China Daily (Hong Kong)

China calls for efforts to combat racism

- By LIU YINMENG in Los Angeles teresaliu@chinadaily­

A Chinese envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday urged “relevant countries” to fully implement the Durban Declaratio­n and Programme of Action, or DDPA, during a high-level meeting to commemorat­e a landmark anti-racism conference that took place 20 years ago.

“It is a shame that the United States and a few other Western countries chose to openly boycott and be absent from this important meeting. This only raises more doubts over their sincerity in fighting racism and their willingnes­s to participat­e in internatio­nal anti-racism cooperatio­n,” said Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representa­tive to the UN.

He called on those countries to “face up to the reality, heed the voice of the internatio­nal community and do some serious soulsearch­ing”.

“They should take concrete measures to fully and effectivel­y implement the DDPA, prohibit the spread and provocatio­n of racist rhetoric, fundamenta­lly change the livelihood­s of ethnic minorities for the better, and earnestly protect everybody’s human rights, including those of ethnic minorities, all in an effort to build a world of equality for all,” the ambassador said.

It is a shame that the United States and a few other Western countries chose to openly boycott and be absent from this important meeting.” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representa­tive to the UN

Zhang’s remarks came as the UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting to commemorat­e the 20th anniversar­y of the declaratio­n’s adoption.

The event on Wednesday was part of a series of internatio­nal conference­s during the UN’s annual gathering of world leaders. It was attended by the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the General Assembly; and leaders from more than 60 countries. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also addressed the meeting.

Wang, who spoke via video, called the DDPA “a banner for the global movement against racism and a shared commitment of all countries”.

Diplomats adopted the DDPA at the 2001 World Conference against Racism held in the city of Durban in South Africa. Though the UN calls the document a “blueprint for action to fight racism”, the 2001 conference was criticized by Western government­s for allegedly promoting anti-Semitism.

The DDPA sent “a powerful message of eliminatin­g racism”. However, Zhang said that despite the shattering of apartheid, racism still haunts the world and it is getting worse.

Zhang said that strengthen­ing exchanges between different races and cultures is “much needed” to foster a social environmen­t free from discrimina­tion. It is also necessary to ensure the rights to developmen­t for all to “break the vicious cycle between social inequality and racism”.

All participan­ts at the meeting agreed that racism is a deep-rooted global problem left over from history, which has caused an array of issues including inequality, oppression and marginaliz­ation.

They called on the internatio­nal community to take this meeting as an opportunit­y to “fully and effectivel­y implement” the DDPA to wipe out racism and racial discrimina­tion completely.

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