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Make All Efforts to Promote Development of Women International Exchanges
                                                     Mu Hong

The year 2014 witnessed profound changes of International situation. In this year, the diplomacy of China fully demonstrated the Chinese styles and Chinese spirits. Meanwhile, women international exchanges also progressed steadily and displayed a series of highlights, thus presenting the demeanor and charm of the Chinese women on the international stage.
I. Staging the 2014 APEC Women and the Economy Forum
China hosted the APEC meetings in 2014. Taking this opportunity, All-China Women¡¯s Federation elaborately planned and successfully organized the 2014 APEC Women and the Economy Forum. This Forum was one of the professional ministerial meetings hosted by China and the various economies of APEC attached great importance to the Forum-15 ministers and vice-ministers (or other sub-cabinet officials) in charge of women or economic affairs as well as nearly 300 high-ranking officials, representatives of women organizations and private sectors attended the forum.
The forum took the topic of ¡°bring together the strength of women for the prosperity of the economy of the Asian-Pacific region¡± and identified the sub-topics of women and green growth, women and regional economic and trade cooperation, policy support and economic empowerment of women, which well fitted the topic of the 2014 APEC and the attention of women from the various economies of APEC. Except holding the high-level policy dialogue, dialogue between public and private sectors, and conference on the mechanism of partnership between women and economic policy on regular basis, we also elaborately planned and organized a picture show on the participation of women in economic development in the APEC region, a female entrepreneurs¡¯ salon, a product exhibition sponsored by Chinese female entrepreneurs, and co-organized with South Korea the conference themed ¡°women and smart economy¡±. Shen Yueyue, Vice-Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People¡¯s Congress and President of All-China Women¡¯s Federation, attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the forum and Song Xiuyan, Vice-President of All-China Women¡¯s Federation, presided over the high-level policy dialogue and delivered a speech on behalf of China. In her speech, Mme. Song interpreted the Chinese dream, introduced the great achievements of the reform and opening up of China and the development of the Chinese women, and called on the participation of women in the regional economic development and the development of win-win cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. We maintained active and effective communication with women from various economies and approved the forum statement on the basis of consensus-the statement was submitted to the informal summit of leaders of APEC. The successful staging of the forum further promoted the understanding of APEC economies on China and injected new impetus to the participation of women in the Asia-Pacific region in regional economic development, thus making active contribution to China¡¯s successful hosting of various activities of APEC.
II. The Strengthening of Women Exchange under the Framework of National Diplomacy
In accordance with the overall diplomacy of the country, we strove to promote the high-level political dialogue of female leaders between China and the United States as well as China and the European countries under the mechanism of national exchange and have scored great achievements.
On July 9 to 10, 2014, during the Fifth Round of the US-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing, we organized the Sixth US-China Female Leaders Dialogue. The US women delegation headed by Tina M. Tchen, Assistant to President Barack Obama, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, and Executive Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls attended the Dialogue. On the Dialogue themed ¡°women and health¡± and ¡°eliminating violence against women¡±, representatives from legislative bodies, government departments of both countries as well as scholars and experts of both countries shared helpful experience and probed into the challenges and opportunities facing the development and protection of rights.
In addition, we worked actively for the integration of women exchange into the second meeting of China-EU high-level people-to-people dialogue and negotiated with the European party on the theme and fields of cooperation repeatedly, thus broadening the levels and channels of women exchange between China and Europe. On September 6, 2014, the second meeting of China-EU high-level people-to-people dialogue was held in Beijing and the Joint Communique of the Second Meeting of China-EU High-Level People-to-People Dialogue was issued. Clauses relating with gender equality and women¡¯s rights were for the first time written into the Joint Communique and both parties agreed to conduct dialogue and cooperation in the fields of encouraging gender equality and women protection under the framework of the high-level people-to-people dialogue mechanism. The incorporation of women exchange into the China-EU high-level people-to-people dialogue has become one of the highlights of this meeting as well as the new starting point for the strengthening of women exchange between China and EU.
