Global Times - 01.08.2019

(Jacob Rumans) #1
Thursday August 1, 2019 17


A UN report released Tuesday
documented that the level of
grave violations against chil-
dren worldwide last year was
on the rise.
The 2018 Annual Report on
Children and Armed Conflict
said that more than 24,
grave violations against chil-
dren were verified by the Unit-
ed Nations in 20 countries.
Continued fighting between
parties to the conflict, new
conflict dynamics and opera-
tional tactics, combined with
widespread disregard for inter-
national law, had a devastating
effect on children, it said.
While the number of viola-
tions attributed to non-State
actors remained steady, there
was an alarming increase in the
number of violations attributed
to State actors and to interna-

tional forces in comparison
with 2017.
UN Secretary-General Anto-
nio Guterres is “disheartened”,
said his deputy spokesman
Farhan Haq. Apart from the
verified violations, thousands
of others were pending verifi-
cation due to resources and ac-
cess constraints.
Guterres is particularly ap-
palled at the number of chil-
dren killed or maimed in the
20 countries on the Children
and Armed Conflict agenda
last year, which reached more
than 12,000 boys and girls, an
unprecedented level, said Haq.
“This is the highest num-
ber we have ever recorded
since 2005 on this violation,”
Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children
and Armed Conflict Virginia

Gamba told the press.
The number of child casual-
ties in Afghanistan remained
highest in the present report,
and children accounted for 28
percent of all civilian casualties.
In Syria, air strikes, barrel
bombs and cluster munitions
resulted in 1,854 child casual-
ties, and in Yemen, 1,689 chil-
dren bore the brunt of ground
fighting and other types of as-
sault, the report said.
Children continued to be
forced to take an active part in
hostilities, including to carry
out suicide bombings against
civilians, said the report, adding
that others were used in sup-
port roles such as sexual slaves
or human shields.
Somalia remained the coun-
try with the highest number of
cases of the recruitment and

use of children followed by Ni-
geria, according to the report.
The report also verified
1,023 attacks on schools and
hospitals. In Syria, 2018 wit-
nessed 225 attacks on schools
and medical facilities.
Attacks on schools and hos-
pitals had a devastating effect
on access to education and
health services for thousands
of children, the report said.
“Increased numbers of attacks
were also verified in the Central
African Republic, Colombia,
Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia,
the Sudan and Yemen.”
The UN chief urged all par-
ties to the conflict to strength-
en their engagement with the
United Nations and remind
them of their responsibility to-
ward protecting children.
“Parties must ensure com-

pliance with their obligations
under international law, in-
cluding the special respect and
protection accorded to children
affected by armed conflict by in-
ternational humanitarian law,”
said Haq.
In the conduct of hostilities,
parties to the conflict must re-
frain from directing attacks
against civilians, including chil-
dren, and civilian objects, Haq
said, adding that Guterres reit-
erates that peace remains the
best protection for children af-
fected by armed conflict.

The article is from the Xinhua
News Agency. opinion@

Competition won’t even spare civilization

UN report says grave violations against children leapfrogged in 2018

Page Editor:

By Xue Li


he current rules-based interna-
tional order reflects the values
of Christian countries, in which
these countries eat the cake while other
nations are left with the crumbs if they
follow the same rules.
Since the US started to attack Chi-
na’s tech giant Huawei, it has violated
the fundamental principles of a market
economy. The Chinese people are
clearly well aware of the nature of the
current so-called rules-based interna-
tional order – even if China follows the
rules, it will only get the crumbs.
Due to the existence of nuclear weap-
ons, it is unlikely for emerging pow-
ers to reshape the international order
through launching wars. However, such
reconstruction efforts in functional
domains and regional order by peaceful
means are possible, for the decline of
Christian civilization and the improve-
ment of soft and hard power among
other civilizations is the trend.
Civilizations enjoy similarities but
are also unique. Similarities make
coexistence and communication pos-
sible, while uniqueness leads to mutual
learning. As coexistence and competi-
tion have always been the norm, a sole
civilization worldwide has never existed.
It is more so in the nuclear-weapons
In the distant future, there will be
local conflicts and wars, but a full-scale
conflict is unlikely among major pow-
ers. Competition among great powers
will evolve into competition among
major civilizations, or peaceful competi-
tion among major civilizations.
Christian civilizations, along with
Chinese, Islamic, Hindu, Japanese, and
others with populations over 100 mil-
lion will become major competitors.
The global geographical spread of
Christian and Islamic civilizations
is larger than Hindu and Chinese
cultures. This is based on religious
ideas. In general, polytheistic civiliza-

tions lack the driving force to expand
globally, while a monotheistic civiliza-
tion has a strong motivation to expand.
Believers in monotheistic civilizations
consider themselves as the chosen
ones or followers of Allah, possessing a
strong belief and mission of converting
non-believers through either peaceful
preaching or with force.

Before Columbus discovered Amer-
ica, the geographical spread of Islamic
civilization was larger than Christianity.
However, the Renaissance and capital-
ism gave rise to modern Christian-
ity, such as separation of church and
state, the replacement of theocracy by
sovereignty. In return, religious reforms
paved the way for the industrial revolu-

tion and delivered a massive productiv-
ity boost. Christian powers were able
to defeat Islamic forces, providing con-
venience and the possibility for global
expansion. Hence, Europe became the
center of the world for global immigra-
tion and colonization. Since WWII, that
center has shifted to the US.
The backbone of Chinese civilization
is Confucianism and Taoism. Taoism
is a semi-secular faith, focusing on the
relationship between man and nature,
and pursuing the doctrines of “let it be”
and “action through inaction.”
Confucianism has a greater influ-
ence on China than Taoism. It focuses
on interpersonal relations, takes the
family as the core, and ritual as the
criterion, and provides a set of norms
to tackle relationships between indi-
viduals, the state, and the world with
the goal of realizing the orderly state of
It allows secular enjoyment but asks
them to never act in excess. In short,
Confucianism and Taoism advocate
harmonious societies that are distinct,
receptive to other civilizations but lack
the motivation to spread worldwide.
Chinese civilization can adapt to
modernity. Once internal barriers are
removed, the economy can develop
rapidly. It has already been proved
by South Korea and other economies
with similar civilizations. The Chinese
mainland has already impacted the
current international order because of
its size. It would undoubtedly build a
regional rules-based order based on its
own values, and a global rules-based
order for specific regions. Many other
civilizations will also follow the example
of China.
In short, the world is entering a new
era of competition among civilizations.

The author is director of the Department
of International Strategy at the Institute
of World Economics and Politics under
the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
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