1.In accordance with article 18, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as the Convention), the People’s Republic of China hereby submits to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the ninth periodic report on its implementation of the Convention. The present report was prepared in compliance with the guidelines on periodic reports to be submitted by States parties, adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter referred to as the Committee). The report also provides information on the implementation of the concluding observations adopted by the Committee in October 2014 (CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/7-8).
2.The present report consists of three parts. The first part, prepared by the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China, presents information on implementation of the Convention in the country during the period 2014–2017. The second part, prepared by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, presents information on the implementation of the Convention in that region. The third part, prepared by the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, presents information on the implementation of the Convention in that region.
3.The preparation of the present report by the Central Government was led by the National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council (hereinafter referred to as NWCCW). A working group on the drafting of the report was set up for this purpose, whose members included 29 Chinese institutions, government departments and organizations, namely, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the National Health Commission, the National Radio and Television Administration, the General Administration of Sport of China, the National Bureau of Statistics, the National Health-care Security Administration, the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF), the China Disabled Persons’ Federation and the China Association for Science and Technology.
4.In the process of preparing the report, NWCCW convened a meeting of the working group to discuss matters related to the preparation of the report and held a seminar on the first draft. Training was provided on the Convention and on gender equality issues to further enhance the understanding of all interested parties regarding the Convention. In order to seek comments and suggestions extensively from civil society regarding the report, NWCCW organized a conference to which it invited representatives from the China Society for Human Rights Studies, the China Women’s Research Association, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the China Association of Marriage and Family Studies, the ACFTU Committee for Women Workers and the Women’s Federation of Beijing Municipality. The report is also informed by extensive consultations with other social organizations and local women’s organizations.
5.The report prepared by the Central Government is divided into two parts. Part I is an overview and part II provides information on the implementation of individual articles of the Convention. Feedback on the Committee’s concluding observations is reflected in the sections in part II corresponding to specific articles, depending on the contents.
6.The Government of China wishes to reiterate its continued reservation to article 29, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
7.As at the end of 2017, the total population of the mainland of China was 1.39 billion; the female population was 680 million, or 48.8 per cent of the total. Currently, more than 70 per cent of women in the mainland of China participate in economic and social development, accounting for 43.5 per cent of the total employed population. Women account for 30 per cent of the total number of entrepreneurs and 55 per cent of entrepreneurs in the Internet field. Women are increasingly joining new industries and new types of business, becoming an important force in economic and social development.
8.China has consistently adhered to the constitutional principle of equality between men and women and affirmed such equality as a basic State policy to promote social development. It has continuously promoted gender equality and women’s development by constantly improving laws and regulations, developing public policies and formulating development plans, and has adopted all measures necessary to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. As stipulated in article 48 of the Constitution, “women in the People’s Republic of China enjoy equal rights with men in all aspects of political, economic, cultural, social and family life”. The newly revised Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women provides that “the implementation of equality between men and women is a basic State policy of the country”, which establishes the legal status of the State policy. In 2017, at the 19th National Congress of CPC, the commitment to “adhere to the basic State policy of equality between men and women and protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and children”, to “improve our systems of social assistance, social welfare, charities and benefits and services to entitled groups”, and to “further develop care service systems for the left-behind children, women and the elderly in rural areas” was reaffirmed. The basic State policy of China of equality between men and women and a series of policies that promote equal participation and equal development of men and women have laid a solid foundation for the full implementation of the Convention.
9.The State leaders of China have attached great importance to gender equality and women’s development. In September 2015, China and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) co-hosted a meeting of global leaders on the theme of “Gender equality and women’s empowerment: a commitment to action”. The President, Xi Jinping, delivered a speech entitled “Promoting women’s all-round development and building a better world for all”, which clearly conveyed the principled position of the Government of China on the issues of gender equality and women’s development, demonstrating the country’s commitment to the responsibility for promoting gender equality and women’s development. In the speech, he emphasized that, “as the Chinese people pursue a happy life, every Chinese woman has the opportunities to excel in life and make her dream come true. China will do more to enhance equality between men and women as its basic State policy, give play to women’s important role as ‘half of the sky’ and support them in realizing their dreams and aspirations in both career and life”.
10.The Government of China has taken measures to promote the implementation of the basic State policy of equality between men and women. The Outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China (2016–2020) （hereafter referred to as the 13th Five-Year Plan) includes a section on implementing the promotion of the all-round development of women. In-depth implementation of the Programme for the Development of Chinese Women (2011–2020) (hereinafter referred to as the Programme for Women), the planning of the sixth National Working Conference on Women and Children, the elimination of gender discrimination in employment, the protection of land rights and interests of rural women, and the expanded coverage of cervical and breast cancer screening programmes for rural women have been included in the documents of the Central Government and in major State livelihood projects.
11.The rapid economic development of China has created favourable conditions for the implementation of the basic State policy of equality between men and women. Between 2013 and 2017, the gross domestic product of China increased from 59.5 trillion yuan to 82.7 trillion yuan. In 2017, on the basis of the current poverty threshold of 2,300 yuan at a constant 2010 price, China had a rural poor population of 30.46 million, a decrease of nearly 130 million from 2010, with women accounting for approximately half of the decrease. In 2017, the 19th National Congress of CPC proposed to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and affirmed that socialism with Chinese characteristics had crossed the threshold into a new era, providing new opportunities for the continuous promotion of gender equality and women’s development. As of June 2018, women nationwide had received 359.714 billion yuan in small secured loans for entrepreneurship, which helped more than 6 million women to realize their dream of starting a business and creating wealth. By the end of September 2018, as many as 40.07 million people nationwide, including more than 15.17 million women, were receiving a “subsistence allowance” and “assistance to rural residents living in extreme poverty”.
12.China has adhered to law-based governance and continued to build a socialist country under the rule of law. Since 2014, China has comprehensively promoted law-based governance and defined the specific tasks of “strengthening the judicial protection of human rights”. In implementing law-based governance, China has focused on the protection of women’s rights and interests and has achieved legislative breakthroughs. In recent years, more than 10 laws and regulations related to the protection of women’s rights and interests have been enacted or amended, including the General Rules of the Civil Law, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, Amendment IX to the Criminal Law, the Law on the Land Contract in Rural Areas and the Law on Population and Family Planning.
13.China has earnestly implemented the Convention, by means of legislation, law enforcement supervision, policy measures, financial support, inter-agency collaboration, social mobilization, participation by civil society and international cooperation. Following the review in 2014, the concluding observations of the Committee were submitted to the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, NWCCW and all other relevant government agencies for consultation and implementation. Further efforts were made to promote the Convention, especially through the training of law enforcement personnel and government staff regarding the Convention.
14.China is committed to the global cause of promoting gender equality. It has contributed $2 million annually to UN-Women for three consecutive years. China has also increased its support for capacity-building for women in developing countries by providing them with training. It has been carrying out 100 “Happy campus projects” and 100 “Health projects for women and children”, of which more than 60 per cent have been completed to date.
15.Remarkable achievements have been made in the advancement of women in China. However, owing to the current level of the country’s development of productivity and its long history and cultural tradition, the old idea of male superiority and preference for the male child has yet to be eradicated. The development of women has yet to see a balance between urban and rural areas, across different regions and among different groups. The protection of the rights and interests of women in rural areas, especially in remote and poor areas, is relatively weak. Women’s equal rights in employment, personal and property security, marriage and family are still faced with practical difficulties. Continuous efforts are needed to promote women’s development at a higher level, in sync with the country’s economic and social development.
Details regarding the implementation of the Convention
Article 1: definition of discrimination against women
16.China attaches great importance to article 1 of the Convention and the concluding observations of the Committee regarding the country’s combined seventh and eighth reports. The provisions of the Convention on the elimination of gender discrimination are fully reflected in the Constitution, the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women, the Electoral Law, the Marriage Law, the Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas, the Inheritance Law, the Law on Promotion of Employment, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law and other relevant laws, in line with the principles and requirements of the Convention for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women to achieve gender equality. Although “discrimination against women” is not specifically defined in the existing laws, there is separate legislation that strictly prohibits direct and indirect discrimination against women.
17.In line with the recommendations of the Commission, China has implemented a mechanism for gender equality-based review of laws and policies in the process of drafting laws, administrative regulations, rules and normative documents. Relevant contents of existing provisions are strictly examined according to the comprehensive definition of gender discrimination in the Convention, to ensure that there is no discrimination against women in the existing legal provisions, administrative regulations, rules and systems, and normative documents.
18.As of February 2019, 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) in China had established mechanisms for a gender equality-based evaluation of regulations and policies. The extensive establishment of these mechanisms across the country has ensured the full implementation of the basic State policy of equality between men and women in the formulation, enforcement and supervision of laws and policies, and enabled efforts to eliminate gender discrimination, effectively protect women’s rights and interests and significantly promote gender equality.
