The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women today concluded its consideration of the ninth periodic reports of China, of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, and of the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. Committee Experts commended China on its anti-domestic violence laws, and asked questions about women’s political participation and sex-selective abortions.
A Committee Expert commended China for achievements in laws and policies related to gender equality, specifically in the sphere of protection from violence against women. These included the law on the protection of women’s rights and interests and the anti-domestic violence law, and their latest amendments. However, the Committee noted that problematic areas in the area of gender-based violence still remained.
Another Committee Expert asked for more information on measures taken to define appropriate representation of women? What temporary measures were in place to accelerate leadership positions for women? One Committee Expert said women’s political participation was limited in China. What measures was the State party taking to increase the number of women in political positions? How would women’s participation at national and municipal levels be increased, as well as in administrative positions? How would Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China increase the number of women in politics?
A Committee Expert took note of the State party’s efforts in implementing the decision to take comprehensive measures to reduce the sex ratio at birth, including harsh punishment for agencies and employees conducting foetal sex identification for non-medical purposes, or sex-selective abortion. Was this a policy, an action plan or a law? What was the timeline of this decision? The State party had promulgated a series of regulations which rendered foetal sex identification and sex selection abortion as illegal, which sent an important normative signal. How were these regulations enforced?
The delegation said that China had been stepping up efforts to promote women’s engagement in politics. There had been an increase of 4.7 per cent of women in civil servant positions since 2021. In 2017 in central organizations, women accounted for 52.4 per cent of civil servant teams. In 2020 this had increased to 53.5 per cent. Around 40 per cent of judges in China were women. The delegation was confident there would be more women holding senior positions in China. There were now 2,560 female diplomats who accounted for 35 per cent of all diplomats in China. In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, women made up around 18 per cent of the legislative council. There was nothing to discourage women from participating in politics. Fourteen per cent of all directive officers were women. There was a benchmark in place which aimed to raise this to 25 per cent.
The delegation said the law adopted in China in 2010 provided prohibition of discrimination and abuse and the practice of abandoning female infants, as well as forced abortions of girls. The issue of sex ratio at birth was tackled by several agencies, led by the National Health Commission, prohibiting sex-selective abortion through multiple campaigns. The current sex ratio in China highlighted the effectiveness of these measures.
Huang Xiaowei, Vice-Chairperson, National Working Committee on Women and Children under the State Council (Minister Level) and head of the delegation, said China was continuously improving the legal system for the comprehensive protection of women’s rights and interests. Legislation included the anti-domestic violence law in 2016; the law on rural land contracting amended in 2018; the Civil Code, promulgated in 2020; and the amended law on the protection of the rights and interests of women in 2020, which adopted the Committee’s recommendation of defining “discrimination”. China had now put in place a complete legal system comprised of over 100 laws and regulations which protected women’s rights and interests. As the largest developing country in the world, China still faced many challenges in eliminating gender discrimination, including the problem of imbalanced and inadequate development among women in rural and urban areas and from different regions.
In concluding remarks, Ms. Huang thanked all for their hard work and sincere efforts during the review. China would study the constructive comments put forward by the Committee, and act responsibly to take them on board.
Ana Pelaez Narvaez, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for the constructive dialogue, which allowed the Committee to better understand the situation of women in China.
The delegation of China consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Public Security; the Ministry of Civil Affairs; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; the National Working Committee on Women and Children; the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee; the National People’s Congress; the People’s Court; the National Ethnic Affairs Commission; the National Health Commission; the National Bureau of Statistics; the State Council Information Office; the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration; and the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The delegation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China consisted of representatives from the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs; the Secretary for Security; the Social Welfare Department; the Labour Department; and the Department of Justice.
The delegation of Macau Special Administrative Region of China consisted of representatives of the Social Welfare Bureau; the Inter-Regional Law Department; and the Legal Affairs Bureau.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s eighty-fifth session is being held from 8 to 26 May. All documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session’s webpage. Meeting summary releases can be found here. The webcast of the Committee’s public meetings can be accessed via the UN Web TV webpage.
The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 15 May at 3:30 p.m. for an informal meeting with the non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions from Spain, Slovakia, Venezuela and Iceland, whose reports it will review next week.
