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A Brief Introduction of the Commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2012 and China-Southeast Asia Peace and Development Forum


 

A Brief Introduction to the Commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2012 and China-Southeast Asia Peace and Development Forum

 

Background Information about the International Day of Peace and a Review of Previous Commemorative Activities in China

 

“The International Day of Peace” is an important peace activity officially proclaimed and adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. It was declared in 1981 by the Resolution 36/67 of the UN General Assembly to coincide with its opening session in September each year, which shall be devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”. In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the Resolution 55/282, which established 21 September as the annual “International Day of Peace”. Since then, the UN will identify different themes for the event each year for holding a grand commemorative ceremony, and calling upon all states to sponsor various commemorative activities around the world. Many governments, peace organizations and institutions all over the world actively responded to the call of the UN and raised their own appeals for safeguarding world peace, amplified their discourse power and manifested international influence through holding various forms of commemorative events on the International Day of Peace. Generally, the commemorative activities reflect the trend of world peace and development, and the common aspiration of world peoples to seek peace and development as well. In recent years, as the largest peace organization in China with consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD) has held large-scale peace activities to commemorate the International Day of Peace as an active response to the UN call. Through such activities, the CPAPD introduced the concept and achievements of China’s path of peaceful development and its endeavor to establish a harmonious world, promoted mutual understanding and friendship between Chinese people and the rest of the world, and made its own contributions in safeguarding regional and world peace and stability, and enhancing win-win cooperation, which evoked positive repercussions at home and abroad.

On September 21, 2009, echoing the theme of the International Day of Peace entitled “We Must Disarm” designated by the UN, the CPAPD held a commemorative symposium in Beijing focusing on “Complete Prohibition and Thorough Destruction of Nuclear Weapons, Making Joint Efforts to Safeguard World Peace”. On the Day in 2010, according to the theme “Youth for Peace and Development” identified by the UN, the CPAPD, the UN System in China and All China Youth Federation jointly held a commemorative conference on the International Day of Peace with the theme “Chinese Youth for Peace and Development” in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

In 2011, with the theme “Make Your Voice Heard” proposed by the UN, the CPAPD, the UN System in China and Liaoning Provincial People’s Government co-sponsored a series of commemorative activities for the International Day of Peace and Northeast Asia Peace and Development Forum in Shenyang and Dalian from September 20 to 22, with the total number of participants at the opening ceremony reached about 1200. Mr. Wang Gang, a Political Bureau Member of the CPC Central Committee and Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) presented at the opening ceremony. Mr. Wang Min, Secretary of the CPC Liaoning Provincial Committee delivered a welcome speech. Madame Yan Junqi, Vice-Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and Vice-President of the CPAPD, made a thematic speech entitled “Safeguarding World Peace, Promoting Common Development”. Madame Renata Lok-Dessallien, resident coordinator of the UN System in China, read out Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s congratulatory message and made her own remarks. Mr. Tomiichi Murayama, former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Nambaryn Enkhbayar, former Prime Minister of Mongolia, and Mr. Lee Hongkoo, former Premier of the Republic of Korea (ROK), also consecutively addressed at the opening ceremony. Mr. Li Jinjun, Senior Adviser to the CPAPD and Deputy Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), Mr. Liu Jingqin, Vice-President of the CPAPD, as well as representatives from the UN System in China, diplomats from embassies or consulates of Russia, Mongolia, the DPRK, the ROK and Japan in China, and representatives of peace organizations and institutions from the U.S., Europe, Russia, Mongolia, the ROK and Japan, and local people from all walks of life in Liaoning province also attended the opening ceremony. Afterwards, all participants attended Northeast Asia Development Forum and Northeast Peace Forum, foundation stone laying ceremony for a peace park, tree-planting in the forests of peace and friendship, art performance of “Ode to Peace” and art exhibition for peace. The organizing committee held a press conference for the first time for the commemorative event.

Such commemorative events were extensively covered by mainstream media in China such as CCTV, Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily, China Radio International and Phoenix TV. In addition, some foreign media also conveyed the reports from Chinese media.