Article 2: law and law enforcement
19.China has developed a system of laws and regulations to protect women’s rights and interests, with the Constitution as the core and the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests as the main body. In the process of improving the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics and building a country under the rule of law, China has upheld the constitutional principles that “the State shall respect and protect human rights” and “women shall enjoy equal rights with men”, as well as the fundamental spirit of international human rights conventions. It has focused on the innovation of legislative systems and mechanisms, adopted a two-pronged approach to the formulation of new laws and the improvement of existing laws, and continuously refined a series of laws and regulations related to the protection of women’s rights and interests. Law enforcement is put under stronger management. Administrative operation is made open and transparent. Administrative power is receiving increased oversight. The judicial protection of women’s human rights has been effectively strengthened, leading to deeper and continuous progress in gender equality and women’s development.
20.By way of rule of law reform, China has advanced the protection of women’s basic rights and supported women’s development in all respects. In 2014, the Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing Law-Based Governance made it clear that, in the process of comprehensively advancing the rule of law, laws and regulations that protect women’s rights and interests should be continuously improved. In December 2015, China issued the Implementation Outline for Building a Law-based Government (2015–2020), which proposed to establish, by 2020, a law-based Government characterized by scientific functions, statutory authorities and responsibilities, rigorous enforcement of the law, openness and fairness, integrity and efficiency, good faith and compliance with the law.
21.China takes domestic violence seriously. It has taken measures to prevent and stop such violence. The Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Civil Affairs jointly issued the Opinions on Lawfully Handling Several Issues on Guardian’s Infringement upon the Rights and Interests of Minors in 2014 and the Opinion on Lawfully Handling Criminal Cases of Domestic Violence in 2015, which set out the procedures, conviction and punishment, and preventive measures for crimes involving domestic violence. To effectively strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of women and children, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, passed by the NPC Standing Committee in December 2015, clearly defined domestic violence and the scope of application of the law, established important systems such as mandatory individual and official reporting, warning systems by public security agencies and personal protection orders, and constructed a legal system for the comprehensive prevention and effective suppression of domestic violence. Since the Anti-Domestic Violence Law went into effect, government departments and judicial organs have earnestly performed their duties entrusted by the law. Women’s federations have collaborated with relevant departments to scale up a publicity campaign on the law and promote the deeper development of family civility, including by actively engaging in the dissolution of conflicts and disputes, responding to complaints about domestic violence and providing assistance and support. The Anti-Domestic Violence Law has played a positive role in safeguarding the rights and interests of women and children, guiding family harmony, promoting social equity and maintaining social stability.
22.Amendment IX to the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted in August 2015, further strengthened the protection of women. First, it abolished the crime of soliciting underage prostitutes. All such criminal acts are considered rape and will receive severe punishment. Second, it refined the provisions on crimes of forcible molestation and humiliation of women and imposed harsher penalties for such crimes (i.e., a minimum of 5 years and up to 15 years of imprisonment for cases with execrable circumstances). Third, it increased punishment for the crime of buying trafficked women and children and held all such acts to be criminally accountable. Fourth, it expanded the range of criminal subject of the crime of abuse to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of key groups such as women and children.
23.China has advanced the reform of family trials to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of women and children. In view of further protecting women’s rights and interests, the Supreme People’s Court comprehensively improved its work on family court trials by clearly setting out systems for distinguishing marriage crisis from death of marriage, mediation in advance, enhanced knowledge of the functions and powers of judges and a cooling-off period for divorce. Following pilot trials, the Court issued its Opinions on Further Deepening the Reform of Family Trial Methods and Working Mechanism (Provisional), aimed at the proper resolution of marriage and family disputes and maximum protection of the legitimate rights and interests of women and children.
24.In recent years, China has developed or revised more than a dozen other laws and regulations related to the protection of women’s rights and interests, including the General Rules of the Civil Law, the Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas, the Law on Population and Family Planning, the Education Law, the Advertising Law, the Interim Measures for Social Assistance, the Special Provisions on Labour Protection of Female Employees and the Provisional Regulations on Residential Permit. The introduction or revision of these laws and regulations has covered in large part the scope defined in the Convention to ensure the realization of the purpose and objectives of the Convention in China, providing a legal basis for the full protection of the rights of women and girls. The relevant legal provisions are more targeted and operable and more effectively prohibit or eliminate discrimination against women.
25.As China adheres to the openness of legislation, public participation in legislation has increased significantly. In an effort to further enhance the openness and transparency of legislative processes, the country’s legislature has openly solicited public opinions on a number of draft laws, including the Anti-Family Violence Law. This has improving the quality of legislation, while providing a platform for the public to voice their interest. In the process of advancing social progress and the rule of law, women’s organizations have become active voices. They have participated closely in the development of the Anti-Family Violence Law and the revision of a series of other laws to ensure the inclusion of women’s concerns.
26.Efforts have been made to improve the legal aid system and actively protect women’s rights and interests. In 2015, judicial organs and legal aid institutions at all levels were explicitly required to conscientiously implement the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women and the Regulations on Legal Aid. The first measure for implementation was to expand the coverage of legal aid to include abuse, abandonment, domestic violence, labour security, marriage and family and other related issues in supplementary legal aid, and to include women as key targets of legal aid services, in accordance with the provisions of the Regulations on Legal Aid. The second measure was to effectively provide unhindered channels for pursuing rights and promote the building of three major platforms, namely, public legal service entities, hotlines and networks, to ensure that women could obtain timely legal aid. By the end of 2017, more than 2,900 legal aid workstations had been set up nationwide through women’s federations. “Posts for the protection of the rights of women and children” and “green channels” for the protection of their rights have been set up in many places. The third measure was to regulate the behaviour of legal aid services. This included establishing and improving the legal aid lawyer duty system, promoting the full coverage of legal aid workstations in people’s courts and detention centres, effectively protecting the procedural rights of female criminal suspects and defendants, and providing regulated and standardized services. The fourth measure was to ensure job security for legal aid work, which encourages outstanding lawyers and college student volunteers to provide women and other recipient groups in poor rural areas with accessible and high-quality legal aid services. Since 2014, the number of Chinese legal aid institutions and the number of women receiving aid have increased annually. Some 1.439 million women have received legal aid.
27.Efforts have been made to improve the judicial assistance system for the enhanced judicial protection of women’s human rights. In 2014, six ministries of the Government of China issued the Opinions on Establishing and Improving the State System of Judicial Assistance (Provisional). The Supreme People’s Court issued the Opinions on Enhancing and Regulating the Work of the People’s Courts on State Judicial Assistance. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued the Opinions on the Implementation of the Opinions on Establishing and Improving the State System of Judicial Assistance (Provisional). Those Opinions initially established the mode of assistance with relief funds at the core, supplemented by legal aid and litigation assistance and linked with other assistance, to ensure that litigants could properly participate in legal proceedings and that their legitimate rights and interests were lawfully protected.
28.Innovative efforts have been made in building mechanisms for the gender equality-based evaluation of laws, regulations and policies. Since 2012, 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) across the country have established mechanisms for the gender equality-based evaluation of regulations and policies. They have continuously carried out such evaluations and reviews to fully implement the basic State policy of equality between men and women in the formulation, enforcement and supervision of laws and policies, so that women’s rights and interests are effectively protected at the root of the system in order to ensure the effective promotion of gender equality. In some provinces, mechanisms for the gender equality-based evaluation of regulations and policies have also been established at the city and county levels, forming a system of mechanisms for the evaluation of regulations and policies that promote gender equality at the provincial, city and county levels.
Article 3: policy measures and mechanisms
29.Women’s rights are fundamental human rights. In order to ensure that women exercise and enjoy human rights on an equal basis with men, China has formulated and implemented national plans and a series of measures in the political, economic, social, cultural and other spheres to protect women’s rights and promote women’s development, in addition to continued efforts to strengthen relevant mechanisms.
30.Institutional structures of NWCCW and local working committees on children and women (WCCWs) at all levels have been improved. After the last review, the new NWCCW was established in January 2019 in the context of the institutional reform and efforts of China to streamline government agencies. The new NWCCW still consists of 35 relevant State departments and agencies, with ministerial leaders serving as members and the Vice Premier, Sun Chunlan, serving as Director. Leadership transitions have been completed at WCCWs in 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities), various prefectures (cities, autonomous prefectures and leagues) and counties (county-level cities, districts and banners) for better staffing and systematic improvement. The State Council and local governments at all levels hold regular meetings on women and children to examine and arrange various aspects of their work concerning women. NWCCW and local WCCWs have conducted research and analysis on the implementation of the Programme for Women. They have addressed key and complex issues and effectively exercised the mandated functions of organization, coordination, guidance and supervision under the Law on the Protection of Rights and Interests of Women. In order to implement the objectives and tasks set out in the Programme, they have promoted the implementation of the Convention by relevant departments through regular working meetings, plenary meetings, thematic meetings, statistical monitoring, evaluation and supervision, as well as the inspection and examination of major issues.
