Statement by Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya of the People's Republic of China
The World Conference Against Racism
Durban, South Africa 2 September 2001
First of all, please allow
me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, congratulations on the convocation
of the World Conference Against Racism and to express our heartfelt gratitude
to the South African Government and people for their ample preparations for
the conference and for their kind hospitality accorded to the delegates. I am
convinced that your outstanding wisdom and rich experience will guide the conference
The courageous people of
South Africa, through years of unremitting efforts, buried Apartheid in the
1990s once and for all, which marked a great victory of the African people in
their protracted struggle against racism. At the beginning of the new century,
it is of great symbolic and historic significance for us to meet, here in South
Africa, a country with a glorious tradition against racism, to discuss and work
out the strategy and measures against racism.
Colonialism, foreign invasion,
slave trade and Apartheid are all typical manifestations of racism, which inflicted
untold sufferings on the countries and people across Asia, Africa and Latin
America. In Asia, innocent people were trampled underfoot by colonialists and
foreign invaders. F'rom the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and from South East
Asia to Middle East, none of the cradles of ancient human civilization was spared
by the wreckage and destruction. In Africa, the colonialists treaded on every
inch of the land under their iron heels, and slave trade was the darkest page
written in human history with the blood and tears of countless African sons
and daughters. In the Americas, the discovery of the New World deprived the
aboriginals of their peaceful life. Large numbers of American Indians were slaughtered
and almost all the land on which the natives depended for a living was snatched
Light will triumph over
darkness and justice over evil. Thanks to the strenuous and protracted struggle
by the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the joint efforts of the
international community, nearly a hundred countries shook off the shackles of
the colonialist rule and won national emancipation and independence. The UN,
since its establishment, has launched the Three Decades to Combat Racism
and Racial Discrimination and adopted the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and other important instruments, forcefully
carrying forward the fight against racism across the globe.
At this very moment, however,
we must be clearly aware that the struggle against racism remains an uphill
and prolonged endeavor. As the pernicious influence of old racism lingers on,
many countries are still beset with poverty, internal conflict and turmoil.
Racism of new forms continues to grow and incidents of xenophobia, discrimination
against immigrants, and racial violence keep cropping up. Moreover, neo-Fascism
and neo-Nazism are rearing up their ugly heads in some countries. All these
are manifestations of contempt against and trampling on the equality and dignity
of mankind, constituting a blatant challenge to world peace and development.
What is more, racial hatred and bloodshed is on the rise in the Middle East
and the Palestinian people are still deprived of their legitimate rights and
interests. The international community should take a clear stand on this issue.
This conference, which is highly necessary, is convened at just the right time.
At the onset of the new millenium, it will help mankind formulate effective
measures to combat and finally root out racism. Here, I would like to take this
opportunity to stress the following three points.
1. To face up to history
and eliminate the root of both old and new racism. Colonialism, foreign invasion,
slave trade and Apartheid used to inflict untold sufferings and humiliation
on countless families. These heinous crimes are detested by the whole mankind.
They should never be repeated and tragedies must be avoided. The countries that
committed acts of aggression, colonization and enslavement against those Asian,
African and Latin American countries in the past should look squarely at history
and draw lessons from it. The international community should take effective
measures to uproot the causes of old and new racism, and make the earth a tranquil
and harmonious homeland for all people regardless of race, gender, language
or religion, and shape a better future for them.
2. To advocate equality
and mutual respect and enhance mutual understanding through dialogue. The world
is diverse and colorful. Difference in race and civilization is the basic characteristic
of human society and an expression of the diversity of the world. Ancient Chinese
always advocated the virtue of "tolerance" and "harmony".
Now mankind has entered the 21 st century. On the land where we live together,
society needs progress, and the people need peace. To this end, efforts should
be made to abandon the mentality of racial superiority, dissolve the piled-up
grievances among nations, and to bury the hatchet and turn hostility into friendship.
All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members
of the international family. They should in accordance with the purposes
and principles of the UN Charter and the widely recognized norms of international
law, respect each other and live as good neighbors in harmony, amity and peace.
People of different nations should, through dialogue, promote understanding
and learn from one another and together carry forward the quintessence of human
3. To boost cooperation
for the common development of all countries in the world. Economic globalization
is gaining momentum. The vast number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin
America and their people have to, on the one hand, get rid of the adverse influence
left over from history by racism and colonialism and on the other, take up the
challenge of the ever-widening "digital divide". Against this background,
the international community and the developed countries, in particular, have
both the duty and obligation to help developing countries get out of their plight.
The World Conference Against Racism should commit itself to greater international
cooperation with a view to establishing a just and rational new international
political and economic order at an early date so that all countries will be
able to benefit from the process of globalization and multipolarization, thus
eventually contributing to peace, development and prosperity of all mankind.
The Chinese Government
has attached great importance to this conference and taken an active part in
all its preparation. In order to answer the call of the UN and enhance the awareness
of people from all walks of life of the issue of racism, the Chinese Government
sponsored the Seminar on Internet and Spread of Racism last July in Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan sent a letter of congratulation to the
seminar, calling on the international community to pay attention to the severe
damage incurred by the spread of racist rhetoric via Internet. The seminar believed
that all countries, while strengthening nationwide education and enhancing their
citizens' awareness against racism, should improve the related legislation so
as to effectively stem the spread of racist rhetoric via Internet. We hope that
the relevant bodies of the UN will, by making full use of the available resources,
carry out study of the above-mentioned subjects and push forward effective international
Our forefathers left an
old maxim with us, "all men are brothers within the Four Seas". Though
we hail from different parts of the world and vary in race and color, we have
similar genomes, and our ideal in pursuit of equality, happiness and peace is
the same. Let us, taking the opportunity of 4
the World Conference Against Racism, discard pride and prejudice, deeply reflect on the past and present, and work out effectual measures to uproot racism, a cancer on the tissue of human society, once and for all, and work together for a beautiful world of equality, amity, harmony and prosperity.
Thank you Mme. President.