 

The Commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2012 and China-Southeast Asia Peace and Development Forum

 

In light of the theme “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” raised by the UN, the Commemoration of the International Day of Peace 2012 and China-Southeast Asia Peace and Development Forum was jointly sponsored by the CPAPD, the UN System in China and Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, organized by the Foreign Affairs Office of Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government and co-organized by the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CFAIU), China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) and China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD). The objectives of the event are to express the good will of the Chinese people and Southeast Asian peoples to love peace, strengthen cooperation and realize common development, promote practical cooperation and exchanges among peoples in the region, widely spread the UN idea of peace, and enhance the peoples’ friendship in the region under peaceful and harmonious environment. Mr. Wang Yang, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, and Mr. Han Qide, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the  NPC and President of the CPAPD presented and made remarks respectively at the opening ceremony. Mr. Wang Rong, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and Secretary of the CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee delivered a welcome speech, and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General sent a congratulatory video message to the commemorative event. Mr. Abu Zahar, President of the Senate of the Malaysian Parliament, Mr. U Khin Aung Myint, Speaker of the Amyotha Hluttaw, Union of Myanmar, and Mr. Asang Laoly, Member of the Central Political Bureau of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and Vice-Premier of Laos made a speech consecutively at the opening ceremony. Present or former political leaders from Southeast Asian countries like Ung Huot, former Prime Minister of Cambodia and Vice- Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Chaisit Shinawatra, Adviser to the Premier of Thailand and General, Mr. Uong Chu Luu, Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam and President of the  Vietnam Peace Committee, Ms. Ana Pessoa, Attorney-General of East Timor, Mr. Panfilo M. Lacson, Senator of the Philippines, as well as Mr. Mao Rubai, Chairman of the Committee on Environmental and Resources Protection of the 10th NPC and Adviser to the CPAPD, Mr. Li Jinjun, Senior Adviser to the CPAPD, Mr. Lin Musheng, Member of the Standing Committee and Secretary General of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, Mr. Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, Mr. Liu Jingqin, Vice-President of the CPAPD, Mr. He Jun, Assistant Minister of the IDCPC and Vice-President of the CPAPD, some council members of the CPAPD, representatives of peace organizations, experts and scholars, and local people from all walks of life also attended the opening ceremony and other activities. Delegates from peace organizations and research institutions from Southeast Asian countries and diplomats from foreign consulates in Guangzhou also took part in the event.

Besides the opening ceremony, there was a China-Southeast Asia Peace and Development Forum which was divided into two phases. The first phase was the plenary session, and the second phase included two parallel sessions which were accordingly entitled as “China-Southeast Asia: Political Mutual Trust and Peaceful Development” and “Strengthening Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Southeast Asian Countries”. The whole event also incorporated the art performance with the theme of peace, signing ceremony entitled “peace for development”, pigeons releasing, tree-planting, etc. The participants also paid field visits to local enterprises and cultural industries in Shenzhen.

In conclusion, the commemorative activities for the International Day of Peace in China continue to expand in terms of scale and influence. Its topic not only focuses on the theme designated by the UN, but also presents Chinese characteristics, particularly, including the content of China’s interactions with its neighboring countries. Chinese national leaders, representatives of peace organizations and think tanks, and people from all walks of life in China actively participate in the commemorative activities, and more and more foreign present and former political leaders, celebrities and representatives of peace organizations and institutions also are invited to attend. It has developed from a single commemorative meeting into a comprehensive event including forum, cultural elements, art performance, friendly exchanges, field visits, etc. The venue of the event has also shifted to localities from the capital Beijing. Therefore, it fully demonstrates that the commemorative activities sponsored in China have already been closely interlinked with international mainstream peace activities with a characteristic of mutual promotion and inclusive diversity. It has also enriched the content of the International Day of Peace advocated by the UN, thus making due contributions to the extensive advocacy of peace, development, cooperation and win-win strategy.