By Wang Xinyuan
Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed efforts to promote the healthy and all-round development of children and extended festive greetings to children across the country on May 31, 2022 ahead of the International Children's Day.
Entering the 21st century, China has carried out Outlines on the Development of Chinese Children on ten-year basis to ensure all-round development of Chinese children in long term.
From 2001 to 2010
In 2001, the State Council promulgated the Outline on the Development of Chinese Children (2001-2010), which put forward the main goals and strategic measures for children's development in fields of health and welfare, education, legal protection and child-friendly environment improvement. During the decade, China has accelerated the improvement of the legal system for the protection of children's rights, strengthened the responsibility of the government, and continuously improved the legal and scientific level of children's work in China. The environment and conditions for children's survival, protection and development in China have been significantly improved, children's rights have been further protected, and great achievements have been made in children's development.
By 2010, the main goals set by the Outline have been basically achieved. Children's health and nutritional status continue to improve, and the mortality rates for infants and children less than five years old decreased from 32.2‰ and 39.7‰ in 2000 to 13.1‰ and 16.4‰ respectively; the maternal mortality rate decreased from 53.0 deaths per 100,000 births in 2000 to 30.0 deaths per 100,000 births; and the vaccination rates of vaccines included in the national immunization program reached over 90%. The popularity of children's education has been continuously improved. The gross enrolment ratio for preschool education has increased from 35.0% in 2000 to 56.6%; the net enrolment ratio for primary school-age children has reached 99.7%; and the gross enrolment ratios for junior and senior secondary education have reached 100.1% and 82.5% respectively. More care and assistance have been offered to vulnerable groups of children, including orphans, children from poor families, disabled children, street children, children affected by AIDS and other major infectious diseases, etc.
From 2011 to 2020
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core has regarded the cultivation of children as a strategic and basic task, adhered to the principle of prioritizing the development of children, vigorously developed the cause of children, further improved the system of laws, regulations and policies to protect the rights of children, and further consolidated the children's work mechanism with the leadership of the Party Committee, the main responsibility of the government, the coordination of the Women and Children's Working Committee, multi-departmental cooperation, and the participation of the whole society, and further optimized the environment for children development.
China has implemented the Outline on the Development of Chinese Children (2011-2020) and the National Development Plan for Children in Poor Areas (2014-2020) to provide security for children's education and health and deliver interventions when required. Efforts have been made to popularize knowledge on children's nutrition and health.
By the end of 2020, the mortality rates for infants and children less than five years old have dropped from 13.1‰ and 16.4‰ in 2010 to 5.4‰ and 7.5‰ respectively; the gross enrolment ratio for preschool education has risen from 56.6% in 2010 to 85.2%; the retention rate of nine-year compulsory education has increased from 91.1% in 2010 to 95.2%; the gross enrolment ratio for senior secondary education has increased from 82.5% in 2010 to 91.2%. Vulnerable groups, such as the rural left-behind children and children in distress, have received more care and protection. Historic new achievements have been made in children's development and the cause of children.
From 2021 to 2030
Last year, China's State Council unveiled new outline for the development of children for the next decade. The Outline on the Development of Chinese Children (2021-2030), which set goals and tasks for the development of children in the coming ten years, would play a vital role in implementing the principle of prioritizing the development of children, and would take the development of children to a higher level in the new era.
The Outline specified 70 major objectives and 89 measures, focusing on children's health, safety, education and four other aspects. According to the Outline, the system of laws, regulations and policies protecting children's rights will be improved by 2030, while the gap in children's development between urban and rural areas, different regions and groups will be narrowed significantly. Children would also enjoy more equal and accessible basic public services and more inclusive welfare by the end of the decade.