The Committee has before it the ninth periodic report of China (CEDAW/C/CHN/9), the ninth periodic report of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (CEDAW/C/CHN-HKG/9), and the ninth periodic report of the Macau Special Administrative Region of China (CEDAW/C/CHN-MAC/9).
Presentation of Report
HUANG XIAOWEI, Vice-Chairperson,National Working Committee on Women and Children under the State Council (Minister Level) of China and head of the delegation, said China was continuously improving the legal system for the comprehensive protection of women’s rights and interests. Legislation included the anti-domestic violence law in 2016; the law on rural land contracting amended in 2018; the Civil Code, promulgated in 2020; and the amended law on the protection of the rights and interests of women in 2020, which adopted the Committee’s recommendation of defining “discrimination”. China had now put in place a complete legal system comprised of over 100 laws and regulations which protected women’s rights and interests.
The national human rights action plan of China set a special section on the protection of women’s rights. China had formulated a new 10-year programme for women’s development, and all 31 provinces had formulated respective programmes accordingly, in line with local realities. China had developed a gender statistic monitoring mechanism, setting over 1,300 indicators, including those directly reflecting women’s development and other gender-based indicators for economic and social development, which were updated regularly.
China had achieved the poverty reduction goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, with 44.16 million rural women being brought out of poverty. In 2022, the maternal mortality rate declined to 15.7 per 100,000, down by 27.6 percent. China had provided 180 million cervical cancer screenings and nearly 100 million breast cancer screenings free of charge for rural women and urban women with low incomes.
Girls and women were guaranteed an equal right to education in China. Free compulsory education had been realised in both urban and rural areas. The primary school enrolment rate for girls was maintained at over 99.9 per cent since 2015, with the gender gap largely closed. More than 50 per cent of female students with disabilities attended ordinary schools, and female students outnumbered boys in high school enrolment, and undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
With focus on prevention, special campaigns against human trafficking had been carried out. From 2013 to 2022, 18,000 cases of trafficking in women and children were cleared up, and cases in the past 10 years had been reduced by 86.2 per cent. Community workers in urban and rural areas had been organised to visit relevant households regularly to provide services to women and families in difficulty, including those who were mentally or psychologically challenged. Campaigns had been launched to provide legal aid and judicial assistance to help victims with psychological rehabilitation and social services. Since China’s last consideration by the Committee, around 350,000 women had received legal aid every year.
China’s law on elections included explicit provisions on the gradual increase of the percentage of women at the National People’s Congress and People’s Congresses. Women deputies to the fourteenth National People’s Congress this year accounted for 26.5 per cent, an increase of 3.1 percentage points compared with the last consideration. Women accounted for over 40 per cent of the workforce and 55 per cent of internet start-ups. Ms. Huang said as the largest developing country in the world, China still faced many challenges in eliminating gender discrimination, including the problem of imbalanced and inadequate development among women in rural and urban areas and from different regions. China welcomed the constructive recommendations from the Committee.
SHIRLEY LAM SHUET-LAI, Permanent Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, said nearly 80 per cent of females aged 15 or above in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China had attained secondary education or above, and females now accounted for more than half of student enrolments in undergraduate programmes, and over 60 per cent of students in taught postgraduate programmes. Women now filled more senior positions in the civil service. Twelve of the 18 permanent secretaries, the highest civil servant positions in the Government, and around 40 per cent of all directorate officers were women, and more than one-third of judges and judicial officers were women. More than 30 per cent of management positions in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China were held by women, who also made up 50 per cent of public accountants and 51 per cent of solicitors.
Ms. Lam said the Hong Kong community had been traumatised during the serious violence in 2019, arising from the opposition to a proposed legislative amendment exercise. In light of this context, police had taken necessary actions to protect the security of citizens, and enacted the national security law. There had been baseless claims made against the police, including allegations of sexual assault. Following the implementation of the national security law, the chaos had stopped and stability had been restored in Hong Kong.
The law clearly stipulated that human rights should be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China. All law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies were based on evidence and on the acts of the people concerned, and had nothing to do with their political stance, background, occupation, or gender. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China would continue to dedicate resources to promote the realisation of women’s rights, while firmly dispelling any false allegations against the situation in Hong Kong.