31.Implementation of the Programme for Women has accelerated remarkably. The Programme is a 10-year governmental plan that guides the country in its efforts to advance equality between men and women and fulfil its international obligations, taking full account of the provisions of the Convention and the general recommendations of the Committee. Results of the 2016 midterm evaluation on the implementation of the Programme showed steady progress in respect of the main targets in seven priority areas of women’s development, namely, health, education, the economy, participation in decision-making and management, social security, the environment and the law. Half of the targets were met in the first half of the period covered under the Programme. Various targets were met ahead of schedule, including those for the nationwide maternal mortality rate, women’s enrolment rate in all levels of education and the proportion of women in employment, marking historic progress in women’s development.
32.Greater emphasis has been given to the protection of women’s rights in both comprehensive and special plans for national development. For the first time, the 13th Five-Year Plan has a separate chapter entitled “Safeguard the Basic Rights and Interests of Women, Minors and Persons with Disabilities”, which includes a dedicated section on the targets and tasks of the “all-round development of women”. It sets out that the Government of China will implement the Plan for Women’s Development; ensure that women enjoy equal rights and opportunities with respect to education, employment, marital property and participation in social affairs; guarantee the land-related rights of women in rural areas and increase the level of women’s participation in policymaking and management; strengthen work such as poverty alleviation, labour protection, health care, maternity care, social welfare, and legal aid for women; crack down on criminal activities such as the trafficking in women and children and violence against women; and work to eliminate discrimination and bias against women and improve the environment for women’s development. Key and complex issues in women’s development will be incorporated into relevant special action plans.
33.In June 2016, China evaluated the implementation of its National Human Rights Action Plan (2012–2015). Results showed that the rights of women and children were vigorously protected and that the goals set out in the Action Plan had been achieved in large part. In September, China issued the National Human Rights Action Plan (2016–2020). The Action Plan, adhering to the people-centred development approach, defined the objectives and tasks for promoting and protecting human rights by 2020, including through efforts to promote gender equality, eliminate gender discrimination, prevent and end domestic violence against women and protect women’s legitimate rights, as well as to implement the Law on the Protection of Minors and eliminate discrimination against girls. As part of the implementation of the Action Plan, extensive efforts in human rights education and training have been made to advocate equality between men and women and respect for women.
34.In 2016, China issued the National Plan on Population Development (2016–2030). The Plan highlighted the need to develop targeted policy measures, create conditions for women and other vulnerable groups to share the benefits of development, fully incorporate gender equality into the legal system and public policies, eliminate gender discrimination, build women’s ability to participate in social affairs and improve women’s quality of life and health. It is stated under the Plan that China will step up comprehensive management of sex ratio at birth, including through heightened efforts to combat foetal sex identification for non‑medical purposes and sex-selective abortion. The Plan also provides for the in‑depth implementation of the “Care for Girls” campaign to improve girls’ living environment and put in place a system of supportive policies for the development of families with girls.
Article 4: temporary special measures
35.In order to accelerate the realization of equality between men and women, China has taken a series of special measures in such areas as women’s political participation and economic empowerment.
36.With regard to promoting women’s political participation, the Electoral Law of the National People’s Congress and Local People’s Congresses of the People’s Republic of China, as revised in 2015, stipulates that “deputies shall comprise an appropriate number of women, who shall account for an increasingly larger percentage”. It is stipulated under article 6 of the Organic Law of the Villagers’ Committees of the People’s Republic of China that “The members of a villagers’ committee shall include an appropriate number of women”. It is stipulated under article 25 of the Law that “female villagers’ representatives shall constitute no less than one third of the membership of the villagers’ assembly”. The Regulations on the Election of the Villagers’ Committee, issued by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in May 2013, further enhanced standardized procedures and gender equity in elections of villagers’ committees by ensuring that women were among the elected members of such committees. As of the end of 2017, 29 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) had formulated or revised measures for the implementation of the Organic Law of the Villagers’ Committee and 27 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) had formulated or revised methods for the election of villagers’ committees, providing more concrete legal safeguards for rural women’s participation in the practice of villagers’ self-governance.
37.In order to facilitate more effective participation of women in social management and decision-making, specific requirements have been put forward for female officials to be appointed to the leadership of CPC committees, people’s congresses, governments and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) committees at the provincial and city levels, as well as to the leadership to CPC committees and governments at the county level. If no suitable candidate can be found locally, the option of personnel exchange with other places could be pursued. Any vacancy occurring when a female official leaves office before her term expires should be filled promptly. On this basis, it is explicitly stipulated that organs of the CPC Central Committee and State authorities as well as functional departments of CPC committees and governments at the provincial and city levels shall ensure that no less than half of their leadership teams include female officials.
38.In the context of the drive by China for agricultural modernization, special support has been given to the development of new-type professional women farmers. Since 2014, more than 30 million yuan in special funds have been provided to offer practical technical training for rural women, support women in developing specialty industries and achieve economic empowerment. The Ministry of Agriculture issued the Circular on Launching the Pilot Project of Fostering New-Type Professional Women Farmers in 2017 to promote the prioritization of women in terms of training funds, number of participants and criteria for targeted support. In 2017, 155,542 women received training, up from 87,453 in the previous year.
Article 5: elimination of prejudices and violence against women
39.In order to transform conventional social concepts regarding stereotyped gender roles and implement paragraphs 24 and 25 of the Committee’s concluding observations, China has continued to step up efforts in publicity and advocacy, education and training, including promoting the basic State policy of equality between men and women in all aspects through various channels, and raising public awareness of gender equality.
40.The principles and concepts of gender equality have been gradually incorporated into the teaching and activities of various types of education programmes at all levels. State authorities have introduced specific provisions for the implementation of the basic State policy of equality between men and women in terms of curriculum requirements, as well as textbook compilation and content for schools at all levels. The Standards for Science Curriculum of Primary Schools, issued early in 2017, require that the “science curriculum of primary schools shall provide all students with suitable and equitable opportunities for learning and development, regardless of differences in their regional, ethnic, economic or cultural backgrounds, or individual conditions such as gender and personality”. More attention has been paid to the fostering of the ideas of equal treatment, non-discrimination and non‑prejudice in the moral education curriculum of primary and secondary schools. Curriculum standards for senior high schools require that students learn the values of “freedom, equality, justice and the rule of law” as well as “equality for all” and other concepts concerning the rule of law. China is promoting the teaching of gender equality in primary and secondary schools in an effort to raise gender awareness among children and adolescents.
41.Improved understanding of women’s rights has been built into compulsory education. The Ministry of Education has added contents related to the protection of women’s rights and the promotion of equality between men and women in course contents and case selection for State-compiled textbooks on morality and the rule of law, the Chinese language and history. The history of women’s struggle for equal rights to education has been introduced into the textbook on the history of China, and the various equal rights that women enjoy have been included in the textbook on morality and the rule of law. Meanwhile, more attention has been paid to eliminating gender discrimination in cover images, photos, illustrations and other areas. Preliminary gender equity has been achieved in terms of the number of characters in pictorial textbooks. Education reform in the country is playing an imperceptible yet transformative role in promoting the concept of gender equality.
42.Gender equality has been incorporated into education and training for officials. In China, 2,400 party schools of CPC committees (academies of governance) at or above the county level have incorporated education on the basic State policy of equality between men and women into training courses for officials in a vigorous effort to raise the awareness of gender equality among officials in leadership positions.
43.The media have been playing an increasingly important role in promoting gender equality. In order to facilitate the promotion of equality between men and women in the mainstream media and develop public support for respect for women and gender equality, China has continuously strengthened gender-responsive regulatory mechanisms in the field of media and widely disseminated the concept of gender equality through new media. In the past five years, the People’s Daily, the Xinhua News Agency and other mainstream media agencies under the Central Government and the CPC Central Committee, as well as mainstream media agencies operating under city-level authorities, have written or published more than 500,000 news reports advocating equality between men and women and communicating the achievements and contributions of women from all walks of life. Training sessions have been organized for media practitioners to enhance their gender awareness and correct media reports that hinder gender awareness. Women’s organizations have produced animated cartoons and short videos on topics such as domestic violence, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexist hiring practices and International Women’s Day (8 March) to promote awareness of women’s unique roles in society and family life.
