2. Increasing Protection of the Rights of Women, Children and the Elderly
Optimizing laws and policies. Since they were promulgated in the 1990s, the Law on the Protection of Minors, the Law on the Protection of Women's Rights and Interests, and the Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly have undergone multiple revisions to better serve their purpose.
A series of laws and regulations, including the Law on Maternal and Infant Health Care, the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, the Special Provisions on Labor Protection for Female Employees, the Provisions on Prohibiting the Use of Child Labor, the Regulations on School Bus Safety Management, and the Special Provisions on the Protection of Juvenile Workers, have been enacted to lay down a legal basis for protecting the rights of women, children and the elderly. The government has issued the Opinions on Establishing and Improving the Mechanism for Evaluating Gender Equality Implications in Laws, Regulations and Policies, to codify and institutionalize the basic national policy of gender equality and promote the all-round development of women.
The Civil Code promulgated in 2020 includes articles regarding the right of habitation, the common debts of spouses, and measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment, further strengthening protection for the three groups. The Chinese government has developed three outlines and plans for the development of women, three for children, and five for the elderly.
Empowering women to participate in economic and social affairs. The illiteracy rate of women aged 15 years and above dropped from 20.5 percent in 1979 to 7.3 percent in 2017, and the proportion of female students in junior colleges and universities rose from 24.1 percent in 1978 to 51.7 percent in 2019. More than 40 percent of the employed are women.
The Law on Land Contract in Rural Areas amended in 2018 stipulates that women enjoy equal rights with men in undertaking land contracts. There were 742 female deputies to the 13th NPC in 2018, accounting for 24.9 percent of the total and 3.7 percentage points higher than the percentage of female deputies to the Sixth NPC in 1983. There were 440 female members in the 13th CPPCC National Committee, representing 20.4 percent of the total and 7.6 percentage points higher than that in the Sixth CPPCC National Committee in 1983.
Improving health care for women and children. In 2020, the rate of prenatal care was 97.4 percent, and the rate of hospital deliveries was 99.9 percent. The government has carried out a program of free cervical and breast cancer checkups for women in rural areas, and brought cervical and breast cancer into the scope of national subsidies for serious illnesses.
The government has launched the Nutrition Improvement Program for Children in Poor Areas, benefitting 11.2 million children by 2020. Between 1991 and 2020, the mortality rate of children under five decreased from 61 per thousand to 7.5 per thousand.
Providing special care and protection for children. In 2020, there were 29,000 community service centers and 249,000 service stations for children, 360,000 parenting schools, and 320,000 children's activity centers in urban and rural communities. There were 56,000 child welfare supervisors in towns and townships, and 675,000 child welfare directors in villages, forming a strong grassroots force for children's care and protection.
Greater care and protection have been given to orphans, children with disabilities, rural left-behind children whose parents work in cities, and children in need. The state has strengthened guarantee for the basic needs of orphans. In 2019, the basic living subsidies from special government funds for orphans increased by 50 percent to RMB300, RMB450 and RMB600 per person/month for eastern, central and western regions. At the end of 2020, there were 60,000 orphans in child welfare institutions, with an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,611 per person; there were 134,000 orphans not in care facilities, with an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,184 per person.
The government issued the Opinions on Further Strengthening Protection of Uncared-for Children, to bring all de facto orphans into the coverage of state support. By 2020, 254,000 uncared-for children were covered by state support, and given an average monthly living allowance of RMB1,184 per person.
The state maintains zero tolerance for crimes against minors. Between 2017 and 2020, prosecuting bodies at all levels approved the arrest of 160,200 people committing crimes against minors, and prosecuted 218,500 people. In judicial procedures, the rights of victimized minors are fully protected by promoting one-stop inquiry and assistance mechanisms integrating evidence collection, psychological counseling, and judicial assistance. By 2020, there were 1,029 one-stop inquiry and assistance sites across the country. More help is provided in different forms to minor victims. In 2019, more than RMB62 million of aid was granted to 4,306 minor victims and their families.
Guaranteeing the lives and rights of the elderly. The Chinese government is developing an old-age service network that coordinates home, community and facility care, and combines medical care with health preservation. It has strengthened care and services for left-behind elderly people in rural areas, and adapted home and public environments to make life easier for the elderly. Individual income tax deduction applies to expenses for taking care of elderly family members. The government aims to ensure care, support, recreation, and security for the elderly.
In 2020, the government brought 18.3 million poor elderly people into the scope of subsistence allowances, and covered 3.9 million elderly people living in extreme poverty with government support. Subsidies are ensured at the provincial level nationwide for poor elderly people who cannot perform essential self-care. As of 2020, 30.6 million elderly people enjoyed old-age allowances, 810,000 enjoyed nursing subsidies, and 235,000 enjoyed service subsidies. There were 38,000 care institutions and 280,000 community care facilities for the elderly across the country, with a total of 8.2 million beds.
The State Council has issued policies supporting the provision of both traditional and digital public services to ensure ease of access for elderly people.