HON WAI, Director of the Social Welfare Bureau of the Macau Special Administrative Region of China, said the Macau Special Administrative Region of China had improved the legal protection of women’s rights and interests in various fields through the formulation of or amendment to laws and regulations, including the adoption of the law on preventing and combatting domestic violence in 2016; the amendment to the Criminal Code in 2017 to define “sexual harassment”; and the amendment to the labour relations law to increase maternity leave and introduce five days of paternity leave for men to further consolidate the protection of women. The Women and Children Affairs Committee was established, and Women’s Development Goals (2019-2025) were formulated in 2018, with “gender equality and comprehensive development” as the overall goal. Mr. Hon looked forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with the Committee to better explain the implementation of the Convention in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China.
Questions by Committee Experts
ROSARIO G. MANALO, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for China, welcomed the Chinese delegation to Geneva.
A Committee Expert said the COVID-19 crisis had reminded the world of how important the collective effort was. Was a women, peace and security plan currently being envisaged in China? In the new Silk Road initiative, was there a specific section promoting women on the basis of the Convention? Was China considering ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention? The Committee was extremely concerned by the presence of intersecting discrimination, especially affecting vulnerable groups such as ethnic and religious minorities. Did the law ensure women had a role to play regardless of their ethnic minorities?
A Committee Expert said the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China was its supreme law. The Court of Final Appeals had narrowly interpreted the Basic Law to uphold discrimination against rural women and migrant domestic workers. Would China consider the appointment of a more diverse court? In current and future law and policy reform, would the State consider using an empowerment thesis to interpret the supreme law of the land in keeping with the Convention?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said China promoted the women, peace and security agenda and it had sent more than 1,000 female peacekeepers to conflict-affected regions. There were more than 2,100 Chinese female peacekeepers. It was China’s view that the primary obligation under the Convention lay with the Government. The Chinese Government would continue to follow up on relevant practices. Since the last consideration of China by the Committee, several pieces of legislation had been revised to counter gender-based violence. Personal protective orders were used to protect women from violence after situations such as divorce. The spirit of non-discrimination within the Convention was fully present in China’s legal system protecting women. Governments at all levels had the responsibility to prevent discrimination in the workplace.
The Basic Law in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China protected the right to equality before the law, and women enjoyed the full protection of these rights. Although there was no single domestic legislation which sought to implement the Convention in its entirety, its provisions were enshrined in a wide range of legislative and administrative measures, which effectively ensured the rights of women in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.
Article 92 stated that judges should be chosen on the basis of their qualifications. Gender was not a consideration; 37 per cent of judges in the country were female. China did not have a separate national human rights institution. Women’s Federations had a reporting hotline for accepting complaints. China’s media had more than 210,000 journalists who were human rights defenders for women and exercised this through the media.
Follow-up Question and Response
A Committee Expert asked if an example could be given of a court case where the Convention was expressly convoked. The Expert stressed the importance of legal convergence between the various regions.
The delegation said the Convention had been converted into domestic legislation in order to be enforced. Specific provisions of domestic law were applied which were better at protecting women’s interests.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert commended the State party’s efforts to establish numerous entities to address women’s status. Would China consider establishing a national human rights institution with a broad mandate, in full compliance with the Paris Principles? What was the output of the review of the law on the protection of women? What changes had been made? How had cooperation with civil society been strengthened? Why was the International Women’s Day march cancelled this year? It was encouraging to note the new mechanism which focused on the collection of gender statistics. How did China plan to ensure the availability of sex-disaggregated data?
Another Committee Expert asked for more information on measures taken to define appropriate representation of women? What temporary measures were in place to accelerate leadership positions for women? What temporary special measures were applied during the pandemic to assist groups such as mothers and rural women?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said China hoped to have an independent human rights mechanism with adequate resources and was well equipped to advance the status of women. It was hoped that each citizen could be involved to fulfil this goal. The purpose for establishing the Women’s Commission was to mobilise resources from the whole society. The Women’s Commission acted as a coordinator among the various Ministries of the Government on women’s advancement issues. It was hoped one day this entity could play a bigger role. The Women’s Federations were invited to provide their opinions in the drafting of laws involving women. The Chinese Government attached great importance to collecting data relating to women.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China had adopted a strategy supported by the Women’s Commission. The Commission had assisted in the gender mainstreaming of thousands of policies before they were implemented. The resources had been increased for the promotion women’s benefits, including through the creation of the Women’s Empowerment Fund. There was 20 million Hong Kong Dollars allocated each year for the Fund.