44.A number of measures have been taken to effectively curb the rising sex ratio at birth. Efforts have been made to advocate the concept of gender equality, revise village rules and regulations, and promote a new civilized idea that girls and boys are equally good. With the establishment a sound system of society-based care for older persons, the living conditions and quality of life of older women have been improved. Special care has been given to older women who are poor, widowed or live alone. In order to address foetal sex identification for non-medical purposes, sex-selective abortion and related practices, a comprehensive control mechanism has been established that combines whole-of-society participation with interdepartmental collaboration. Countrywide special operations have been conducted to hold entities and individuals involved in these practices accountable in accordance with the law. In response to emerging cases of blood samples from pregnant women in the mainland of China being mailed to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the purpose of foetal sex identification, a Circular on Strengthening the Prevention and Control of Blood Test for Foetal Sex Identification was issued in 2014, which specified the responsibilities of relevant departments in the prevention and control of blood test for foetal sex identification. In 2016, a revised version of the Provisions on Prohibiting Foetal Sex Identification for Non-Medical Purposes and Sex-Selective Abortion was promulgated to provide institutional support for the elimination of such practices. In 2017, sex ratio at birth decreased to 111.9.
45.The Anti-Domestic Violence Law, promulgated in 2015, has served as a good response to paragraphs 26 and 27 of the Committee’s concluding observations and its general recommendation No. 35. The Law specified the responsibilities of government agencies, judicial organs and social organizations. It is stipulated in the Law that all forms of domestic violence are prohibited. It was made clear in the Law that the Government bears the primary responsibility for preventing and ending domestic violence and protecting family members, in particular women, from domestic violence in accordance with the law.
46.The Anti-Domestic Violence Law has been effectively implemented. In 2016, the Supreme People’s Court issued the Reply on Procedural Aspects in Cases Requesting Personal Safety Protection Orders, explicitly stating the need for solutions to practical issues, including through the exemption of court costs for protection orders, the lifting of requirements for security and the use of special procedures in hearings. By the end of 2018, courts in China had issued 3,718 restraining orders, effectively curbing the occurrence of domestic violence. Judicial practice for more than two years has shown that the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law has contributed to the prevention and ending of domestic violence, the improved maintenance of equal, peaceful and civilized family relations and the promotion of family harmony and social stability.
47.The interests of children affected by domestic violence are protected. In 2015, the Supreme People’s Court made it clear in the Summary of the Eighth National Conference on Civil and Commercial Trials that, when hearing marital and family cases involving domestic violence, the principle of maximizing the interests of the child should be applied. The Court also stated that, as a general rule, the parent who had committed domestic violence should not be awarded custody of minor children.
48.In 2015, China issued the Opinions on Improving the Legal Aid System, which listed women as key targets of legal aid and included abuse, abandonment and domestic violence as additional matters for legal aid.
49.After the Anti-Domestic Violence Law came into effect, the Ministry of Public Security incorporated the Law into various aspects of the work of public security authorities, such as examination for law enforcement qualification, law enforcement training and public education in the general knowledge of law, so as to effectively improve the awareness and ability of police officers to prevent and end domestic violence. In the context of specific situations, local public security authorities have issued implementation opinions and operating rules to step up anti-domestic violence efforts. Mechanisms for handling domestic violence calls have been improved to ensure timely police dispatch, proper investigation and evidence collection in accordance with the law, as well as the delivery of assistance to victims seeking medical care and injury assessment.
50.In recent years, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has organized training sessions on shelters from domestic violence, which included an introduction on working methods and working requirements. In 2017, China implemented countrywide inspection and rectification programmes, including exploration into the creation of socialized public service jobs, the introduction of professional social workers to provide assistance and the coordination with judicial administrative organs to provide legal aid.
51.On 12 December 2018, the Supreme People’s Court issued the Circular on Addition of Causes of Action in Civil Cases. In part I, entitled “Disputes over personality rights”, a fourth-level cause of action entitled “(1) Disputes over rights to equal employment” was added under the third-level cause of action entitled “9. General disputes over personality rights”. In part IX, entitled “Tort liability disputes”, a third-level cause of action entitled “348 bis. Disputes over sexual harassment damage liability” was added after the item entitled “348. Disputes over educational institution liability”. The addition of two types of separate causes of action has provided greater judicial guarantee for the admission and trial of cases of these types. The move has also helped to address problems such as the difficulty in filing cases and inconsistencies in causes of filing, thereby demonstrating that the people’s courts attach great importance to and fully protect women’s rights and interests.
Article 6: prohibition of trafficking in women
52.China takes seriously paragraphs 28 and 29 of the Committee’s concluding observations. Targeted action plans have been implemented in a continuous effort to step up the efforts to combat crimes that violate the personal rights of women and children, including trafficking in women and children and forcing women into prostitution.
53.The overall objective of the Action Plan for Combating Trafficking in Persons (2013–2020) is to establish a long-term anti-trafficking mechanism integrating measures to prevent and combat such crimes with assistance and rehabilitation efforts for victims, which will help to reduce and eventually root out the crime of trafficking in women and children. The Plan required that the Inter-Ministerial Anti-Trafficking Joint Conference under the State Council improve its organizational leadership and overall coordination, develop and improve policy measures, and investigate and address major problems and difficulties in a timely manner. The Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference, which consists of 32 departments, represents the initial working model in which the Government assumes responsibilities, public security authorities take the lead and various departments make concerted efforts for integrated governance.
54.China has revised the Criminal Law to impose severe punishments for crimes of trafficking in women and children. Amendment IX to the Criminal Law (2015) amended article 241, paragraph 6, of the Criminal Law concerning the crime of buying women and children who are victims of trafficking. The amended paragraph explicitly criminalized any act of buying women and children who are victims of trafficking, thereby increasing criminal penalties for buyers.
55.In 2017, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate jointly issued the Interpretation of Several Issues concerning the Application of Laws in Handling Criminal Cases regarding Organizing, Forcing, Luring, Sheltering or Brokering Prostitution. The interpretation set lower thresholds for the criteria of “aggravating circumstances” for the crime of forcing prostitution: the threshold for the cumulative number of persons forced into prostitution was set at half that for the crime of organizing prostitution; in cases in which young girls are forced into prostitution, “aggravating circumstances” are identified, regardless of the number of persons forced into prostitution.
56.New technologies and new media have been leveraged in the comprehensive prevention and suppression of crimes of trafficking in women and children, and in victim support. From 2014 to 2017, the Ministry of Public Security further optimized the criteria for opening trafficking cases. A national “anti-trafficking” DNA database has been established, which enabled mapping and matching operations for children of unknown origin. Public security authorities have cracked 3,566 cases of trafficking in women and 3,380 cases of trafficking in children. Prosecutorial authorities have prosecuted 6,513 persons in 3,065 cases of trafficking in women and children, as well as 1,190 persons in 195 cases of buying women and children who are victims of trafficking. Public security authorities in China have cooperated with 23 new media agencies and mobile applications and 25 mobile phone applications to ensure their access to the Emergency Information Release Platform for Missing Children (known as the “Reunion System”) established by the Ministry of Public Security, thereby building effective interactions between the police and the public in preventing and combating crimes of trafficking in children. The Ministry of Civil Affairs has collaborated with judicial assistance organs and human resources and social security agencies to provide legal aid and psychological counselling for victims of trafficking and ensure proper assistance and reintegration. New Internet technologies and precision push technologies have been leveraged to find relatives to help rescued victims to be reunited with their families as quickly as possible.
57.Public security authorities in China have pursued active cooperation with international organizations in anti-trafficking efforts to jointly build an international anti-trafficking network. A number of anti-trafficking cooperation projects have been carried out in partnership with United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund, Save the Children UK, the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the greater Mekong subregion.
58.In 2015, China signed the Phnom Penh Declaration. The country’s legislature deliberated and adopted the Fourth National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons in the Greater Mekong Subregion. In 2016, the Governments of China and Cambodia signed the Agreement on Strengthening Cooperation to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons. In 2017, China and the United Kingdom held several consultations on an anti-trafficking agreement. In 2018, the Governments of China and Thailand signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Preventing and Suppressing Trafficking in Persons. Police authorities in China have cooperated with their counterparts in Myanmar, Viet Nam and Laos in joint anti‑trafficking activities. Their briefing and meeting mechanisms have been further consolidated. Eight offices of liaison officers for transnational anti-trafficking law enforcement have been established. Joint training has been provided to law enforcement personnel to effectively combat transnational trafficking crimes. From June to December 2018, Chinese police authorities, together with their counterparts from Viet Nam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, carried out six joint anti‑trafficking operations with remarkable results.
Article 7: promoting women’s participation in political and public affairs
59.Recognizing the importance of paragraphs 30 and 31 of the Committee’s concluding observations, China has taken proactive measures to effectively implement the Programme for Women and achieved remarkable results.
