promotion by the government, people from all walks of life have been helping these children, enabling them to enjoy the fundamental right to education.

 Protection of Disabled Children

China has all along attached great importance to protecting disabled children, making great efforts to create favorable conditions for their survival and development.

The Chinese Government has devoted much attention to guaranteeing the rights and interests of disabled children. Among children aged 14 and under, there are over 9 million disabled, accounting for 2.66 percent of children of the same age group in China. The Chinese Constitution and relevant laws contain clear statements regarding the rights and interests of the disabled, including disabled children. The Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons contains all-inclusive, systematic provisions guaranteeing the legitimate rights and interests of the disabled. It states clearly that the disabled enjoy equal rights with other citizens in all spheres: political, economic, cultural, social and family life; that discrimination, insult and harassment against the disabled are prohibited; that the state should develop disability prevention programs; and that the rights of the disabled to rehabilitation, education, labor, entertainment and welfare should be protected. While all these provisions also apply to disabled children, the law includes specific statements on special protection of disabled children.

Regarding disabled children's education, the Education Law, the Compulsory Education Law, the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons and the Regulations for Disabled Persons' Education clearly and completely state the duties, characteristics, guiding principles of development, channels for running schools and methods of instruction, etc. According to relevant laws and regulations, the education of disabled children is compulsory.

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