The fundamental rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Republic of China were guaranteed, and human rights were protected and respected. Regarding the International Women’s Day march, the police had received a notice that the organized public event would not be held. The police respected the decision and could not comment further. In all efficient and management teams, half of positions should be held by women. More women in China were holding higher positions, particularly civil servant positions. It was hoped that the changing attitudes in society meant more women would be able to hold senior positions.
For the 680 million women in China, the Women’s Commission leveraged 60 Ministries to solve macro problems, but also those at the micro level. The national programme for women’s development had a substantial number of moving parts and could not just be implemented by one organ. The work was overarching and across all areas of life. It enabled the Government to liaise with organs such as the Supreme Court, Civil Service and Civil Affairs Department. This joint action mechanism was very efficient.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert took note of the State party’s efforts in implementing the decision to take comprehensive measures to reduce the sex ratio at birth, including harsh punishment for agencies and employees conducting foetal sex identification for non-medical purposes, or sex-selective abortion. Was this a policy an action plan or a law? What was the timeline of this decision? The State party had promulgated a series of regulations which rendered foetal sex identification and sex selection abortion as illegal, which sent an important normative signal. How were these regulations enforced? There were reports that women and girls with psychosocial issues in China were shackled. What measures could be taken to eliminate this practice? Were women actively engaged in confronting gender stereotypes in the media?
The Committee commended China for achievements in laws and policies related to gender equality and specifically in the sphere of protection from violence against women, including the law on the protection of women’s rights and interests and the anti-domestic violence law, and their latest amendments. However, there were some major problematic areas in the sphere of gender-based violence. Could the delegation provide information about the number and status of investigation of complaints against police representatives for sexual violence and for excessive use of force, including the outcome and sanctions applied? What complaints’ mechanisms were available to women? When would the scope of intimate partner violence be broadened and included within the law? How did the State policy recognise the rights of protection for vulnerable women?
A Committee Expert said it was commendable that China had revised the Criminal Code and increased penalties for human traffickers? What was the scope of these penalties? How many shelters were available for female victims of trafficking? Around 20 per cent of trafficked women in China had disabilities. What had been done to address this new form of trafficking? Children of “North Korean” women who had Chinese fathers and were born in China faced a range of legal challenges. How many children were registered as having undocumented “North Korean” women as their mothers? How many North Korean escapees were repatriated to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and left their children in China? What were the laws and policies in China to grant refugee status to “North Korean” women? The Expert said there had been reports that sexual violence had taken place against Uyghur women in government-organised vocational training centres. It also seemed that the Government promoted forced marriages between Uyghur women and Chinese men. Could the delegation comment on these situations?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said the law adopted in China in 2010 provided prohibition of discrimination and abuse and the practice of abandoning female infants, as well as forced abortions of girls. The issue of sex ratio at birth was tackled by several agencies, led by the National Health Commission, which prohibited sex-selective abortion through multiple campaigns. The current sex ratio in China highlighted the effectiveness of these measures. To respond to the crime of trafficking, the Government had developed the national action plan 2020–2023 against trafficking in persons, giving special attention to the protection of vulnerable groups, including women and children and those with disabilities. Perpetrators of domestic violence were punished swiftly. Domestic violence law was incorporated into the trainings of police to enhance their ability to deal with domestic violence cases.
To combat trafficking of women and children, China continued to improve laws and regulations and anti-trafficking measures. For missing children, underage girls and women suspected of being trafficked, fast track identification measures were established to carry out investigations. The penalties of these cases were increased, and penalties were maximised for buyers. High attention was also paid to backlogs of trafficking cases. Trafficking of women and children were now declining. China prioritised legal aid to women, including victims of domestic violence and trafficking. Through online portals, women would seek legal aid and advice, and assistance with legal procedures.
Family tracing services were provided to victims of trafficking to help them locate their family. Work would be done with the police to resettle victims whose identity could not be found. Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China had never been used as a hub for trafficking by syndicates. As prostitution was legal in Macau Special Administrative Region of China, the Government there investigated women involved in prostitution to make sure they were not being exploited. The life, safety and health of all women should be equally protected.