60.The country has seen a higher proportion of women elected as deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and members of the CPPCC National Committee. In the 13th NPC and CPPCC National Committee, both convened in 2018, women account for 24.9 per cent (742 women) of the deputies to the Congress and 20.4 per cent (440 women) of the members of the Committee, not only 1.5 per cent and 2.6 per cent higher than in the previous Congress and Committee, respectively, but higher than ever in the history of the two institutions. Guangxi (32.58 per cent), Fujian (31.88 per cent), Yunnan (31.87 per cent) and Liaoning (31.37 per cent) boast the highest percentages of female deputies to the NPC. The percentages of female deputies elected to provincial, regional and municipal people’s congresses in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guizhou and Anhui have exceeded 30 per cent.
61.In China, the overall percentage of female civil servants and women serving in social organizations has been on the rise. A growing number of female leaders are holding chief positions in the organs of the CPC Central Committee and central State authorities, people’s organizations and social organizations. The National Audit Office, the China Meteorological Administration, the National Medical Products Administration, the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the All-China Women’s Federation, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the China Writers’ Association, the Economic Daily, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the China Disabled Persons Federation, the Red Cross Society of China and the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives are all headed by women. Local government agencies at all levels have continued to see an increasing number of female officials in leadership positions. The proportion of women holding chief positions in the leadership teams of provincial governments soared to 9.7 per cent in 2017, an increase of 6.5 percentage points compared with 2011. The percentage of leadership teams with female officials rose to 52.5 per cent in the functional departments of city-level governments and to 95.1 per cent in county-level governments. Women account for more than half of the civil servants newly recruited by central authorities and their directly affiliated agencies, reaching 55.4 per cent in 2017. The percentage of women among newly recruited civil servants at local levels climbed to 44 per cent.
62.China has taken strong measures to promote women’s participation in decision-making at all levels, training for female officials and requirements for ensuring sufficient female representation in the villagers’ committees. Female officials have become an indispensable and important force in the management of public affairs at the grassroots level, and women are enjoying a higher level of participation in the administration of State and social affairs.
63.A gradual increase has been observed in the percentage of women in villagers’ and residents’ committees. By the end of 2017, there were 443,000 women among the 1.957 million members of villagers’ committees in China, and women accounted for 57.2 per cent of all college-educated village officials in office. Residents committees across the country had 447,000 members, 241,000 of whom were women.
64.The percentage of women participating in business operations and management has risen steadily. In 2017, 39.7 per cent of the employee representatives serving on boards of directors and 41.6 per cent of those serving on boards of supervisors in businesses were women, an increase of 10.6 and 12.4 percentage points, respectively, over 2013. A significantly larger proportion of women are involved in business operations and management.
65.Chinese public institutions have seen a gradual increase in the percentage of women in their leadership teams. The percentage of female leaders in public institutions across the country rose from 20.7 per cent in 2015 to 22.3 per cent in 2017.
66.Ethnic minority women are participating in political affairs at a significant higher level. They account for 41.3 per cent of the ethnic minority deputies to the 13th NPC and 34.85 per cent of the ethnic minority members of the 13th CPPCC National Committee. The percentage of ethnic minority women in local governments has risen steadily.
67.The political rights of persons with disabilities, including women with disabilities, are guaranteed in a number of Chinese laws and regulations. It is clearly provided in the Law on the Protection of Disabled Persons that persons with disabilities shall enjoy equal rights with other citizens in political, economic, cultural and social fields and in family life and other aspects, and that discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited. It is explicitly stated in the Regulations on the Development of Accessible Environments that the organizers of elections shall facilitate the participation of persons with disabilities in elections and make braille ballots available to visually impaired persons. It is indicated in the 2016 Outline for Accelerating the Process Toward Prosperity for Persons with Disabilities in the 13th Five-year Plan Period that “efforts should be made to expand the means of participation in democratic processes for persons with disabilities and their organizations, and effectively leverage the important role of persons with disabilities and their family and friends, as well as People’s Congress deputies and CPPCC members working with persons with disabilities, in the political life of the State”.
68.According to statistics, 421 women with disabilities and 154 female family members and friends of persons with disabilities, including persons with nearly all categories of disabilities (such as physical, visual, hearing and speech, intellectual and mental disabilities) and their family and friends, have been elected as People’s Congress deputies and CPPCC members at or above the county level, 30.3 per cent and 58.8 per cent higher than five years ago, respectively.
Article 8: promoting women’s participation in international affairs on behalf of the Government
69.Chinese women have full equal rights with men to participate in various international exchanges and organizations on behalf of their Government. As it promotes the development of the Belt and Road Initiative to build a community of shared future for humankind and pursues other initiatives and proposals, China has facilitated external communications by women in various fields, through multiple channels and at different levels. It has strengthened cooperation with relevant United Nations agencies and successfully organized a number of exchange events for women, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Women and the Economy Forum, the Women-20 Meeting, the China-Arab Women’s Forum and the first Shanghai Cooperation Organization Women’s Forum. China has also enhanced people-to-people exchanges among women within the framework of bilateral and regional exchange mechanisms, supported and assisted developing countries in capacity-building for women, promoted friendship among women from different countries and contributed to people-to-people connectivity.
70.The number and percentage of women in Chinese delegations to international conferences and meetings has grown continuously. According to the statistics of October 2018, 2,065 diplomats serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (33.1 per cent) were women, including 14 female ambassadors, 19 female consuls general and 152 female counsellors, accounting for 9.45 per cent, 23.17 per cent and 27.8 per cent, respectively, of the diplomats in those ranks. Thirty-three female staff members have been recommended for service in international organizations by the Ministry on behalf of the Government of China, accounting for 45.2 per cent of all recommended staff. Three of them are senior staff members at or above the deputy director level. Since January 2014, in the Ministry 105 female officials have enrolled in academic certificate and degree programmes, 130 have received training abroad and approximately 5,300 have participated in theoretical and professional training.
Article 9: nationality
71.The relevant provisions are the same as those described in the previous report. According to the Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, except for State functionaries and military personnel on active service, who shall not renounce Chinese nationality, male and female citizens and their children who meet legally prescribed criteria are equally entitled to acquire, renounce and restore Chinese nationality. No discriminatory or restrictive provisions are in place against women and their children with respect to their rights to acquiring, renouncing and restoring Chinese nationality.
Article 10: women’s education
72.Since the review of the previous report by the Committee, in order to ensure gender equality in education, the Government of China has made earnest efforts and achieved significant progress in developing and implementing legislation, policies and measures. It has taken multiple measures to eliminate gender discrimination and guarantee the equal rights of women and men in all stages and categories of education.
73.The proportion of girls receiving preschool education has continued to rise. The gross enrolment rate of three-year preschool education increased rapidly, from 56.6 per cent in 2010 to 81.7 per cent in 2018. In 2017, the Ministry of Education, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly issued the Opinions on the Implementation of the Third Phase of the Plan of Action on Preschool Education to ensure equal access to preschool learning for both boys and girls. As at the end of 2018, 46.56 million young children were studying in preschools across the country, 21.77 million of whom were girls.
74.Gender disparities have been eliminated in large part at the stage of compulsory education. It is required under the nine-year compulsory education system in China that boys and girls at or above the age of 6 receive compulsory education for a specified number of years, regardless of gender, ethnicity or race. In 2018, the net enrolment rate of primary school-age girls was close to 100 per cent. The completion rate of compulsory education reached 94.2 per cent, with 46.5 per cent of children in school being girls.
75.Special measures have been taken to prevent rural girls from dropping out of compulsory education. Guidance has been provided across the country to facilitate the fulfilment of government responsibilities, including developing improved administrative mechanisms to encourage reenrolment in school and stronger family-school ties. Efforts have also been made to provide targeted assistance and prevent school-age children and adolescents, especially rural girls, from dropping out of school owing to poverty or disinterest.
76.Gender gaps have narrowed in senior secondary education. For regular high school education, the reform of the admissions and examinations system has continued to make progress in promoting educational equity. In 2016, the Ministry of Education issued the Guidance on Further Advancing the Reform of the Examinations and Admissions System of Senior Secondary Schools to provide opportunities for male and female students to compete on an equal and fair footing. The gross enrolment rate in senior secondary schools across the country reached 88.8 per cent in 2018, an increase of 2.3 percentage points compared with 2014. There are 18.6 million girls enrolled in senior secondary schools, accounting for 47.3 per cent of all enrolled students. More than half of the students in regular high schools have been girls since 2015, and that ratio reached 50.8 per cent in 2018.
77.A targeted plan has been implemented to effectively improve the access of girls to high school education, especially in rural areas. In 2017, the Targeted Plan for Expanded Access to Senior Secondary Education (2017–2020) was launched, with a focus on poverty-stricken and educationally weak regions and special groups. It was intended to raise the gross enrolment rate of senior secondary education in disadvantageous regions and improve equal access to high school education for girls, especially rural girls, by expanding educational resources, increasing funding and strengthening the education workforce.
