Shanghai, 20 November 2019 – China joins the rest of the world today in the annual commemoration of World Children’s Day by lighting up in blue iconic monuments and buildings in 11 cities, including the Shanghai Tower and landmarks in Beijing’s Olympic Park. The lighting up of buildings and monuments symbolizes the lighting up of children’s future and the pursuit of and commitment to realizing the rights of every child, especially the most disadvantaged.
World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children. It is a day to celebrate the progress made for children, to hold leaders to account on promises made for them, and to remind us of the work that remains to be done.
In Shanghai, UNICEF is lighting up the Shanghai Tower jointly with China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Welfare Institute, with the participation of UNICEF China Ambassador Ma Yili and more than 200 children. In Beijing, the Olympic Tower, the Winter Games Countdown Tower and the National Aquatics Center (also known as the ‘Water Cube’) are lighting up with support from the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. In Olympic Park, sixty children are coming together to write down their wishes to share with peers around the world. In Changchun, Chengdu, Chongqing, Taiyuan, Wuhan and Yinchuan, UNICEF is partnering with the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development on lighting up the cities’ iconic buildings and monuments blue to celebrate World Children’s Day. Other cities participating in this year’s Light Up for Children initiative include Changsha, Nanjing and Shenzhen.
World Children’s Day in China and across the globe
“Today is a special day for children. For the ones here in Shanghai, children across China, and for every single one of the 2.3 billion children around the world. Today, the world celebrates World Children’s Day,” says Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF Representative to China. “Here in China, we are proud to have worked with the government for the past 40 years to advance children’s rights and well-being.”
“In the context of the new era, China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Welfare Institute will strengthen the work along with the nature of the time, carry out more activities that satisfy the needs of children's growth and development, and build more communication platforms for the exchange between Chinese teenagers and teenagers from all over the world,” says Wang Jiarui, Chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Welfare Institute.
Annually celebrated on 20 November, this year's World Children's Day is especially significant because it marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights on the Child (CRC), which was formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989. The CRC is the first legally binding international convention to affirm human rights for all children. Since its adoption, it has helped to transform children's lives, affirming that every child has a right to childhood.
In China and across the globe, children are taking part in many ways—participating in the lighting up of iconic buildings and monuments; reporting on issues that matter to them; and sharing a child-friendly version of the Convention that has been developed in collaboration with children themselves.
“Many adults are not aware of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. So, learning about the Convention is not only a matter for children, but also for all adults,” says Wang Tianxi, an 11-year-old girl from Beijing, who participated in the lighting up event in Shanghai and shared her perspective on children’s rights.
“I hope that all children, including those with disabilities, can enjoy equal rights, equal opportunities and grow up happily,” says Wang Chenbo, a 12-year-old boy from Heze, Shandong province with a hearing disability, who also shared his perspective on children’s rights at the event.
Celebrities are also speaking up in support of children. UNICEF China Ambassadors Chen Kun, Ma Yili and Wang Yuan are holding open online Q&As on Sina-Weibo, where they share their own perspectives about child rights with Chinese netizens.
In New York, UNICEF China Ambassador Wang Yuan, joins UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors David Beckham and Millie Bobby Brown in a global summit where children call on world leaders to fulfil their commitments to realise child rights. Later in the day, he lights up the Empire State Building in New York in blue in honour of UNICEF and World Children’s Day.
Other World Children’s Day activities throughout China include:
- A special event in Beijing hosted by the China National Children’s Centre, with support from UNICEF, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the CRC, where the children’s version of the Convention in Chinese was released.
- A digital version of a photo exhibit, jointly launched by Xinhua News Agency and UNICEF. The exhibit displays the key historical moments and progress made for children in China over the past decades.
- A child reporting programme from the CCTV Children’s Channel broadcast to amplify the voices of young people about why child rights matter to them. A signature video of the programme will also be disseminated through CCTV Children’s social media channels.
- Chinese netizens are invited to join in on the celebration by visiting UNICEF’s World Children’s Day campaign on Sina-Weibo in partnership with Weibo Gongyi, where they can engage in a special H5 webpage and Q&As with UNICEF China Ambassadors that help people to experience the impact of children’s rights. Join the digital discussions with the hashtags #WorldChildren’sDay# and #LightUpforChildren#.
Across the globe, other notable landmarks included in this year’s light up initiative include: Sydney Opera House in Australia, Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Arc de Triomphe in France, Brandenburg Gate in Germany, Acropolis in Greece, El Gran Jaguar in Guatemala, Rashtrapati Bhavan in India, Petra in Jordan, Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, Panama Canal in Panama, Table Mountain in South Africa.
UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
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