On the legal status of women from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the delegation said China was party to the Refugee Convention, and those who arrived for economic reasons were not qualified as refugees. There were no relevant statistics in this regard. When treating these women, the Chinese Government used domestic law to appropriately address their issue. These “North Korean” women had entered illegally in China. It was hoped the United Nations would act in accordance with the Charter, to have an objective view on such situations and appropriately discharge their duties, and to respect China’s decisions in accordance with their law. Those who did not have a criminal record, or who had children with Chinese nationals, were guided to apply for marriage registration. If they were involved in illegal activities, they would be returned to their country.
There were no re-education camps in China. Educational and vocational schools and centres were established according to regulations for de-escalation of extremism, so that those with minor offences could receive education and be rehabilitated. The activities included learning languages or helping the students to receive information on legal knowledge, and to teach them vocational skills to seek employment. This was a de-radicalisation process to root out erroneous religious rhetoric and combat extremism. Sometimes the students baked cakes or cut hair to enhance their skills; this was completely different from profit enhancing activities. Personal freedom was guaranteed in these centres and there was no ill treatment or corporal punishment or abuse against the students. These centres were closed in 2019 after the students graduated.
China applied a policy of freedom of marriage, regardless of ethnicity. Uyghur women were restricted by stereotypes of traditional customs, and some believed they should not have mixed marriage with other ethnicities, and their marriage should be endorsed by religious leaders.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert said women’s political participation was limited in China. What measures was the State party taking to increase the number of women in political positions? How would women’s participation at a national and municipal level be increased, as well as in administrative positions? How would Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China increase the number of women in politics. Out of 117 Ambassadors, only 20 were females; how could this number be increased? How many female judges worked in China and how were they spread around the country? Were there more policies to encourage women’s involvement on boards? What was being done to create an enabling environment for women activists, to increase their participation in public life? What measures would be taken to protect these women from harassment?
Another Committee Expert asked when China would ratify the two key conventions on stateless persons? Was there birth data which reflected the situation across the country? What factors were limiting mothers from obtaining citizenship for their children?
Responses by the Delegation
China had been stepping up efforts to promote women’s engagement in politics. There had been an increase of 4.7 per cent of women in civil servant positions since 2021. In 2017 in central organizations, women accounted for 52.4 per cent of civil servant teams. In 2020 this had increased to 53.5 per cent. Around 40 per cent of judges in China were women. The delegation was confident there would be more women holding senior positions in China.
In China, citizens of all ethnic groups could apply for passports from the public security authority. There were no cases of declining to issue passports on the ground of ethnic minority. There were now 2,560 female diplomats who accounted for 35 per cent of all diplomats. The Ministry had been making efforts to encourage female’s participation in international work. In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, women made up around 18 per cent of the legislative council. There was nothing to discourage women from participating in politics. Fourteen per cent of all directive officers were women. There was a benchmark in place which aimed to raise this to 25 per cent.
Follow-up Questions and Responses
ROSARIO G. MANALO, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for China, asked how many Chinese women in public life were from minority groups? Was there a problem in encouraging minority women to participate in politics?
The delegation said in China, ethnic minority women had equal rights and opportunities to participate as civil servants. The number of female candidates was increasing in rural areas. Measures had been taken, including developing the management of the leadership team, to promote the development of ethnic minorities. Passports could only be retained in exceptional cases, such as due to criminal activity. Otherwise, it was illegal for passports to be confiscated.
Questions by Committee Expert
The Committee congratulated China for the gender equality achieved in education; however, more work needed to be done. There needed to be gender sensitive education from an early stage to remove gender stereotypes. How did the State party teach human rights, including women’s and girls’ rights, and the rights of minority groups and those with disabilities? What curriculum was available on human rights? What was being done to provide education in native languages? What measures were envisaged to address existing gender biases in education? What measures were being taken to increase the involvement of women in vocational training? Did the State party have legislation to prohibit sexual harassment? What were the monitoring measures to ensure schools were safe and free of violence?
A Committee Expert noted China’s progress but said concerns still remained around the issue of sexual harassment, minority workers and social security provisions. Would the State party introduce a guiding document which provided details on preventing harassment in workplaces? Would the State party ratify the International Labour Convention on harassment in the workplace? Would the State party provide specific data on the implementation of laws against sexual harassment. Had allegations of sexual harassment by athlete Peng Shuai been investigated? Did the State party promote the sharing of family responsibilities by men and women?