78.The right to education of ethnic minority women and girls is guaranteed. China has promulgated the Plan for Promoting the Development of Regions Inhabited by Ethnic Minorities and of Smaller Ethnic Groups in the 13th Five-year Plan Period and the Plan for Promoting Development and Improving People’s Lives in Border Regions in the 13th Five-year Plan Period. The country has also developed different kinds of ethnic schools at all levels, implemented bilingual education, given preferential treatment to ethnic minority students in the national college entrance examination and introduced boarding education in the vast regions where agriculture and animal husbandry are the major sources of livelihoods.
79.More than half of students in higher education are women. As at the end of 2017, some 14.47 million female students were enrolled in undergraduate programmes in the country’s regular higher education institutions, accounting for 52.5 per cent of all enrolled students. For adult education, 3.2 million female students are currently enrolled in undergraduate programmes in adult higher education institutions, accounting for 58.8 per cent of all enrolled students. Among students enrolled in graduate programmes, 1.278 million, or 48.4 per cent, are women.
80.A higher percentage of women are receiving vocational education and technical training, especially government-subsidized vocational training. In accordance with the Decision of the State Council on Accelerating the Development of Modern Vocational Education, the Opinions of the Ministry of Education and Eight Other Agencies on Further Promoting the Development of Community Education and the Action Plan of East-West Collaboration on Vocational Education (2016–2020), China has intensified its support for vocational education in rural and poverty-stricken regions and created conditions for rural women, especially those from families living in poverty, to receive quality vocational education. The country has also implemented student financial aid policies, including tuition waivers and national student grants for secondary vocational education, and scholarships, student grants and student loans for higher vocational education, targeted especially at poverty-stricken regions and populations. Various reward and financial aid policies have effectively prevented girls from dropping out upon completion of junior high school and ensured that women can participate equally in and complete vocational education. Rural women are entitled to equal access to various kinds of training, which helps to improve their technical skills so that they will be better positioned to enter the labour market and enjoy greater employment opportunities. In 2017, 6.81 million girls were pursuing secondary vocational education, accounting for 42.8 per cent of all enrolled students. Across the country, 39.92 per cent of the participants of government-subsidized vocational training were women. A growing number of women have received vocational skills training. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 3 million urban women benefited from various vocational and re-employment technical training sessions, while more than 33 million rural women participated in programmes aimed at improving the quality of the labour force and enhancing skills for employment.
81.Women have equal access to scholarships. The 2018 statistics showed that more women had received scholarships in government-sponsored study abroad programmes than men, accounting for 53 per cent of all participants.
82.The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in coordination with the Ministry of Education, has implemented the Programme of Training and Studies for Inheritors of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage, supporting the participation of women in workshops and training sessions. As of April 2018, participating universities and colleges in China had held 405 workshops and training sessions with 18,000 attendances, which, together with additional training subsequently organized by those participants across the country, had benefited 56,000 individuals nationwide. Women accounted for 58 per cent of all participants and 90 per cent in training sessions on embroidery, wax printing, dough modelling and other projects of intangible cultural heritage.
Article 11: women’s employment
83.Recognizing the importance of some of the concerns and recommendations on women’s employment in paragraphs 29 and 30 of the Committee’s concluding observations, relevant government agencies have put together various resources to develop and introduce a series of policy measures to eliminate gender discrimination in employment and promote equal employment for women, with a view to eliminating such discrimination in the labour market. They have also sought to guide and support urban and rural women in seeking employment and starting their own businesses through a variety of channels and initiatives.
84.The number of employed women has increased. In 2017, women accounted for 43.5 per cent of the Chinese labour force, and 65.45 million of them were employed in urban areas.
85.The proportion of female entrepreneurs has exceeded 50 per cent. In 2016, the Government issued the Circular on Guaranteed Loans for Startups to Support Entrepreneurship and Employment, which provides for the inclusion of women “in the target recipients of guaranteed loans for startups”. Women have unleashed their talent in the mass entrepreneurship and innovation campaign, accounting for more than 55 per cent of Internet entrepreneurs. In 2016, more than 5,000 centres of practical entrepreneurship activities for female college students and more than 2,100 makerspaces, incubators and maker service platforms for women were established across China, providing guidance for millions of women in starting their own e‑commerce businesses. More than 3.3 million women have joined more than 5,000 centres for female manual weavers, which has, in turn, given more than 10 million women facing employment challenges the flexibility of working from home. China has launched the Women’s Campaign for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and organized the first Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition for Chinese Women to channel the energy of female entrepreneurs and innovators. Training sessions for entrepreneurship and innovation have seen more than 5.5 million attendances, with tens of millions of women from both urban and rural areas starting their own businesses or finding employment.
86.The percentage of women has grown higher among skilled workers and senior professionals. In 2017, 14.8 million female professionals were employed in public-owned enterprises and institutions, accounting for 48.6 per cent of all their professional staff. Among them, 1.789 million, or 39.3 per cent, were senior professionals, an increase of 2.6 percentage points compared with 2014.
87.China has respected and promoted the important status and role of women in the continuity of intangible cultural heritage by actively identifying women as representative inheritors at all levels. In 2018, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced the fifth list of representative inheritors for representative projects of national intangible cultural heritage, in which 262 inheritors were women, accounting for 24.2 per cent of all listed individuals. Some projects with crafts traditionally taught only to men have also embraced female apprentices. Centres of traditional crafts have been established to actively encourage the engagement of local women. For example, one such centre in Hami, Xinjiang, facilitated the establishment of 231 cooperatives in the city, creating an interlinked model connecting the centre, associations, cooperatives and female embroiders. Nearly 1,000 female embroiderers have been directly involved in fulfilling more than 17,000 orders received by the centre, thus generating at least 1,500 yuan of additional income per person. Another example is the centre of traditional crafts in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan. Since its opening, nearly 500 participants have received direct training from the centre and, in turn, trained more than 6,000 other female embroiderers, helping local women to find employment near home.
88.The protection of women’s rights and interests has been continuously strengthened in the workplace. By refining the mechanism of labour relations coordination, China has facilitated the inclusion of special labour protection for women, maternity protection, equal opportunities of training and promotion and equal pay and benefits in collective bargaining and collective contracts or the signing of special collective contracts for the protection of the rights and interests of female employees, while urging employers to comply with the provisions of laws and regulations related to the rights and interests of women at work. As of September 2017, 1.366 million special collective contracts had been signed nationwide for the protection of the rights and interests of 79.999 million working women. In 2017, 71.2 per cent of businesses were in compliance with the Special Provisions on Labour Protection for Female Employees (hereinafter referred to as “Special Provisions”).
89.China has actively promoted gender equality in the workplace. In February 2019, on the basis of a 2018 study on developing mechanisms for gender equality in businesses, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions prepared and issued the Guidance Manual on Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace. The manual outlined the institutional mechanisms for employers to establish and provided an analysis and review of real-life cases from the following six perspectives, with a view to promoting gender equality in the workplace: equal employment opportunities; equal career development opportunities; equal pay and benefits; maternity protection; balancing work and family life for female employees; and preventing and ending violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.
90.Enhanced efforts have been made to build wellness and lactation rooms for women at work. In 2016, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, together with nine other agencies, issued the Guidance on Further Promoting the Construction of Maternity Facilities, which proposed that, by the end of 2020, all employers to be equipped with maternity facilities should have such standardized facilities mostly in place. Considering the needs of women in various industries and different types of workplaces, women’s groups in labour unions across the country have adopted a socialized, project-based approach to providing safe, hygienic and private wellness and lactation spaces for working women with special needs. As of September 2017, 296,000 grassroots labour unions in 623,000 businesses and public institutions had established wellness and lactation rooms for 18.494 million women.
91.Stronger action has been taken to monitor and inspect employers for their compliance with labour laws and regulations on the protection of female employees. For the third consecutive year, during the sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC National Committee, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions expressed its views and offered suggestions on enhanced monitoring and inspection for compliance with the Special Provisions, with a view to making progress in that area of work for the protection of working women under the universal two-child policy. Labour unions across the country have taken the initiative to bolster their engagement and cooperation with local People’s Congresses, as well as government agencies, including departments or bureaus of human resources and social security, health commissions and administrations of work safety, in jointly conducting monitoring and inspection for compliance with the Special Provisions and offering suggestions for remedial action. As of September 2017, provisions on prohibited work for women had been implemented by 1.633 million grassroots labour unions, covering 3.77 million employers and benefiting 72.296 million women; provisions for the special treatment for female employees during menstruation, pregnancy and postpartum and lactation periods had been implemented by 1.64 million grass-roots labour unions, covering 3.798 million employers and benefiting 73.358 million women.
