Foreword

China is a developing country with a population of over 1.2 billion, of whom over 300 million are children under the age of 16, making up about one fifth of the total number of children in the world.

What is the situation of Chinese children today? The 1996 State of the World's Children Report of the United Nations issued a group of figures, which reflect concrete conditions in the following aspects:

-- The basic indexes on children. In 1994, the mortality rate of children under five in developing countries was 101 per thousand; that in East Asia and the Pacific region, 56 per thousand; and in China, 43 per thousand.

-- Children's nutrition. Between 1980 and 1994, children with low weight in developing countries made up 35 percent on average, 23 percent in East Asia and the Pacific region, and 17 percent in China.

-- Health care for children. In 1994, in developing countries, one-year-old children who were immune to the BCG vaccine totaled 87 percent; those immune to pertussis, diphthe"iria and tetanus, 80 percent; to infantile paralysis, 80 percent; and to measles, 78 percent. The immunity percentages for East Asia and the Pacific region were respectively 94 percent, 91 percent, 92 percent and 89 percent; and those for China, 94 percent, 93 percent, 94 percent and 89 percent.

-- Children's education. Between 1986 and 1993, the net attendance rate of schoolage boys of primary schools in developing countries averaged 87 percent, and that of girls, 80 percent. This compares to, respectively, 99 percent and 94 percent in East Asia and the Pacific region, and 99 percent and 94 percent in China.

To help the world toward a more comprehensive understanding of the situation of Chinese children, of how the Chinese Government and the whole society protect children's survival and development, and of the difficulties and problems on the development of children that remain to be resolved in a developing country like China, we now reveal to the public a range of relevant information about the condition of children in China.