A Committee Expert said an extensive labour transformation programme had transformed farmers, herders and nomads into low skilled labour workers? Why had women and rural workers in Tibet Autonomous Region of China been incorporated into forced labour programmes? How many Tibetan and rural women were in these forced labour programmes? Had the use of ethnic education centres for Uyghurs and Muslims ended?
Response by Delegation
China had incorporated human rights education into the school curriculum and in education textbooks. The textbooks on family contained pictures of families cooking together or of the father taking care of sick children, as a means to fight stereotypes. Every year education statistics were published online, disaggregated by disability, ethnic minority and age. There was a high percentage of female teachers, as it was a popular profession within China.
The delegation said that employers needed to take a zero-tolerance stance on sexual harassment. Perpetrators needed to be transferred to other apartments to avoid re-traumatisation of the victims. China had signed seven of the core Conventions of the International Labour Organisation. Sexual harassment was prohibited by law and was morally despicable. In practice, sexual harassment was a complex issue and it was hard to have an exhaustive list of behaviours which constituted sexual harassment. The revised law focused on preventing sexual harassment and had specific instructions in these areas.
Schools at all levels in Tibet Special Autonomous Region of China now had adequate Tibetan language teachers and Tibetan was widely used within the region. Eighty-five per cent of cotton picking was now done by machines. There was no coercive or forced labour involved.
Questions by Committee Experts
China had now moved to a three child policy. How would this be enforced? How would the lessons from the two child policy guide the new policy? Would sanctions be applied? How would the issue of infanticide be dealt with? What did the disaggregated data on different ethnic races across the country show? How could it be ensured that “North Korean” women had equal access to health care?
A Committee Expert said China had a high rate of female billionaires. Was the State party willing to share its key model of making women billionaires with key partners? How did the State party plan to reform the welfare system to better protect migrant women and other minorities?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said infrastructure should focus on women’s needs, so they could have a balanced work and family life. The birth rate decline was a trend for many countries in the world, including China. The lower birth rate in ethnic areas was in line with the national average. Chinese citizens had freedom in their reproductive rights and family planning. There was no forced pre-natal examination, and people were free to choose their contraceptive methods. Contraception was free. There were no cases of IUD birth control being used without consent, but if this ever happened it would be punished by the law. The residential schools were targeted for students living in high altitude areas with harsh conditions, to address their difficulties in attending school. The schools enabled all students to equally enjoy education resources, and took children’s mental health into consideration.
Questions by Committee Experts
A Committee Expert asked what was being done to ensure that the most disadvantaged groups of women could have access to health services? What was being done to combat poverty? When would there be an end to the practice of shackling?
Another Expert asked what actions were being taken to alleviate poverty for rural women? How many contracts governing how rural women used the land had reached arbitration committees? Had the Government considered implementing a dispute mechanism to ensure the rights of rural women were respected?
One Committee Expert asked if a hybrid digital court strategy would be considered to expand access to justice? What regulation measures were envisaged for artificial intelligence? Would tools be initiated to mitigate gender bias in artificial intelligence? What was being done to encourage men to take on carer roles?
Responses by the Delegation
The delegation said there were 7 million members of the Women’s Federation who paid visits to rural women. More than 380 billion dollars worth of loans had been issued to women to help them start their own businesses. Information for 3.2 million peasants had not been accurately inscribed. Chinese courts had provided assistance to 35,000 women and children. In 2022, the women’s protection law established a clause on public interest and litigation.
The minimum age of marriage in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China without parental consent was 21. Regulations on audio and visual media prohibited discrimination against women. The Chinese cyber space management centre received such cases, which were handed to judicial organs for handling. A basic national policy of gender equality was in place to allow women to juggle work and family duties. Policies had been introduced to assist women in balancing their careers and family duties.
HUANG XIAOWEI, Vice-Chairperson, National Working Committee on Women and Children under the State Council (Minister Level) and head of the delegation, thanked everyone for their hard work and sincere efforts during the review. For many years, China had put people first and abided by the spirit of the Convention, but it still faced myriad challenges. China would study the constructive comments put forward by the Committee, and act responsibly to take them on board.
ANA PELAEZ NARVAEZ, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for the constructive dialogue, which allowed the Committee to better understand the situation of women in China.