92.Multi-agency cooperation has contributed to refined laws and regulations and ensured women’s right to equal employment opportunities. In March 2019, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the All-China Women’s Federation and other agencies jointly issued the Circular on Further Regulating Recruitment Practices to Promote Women’s Employment. It specifies six prohibited practices of gender discrimination in employment, provides for penalties (e.g., orders of correction, fines and revocation of business licences) for employers and human resources service agencies suspected of gender discrimination, and establishes a multi-agency joint inquiry mechanism. The Circular is also intended to provide support and assistance for women who have experienced employment discrimination in filing lawsuits, as well as personalized career guidance and services, thus lending robust policy support to ensuring women’s equal right to employment.
93.Chinese law ensures that female workers are entitled to paid maternity leave. The State Council has launched a series of policy measures, including the Decision on Implementing the Universal Two-Child Policy and Reforming and Improving the Management of Family Planning Services, to protect women’s legal rights to employment and leave in accordance with laws, support women’s return to work after childbirth and encourage employers to allow flexible work schedules and make necessary accommodations for pregnant and lactating women. Thirty-one provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the country have refined their policies on additional leave as a reward for compliance with family planning requirements, to explicitly provide that women are entitled to such leave of one to nine months, in addition to the 98 days of statutory maternity leave, and that men are entitled to paid paternity leave of 7 to 31 days.
Article 12: women’s health
94.China attaches great importance to women’s health and comprehensive development. It has made safeguarding women’s health a major strategy and a priority task and has continuously worked on improving women’s health. Since 2014, China has issued and implemented the “Healthy China 2030” blueprint, the Health Care Development Plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan Period and the Plan on Deepening Medical System Reform for the 13th Five-Year Plan Period. These plans have laid out women’s and children’s health as a priority development strategy with a view to guaranteeing their health in all aspects and throughout their life cycles.
95.The average life expectancy of Chinese women has continued to increase. The average life expectancy of China’s population was 76.7 years in 2017, while the average life expectancy of Chinese women was 79.43 years in 2015, 2.06 years longer than in 2010.
96.The maternal mortality ratio has continued to decline. In 2017, the national maternal mortality ratio dropped from 30 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010 to 19.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, a decrease of 10.4 deaths per 100,000 live birth, achieving ahead of schedule the goals set out in the Programme for Women and the Millennium Development Goals. China was listed by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 countries with high performance in maternal and child health.
97.Women’s reproductive health continued to improve. In 2017, 66.9 per cent of women received screening for gynaecological diseases and 24.2 per cent of the women screened were found to have gynaecological diseases. The coverage of basic public health and family planning services for the mobile population remained above 87 per cent nationwide.
98.The prevention and control of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among women has been intensified. Since 2015, the Central Government has invested 1.4 billion yuan annually to scale up the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B across the country. The Government provides free screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B for all pregnant women, as well as free comprehensive interventions and services for preventing mother-to-child transmission for all infected pregnant women and their children. In 2017, the number of women on antiretroviral treatment reached 155,618. In 2017, more than 99 per cent of pregnant women received testing for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B; 90 per cent of HIV-infected pregnant women were treated with antiretroviral drugs; 80 per cent of syphilis-infected pregnant women were on treatment; the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV fell to 4.9 per cent; the number of reported cases of congenital syphilis declined from 13,000 in 2011 to 3,846; 99.7 per cent of children born to hepatitis B-infected women received hepatitis B immune globulin injections; and 96.8 per cent of newborns were inoculated with the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine.
99.The maternal and child health service system has continued to improve. At the heart of the three-tier maternal and child health service system with Chinese characteristics are the maternal and child health facilities, buttressed by primary medical and health-care facilities at their core and bolstered by technical support from general hospitals and research and teaching institutions, serving both urban and rural areas on the basis of a tiered division of responsibilities.
100.The infrastructure for maternal and child health care has been markedly upgraded and service capacity significantly enhanced. China has continued to increase investment in building maternal and child health-care facilities, with a focus on improving the infrastructure for primary maternal and child health care. During the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011–2015), the Central Government invested 10.7 billion yuan to build more than 1,100 maternal and child health-care facilities and 4 billion yuan to build and equip 800 county-level family planning facilities. In the period from 2016 to 2017, the Central Government allocated 6.25 billion yuan of its budgeted funds to invest in building 512 maternal and child health-care facilities, a significant increase compared with the 12th Five-Year Plan Period. Since 2013, China has been optimizing and integrating technical service resources for maternal and child health care and family planning. By the end of 2017, 89.8 per cent of the resources from relevant facilities at the city, county and township levels nationwide had been integrated. The integration will gradually enable such facilities to offer a full range of services covering maternal health, women’s health, children’s health and reproductive health.
101.The accessibility and equity of maternal and child health services has seen continued progress. With the full implementation of the basic public health service programme in 2009, maternal health management services in China have continued to increase. According to statistics, in 2017, early pregnancy registration and postnatal visits covered more than 85 per cent of pregnant women. The in-hospital delivery grant for rural women has been further implemented, with fiscal authorities at various levels providing a 500 yuan grant to every rural woman for giving birth in hospitals.
102.The work on women’s mental health has been continuously strengthened. In 2015, China formulated the National Mental Health Workplan (2015–2020), which set out tasks to protect and promote women’s mental health, followed by the Guidance on Strengthening Mental Health Services, issued in 2016. China has comprehensively implemented the management and treatment of patients with severe mental disorders, piloted the holistic management of mental health and carried out extensively a variety of awareness-raising campaigns to popularize essential knowledge about mental health and psychological well-being.
Article 13: other economic and social rights of women
103.Chinese laws do not impose any discriminatory restrictions on women with regard to other economic and social rights.
104.The equal access of women to public services and resources is guaranteed. For example, in the newly revised Design Code for Urban Public Restrooms, issued in 2016, the ratio of women’s toilets to men’s toilets was changed to 3:2, or 2:1 in high traffic areas, making the pubic space more welcoming for women.
105.The National Fitness Programme (2011–2015) promulgated by the State Council included plans for further developing national fitness industries, scaling up national fitness campaigns and accelerating the development of sports as an enabler for a stronger nation, with an explicit goal of achieving “greater progress in women’s fitness facilities”. The National Fitness Programme (2016–2020) is intended to “promote sports among workers, women and children, and advance the integration of public sports services for migrant workers into the local supply system where they are based”.
106.Maternity protection benefits have been increased. In 2018, the number of maternity insurance participants nationwide totalled 204 million, exceeding the 200 million mark for the first time, with 89.27 million being female employees, an increase of 15.2 million from 2014. Women’s medical expenses for childbirth are duly covered, with female employees’ expenses covered by maternity insurance and those of unemployed women covered by the basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents. In 2017, China launched a pilot programme of merging the maternity insurance with the basic medical insurance for employees. In 2019, the merger of the two insurance schemes will be fully implemented across the country, which would contribute to expanding the coverage of maternity insurance and enhancing the co‑funding capacity of social insurance funds and the protection afforded by maternity insurance.
107.The number of women enrolled in basic medical insurance has been on the rise. In 2017, 1.34 billion people participated in the basic medical insurance for employees and the basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents (including the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme). Among them, 380 million women participated in the basic medical insurance for urban and rural residents, not including participants in the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme yet to be integrated, accounting for 43.6 per cent of the total, up from 34.1 per cent in 2011.
108.Women’s participation in pension insurance has expanded. In 2017, approximately 385 million women participated in basic pension insurance nationwide, an increase of some 33 million compared with the previous year. The number of women participating in basic pension insurance for urban employees was nearly 180 million, 58.1 per cent more than 2010. In 2017, nearly 210 million women participated in basic pension insurance for urban and rural residents, 18.5 per cent more than the previous year.
109.The number of women participating in unemployment insurance and occupational injury insurance has continued to grow. In 2017, 79.5 million women participated in unemployment insurance nationwide, an increase of 8.05 million compared with 2014; and 85.94 million women participated in occupational injury insurance, an increase of 5.24 million compared with 2014.
110.Women’s access to senior care services has continued to improve. Senior care facilities nationwide have grown significantly in both numbers and capacity. As at the end of 2017, there were 155,000 various types of senior care service institutions and facilities nationwide, offering a total of approximately 7,448,000 senior care beds, or roughly 30.9 beds per 1,000 older people. Home-care service facilities have basically covered all urban communities and more than 50 per cent of rural communities. Nationwide, 93 per cent of senior care institutions are equipped to provide different forms of medical and health services for their residents, delivering benefits to more older women.
111.China has continued to undertake major projects to incubate quality productions of performing arts, to renew and promote the heritage of homegrown opera and to invest in the collection and development of fine arts. These projects have led to the creation of a plethora of works that feature themes about women’s fundamental rights and priority groups such as older women, women with disabilities and women migrant workers. They also provided women with access to more and varied selections of cultural and artistic works.