III. Passing through the Assessment of Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination (CEDAW) against Women of the United Nations
In October 2014, the CEDAW of the United Nations reviewed in Geneva China¡¯s implementation of the seventh and eighth consolidated report of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Under the authorization of the State Council, the delegation of Chinese government composed of Song Xiuyan, Vice-Chairperson of National Working Committee on Children and Women under the State Council as well as Vice-President and First Secretary of the Secretariat of All-China Women¡¯s Federation, along with 45 representatives from 16 central government ministries, and the delegations of the governments of Hong Kong and Macao attended the review. During the review, Song Xiuyan made a presentation on the measures taken by the Chinese Government in fulfilling the missions stipulated in the Convention and the basic national policy of gender equality, the work and achievements in terms of safeguarding the rights and interests of women and promoting the development of women. Members of CEDAW raised nearly 100 questions, involving various fields such as women¡¯s development and rights protection. Some of the members even entangled on the so-called problem of women¡¯s human rights in China with prejudice. Adhering to the principle of sincerity and equality, members of the Chinese delegation answered the questions and responded to the concerns of CEDAW members patiently and honestly. The endeavor of members of the Chinese delegation achieved good effects. At the end of the review, CEDAW members vied in extending congratulations and appreciation to the leader of the Chinese delegation, deeming it impressive that the development of women in China has made great progress alongside the rapid development of China.
IV. Pragmatic and In-depth Bilateral Exchange
For the promotion of dialogue and exchange with stateswomen of other developing countries, All-China Women¡¯s Federation has in this year received high-level delegations headed respectively by Vice-President of National Assembly of Armenia, First Lady of Sri Lanka, President of Women Wing of People¡¯s Action Party of Singapore, Minister of the Prime Minister¡¯s Office of Singapore and Minister in the Prime Minister¡¯s Office, the 2nd Minister of the Environment and Water Resources and the 2nd Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, General Secretary of the Cuban Women¡¯s Federation, Deputy Minister of Mongolia, and President of Sudan Women¡¯s Union. On the other hand, ACWF dispatched high-level delegations to Laos, Cambodia, Eritrea, Germany, Finland, Morocco, Gabon, South Africa, Poland, Iran and Armenia. Among the foreign visits, it was the first time over the past more than 60 years for Chinese women delegation to visit Eritrea, and the first time for Chinese female craft experts to visit Gabon and offer skills training in terms of ikebana and cooking to local women. When the state-to-state relationship between China and Japan entered a difficult phase, ACWF sent a delegation to Japan for attending an international conference in Japan. Meanwhile, the delegation had talks with different women organizations affiliated to 5 political parties. Through sincere and in-depth communication, people from both nations enhanced mutual trust, removed doubts and achieved positive effect.
When the Queen of Denmark visited China, the Chinese Museum of Women and Children hosted a series of commemorative activities with the theme of ¡°Charm of Fairy Tales-Centennial of H.C. Andersen¡¯s Fairy Tales¡±. Professor Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark attended the opening ceremony of ¡°Hans Christian Anderson¡¯s Fairy Tales in China¡± and recited The Ugly Duckling, one of Anderson¡¯s works, for children from both China and Denmark.
¢õ. Active Participation in Multilateral Affairs
By actively taking part in multilateral affairs, we strove to improve the influence of Chinese women and women organizations in the international stage. We have actively participated in the 58th United Nations¡¯ World Conference on Women, Regional Assessment Conference on the 20th Anniversary of 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women organized by the United Nations Asia Pacific Society in Thailand, Global Summit of Women, Forum of Women from Eight Countries held in Oita-shi of Japan, Seminar on ¡°Against Human-Trafficking¡± of International Conference of Asian Political Parties.
In order to strengthen exchange with women of countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and promote the building of Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, jointly with International Department of CPC Central Committee, we held a seminar for women cadres from Russia, Central Asia and the North Caucasian Region. 19 representatives of women organizations from nine countries participated in the Seminar, among which there were Nagot Tatara, Vice-President of National Assembly of Armenia, as well as many female Parliament Members from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. During those stay in Beijing, in order to share experience and promote cooperation, we hosted a symposium themed ¡°make the most of the strength of women in the building of Silk Road Economic Belt¡± and received warm response and support from the representatives. We also arranged visiting to Yinchuan of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xi¡¯an of Shaanxi Province and they investigated women projects there. The seminar laid a solid foundation for enhancing the friendly relations between Chinese women organizations and those of the above regions and for ratcheting up pragmatic cooperation in the future.
Women exchange is an important part of people-to-people friendly exchange between China and other countries. The development of China-foreign women exchange has accumulated a solid basis during the past decades. Under new historical circumstances, with women from both China and abroad more deeply and extensively participating in national social-economic development and international affairs, China-foreign women exchange is bound to burst out new energy and make new contributions to world peace and prosperity.
          (Mu Hong, Director General of International Department of All-China Women¡¯s Federation, Member of the Standing Committee of CAFIU¡¯S Executive Council)
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