Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Women Hold Up Half of the Sky both in China and Afghanistan

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Women Hold Up Half of the  Sky both in China and Afghanistan

Today, March 8th, is the International Women’s Day. Both China and Afghanistan attach great importance to this day, for it is a festival for women, as well as for the whole society to pay tribute to women. In China, working women are privileged to have a half day off, while men have to work all day long.
Since assuming the office, I came to know that there was an old saying in Afghanistan puts that Women hold up half of the sky, which is similar to China. My Afghan friends and I couldn’t stop laughing and joking that women hold up half of the sky in both China and Afghanistan, then the sky will never have a chance to fall down and men need to worry for nothing.
The first letter I received after my taking office was from H.E. the First Lady Madame Rula Ghani. Her Excellency was so nice to send me a book titled Embroidering within Boundaries. The book makes a detailed introduction to how Afghan government and relevant organizations help women in rural areas for job creation and revive the Afghan traditional industry. During my meeting with H.E. the First lady later, she told me all about the tireless efforts she and her office made in promoting women’s empowerment and job creation. I was deeply impressed.
I am so happy to learn that there are 3 female ministers, 10 female deputy ministers and 5 female ambassadors in Afghanistan. In my courtesy calls, I made acquaintance with many high-level Afghan female officials, MPs and intellectuals. They are no inferior to men, and well displays the Afghan women’s elegance, gentleness, brightness and capability, which I admire so much.
The Chinese women cause also has its glorious tradition and outstanding achievements. The life expectancy for women is nearly 80. Female makes up more than 50% of students at school, 45% of the employment population and 55% of the internet entrepreneurs.
Last year, 24% of representatives of the 19th National Congress of the CPC and 1/4 representatives of the ongoing 13th National People’s Congress of China are women. At present, there are one female Deputy Premier and nearly 20 female ministerial officials in Chinese government.
After the founding of the P.R.C, we had female Deputy President, awarded more than 40 females as Generals. The Chinese female scientist Madame Tu Youyou got the Nobel Prize of medicine in 2015. Her great contribution using artemisinin to cure malaria has saved so many lives in different countries including Afghanistan.
By far, there are about 2000 female diplomats including 10 ambassadors in China. H.E. Madame Fu Ying, the former Chinese Ambassador to UK, used to be my boss. When facing the anti-Chinese molecules trying to disturb the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay, she fearlessly lifted up the torch and ran forward. When someone questioned whether China has lost control over a country during the Munich Security Conference, Madame Fu answered with a smile that a word that sounds very western, China has never tried to control over any countries, please do not judge China with the image of other superpowers. When someone questioned China’s military budget, she kicked the ball back that the NATO felt free to request its member states to raise their military budget to 2% of GDP, but made so many comments on China’s 1.5%. That’s totally double standard and surprised the whole world. All above are full demonstration of elegant demeanor of Chinese female diplomat.
Cooperation on women affairs is an important component of China-Afghanistan strategic cooperative parternership. In October, 2014, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, paid a state visit to China on invitation of H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of China. The two countries issued a Joint Statement in which the Chinese side promised to support the Afghanistan government’s efforts of promoting the rights of women as well as the empowerment of women, and offer assistance to Afghan women and children within its capacity. During the 2nd Meeting of Kabul Process held last month, the Chinese side once again elaborated its support to Afghan women comprehensive and meaningful participation in Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
In 2017, we offered training opportunities in China for 104 Afghan women professionals in different fields, and 3 excellent female students were awarded the Chinese Government Scholarship and are studying in China now. Ms. Shahnaz, a staff of Ministry of Commercial and Industries, participated in a short-term training course in China. After return, she said with excitement that within a few weeks in China, she learned a lot and wished to apply all these experiences and knowledge to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan. Last year, the Chinese Embassy donated fitness equipments for Afghan Ministry of Women Affairs, beds and toys for girls in kindergarten of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as computers, stationaries and etc to the Malalai Female High School. With its own donation, China constructed hospitals in Kandahar and Kabul, facilities in Kabul University, low-cost housing project, National Vocational Training Center. Teaching materials and textbooks have also been donated to schools across Afghanistan. Like many past years, these donation will continue to benefit tens of thousands of women in Afghanistan.
Some Chinese women, fearless to wars and violence, are bravely working in Afghanistan and serving the Afghan people with heart and soul. Ms. Gulnisa, a teacher in the Confucius Institute of Kabul University, came to Afghanistan last March. Her husband, Mr. Tursun, married her 35 years ago, retired in advance and came to accompany her. But unfortunately, Mr. Tursun passed away due to illness. When Ms. Gulnisa went back to China to attend her husband’s funeral, many friends advised her to stay in Urumqi and enjoy her late life. However, she came back to Kabul and continued her teaching with great pain in heart only one week after finishing her husband’s funeral, because she can not set aside her responsibilities and students here, and wants to ease her husband’s soul by her teaching achievement, and would like to go through thick and thin with her Afghan colleagues and students. Her story is widely listened in Kabul University and touched the heart of many Chinese and Afghan friends.
In Afghanistan, there is also a female boss and her Chinese restaurant which is widely welcome around the area, female Secretary General and her Chinese Business Association and also Chinese female reporter who ran to the field of explosion instead of escaping when hearing the sound of alarm. They all have been in Afghanistan for years or even more than 10 years, living harmony with the Afghan society and offering their care to the vulnerable here. They have devoted their youth and love to this country.
Days ago, I asked a 7-year-old little girl named Fareshta, who is living in Char Rah-e-Qambar Camp and came to visit the Chinese Embassy that day, “what is your biggest aspiration”. She answered without hesitation, “Go to School for study!” The answer is so simple and clear, but also heartfelt. Let us do something for the Afghan girls, and help them to realize their dreams like boys. Just like the words of Mr. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of Chinese revolution, should there is no woman, the world would lose half sincerity, 70% goodness and all beauty. Should there is no woman, there is no human.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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