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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, some day care and possibly alternative care settings.
Overview of the child rights situation

China practices continuous discrimination against Tibetan and Uyghur children and violations of their rights. Moreover, patriarchal structures prevail in the country and girls are often aborted or killed after birth and are generally deprived of their rights. In addition, tensions between Hong Kong and China negatively impact children's rights.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee is deeply concerned about the pervasive discrimination against girls and women in mainland China and the persistent patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes and practices that perpetuate discrimination against girls. The Committee is further concerned that due to long-standing traditions and cultural influences that perpetuate boy preference and unequal status of girls, sex-selective abortions, female infanticide and abandonment of girls remain widespread, resulting among others in a high male-to-female sex ratio.

The Committee is disturbed by reports of forced sterilization and abortions in mainland China targeting, among others, teenage girls, carried out by local family
officials in the context of the implementation of the one-child policy, practices which contravene the fundamental principles and provisions in the Convention.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenIn Hong Kong, the Committee is concerned about the de facto discrimination against ethnic minority children and racial segregation in the public school system, due to the availability of teaching only in Chinese and the system of government-subsidized “designated schools” for these children.
Situation of children with disabilities

With respect to mainland China, the Committee notes as positive the adoption of various policies that promote the rights of children with disabilities. However, it notes with concern that the State party continues to adopt a medical approach to disability and that the services for children with disabilities are centred mostly on institutions for physical “rehabilitation”. The Committee is concerned about the lack of screening programmes for early detection of disabilities in all areas of the State party. With regard to Macao, China, the Committee is concerned that children with disabilities experience de facto discrimination and have limited access to inclusive education and well-trained, motivated teachers. It is further concerned about the lack of disaggregated data on children with disabilities in Hong Kong, China, and that reports indicate that they are commonly excluded and discriminated against, including by teachers, and bullied by their peers.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee recommends that the State party respect the principle of non-refoulement and reminds it of its obligation under the Convention to ensure that no accompanied, unaccompanied or separated child is returned to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that she or he will suffer irreparable harm, and that this principle applies to all children and their families without distinction and regardless of nationality. The Committee further recommends to ensure that Kachin child refugees and their families are provided with temporary protection in view of the ongoing conflict in northern Myanmar; it should also allow the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees free and unfettered access to Yunnan Province to conduct refugee status determinations. China should also take immediate initiatives to meet the special needs and vulnerabilities of unaccompanied and separated children seeking asylum, provide appropriate care and cater for the special needs of these unaccompanied and separated children and cease the administrative practice of detaining asylum-seeking and refugee children.
Free kindergartenNo
Free primary and secondary schoolNo
physical health

The Committee welcomes the improvements in immunization rates, as well as the significant reduction in maternal and child mortality in mainland China and the increase of births in hospitals, including in rural areas. However, it is deeply concerned about the persistence of health disparities between urban and rural areas, among migrant children and between and within different regions, particularly in western China. It is further concerned about the gaps in the allocation of health resources between urban and rural areas and the quality of health care for children living in remote and poor areas and children of migrant workers.
The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen efforts to address, as matter of urgency, the existing disparities in health outcomes and resource allocations in order to ensure that all children in mainland China enjoy the same access to and quality of health services, paying special attention to children in vulnerable situations, especially children living in poverty and rural areas and children of migrant workers. In particular, it recommends that the State party take all measures to eliminate child and maternal mortality in mainland China, including by improving health infrastructure and the availability of and accessibility to emergency obstetric and neonatal care and skilled birth attendants at primary health facilities in rural and poor areas.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee remains concerned about the limited access to and long waiting periods for mental health services available for children in mainland China and Hong Kong, China.
The Committee recommends that, in all areas under its jurisdiction, the State party expand preventive and therapeutic mental health services for adolescents and that it adopt comprehensive child mental health policies and ensure that mental health promotion, counselling and prevention of mental health disorders in primary health care, schools and communities are integral features in each policy.

Business sector

The Committee is deeply concerned about the incidence and prevalence of lead poisoning of children in mainland China, which has resulted in permanent mental and physical disabilities among hundreds of thousands of children, especially in poor and rural areas. The Committee is particularly concerned about the lack of remedial solutions for the affected children and their families, reports of threats against individuals seeking treatment and information and of refusals to provide appropriate treatment for the affected children.
The Committee recommends that the State Party strengthen the implementation of regulations in mainland China to ensure that the business sector complies with international and national human rights, labour, environment and other standards, particularly as regards child rights. The Committee further recommends that the State party immediately conduct a nationwide, publicly accessible assessment to determine the extent of lead poisoning affecting children and communities across the country, and design a comprehensive public health strategy to tackle chronic lead exposure and its long-term consequences. In addition, China should effectively monitor the implementation of the regulatory framework for the industries, including chemical factories operating in the State party, to ensure that their activities do not affect children’s rights and have adverse impact on children; and ensure appropriate sanctions and remedies are provided when violations occur.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee recommends that in all areas of its jurisdiction, the State party strengthen its efforts to build a system of restorative and rehabilitative juvenile justice. With regard to mainland China, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily and that the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration in any action.

The Committee further recommends to abolish the institutionalized system of re-education through labour and work study schools, which allows for the widespread application of administrative detention of children; and end the use of incommunicado detention of children, including by immediately closing all secret detention facilities, such as black jails. Also, China should ensure that children arrested and deprived of their liberty are brought before an independent judicial authority to examine the legality of their arrest and detention within 24 hours of their arrest, are provided with adequate free and independent legal assistance immediately and can contact their parents or close relatives.

Specific observations

The Committee is deeply disturbed by an alarming escalation of self-immolations by Tibetan children and the State party’s failure to prevent such loss of life by addressing the deep underlying causes and long-standing grievances of Tibetans. It is further concerned about reports of detention and imprisonment of Tibetan children accused of “inciting” self- immolations, and of harassment and intimidation of families of victims, which could exacerbate the situation and lead to more self-immolations.

The Committee is deeply concerned that despite the constitutional guarantees of freedom of religious belief for ethnic and religious minorities, the State party continues to introduce regulations and policies that impose severe restrictions on cultural and religious freedoms of various groups of children, including Tibetan and Uighur children and children of Falun Gong practitioners. In particular, the Committee is deeply disturbed by frequent reports indicating that Tibetan and Uighur children and children of Falun Gong practitioners seeking to exercise their right to freedom of religion and conscience are arrested, detained and subject to ill-treatment and torture.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third and fourth periodic reports released on 29 October 2013. More information about education in China:

Last Updated (date)23rd of February, 2022