112.China has set great store by strengthening and improving public services for women with disabilities in the areas of education, employment and health. In 2017, 8.445 million (or 80.1 per cent) registered women with disabilities aged 16 and above participated in pension insurance for urban and rural residents; 12.467 million (or 96.7 per cent) women with disabilities participated in basic medical insurance; 3.55 million women with disabilities received basic rehabilitation services; 6,671 girls with disabilities enrolled in preschools through grants from the public welfare lottery fund for disability; 5,858 girls with disabilities were admitted to higher education institutions; and 2.968 million registered women with disabilities aged 16 to 54 were employed.
Article 14: rural women
113.With regard to paragraphs 43 and 45 of the Committee’s concluding observations, the Government of China has taken a series of positive measures to address the security of land rights for rural women.
114.Rural land reform has been expedited. In 2014, China launched a pilot exercise to determine and certify contracted land rights in rural areas and encouraged pilot areas to explore ways of protecting women’s land contracting rights and interests, including upon marriage and divorce. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs promoted the practices and lessons learned from pilot areas such as Fengyang County, Anhui Province, in safeguarding rural women’s land contracting rights and interests throughout the country. The Ministry of Land and Resources, in its Circular on Further Accelerating the Determination, Registration and Certification of Homestead and Collective Construction Land, prescribed that “rural women, as members of a family, are entitled to have their homestead rights and interests recorded in the real estate register and the certificates of title”. The Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas, which was reviewed and amended in 2018, provides that “family members within a rural household shall enjoy equal rights and interests in contracted land in accordance with the law” and “land contract certificates or forest tenure certificates shall include all family members entitled to contracting and managing the land”. In the same year, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and other authorities jointly issued the Guidance on Establishing Village Rules and Residents’ Compacts with a view to addressing and curbing prominent problems that existed in some places, such as violations of legitimate rights and interests of women, in particular married, divorced and widowed women.
115.The mediation and arbitration system for rural land contract has been strengthened. Arbitration mechanisms have been improved, and women’s federations have been actively engaged to sit on arbitration committees. By the end of June 2017, 2,463 rural land contract arbitration committees had been set up nationwide, while some 300,000 rural land contract mediation committees had been established at the township level and nearly 600,000 mediation organizations had been established at the village level, ensuring that rural women have access to justice in defending their rights. During the training-of-trainers sessions for arbitration personnel, lectures were given on hotspot and difficult issues relating to women’s legitimate land rights and interests, to enhance the awareness and ability of trainees to protect women’s rights and interests. In different rural localities, cases involving land contract disputes were promptly accepted, mediated and arbitrated in accordance with the law, ensuring that women’s rights and interests were safeguarded. It is stated in the Opinions on Steadily Advancing the Reform of the Rural Collective Property Rights System that, in determining membership in rural collective economic organizations, “the determination must both ensure acceptance by the majority and protect the rights and interests of the minority from being compromised by the majority, so as to effectively safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of women”.
116.Notable results have been achieved in poverty alleviation and reduction among rural women. The Outline for Development-Oriented Poverty Alleviation for China’s Rural Areas (2011–2020) focuses on rural women in poverty alleviation and requires that, all other things being equal, priority should be given to poverty alleviation projects for women. Following the formulation of the Poverty Alleviation Plan for the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2016–2020) and the Opinions on Development-Oriented Poverty Alleviation for Poor Women, efforts to alleviate poverty among women have been stepped up, with 33.785 million registered poor women lifted out of poverty. Registered poverty-stricken households that meet relevant eligibility criteria can apply for a pro-poor microcredit of up to 50,000 yuan. A “Women Campaign for Poverty Alleviation” was launched, with priority given to registered poor women to benefit from pro-poor projects in such areas as e-commerce and tourism, and from a series of projects aimed at engaging 10,000 private businesses to help more than 10,000 villages graduate from poverty in three to five years. A total of 13,800 “National Demonstration Bases of the Women’s Campaign for Poverty Alleviation” have been created and innovative initiatives have been launched to alleviate poverty through capacity-building, entrepreneurship, arts and crafts, mutual assistance, health care and charity. A total of 6.9 million poor women and female workers benefited from various training activities and more than 3.6 million poor women saw their income increasing over time. The “Women’s Campaign for Rural Revitalization” galvanized rural women to play their essential role in promoting agro-industries, eco‑friendly lifestyles, social civility, effective governance and prosperity.
117.The participation of rural women in local democratic management has been continuously advanced. The provisions of the Organic Law of the Villagers’ Committees and the Rules and Procedures for Villagers’ Committee Election regarding the election of women have been thoroughly implemented, and awareness-raising campaigns on regulations and policies have been strengthened during the elections. Women’s participation in local democratic management has been promoted through deliberative and consultative platforms such as women’s councils, contributing to a steady rise in women’s representation in villagers’ committees (see the sections on articles 4 and 7 of the present report for details).
118.Rural women’s health has improved. China has greatly improved the health of rural women by offering free screening for cervical and breast cancer and expanding the coverage of early diagnosis and treatment of these two types of cancer. From 2009 to 2017, 73.985 million rural women were screened for cervical cancer and 13.634 million for breast cancer. In 2018, the “two cancers” screening programme was expanded to cover all counties in poverty-stricken areas. The All-China Women’s Federation implemented the “two cancers” relief programme for poor rural mothers and, by the end of 2017, had provided assistance to 102,200 women suffering from the disease, thereby reducing the occurrence and recurrence of poverty among women caused by illness.
119.Rural pregnant women have gained universal access to in-hospital delivery. From 2009 to 2016, the Central Government earmarked 22.6 billion yuan as grants for more than 74 million rural pregnant women. Since 2014, the percentage of rural women giving birth in hospitals has remained above 99 per cent, which has effectively ensured maternal and child safety.
120.New-type professional women farmers have thrived. China has incorporated training programmes for these professional women farmers into the overall training plans of agricultural and rural affairs authorities at all levels and implemented training programmes such as the “New-Type Professional Farmer Project”, the “Spark Programme” for promoting science and technology in rural areas, “One Million-Strong New Women Farmers Training Initiative” and the “5123 Programme” (aimed at training 50,000 women entrepreneurs, 10,000 women managers, 20,000 women champions and more than 3,000 women cadres in rural areas during the 11th Five-Year Plan Period). A total of 200,000 “women’s schools” have been set up, providing training to 200 million women on new agricultural techniques and crop varieties. In 2017, the Women’s Federation system organized more than 16,000 training sessions on new-type professional women farmers and trained nearly 1.5 million women employed in various types of agricultural production and operation.
121.China is a large agricultural country. Compared with their urban counterparts, women in some rural areas are still living in poverty, often in sizeable proportions. Basic public services such as education and medical care are yet to be made adequately available to rural women. Seeking fundamental solutions to the difficulties and problems faced by rural women will require long-term and arduous efforts.
Article 15: rights of women to conclude contracts and to choose their residence and domicile
122.Gender equality is a basic State policy of China, according to which women enjoy equality with men when it comes to their rights to conclude contracts and administer property, access to legal procedures, freedom of movement and freedom to choose residence and domicile.
Article 16: rights of women in marriage and family
123.The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China provides that “marriage, the family, and mother and child are protected by the state.” China’s Marriage Law is fully compatible with the provisions of article 16 of the Convention with regard to the principle of non-discrimination in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.
124.Judicial interpretations have been issued to address the difficulty of determining joint debts of husband and wife. In February 2017, the Supreme People’s Court released the Supplementary Provisions on the Interpretation of Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China (II), which addressed new issues and situations in judicial practice involving joint debts of husband and wife, and emphasized that fraudulent and illegal debts were not protected by law. In January 2018, the Supreme People’s Court issued the Interpretation on Issues Relating to the Application of Law in Hearing Cases Involving Disputes over Debts of Husband and Wife, which redefined the criteria and conditions for determining joint debts of husband and wife, with a view to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of both the spouses and creditors in a fair and reasonable manner.
125.The mechanism for preventing and resolving marital and family disputes has been improved. The Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Civil Affairs have jointly issued the Opinions on Preventing and Settling Marriage and Family Disputes, which clarified the responsibilities and requirements for different authorities and provided guidance to various localities and authorities on preventing and settling marriage and family disputes. Currently, 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) across the country have already issued supporting documents in this regard.
126.A variety of activities have been carried out to build civility in families. China has a tradition of prioritizing family and prizing good parenting and family harmony. To this end, China has extensively carried out “Civilized Family” initiatives and innovative events such as the “Most Beautiful Family” campaign, which attracted 410 million people both online and offline and brought to the fore 3.145 million “most beautiful families” of various forms from various levels. A total of 170 million people participated in activities such as family and parent-child reading events. A total of 120 million people participated in the submission, showcase and lecture tours of inspiring family traditions and mottos. These activities have greatly promoted harmony at home, which has proved to be an enabler of social progress and deepen the social fabric.